Postgraduate Course

MSc Physiotherapy


MSc Physiotherapy


The details
Physiotherapy (Pre-Registration)
October 2024
2 years
Colchester Campus

The deadline to apply for this course starting in October 2024 is 12.00pm (GMT) on 23 February 2024. Please see our how to apply webpages for more information.

Physiotherapy is a science-based health care profession committed to extending, applying, evaluating and reviewing the evidence that underpins and informs its practice. Physiotherapists adopt a ‘whole person' approach to maximise the potential of a person's function and movement. Thus, physiotherapists not only help people stay independent for as long possible after illness or injury, but also help maintain health for people of all ages; preventing disease and managing pain.

Patient involvement is at the core of this approach and, as such, key attributes a physiotherapist must possess include the ability to empower, relate and educate people to facilitate change in their health and wellbeing. Physiotherapists are autonomous professionals, able to act as first-contact practitioners, as well as accepting referrals from other health care professionals. Consequently, central to physiotherapy practice is the making of clinical judgement and informed interpretation of clinical information.

Physiotherapists are also professionals who work in increasingly complex environments and, at Essex, we produce graduates who are able to demonstrate effective problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, underpinned by a sound physiotherapy knowledge base and appropriate professional skills. To succeed you will possess self-directed learning habits that will enable you to continue as a reflective practitioner and lifelong learner, maintaining your fitness to practise throughout your career.

Our full-time MSc Physiotherapy (pre-registration) course is studied over two years and is designed as a continuous progression of integrated theory and practice, placing emphasis on students being proactive partners in their learning experiences.

Our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences (SRES) is a community specifically focused on sports and exercise science, sports therapy and physiotherapy. We are based in the Essex Sport Arena at the Colchester Campus and bring together internationally recognised research, knowledge and placement and vocational opportunities for our students and graduates.


We continue to recommend Covid-19 and flu vaccinations. This is to protect yourself and the vulnerable people you may meet throughout your placement.

Practice-based learning opportunities

Practice-based placements are organised by our placement team and each student is timetabled to complete approximately 1,000 hours of practice-based learning. During placements, you'll work with qualified physiotherapists and other professionals to consolidate learning, gain new experiences and develop and refine your abilities. Learning on placement is achieved through interactive experiences and practice educators facilitating personal and professional growth within a variety of settings. The environment is supportive, enabling you to rehearse skills with constructive feedback.

To maximise the learning opportunities available to students we work with a variety of practice based learning providers from across our region. From the Colchester Campus you may need to travel up to 90 minutes each day to and from a placement location, or use local accommodation for locations that are further afield. Eligible students are able to claim back these additional costs associated with attending placements through the NHS business authority, who you can also apply to for a £5,000 per academic year grant (that you won't need to pay back)! Additional funding may also be available depending on your personal circumstances. You can find more information about eligibility and how to apply on the HSC Scholarships and Funding page.

You will be provided with two student physiotherapist uniform polo shirts, as well as two tunics and two pairs of trousers by the university, prior to your first practice placement (additional items can be purchased by students if they choose).

Additional expenses

You will incur additional costs and expenses throughout this course, which you can learn more about here (.doc).

Sport scholarships

Our Performance Sport Scholarship programme has been created for talented athletes playing at regional, national or international level, and offers a range of benefits. We want students competing in our focus sports (basketball, volleyball, tennis and football), as well as other team sports and individual athletes, to contribute to our performance sport programme. Our scholarships can include fee discounts of up to 100%, offered to athletes who demonstrate sporting excellence. Athletes who are awarded the scholarship may also receive a host of other benefits, including free kit, access to state-of-the-art facilities, performance coaching, the option to live in our Athlete Village (accommodation fees may vary) and a support package valued up to £1,500. These benefits are designed to help athletes focus on their training, and development, and to enable them to reach their full potential alongside their studies.

Professional accreditation

Accredited by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).

Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of providing eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as a physiotherapist.

Why we're great.
  • Improve your employability by developing excellent links with our clinical partners in practice.
  • You gain hands-on experience in a range of professional settings through practice placements.
  • Small cohort sizes enable strong working relationships between students and experienced staff.

Our expert staff

Our physiotherapy courses are taught by a friendly team of registered, experienced staff with a variety of different backgrounds. Within the team we have expertise across the areas of acute inpatient care, community settings and outpatient rehabilitation as well as in research and professional leadership. Full details of our staff can be found online.

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

The MSc Physiotherapy (pre-registration) course lead is Adrian Mallows. Adrian is passionate about research driving the physiotherapy profession and patient care. He has extensive experience in education and research around musculoskeletal health, being involved in multiple international collaborative research projects.

