School of Health Professions

MSc Advanced Professional Practice in Physiotherapy

Are you a qualified physiotherapist looking to enhance your current skills and knowledge whilst developing a strong critical thinking ethos? This programme offers you the opportunity to review your current practice and evaluate new approaches, ensuring that you are equipped to meet the challenges of working in an ever changing physiotherapy profession with confidence.

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First choice for health

Delivered by professional experts, our programmes are tailored to you and your career. Together, we address today's most challenging healthcare issues, through research-informed teaching and active, real-world learning.


Key features

  • Become an evidence-based practitioner equipped to manage and lead in dynamic settings.
  • Feel encouraged and supported by experienced and enthusiastic staff, who are recognised for their national and international research reputations.
  • Make use of blended learning techniques, combining short study blocks and distance learning technologies.
  • Explore a large range of continuing professional development (CPD) modules aligned to a number of specialities including neurology, musculoskeletal and respiratory.
  • Tailor your learning to your interests or workplace through module assignments and our physiotherapy focused supported independent study module.
  • Complete the programme in one year with the full-time study option or balance work and caring commitments by studying part time over a maximum of five years. The full-time route is suitable for international students, who will be supported to choose optional modules with non-clinical assignments.

Please note that when you enrol on this programme, you always enrol to study the master degree but we offer three exit awards: PgCert, PgDip and MSc.

Course details

  • Programme overview
  • Postgraduate certificate – to achieve a postgraduate certificate, you will need to earn 60 credits. This must include the core module Applying Evidence to Practice (20 credits) and the pathway specific module Physiotherapy Practice: Supported Study (20 credits), with the remaining 20 credits coming from an optional module of your choice.
    Postgraduate diploma - to achieve a postgraduate diploma, you will need to earn 120 credits. This must include the core modules Applying Evidence to Practice (20 credits) and Project Design for Research (20 credits) as well as the pathway specific module Physiotherapy Practice: Supported Study (20 credits). The remaining 60 credits will come from optional modules of your own choice.
    Master of Science - for a full masters degree, you will need to earn a total of 180 credits. You will study the same core and pathway specific modules as the postgraduate diploma, with the final 60 credits coming from the Research Dissertation module.

    Note: Core module, ADV702 – Applying Evidence to Practice, can be taken as a taught module or via distance learning. Please visit the module webpage for further information

    For further information on the modules that make up this programme please visit MSc Advanced Professional Practice module information. Full time or international students will be supported to choose optional modules with non-clinical assignments.

    Induction takes place 16 – 17 September 2019.
    Core modules
    • ADV702 Applying Evidence to Practice

      Focusing on the application of evidence based practice (EBP) to professional practice; you’ll learn how to use research to guide best practice. You will also identify a question relevant to your area of practice, review and critique the literature in this area, and plan and evaluate any necessary change to professional practice.

    • ADV715 Project Design for Research

      You’ll explore methodology and methods relevant to the development of a research project and by the end of the module you’ll formulate a research proposal. You’ll learn how to define and refine a research question, select and appraise methodology, address ethical considerations, and select and appraise data collection and analysis techniques.

    • ADV716 Research Dissertation

      You’ll complete your dissertation as part of your Advanced Professional Practice Masters programme under supervision from the module team and a named dissertation supervisor.

    • ADV751 Physiotherapy Practice: Supported Study

      This module is specifically designed to enable Physiotherapists to develop their own professional practice by undertaking and reflecting on learning and experience gained through a period of supported independent study related to agreed learning objectives.

    Optional modules
    • ADV703 Occupation as the Focus of Contemporary Practice

      This module explores occupation in contemporary occupational therapy practice. This includes current and emerging theory and research on occupation, occupational performance and models of practice. The module develops students ability to reflect on, challenge and articulate application to practice.

    • ADV708 Injection Therapy for Health Professionals (Botulinum Toxin)

      Participants on this module must be registered with a suitable health professions council or Nursing and Midwifery council. A suitably qualified supervisor within practice should be identified prior to attendance on the module. Participants must demonstrate a suitable level of expertise prior to attendance on the module, this will usually be through interview.

    • ADV709 Injection Therapy for Health Professionals (Corticosteroid)

      Participants on this module must be registered with a suitable health professions council or Nursing and Midwifery council. A suitably qualified supervisor within practice should be identified prior to attendance on the module. Participants must demonstrate a suitable level of expertise prior to attendance on the module, this will usually be through interview.

    • ADV710 Pathomechanics and Rehabilitation of Gait and Balance

      This module focuses on the diagnostic and therapeutic interventions of health professionals managing patients with gait and balance problems. Gait and balance are explored alongside theoretical and practical approaches to rehabilitation in a wide variety of conditions.

