Undergraduate Course

BSc Physiotherapy

BSc Physiotherapy


The details
October 2024
3 years
Colchester Campus

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 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 BSc Physiotherapy course is studied over three 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.
  • You gain hands-on experience in a range of professional settings through practice placements and our close links with clinicians in practice will strengthen your career prospects.
  • Small cohort sizes enable strong working relationships between students and experienced staff.
  • We are 16th for physiotherapy for overall positivity score (National Student Survey 2023, English Broad Discipline Institutions).

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 BSc Physiotherapy course lead is Debbie Miles, who qualified as a physiotherapist in 2006 having completed a pre-registration Masters programme at Teesside University. Debbie went on to work for more than 10 years in the NHS, in London and then Kent, specialising in the management of hand and wrist injuries and conditions whilst also developing a keen interest in clinical education. Having previously worked part-time at the University of Essex alongside an ongoing clinical role, Debbie moved full-time into education in 2018 though she continues some clinical practice alongside this to this day.

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 BSc 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 BSc Physiotherapy 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.

“My last placement at a Cardiothoracics ITU in Essex was an incredible experience. I learnt so much and it was so interesting I can’t tell you how much! The team were the best I’ve ever been with, and any other students are so lucky to be placed there, it was hands down the best placement I’ve had. I felt sad to leave.”

Lizzie Markham, BSc Physiotherapy student

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

GCSE: 6 GCSEs at C/4 or above (to include Mathematics, English Language and Science). Acceptable alternatives to our GCSE Maths and English requirements are listed further down this page.

  • A-levels: ABB, including a life science (Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology, Life and Health Sciences, Physics, P.E, Psychology, or Sport Science).

  • BTEC: DDD in a relevant subject. More information about the BTECs we accept can be found on the school of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences Undergraduate page.

  • QAA-approved Access to HE Diploma: 21 L3 credits at Distinction and 24 at Merit with at least 12 Distinction credits in relevant Biological Science units.

    Access Diplomas will likely be in a Science or Healthcare related field to meet the requirement for Biological Science units. To check your Access includes a minimum of 12 L3 credits of Biological Science please contact your Access provider or check your course materials.

    This Access diploma must be supported by level 2 Maths, Science and English Language (either as GCSE or Functional Skills level 2 qualifications), if relevant units not taken as part of the Access diploma.

  • IB: 32 points or three Higher Level certificates with 655. Either must include a Higher Level Life Science (Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and Physics) at grade 5, plus Standard Level Mathematics/Maths Studies and Science grade 4, if not taken at Higher Level.

  • T-levels: Distinction overall with Distinction in the Occupational Specialism and grade B in the Core in one of the following T-levels:

    • Science (with Occupational Specialism in Laboratory Science)
    • Health (with Occupational Specialism in Supporting the Healthcare Teams)
    • Healthcare Science (with Occupational Specialism in Assisting with Healthcare Science).

  • Foundation courses in Science: normally 70% or above – varies depending on modules studied.

  • Other level 3 (or higher) qualifications with sufficient Biological Science content may be considered by the Admissions team. If you are taking or have achieved any qualifications that are not listed here, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

    GCSE/level 2 requirements

    All applicants must have GCSE Mathematics, Science and English C/4 (except those taking equivalent high school qualifications).

    • In place of GCSE Mathematics C/4, we can accept a number of OFQUAL regulated level 2 qualifications, including Functional Skills level 2, Key Skills level 2 or numeracy units taken as part of an Access to HE Diploma.
    • If you do not require a Student visa and are either a first language English speaker or have a lived in the UK for over three years, we can accept a number of OFQUAL regulated level 2 qualifications, including Functional Skills level 2, Key Skills level 2 or literacy units taken as part of an Access to HE Diploma, in place of GCSE English C/4.

    Additional requirements

    This course has additional requirements including pass of an interview, a satisfactory reference and Occupational Health Check and Disclosure and Barring (DBS) check. For more information see the school of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences Undergraduate page.

    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

    English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

    Details of English language requirements, including component scores, can be found here

    If we accept the English component of an international qualification it will be included in the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

    English language shelf-life

    Most English language qualifications have a validity period of 5 years. The validity period of Pearson Test of English, TOEFL and CBSE or CISCE English is 2 years.

    If you require a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

    Pre-sessional English courses

    If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

    Pending English language qualifications

    You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

    If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please email ugquery@essex.ac.uk .

    Additional Notes

    If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College


Course structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists. 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.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.

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


Applied Anatomy and Pathophysiology

This module will allow you to develop your knowledge and understanding of the pathophysiology and anatomy of the human body. You will consider the impact of pathophysiology on structure, function and wellbeing of the individual.

View Applied Anatomy and Pathophysiology on our Module Directory


Physiotherapy Led Assessment

This module will allow you to develop holistic assessment skills for a range of patient presentations. The module will focus on the common approaches to physiotherapy led assessment, whilst highlighting and exploring the variations required when assessing different patient groups.

View Physiotherapy Led Assessment on our Module Directory


Practice-Based Decision Making

This module will give you knowledge and understanding of the academic skills required for life-long learning in physiotherapy. This will include 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.

View Practice-Based Decision Making on our Module Directory


Understanding Self and Others

In this module you will consider your own lived experiences, along with those of others through the contexts in which they live. You will discuss and develop your understanding of being a Physiotherapist, focusing on what this means in contemporary and evolving UK practice. You will also consider your own development as a student healthcare professional.