Specialist facilities

Within our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise 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 MSc Physiotherapy, we have four 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 of our MSc Physiotherapy (pre-registration) leads to eligibility to apply for registration as a physiotherapist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) which allows you to practise as a physiotherapist in the UK, and to join the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) as a full member.

We also work with our University's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

"I could not have asked for a better foundation to my career than the course at Essex, which is founded on encouraging students to be autonomous in gaining their skills and knowledge through the support of experienced teaching staff. We were always challenged to be critical of our knowledge and how it could be applied to individuals in our care. Patients being at the centre of our care underpinned all modules, which is an attitude that was invaluable in seeking and gaining employment."

Emily Linney, MSc Physiotherapy, 2021

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

Our applicants are required to:

  • Hold a 2.2 honours degree, or international equivalent, in a relevant discipline such as: a life science, psychology, sociology, biological science or sports science degree. Your degree should have been awarded within the last 5 years. We will consider applicants who graduated more than 5 years ago, on a case by case basis
  • Demonstrate the relevance of your degree to the course and physiotherapy
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the scope of work that a physiotherapist is required to undertake
  • Demonstrate how you have developed your academic skills and are prepared to work at Master’s level
  • How the NHS constitution and its core values are reflected in your own values and behaviours
  • IELTS with an overall score of 7.0, with no element below 6.5 (if required). the qualification does not have to be held at the point of application.
  • Successful performance at interview

You must also submit one recent reference which clearly demonstrates how you are a suitable applicant for the course.

Don't worry if you cannot provide your reference when you make your application, as if we make you an offer you will be able to provide this at a later stage.

References should be recent and verifiable, on official institution paper, signed and dated by the referee. If a referee wishes to provide an email reference, it must be sent from the referee’s email account.

The following documents should be submitted with your online application:

  • A personal statement
  • A current CV
  • Academic transcripts
Personal Statement

Your personal statement should include and explain:

  • The relevance of your degree to the course and physiotherapy
  • Understanding of the scope of the work that a physiotherapist is required to undertake
  • How you have developed your academic skills and your preparedness to study at Masters level
  • How the NHS constitution and its core values are reflected in your own values and behaviours (you can find further information on these on the Health Education East of England website and the Gov.UK webpages
  • How any relevant work experience (including voluntary work) supports your application

You must also have a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check (including child and adult barred list check) and a Occupational Health Check. Both of these are organised by the University.

A satisfactory Overseas Criminal Record Check/Local Police Certificate is also required, in addition to a DBS check, where you have lived outside of the UK in the last 5 years for 6 months or more. Where it is not possible to obtain an Overseas Check a relevant professional reference may be accepted


For the October 2024 intake, interviews commence in January 2024. Interviews and offers are made on a first-come-first-served basis until the available number of places are filled. After this offers will be made for a place on the waiting list.

Continuing Professional Development

If you are already a registered physiotherapist, please see our Continuing Professional Development webpage.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

An overall IELTS score of 7.0, with 6.5 in all components.


Course structure

Please note that our MSc Physiotherapy (Pre-Registration) is an intensive two-year course based at our Colchester Campus.

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. 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.

There are 44 weeks' teaching per year. The structure of the programme adopts a developmental approach to the mastering of physiotherapy skills. 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.

We're reactive, we're pioneering, we never stand still, so modules might change from year to year in response to new developments and innovation. Those listed below show how a typical course might look, but more detail on course structure, including details of all optional modules, is available on our Programme Specification.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We'll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website and in line with your contract with us. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, we'll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained


Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.


Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms


Understanding Self and Others

This module explores the lived experience of the self and others through the contexts in which they live. You will examine and develop your understanding of being a physiotherapist in contemporary and evolving UK practice, and consider your own development as a student healthcare professional.

View Understanding Self and Others on our Module Directory


Critical Enquiry

This module facilitates your knowledge and understanding of critical thinking and academic skills such as searching, retrieving, appraising and reporting evidence to allow to you to begin to engage with evidence-based practice and life-long learning.

View Critical Enquiry on our Module Directory


Applied Anatomy and Pathophysiology

This module develops your knowledge and understanding of the pathophysiology and anatomy of the human body and its impact on structure, function and wellbeing of the individual.

View Applied Anatomy and Pathophysiology on our Module Directory


Physiotherapy Led Assessment & Treatment

This module introduces you to core concepts of physiotherapy assessment and treatment, allowing you to explore the role of Physiotherapy in the assessment/treatment of patients with different clinical conditions from different age groups and populations, both in the acute and non-acute settings.