    • ADV735 Advancing the Management of Long Term Conditions

      This module focuses on critically applying knowledge and understanding to support service development for people with long term conditions' that is person centred; promoting self-management and collaborative working. This module is based on best practice discussed within national and international policy and guidelines. It will explore in depth the impact of long term conditions on the individual, their family and carers.

    • ADV740 Enhancing Practice in Chronic Pulmonary Conditions

      This module explores the role of the advanced cardiorespiratory practitioner, integrating skills and techniques, theoretical concepts, clinical reasoning and critical appraisal of the evolving body of knowledge from current evidence in the management of chronic pulmonary conditions.

    • ADV756 Advanced Critical Reflection, Risk and Decision-Making

      Participants will be facilitated to utilise the potential of critical reflection as a tool to further their knowledge and skills in order to improve their understanding of the complexity of risk, practice and decision making processes. This course enables the raising of professional issues, procedures and standards to the level of (critical) reflection, practice wisdom and research.

    • ADV758 Supporting the Needs of the Frail Older Person

      Students will develop a critical understanding of the principal theories and concepts that influence the management of frailty and complex care needs in the older person. They will develop advanced assessment, evaluation and management skills and apply these in a person centred framework to their practice, using evidence based theories around frailty, co-morbidity, polypharmacy and the ageing process.

    • ADV759 International Perspectives and Practice Requirements for Health and Social Care Practitioners

      This module will enhance students¿ knowledge of their profession within a global context. It will provide the opportunity for health and social care practitioners to explore current research and development related to a range of countries. This learning will be incorporated into a professional development plan towards considering career development within these contexts.

    • ADV760 Participation for Children and Young People

      This module will provide an opportunity to explore the concept of participation in relation to working with children and young people. Allied Health Practitioners, will review current working practices, nationally and internationally to enhance the participation focus of goals with children and improve service provision.

    • ADV761 Assessment and Management of Foot and Lower Limb Musculoskeletal Conditions

      Students will analyse methods of assessment to determine clinical impressions. They will apply critical reasoning to the management of musculoskeletal foot and lower limb conditions and explore community multidisciplinary working, emerging practice and traditional methods in the context of combining therapeutic approaches and modalities to achieve desired clinical outcomes in variety of patient groups.

    • ADV762 Recognition and Reduction of Risk to the Lower Limb in the Patient with Diabetes

      Students will explore the complex physiology and psychology of diabetes especially the multisystem pathologies that express in the lower limb. Modifiable risk factors will be evaluated that can influence the development of lower limb pathologies and there will be analysis of current therapies and interventions and evaluation of their limitations.

    • ADV763 Facilitating Collaborative Patient Management and Flow

      This module facilitates health and social care practitioners to collaborate to develop their understandings of the complexities associated with patient flow. This will offer students the opportunity to debate quality improvements and efficiencies from the perspective of the patient, the practitioner and the organisation.

    • ADV764 Leading Professionals, Managing Aspirations for Self and Others

      This module will equip learners with the knowledge and skills needed to actively understand and inform personal development and individual leadership qualities. The module focus will use the professional arena to explore how engagement in personal leadership development can help self and others to reach their full potential, both individually and for organisational advancement.

    • ADV765 The Ageing Person: Society, Body and Mind

      This module explores how the body and mind changes through the ageing process. It works through the direct and indirect influences that this process has on the health and wellbeing of the ageing person, exploring some of the challenges and opportunities associated with ageing within our society.

    • ADV766 Innovation in an Ever Changing Marketplace - Entrepreneurship for Health and Social Care Professionals

      This is a distance learning module. Through a series of webinars and e-learning students will explore the concepts of marketing, entrepreneurship and innovation relating to independent practice, social enterprise, charitable organisations and the NHS. Students will examine and gain an understanding of law and policy related to their field of interest.

    • ADV767 Advanced Clinical Reasoning in Musculoskeletal Conditions

      This module will enable qualified physiotherapists and other health care professionals with relevant musculoskeletal experience to extend their current practice within the field of musculoskeletal physiotherapy, by engendering a higher level of critical thinking and clinical reasoning within the context of evidence based practice.

    • ADV768 Clinical Assessment and Management in Neurology

      The module will (a) highlight how understanding neuroanatomy/physiology can aid in the interpretation of the signs and symptoms of commonly encountered neurological conditions (b) facilitate the development of assessment and management skills.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Advanced Professional Practice in Physiotherapy pathway specification 4474

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

You’ll be required to have a first degree (BSc (Hons) at 2:2 or above or European first cycle equivalent) in physiotherapy. Non UK based candidates must be recognised as physiotherapists within their own country.

You may be a health or social care professional with a first degree or with a related academic degree. If you do not hold a degree but with appropriate experience related to the programme or to any of the chosen pathways you may be eligible to apply.