View Understanding Self and Others on our Module Directory


Developing Self and Others

You will develop holistic intervention skills for a range of patient presentations across different medical specialities. The module will focus on the common approaches to physiotherapy led intervention, whilst highlighting and discussing any variations required when managing different patient groups, thus preparing you for some of the multi-faceted clinical presentations seen in practice.

View Developing Self and Others on our Module Directory




Promoting Health and Activity

This module enables you to explore the expanding role of physiotherapy in the wider context, by promoting healthy choices and activity throughout the lifespan (infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, old age, end of life). You will explore the links between lifestyle choices and the effects on well-being, and will learn skills in promoting the use of activity and healthy behaviours. This knowledge and skills will be discussed in relation to physical, mental and social health of individuals, families, communities and societies.

View Promoting Health and Activity on our Module Directory


Research Methods

On this module you will develop an understanding and appreciation of research and evidence informed practice, building on the Level 4 module (Practice based decision making) where the paradigms and basic literature search skills have been introduced. This is a more advanced module where you will provide clear rationale for the evidence you have chosen based on the critique of the literature. You are expected to select a topic relevant to your own profession and inter-professional specific interest.

View Research Methods on our Module Directory


Physiotherapy Practice 1

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.

View Physiotherapy Practice 1 on our Module Directory


Physiotherapy Practice 2

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.

View Physiotherapy Practice 2 on our Module Directory


Leadership of Self and Others

You will consider your own development as future leaders, recognising how the contexts in which they will practice, are constantly evolving. You will learn about the concepts and theories of leadership, and will begin to develop skills to enable you to lead your own develop and that of others, in preparation for qualified practice.

View Leadership of Self and Others on our Module Directory


Preparation for Professional Practice

On this module you will be facilitated to be proactive in identifying your current scope of practice. Reflecting upon this, you will then identify and develop strategies to expand knowledge and skills in your own chosen areas. Based upon these areas, you will be able to select sessions to attend in order to proactively develop your current scope of practice.

View Preparation for Professional Practice on our Module Directory


Research Project

You will be provided with experiences relating to how social researchers go about applying their skills and knowledge in an empirical investigation. You will be supported to identify a topic they find interesting, and wish to learn more about. You will then be facilitated to plan the organisation and timing of your work with a degree of independence and self-motivation.

View Research Project on our Module Directory


Physiotherapy Practice 6

In this module, you will continue to progress your generic and physiotherapy-specific skills, building on your practical experiences from earlier levels of study. This module is designed to enable you to further expand your ability to practice effectively and independently within the practice-based setting and to consolidate your learning by experiencing more complex patient problems. The module will prepare you to take up the role of independent and autonomous practitioners. This will be your final clinical placement module.

View Physiotherapy Practice 6 on our Module Directory


Physiotherapy Practice 4

Continue to develop your generic and physiotherapy-specific skills, building on your practical experiences in previous practice placements. You are enabled to further develop your ability to practice effectively and with some independence within the practice-based setting, and to consolidate your learning by experiencing more complex patient problems. You therefore are prepared to take up a role as an independent and autonomous practitioner.

View Physiotherapy Practice 4 on our Module Directory


Physiotherapy Practice 5

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.

View Physiotherapy Practice 5 on our Module Directory


  • Undergraduate students in the School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences typically attend a one-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar for each module every week, though, in vocational programmes such as Physiotherapy, the focus is placed on practical sessions.
  • 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

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250 per year

The Learning Support Fund is available for healthcare students starting their course on or after 1 August 2017. Please see the NHS BSA for more info.

International fee

£20,500 per year

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fees and funding information

International fees and funding information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our 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 book a campus tour here.

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


Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full details on how to apply can be found on the filling in your UCAS undergraduate application web page.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L' and ‘S' respectively.

You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.


Undergraduate students who apply for our health-related courses are required to pass a compulsory interview before an offer can be made. If you are shortlisted for interview based on your application, you will be invited to interview with us via Microsoft Teams. We use the interview as an opportunity to get to know you, to find out about your ambitions, and assess how prepared you are for the course. It's important for us to be sure that you know what you're signing up for, so we'd expect you've done some research about the course and the associated careers it may lead to. We have some more information about how to demonstrate you have what it takes at the bottom of our undergraduate page

How can I demonstrate I have what it takes?

Our physiotherapy 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.

What can I do to prepare for my interview?

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.

Offer Holder Days

If you're successful at interview, you will receive an email invitation to book onto one of our Offer Holder Days after your offer is made. Our Physiotherapy Offer Holder Days are on Saturday 17 February 2024, Saturday 9 March 2024, Wednesday 4 April 2024 and Saturday 4 May 2024. Offer Holder Days provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. We appreciate that travelling to university events can be expensive, so we are offering an Offer Holder Day Travel Bursary, allowing you to claim up to £150 as reimbursement for travel expenses. For further information about Offer Holder Days, including terms and conditions and eligibility criteria for our Travel Bursary, please visit our Offer Holder Days webpage.

If you are an overseas offer-holder, you will be invited to attend one of our virtual events. However, you are more than welcome to join us at one of our in-person Offer Holder Days if you are able to - we will let you know in your invite email how you can do this.

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 tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see 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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