View Physiotherapy Led Assessment & Treatment on our Module Directory




Research Project

This module will provide you with the experience of how social researchers go about applying their skills and knowledge in an empirical investigation of a topic you find interesting. It will allow you to plan the organisation and timing of your work with a high degree of independence and self-motivation.

View Research Project on our Module Directory


Leadership of Self and Others

This module considers your develop as a future leader, recognising the evolving contexts in which you will practice. You will learn about the concept of leadership and begin to develop skills to enable you to lead your own development and that of others.

View Leadership of Self and Others on our Module Directory


Developing Self and Others

Drawing upon learning and understanding from the module Understanding Self and Others, you will apply, evaluate and analyse approaches to developing themselves as professionals and others such as service users and peers in a variety of contexts.

View Developing Self and Others on our Module Directory




  • Teaching staff include clinically qualified lecturers in physiotherapy, alongside clinically qualified members of other health professions from the School of Health & Social Care, and many clinical partners.
  • The multidisciplinary nature of our School and its rapid growth has fostered a dynamic and innovative learning environment.
  • Postgraduate Taught students in the School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences typically attend two-hour workshops, or a one-hour lecture and one-hour seminar for each module each week, though, in vocational programmes such as Physiotherapy, the focus is placed on practical sessions.


  • You are assessed through coursework, presentations, essays, case studies/portfolios, reflective accounts, vivas, examinations and direct observation of practice by the mentor in clinical settings
  • You also conduct a research proposal

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250 per year

For more information about fees and funding for our pre-registration postgraduate courses, please visit our department pages.

International fee

£21,700 per year

For more information about fees and funding for our pre-registration postgraduate courses, please visit our department pages.

What's next

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you 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

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

2024 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday 15 June 2024 - June Open Day
  • Saturday 21 September 2024 - September Open Day
  • Saturday 26 October 2024 - October Open Day


The deadline to apply for this course starting in October 2024 is 12.00pm (GMT) on 13 December 2023.

Interviews and offers are made on a first-come-first-served basis until the available number of places are filled. After this, offers will be made for a place on the waiting list.

You can apply for this postgraduate course online. Before you apply, please check our information about necessary documents that we'll ask you to provide as part of your application.

We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply' information.

Additional documents

Official transcript(s), in English or a certified translation of your academic results to date, showing marks or grades, must be provided at the time you make your application. (Transcripts are not required from current or previous University of Essex students, or from students who have previously completed a degree at Colchester Institute awarded by the University of Essex).

A personal statement with a 500 word limit to support your application saying why you wish to undertake the course and what you hope to achieve from it. If you require a Tier 4 visa to study with us, your personal statement should refer specifically to your reasons for wishing to study in the UK, and why you have chosen your area of study.

An up to date CV (no longer than 2 sides of A4) must also be provided with your application.

We will also require two references during the application process; one verifiable academic reference, dated, signed and on official institution paper. The second reference must be work-based and this will be dependent on which course you are applying for, it could be for example, from a registered nurse or equivalent outlining the care duties that you perform and to what standard.

For information about funding, references and supporting documents, it is essential that you read our 2 year accelerated programme application notes.

Don't worry if you cannot provide references when you make your application, as if we make you an offer you will be able to provide these at a later stage.

How can I demonstrate I have what it takes?

You'll notice that many of our physiotherapy pre-registration courses are underpinned by the NHS Constitution, as well as our own Essex values. The NHS Constitution is an important document which establishes the principles and values of the NHS in England.

This document very clearly explains that the patient is at the heart of everything the NHS does. We take this commitment seriously, and so are looking for people who have the potential to be future healthcare superstars. You may wish to consider this in your written application.

Our courses are a blend of both theory and practice, so we also need to hear from you about both your academic and practical skills. Think carefully about how your experiences have prepared you for some of the challenges of the course, and how they can make you stand out from the crowd. For example, if you've worked in retail, you're likely to have developed your communication skills, so you may be able to talk about this.

My course requires an interview. What can I do to prepare?

For many people, the idea of being interviewed is quite daunting. There's no need to panic. We're on your side. We aim to use the interview process to get to know you and to find out your plans for the future.

Our interview panels are made up from current staff and students, service users/experts by experience, and local placement partners. Many of the panel will have been through a similar process at some point in their career, so they'll appreciate you'll probably be feeling nervous. Try to relax (as best as you can) and think of it more as a discussion with colleagues about why you'd like to join us.

A sunny day with banners flying on Colchester Campus Square 4.

Visit Colchester Campus

Set within 200 acres of award-winning parkland - Wivenhoe Park and located two miles from the historic city centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded development. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

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.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of 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. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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