Evidence of competence in written and spoken English in accordance with the University’s Admissions Code of Practice - IELTS requirement is 6.5 average with a minimum of 5.5 in each category. If you need to improve your English language to get onto a degree programme at Plymouth University, you can book a pre-sessional academic English course). You’ll be assessed individually for your ability to study at this level and an interview may be necessary. You’ll normally be required to submit a short piece of writing as part of the admissions process.


Claims for credit for prior learning, whether certificated or experiential are accepted and will be assessed following University regulations and faculty procedures.

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS):

This programme is equivalent to 90 ECTS credits (second cycle) with 30 ECTS credits at postgraduate certificate, 60 credits at postgraduate diploma and 90 credits at masters degree.  Each 20 credit module has the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits and assumes a notional student effort of between 200-300 hours.

Successful completion of this pathway does not lead to eligibility to apply for registration as a physiotherapist with the Health and Social Care Professions Council.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.


Home/EU (full time) International (full time)
£7,380* £14,000
Home/EU (part time) International (part time)
£820 per 20 credits N/A

*This fee is based on undertaking 180 credits at £820 per 20 credits. Please note that some of the optional modules for this programme are specialist modules and therefore may have different fees . Module fees can be found on the individual module webpages.

Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

Information about loans and funding for postgraduate study.

Students applying for a postgraduate loan will be subject to stipulations regarding the duration of the programme. Please contact the pathway lead for advice before applying.

Additional costs

Please be aware that there may be additional costs to undertaking your studies relating to printing of course materials, parking charges if you are studying at PAHC, and requirement for an initial outlay for travel and accommodation in respect of practice placement. If you have any questions regarding these costs please contact

Postgraduate Merit Scholarship for international students

Scholarship value: £2000 off your tuition fees in year one.
You may also receive:

  • 10% off the successive years tuition fee if an overall grade of 60% or above is maintained
To be eligible you must:

This scholarship will be offered automatically, providing you meet the eligibility criteria. A separate application will not be required.

Further information about Scholarships for international students

How to apply

Applying for this programme

Please visit our PDU admissions homepage for full details on the application process and to download the relevant forms.

Please return your completed forms to:


Professional Development Unit
4th floor, Rolle Building
University of Plymouth
Drake Circus
Plymouth, PL4 8AA

Tel: +44 (0)1752 586951

What happens after I apply?

After your application is received by the PDU Admissions team, it will be processed and sent to the Programme Lead for a decision to be made on your suitability to study. You may be asked to provide additional information or to take part in an interview (for overseas students this may be by telephone or video conference). Once this decision has been made, you will be sent an email either confirming your place on the programme, or rejecting your application and giving the reasons for this decision (you may request further feedback in order to improve your chances of selection at a later date).

Please note that you will be enrolled on the full MSc programme. You may choose to exit with the qualification of PgCert upon completion of an appropriate 60 credits, or a PgDip upon completion of an appropriate 120 credits. More information is contained within the programme specification.

For applicants with disabilities

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by the University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services webpage.

Welcome to the MSc Advance Professional Practice in Physiotherapy

Pathway lead Sue May highlights the benefits of the programme.

Sue is a member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (MCSP) and the Health Professions Council (HPC).

Find out more about Sue May

MSc Advanced Professional Practice pathways

Both the School of Health Professions and the School of Nursing and Midwifery offer the MSc Advanced Professional Practice programme; together we offer a wide range of specialist and generic pathways to meet the educational needs of all health and social care professionals.

Discover more about the pathways we offer

Alumnus loyalty reward for postgraduate study

From September 2018, the University applies a discretionary alumnus reward where alumni meet certain criteria on particular postgraduate taught courses.

  • A 20 per cent discount on home/EU tuition fees.
  • Or a £2,000 discount on international tuition fees.

PGCE programmes, Master of Architecture, MChem, MEng, MGeol, MPsych, MSci, ResM and postgraduate research degrees are not included in this reward. Please note that students must have applied directly to be eligible. 

For further details, and contact information, please see our alumnus discount policy.

English Language Centre

We offer a range of courses to help you develop your academic English language skills.

These include pre-sessional academic English courses for undergraduates, taught postgraduates and research students along with insessional language classes, tutorials and activities to support students who have English as a second language.

Find out how we can help you reach your potential.

Scholarship for international applicants

A £1500 fee waiver will be awarded to international applicants who exceed the entry requirements for this programme, either in your degree classification OR your International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score.

You will need to have a BSc (Hons) degree at 2:1 or higher (or equivalent) OR an IELTS score of at least 7.0 to qualify. 

Please note that you will only be eligible for one fee waiver even if you exceed both entry requirement criteria.