Undergraduate Course

BSc Physiotherapy

BSc Physiotherapy


The details
October 2020
3 years
Colchester Campus

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

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

Our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences is a community specifically focused on sports and exercise science, sports therapy and physiotherapy. The school is based in our Essex Sport Arena and brings together internationally recognised research, knowledge and placement and vocational opportunities for our students and graduates.

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

Placement Opportunities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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).

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

BTEC: Entry requirements for students studying BTEC qualifications are dependent on subjects studied. Advice can be provided on an individual basis, as additional Anatomy and Physiology study may be required. The standard required is at Distinction level.

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.

Please note that 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.

From 2021, we will accept grade 4 in either Standard Level Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches or Standard Level Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation.

Access to HE diploma: (in a relevant pathway) 24 L3 credits at distinction and 21 at merit with at least 12 Distinction credits in relevant Biological Science units. This Access diploma must be supported by level 2 Maths, Science and English Language (either as GCSE or functional skill level 2 qualifications), if relevant units not taken as part of the Access diploma.

Foundation degree in Science: 80% or above.

Other level 3 (or higher) qualifications with sufficient biological science content may be considered by the Admissions team.

Additional requirements

Alongside academic criteria, applicants need to demonstrate knowledge of the scope of Physiotherapy and practice settings, together with effective communication skills.

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 2020 entry, applicants must be aged 18 or over on 1 June 2021.

We welcome applications for Year Two entry, but they must be submitted by 30 April 2020. 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 to have completed comparable Professional Capabilities through placements.

Flexible offers
Eligible applicants that choose us as their firm choice by the relevant deadline 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.

Interprofessional Working and Development

The aim of the module is to introduce the concepts of professional and inter-professional practice and provide opportunities to develop understanding of the role of continuing professional development for health professionals.

View Interprofessional Working and Development on our Module Directory

Anatomy for Physiotherapy Practice

Human Anatomy knowledge is a fundamental element of Physiotherapy Practice. This module has been designed to allow you to gain experience through both theory and practical exploration of the anatomy of the human body with direct relevance to physiotherapy practice before going on to cover appendicular and axial anatomy.

View Anatomy for Physiotherapy Practice on our Module Directory

Neuromusculoskeletal Physiotherapy

In this module you will be introduced to core concepts in musculoskeletal physiotherapy. You will focus on developing the knowledge, skills, beliefs and values of professional physiotherapists in clinical practice. Building on modules from your first year of study, you‘ll be introduced to new practical skills and concepts such as, explaining pain, completing a neuromusculoskeletal clinical assessment and clinical reasoning.

View Neuromusculoskeletal Physiotherapy on our Module Directory

Pathophysiology Concepts for Physiotherapy Practice

Delivered alongside Anatomy for Physiotherapy Practice and Core Physiotherapy Skills, this module explores common pathophysiological disorders associated with the musculoskeletal, neurological, circulatory and respiratory systems. The physiological concepts that are of direct relevance to physiotherapists, such as pain and exercise physiology will also be examined and these will link across to your concurrent modules

View Pathophysiology Concepts for Physiotherapy Practice on our Module Directory

Core Physiotherapy Skills

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

View Core Physiotherapy Skills on our Module Directory

Professional Enquiry

This module focuses on facilitating an understanding of evidence in its widest sense; evidence and using a variety of sources leading to research design, analysis and synthesis. This module will focus on:  the development of literature searching, synthesising literature within a critical review and identification of a specific topic for professional enquiry.   The development of an understanding of research will be facilitated through the use of practical experience in collecting and handling a variety of data.  The implications of the nature and overall quality of professional research literature as potential ‘evidence’ to inform practice will be considered.

View Professional Enquiry on our Module Directory

Neurological Physiotherapy

This Module explores the structure and function of the brain and the spinal cord. It looks at several pathologies that affect the central nervous system (CNS), as well as associated complications. Detailed assessment strategies of the (CNS) neurological conditions will be explored, leading to the management of such conditions. The module introduces students to core concepts of neurological physiotherapy, allowing students to explore the role of Physiotherapy in the management of patients from different age groups and populations, both in the acute and non-acute settings. Students will develop their assessment, clinical reasoning and treatment intervention skills for this group of patients. The impact of psychosocial and diversity issues on rehabilitation will be considered.

View Neurological Physiotherapy on our Module Directory

Cardiovascular Physiotherapy

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

View Cardiovascular Physiotherapy 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

Complexities in Musculoskeletal Practice

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

View Complexities in Musculoskeletal Practice on our Module Directory

Contexts of Physiotherapy Practice

What are the key issues that underpin professional practice? How do changes within physiotherapy and healthcare structures impact on the profession? You will develop your understanding of the contexts in which practice takes place by considering it in relation to government policy, legislation and the changing needs of society. Legal and ethical issues of healthcare, the perspective of the service user and the changing roles in physiotherapy will also be studied.

View Contexts of Physiotherapy Practice 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

Professional Enquiry Proposal

This module is designed to extends learning in relation to evidence-based practice and research, and culminates in the individual preparation and submission of an in-depth literature review and research proposal or service improvement project proposal.  Work associated with this module is undertaken in an autonomous fashion, under the supervision of an allocated supervisor.  Students will be expected to present the envisaged implications for practice of their proposals at an Inter-professional Conference in June.

View Professional Enquiry Proposal 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

Complexities in Rehabilitation

The focus of this module is to prepare students in the evidence based management of complex clinical conditions seen in practice. This module uses problem-based learning to explore the complex issues within rehabilitation. Students will consider the physical, behavioural and functional issues associated with complex rehabilitation issues, as well as the ethical, legal and professional considerations of such cases. Students will review the latest developments in physiotherapy practice, and personally develop some of the more advanced practical skills, both through practice setting and University based workshops.

View Complexities in Rehabilitation 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

Evidencing Practice and Continuing Professional Development

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

View Evidencing Practice and Continuing Professional Development 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/EU 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


Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU 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.

2020 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, June 20, 2020
  • Saturday, September 19, 2020
  • Saturday, October 24, 2020


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.

Interview and tests

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

The interview and tests will form the main part of the day but you will have the opportunity to tour the campus, meet our academics and students and ask any questions you may have about studying with us. All interviews and tests must be taken at our Colchester Campus.

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.

As part of our interview process, our courses require you to undertake English and Maths tests, so you can demonstrate that you have a basic level of literacy and numeracy, as stipulated by our regulatory bodies.

You can find out if your course requires and English and Maths test by looking at our entry requirements on our webpages. If you have a documented educational need, then you may be entitled to specific access arrangements for the literacy and numeracy tests. If you think that this applies to you, please contact our admissions team as soon as possible.

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.


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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.


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Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Occasionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or 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 prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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