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BSc Physiotherapy

Why we're great

  • Small class-sizes enable close working relationships between students and staff.
  • You gain hands-on experience in a range of professional settings through practice placements.
  • Our close links with clinicians in practice will strengthen your career prospects.

Course options2017-18

BSc Physiotherapy Part-time

UCAS code: B160
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Health and Human Sciences
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £16,800
This course is only available to applicants from the UK or EU
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 873666

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About the course

Physiotherapy is a health care profession concerned with maximising the potential of human function and movement. It uses physical approaches to promote, maintain, and restore physical, psychological and social wellbeing, taking account of the variations in health status. At Essex this is a science-based subject in which we are committed to applying, evaluating and reviewing the evidence that underpins and informs practice.

At the core of physiotherapy practice is the making of clinical judgement and informed interpretation of clinical information. Physiotherapists are autonomous professionals, able to act as first-contact practitioners, as well as accepting referrals from other health care professionals. Through partnership and negotiation, physiotherapists work with people to optimise their functional ability and potential.

This four-year part-time course provides you with an opportunity to access a professional qualification in physiotherapy. It is designed for those who prefer an alternative to the more traditional three-year course (or two year route).

Please note that a full-time version of this course will be available from 2017.

Placement Opportunities

You will be introduced to physiotherapy through observing and working with physiotherapists practising in a variety of settings (primary and secondary care, public and private sectors, adult and the elderly, acute care setting and specialist mental health/learning disability services), and adopt a critical stand in the discussion of contemporary physiotherapy practice in the context of the environment of practice.

You are also introduced to key concepts in physiotherapy for the assessment and evaluation of patients, and given opportunities to explore scientific measures as indicators for health and illness.

We organise these practice placements for you to work in role with multi-professional health care teams in a wide range of settings.

Whilst on placement you will have an educator allocated to you and contact with a member of the academic team who will support you whilst on placement. Placements encompass a variety of multi-disciplinary health and social settings based within the NHS, the Private Sector, the Voluntary Sector and other Primary Health Care Services.

Over a thousand hours will be spent in the practice environment where students apply the theory and practice of physiotherapy. You develop your abilities to critically analyse clinical data and evidence, to make judgements and to respond to patients who require physiotherapy.

Placements are primarily based throughout Essex but you may also have the opportunity to experience services in Hertfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

Professional accreditation

Completing our course leads to eligibility to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) as a physiotherapist.

HCPC registration is required to work as a physiotherapist in the UK, and once individuals are registered they are able to practice in a wide variety of clinical settings.

We are committed to embedding the NHS Constitution Values (which are strongly reflected in our University values) into everything we do. They define the behaviours and expectations of all our staff and students, underpinning the work we do in the university, clinical arena and other workplaces.

We understand that not all of our students and staff are employed within the NHS but these values uphold the underlying principles of excellent care as a standard and as such we expect that anyone who has any aspect of their work which ultimately cares for others will aspire to upholding these values.

For us involving not only our students, but service users, experts by experience, carers and NHS/non NHS professionals in the creation and delivery of all programmes is vital.

Our expert staff

A unique feature of our School is that most of our staff work or have worked within clinical practice. This enhances our grasp of the contemporary links between academic research, the major issues of the day and real-life practice.

Physiotherapy is taught by registered experienced staff with a variety of different backgrounds. The course is led by Barry Pryer who graduated from University of Bradford in Physiotherapy in 1998 and worked for Bradford Hospitals NHS Trust for 5 years. In October 2002, he moved into teaching at the Colchester Institute and then In 2009 became the programme lead for BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy (Part-time) programme at Essex. Barry’s specialisms include musculoskeletal physiotherapy and he is currently doing his PhD on exploring how gait (walking) and balance change through normal ageing and how physiotherapists can utilise measures of gait and balance as useful predictors of health challenges as we age.

The subject lead for physiotherapy is Izzie Easton. Izzie qualified as a physiotherapist in 1998, and has practised in numerous hospitals. In particular she has gained experience working in respiratory physiotherapy, orthopaedics, and critical care.

We also have expertise in the areas of prehabilitation, rehabilitation following sports injuries, first contact trauma management and education in pain management. Full details of our staff can be found on the HHS Staff Profiles.

In addition, our physiotherapy team invite a large number of practising clinicians to contribute to the teaching on this programme.

Our facilities

Specialist facilities

Within our School of Health and Human Sciences, we have a range of specialist clinical laboratories and IT facilities to assist you with the effective learning and acquisition of new skills; for students of our BSc Physiotherapy, we have two specialist labs on our Colchester Campus which provides you with all the facilities you need to train as a physiotherapist.

We also offer excellent physical and online resources in terms of libraries, computer labs, datasets, archives and other research materials.

You can take advantage of our links with the Institute of Social and Economic Research, which conducts large-scale survey projects, many for government, EU and other public agencies, and has its own library.

The UK Data Archive is also based at our Colchester Campus and stores national research data.

Your future

Successful completion our BSc Physiotherapy leads to eligibility to apply for registration as a physiotherapist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), which allows you to practise as a physiotherapist in the UK.

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Example structure

For our BSc Physiotherapy, attendance at our University is for two days per week. Clinical placements are on a full-time basis.

These carefully selected modules will give you the chance to explore, question, and create powerful ideas. Picked to give you an extensive and in-depth education, they’ll equip you with the specialist knowledge, vital transferrable skills, and the confidence to make a genuine difference to the world around you.

For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are just a selection of those available. The opportunity to take optional modules will depend on the number of core modules within any year of the course. In many instances, the flexibility to take optional modules increases as you progress through the course.

Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current first-year students, including details of all optional modules.

Year 1

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the core skills and principles that underline the practice of physiotherapy. You will explore a range of assessment strategies and treatment options including exercise, manual therapy techniques such as massage and passive movement and electrotherapy.

Year 2

Drawing on your own experiences from earlier modules, you will explore the complexities of rehabilitation using problem-based learning. As well as considering the physical, behavioural and functional issues associated with difficult cases such as critical care patients, or those with multi-faceted neurological disorders, you will look at the ethical, legal and professional issues that must be taken into account.

Building on your knowledge of the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems gained in earlier modules, you will explore the role of physiotherapy in the management of patients from different age groups and populations, with medical and surgical conditions, in acute and non-acute settings. You will develop your skills in the assessment, clinical reasoning and treatment for this group of patients and consider the impact of psychosocial and diversity issues on their rehabilitation.

Through this placement, you will have the opportunity to link the theoretical knowledge you are acquiring with practical experience in a clinical setting. You will gain an understanding of the health care environment and start to develop the hands-on skills physiotherapy assessment and patient management skills required for competent practice.

This second placement offers you the opportunity to build on your learning and earlier placement experience and consolidate your knowledge and skills. This practice-based learning module will enable you to develop your understanding of and competence in physiotherapy skills and your clinical reasoning and reflective skills.

Final year

What are the issues faced by physiotherapists in musculoskeletal rehabilitation? Using an issue-based learning approach, you will explore this complex area, considering not just the physical, behavioural and functional issues in such cases, but also the ethical, legal and professional factors.

Year 4

Incorporating your final clinical placement, the aim of this module is to prepare you for your role as an autonomous practitioner. You will build on the skills and experience gained in earlier placements to enhance and broaden your professional competence and will also have the opportunity to focus on an area of practice of your choice.

This module will allow you to manage increasingly larger caseloads and more complex patient problems with minimal supervision. You will be required to justify your clinical reasoning and associated decision-making, using reflection and relevant evidence. There will also be a focus on autonomy in practice, demonstration of ability, and willingness to continue your professional development after qualification.


  • We employ a variety of teaching methods including problem-based learning, technology-enhanced learning, and experiential learning
  • The use of peer support and self-directed learning enables you to take control of the learning experience
  • You undertake placements in six different clinical settings


  • You are assessed by a combination of practical examinations, viva voce examinations, essays, reflective writing and poster and seminar presentations, practice-based learning assessment and practical examinations in the academic setting

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UK entry requirements

Please be aware that we are not able to accept applications for deferred entry for this course.

Our applicants should have:

  • Two A-Levels: normally CC (to include a biological or sports science, plus at least 1 other appropriate subject), supported by 5 GCSEs at A*-C (to include Maths, English Language & Science))
  • Equivalent level 3 qualification; such as:
    • BTEC level 3 Extended Diploma, at MPP or above (in a relevant subject eg. Health & Social Care, Health Studies, Health Sciences etc)
    • Access to HE Diploma (relevant pathway) with at least 12 Distinction credits in relevant Biological Science Units. This Access diploma must be supported by level 2 Maths and English Language (either as GCSE or functional skills - Level 2 qualification)
    • International Baccalaureate (to include Biology at a Grade 4 or higher)
    • Other level 3 (or higher qualifications) with sufficient biological science content may be considered by the Admissions team
  • Applicants must be able to communicate in English to the standard equivalent to level 7.0 of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), with no element below 6.5: we may also ask for IELTS wherever this is required
  • Evidence of recent academic study

We accept a wide range of other qualifications from applicants studying in the UK, EU and other countries. For further details about the qualifications that we accept, please e-mail us with information about the high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

You must also have: two satisfactory references (including an academic reference), a satisfactory Work Health Assessment/Occupational health Check and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check (formerly known as CRB) – both of these are organised by the University.

Eligibility, Fees and Funding

Access is supported by Health Education East of England consequently the course is only available to applicants classified as ‘home’ or ‘EU’ students for tuition fee purposes. In addition, applicants must also be able to meet the NHS funding criteria that you can find in the Frequently Asked Questions on the NHS bursary website.

NHS Constitution and Values

As part of the selection process, students will be expected to demonstrate effective communication skills alongside good knowledge and a clear understanding of the scope of work that a physiotherapist is required to undertake as well as the significance of the NHS Constitution and its core values (you can find further information on these on the Health Education East of England website and the Gov.UK webpages


Due to competition for places on this course, exceeding, meeting or being predicted to meet the minimum academic requirements is not a guarantee of selection for interview.

Interviews will take place in Spring 2016 for the September 2016 intake. If you are selected for interview, then you will also be required to sit a Literacy & Numeracy test.

Continuing Professional Development

If you are already a registered physiotherapist, please see Continuing Professional Development on the Health and Human Sciences web pages.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

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Visit us

Open days

Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2017 we have three undergraduate Open Days (in June, September and October). These events enable you to discover what our Colchester Campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.


To apply for this course, you will need to apply to our School directly using the following application documents:

Applications for the 2016 intake will be closing 26 February 2016. All supporting documents must be received by this date for your application to be considered.

Interview and tests

If you’re shortlisted for interview based on your application, you will be invited onto campus. As part of this visit you will complete a literacy and numeracy test. If you successfully complete this you will then have an interview on the same day. Offers for the course will only be made after a successful interview.

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Although great care is taken in compiling our course details, they are intended for the general guidance of prospective students only. The University reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University.

The full procedures, rules and regulations of the University are set out in the Charter, Statues and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.