Undergraduate Course

BSc Physiotherapy

BSc Physiotherapy


The details
October 2021
3 years
Colchester Campus

We produce physiotherapists who can be defined as professionals who work in increasingly complex environments and demonstrate effective problem solving and critical thinking skills, underpinned by a sound physiotherapy knowledge base and appropriate professional skills. You must 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.

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.

Our BSc Physiotherapy course is studied full-time over three years and is designed as a continuous progression of integrated theory and practice, which puts emphasis on students being proactive partners in their learning experiences.

Our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences 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.

There's never been a better time to train as you can now apply for a £5,000 grant that you won't need to pay back! There is also an extra £3,000 funding available depending on your personal circumstances. You can find more information about eligibility and how to apply on the HSC Scholarships and Funding page.

The cost of your required uniform will be fully covered by the school.

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.
  • We have been delivering Physiotherapy degrees in Colchester since 1998.
  • 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.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Placement year

Practice placements are organised by our placement team and provide you with the opportunity to undertake a minimum of 1,050 hours in practice. During practice placements, you’ll work with qualified physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals to consolidate learning, gain new experiences and develop and refine their abilities. Learning and teaching within practice placements are facilitated by interactive experiences, facilitating personal and professional growth as a physiotherapist within a variety of settings. The environment is supportive, enabling you to rehearse skills with constructive feedback.

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 a small and friendly team of registered experienced staff with a variety of different backgrounds and research interests. The subject lead is Jackie Clarke, who also leads the BSc (Hons) course. Jackie graduates from the University of East Anglia in Physiotherapy in 1999 and worked for the NHS in East Anglia for 5 years. In January 2005 she brought her enthusiasm for the clinical education of Physiotherapy students into the academic setting at Colchester Institute, followed by a move to the University of Essex in 2009. Jackie's clinical specialist area is that of Respiratory Care, with experience both in community and acute settings, particularly in the area of Cystic Fibrosis 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 SRES Staff Profiles.

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

Specialist facilities

Within our School of Sport, Rehabilitation 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 our BSc Physiotherapy, we have three 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) and with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), which allows you to practise as a physiotherapist in the UK.

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: BBB, including a life science (Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology, Physics, P.E, Psychology, Sociology or Sport Science).

BTEC: DDD in a relevant subject.

RQF BTECs we can consider with any combination of optional modules are:

  • Sport and Exercise Science Extended Diploma
  • Sport and Exercise Science Diploma (alongside 1 further A-level or equivalent)
  • Applied Human Biology Extended Certificate (alongside 2 further A-levels or equivalent)
  • Health and Social Care Extended Diploma (including Health Studies variant)

RQF BTECs we can consider on a case-by-case basis, depending on the optional modules chosen are:

  • Applied Science Extended Certificate (alongside 2 further A-levels or equivalent)
  • Applied Science Foundation Diploma (alongside 2 further A-levels or equivalent)
  • Applied Science Diploma (alongside 1 further A-level or equivalent)
  • Applied Science (all variants) Extended Diploma
  • Sport Diploma (alongside 2 further A-levels or equivalent)
  • Sport Extended Diploma

QCF BTECs we can consider on a case-by-case basis, depending on the optional modules chosen are:

  • Applied Science (all variants) Subsidiary Diploma (alongside 2 further A-levels or equivalent)
  • Applied Science (all variants) 90 Credit Diploma (alongside 2 further A-levels or equivalent)
  • Applied Science (all variants) Diploma (alongside 1 further A-level or equivalent)
  • Applied Science (all variants) Extended Diploma
  • Health and Social Care Subsidiary Diploma (alongside 2 further A-levels or equivalent)
  • Health and Social Care 90 Credit Diploma (alongside 2 further A-levels or equivalent)
  • Health and Social Care Diploma (alongside 1 further A-level or equivalent)
  • Health and Social Care Extended Diploma
  • Sport and Exercise Science Extended Diploma

Access to HE Diploma: 24 L3 credits at distinction and 21 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: 30 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555. Either must include a Higher Level Life Science (Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology, Physics, P.E, Psychology, Sociology or Sport Science) at grade 5, plus Standard Level Mathematics/Maths Studies and Science grade 4, if not taken at Higher Level.

We also require Higher Level or Standard Level English at grade 4, unless you have achieved or are pending a different English language qualification (please see ‘English language requirements’ below.

We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Standard Level Maths and Science in the IB are not required if you have already achieved GCSE/IGCSE at grade C/4 or above, or 4 in IB Middle Years. We accept grade 4 in either Standard Level Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches or Standard Level Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation.

Foundation degree 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 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 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

Study towards admitting qualifications within the last 5 years is normally required. Please get in touch if you think you might not meet this requirement.

Alongside academic criteria, applicants need to demonstrate knowledge of the scope of Physiotherapy and practice settings, together with effective communication skills as well as the significance of the NHS Constitution and its core values. Personal statements submitted will be assessed to ensure applicants meet these requirements. You can find further information about the NHS values on the Health Education East of England website and the Gov.UK webpages.

You must also have a satisfactory Occupational Health Check and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check (including child and adult barred list check) - both of these are organised by the University. Please contact our DBS team if you have any questions relating to this.

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.

For 2021 entry, applicants must be aged 18 or over on 1 June 2022.

We welcome applications for Year Two or Final Year entry, but they must be submitted by 30 April 2021. These applications will need to go through the APEL process, as applicants are required to have studied a comparable first year at another institution and (where applicable) to have completed comparable Professional Capabilities through placements.

Application process

If your qualifications and personal statement meet our requirements, you will be invited to attend a compulsory interview afternoon via Zoom.

Flexible offers

Eligible applicants that actively choose us as their firm choice will be able to take advantage of a flexible offer. This offer will specify alternative entry requirements than those published here so, if your final grades aren’t what you had hoped for, you could still secure a place with us. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

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 equivalent).

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

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.


Example structure

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.

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently planned for 2021 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.

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

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

Physiotherapy Practice 3

Building on the knowledge and experience gained on earlier placements, during this practice-based learning, you will further develop your understanding of and competence in physiotherapy skills, clinical reasoning and reflective skills.

View Physiotherapy Practice 3 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

Physiotherapy Led Interventions

You will develop holistic intervention skills for a range of patient presentations across different medical specialities. This 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 Physiotherapy Led Interventions 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 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

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

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


  • 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


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


EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fee information

International fee 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.


Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

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.


If you’re shortlisted for interview based on your application to this course you will be invited to a compulsory online interview via Zoom. Offers for the course will only be made after a successful interview.

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.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.


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.


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.

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 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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