School of Health Professions

BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is a hands-on healthcare profession that uses physical approaches to promote, maintain and restore physical, psychological and social wellbeing. Our innovative curriculum uses real clinical scenarios and diverse practice settings ranging from neurological rehabilitation to acute respiratory care and sports. Reflecting the conditions that Physiotherapists treat, our approach is designed to bring your learning alive and develop your clinical reasoning.

Health students may be eligible to receive an additional £5000 each year

The NHS Learning Support Fund provides additional funding for eligible healthcare students. It is supplementary financial support to the mainstream student loans system and is intended to support students whilst they train and gain professional registration. The training grant is for £5,000. 

Careers with this subject

Physiotherapists manage mobility problems caused by injury, ageing or disability to restore physical, psychological and social wellbeing. Creating bespoke treatment programmes for people of all ages, they utilise movement science and evidence-based practice to improve their patient’s quality of life.
Physiotherapists work with a wide range of conditions to help improve patient’s overall mobility and quality of life. These can be grouped into five main categories:
  • Cardio respiratory 
    Relates to the action of both the heart and lungs. Some of the conditions physiotherapists work with include COPD, Cystic fibrosis, post organ transplant and chest infections. 
  • Musculoskeletal
    Relates to the muscles and the skeleton. Disorders that physiotherapists see frequently are lower back pain, fractures, nerve related pain, persistent pain conditions and Arthritis.
  • Neurological
    Comprising of the anatomy, functions and disorders of the nerves and nervous system. Some of these conditions include Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke, and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Diverse patient groups 
    Physiotherapists work with a wide range of different people. For example, amputees, paediatrics, occupational health, rheumatology, palliative or end of life care, and learning disabilities.
  • Physical problems
    Some of the conditions physiotherapists might see are patients with a loss of a limb, impaired balance, reduced strength, lack of sensation in a limb, reduced confidence with mobility, loss of movement, a need to return to a sport, the control of movement, persistent pain, reduced vision and reduced awareness.
Physiotherapists work with people of all ages, from the very start of life to end of life care. As a result, some conditions may be more prevalent in certain patient groups than others. Some of these patients you might see are:
  • people with complex needs or multiple medical conditions
  • people who are recovering from surgery
  • acutely unwell people in need of ventilator support
  • people with cardio respiratory problems
  • people with musculoskeletal problems
  • people with neurological problems
  • people with diet-related conditions such as diabetes
  • people with age related conditions.
Within the physiotherapy profession there are a multitude of job opportunities. You could work in the NHS, within the public or private sector. For example:
  • Public Health in NHS hospitals
  • in imaging departments
  • communities
  • sports teams
  • at a school
  • private practice
  • Armed Forces
  • GP surgeries
  • nursing homes
  • education and academia
  • research
  • leadership roles
  • voluntary roles.

Key features

  • Experience excellent placement opportunities in a variety of clinical settings, which have ranged from acute teaching hospitals to the community, sports clubs and the Armed Forces. This includes a full placement in your first year with all placement marks potentially contributing towards your degree classification. 
  • Learn to study independently and in small groups with our enquiry-based learning curriculum.
  • Achieve your potential as an autonomous practitioner with highly developed problem-solving skills.
  • Benefit from extracurricular experience by providing supervised physiotherapy support at our pop up clinics, such as local sports events.
  • Explore, collaborate and contribute to research informed practice, with a physiotherapy team engaged in research at an international level.
  • Train and practice your professional healthcare skills in an inspiring purpose-built environment, InterCity Place.
  • Graduate armed with the skills and experience to find employment in a variety of environments – from the NHS to private practice, armed forces to sports clubs working locally or internationally.
  • On successful completion of the course, you will be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council. As a successful graduate, you’ll be able to progress from student to full membership of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.
Please note: in order to successfully complete your course and be eligible to apply for a professional registration you must complete a specified number of practice placement hours along with your theoretical study. This is a requirement of the HCPC. You will only be able to take personal holidays during the specified leave periods for your course. This includes induction week where it is vital you attend ALL sessions.

Course details

  • Year 1

  • In your first year, interprofessional learning with students from other healthcare disciplines will give you an insight into what it is to be a ‘professional’. You will enjoy Physiotherapy modules relating to anatomy and physiology as well as the importance of health promotion and exercise. You will develop your understanding of applied movement science and evidence based Physiotherapy practice and embark on a rewarding clinical placement. 

    Core modules

    • Anatomy and Physiology for Health and Well-being (PHY401)

      This module is designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of human anatomy and physiology relevant for health and wellbeing to the professional practice of Physiotherapists. 

    • Applied Movement Science (PHY402)

      Students are introduced to understanding and assessing the biomechanics of human movement andon to the anatomy and physiology for health and well-being module. Using a mixture of learning and teaching methods, further areas of movement science and functional anatomy are explored, including kinematics, kinetics, posture, proprioception, neuromuscular control and gait in relation to common functional and postural deficits.

    • Principles of Physiotherapy Practice (PHY403)

      This module introduces the students to physiotherapy in the areas of cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal and neurological practice. Simulated case scenarios will facilitate the students’ learning related to specific patient problems encountered in these areas of physiotherapy practice. 

    • Evidence-Based Physiotherapy Practice (PHY404)

      This module introduces students to principles of evidence-based physiotherapy practice. This includes the identification, understanding and application of evidence in practice, following a patient-based approach through the use of clinical based scenarios for conditions commonly seen by physiotherapists. 

    • Preparation for Practice (SOHP401)

      This inter-professional module will introduce students to professional practice and the inherent standards expected of them. The characteristics and identity of allied health professionals, as evidence based practitioners, will underpin learning.

    • Practice Placement Year 1 (PHY407)

      This is the students first practice placement during which the student will be placed within a setting relevant to Physiotherapy Practice under the supervision and guidance of a placement educator. This module includes pre-placement preparatory workshops.

  • Year 2

  • In your second year, you will learn about the rehabilitation of patients with cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal and neurological conditions. You will take increased responsibility in practice, utilising your theoretical knowledge and developing the confidence and personal skills required to be an autonomous Physiotherapist. 

    Core modules

    • Physiotherapy Practice 1 (PHY501)

      This module builds on the physiotherapy practice skills from year 1 and develops practical rehabilitation skills around management and recovery, with a primary focus on musculoskeletal conditions commonly seen by physiotherapists. 

    • Physiotherapy Practice 2 (PHY502)

      This module builds on the physiotherapy practice skills from year 1 and develops practical rehabilitation skills around management and recovery, with a primary focus on neurological and cardio-respiratory conditions commonly seen by physiotherapists. 

    • Readiness for Rehabilitation (PHY503)

      This module provides theoretical underpinning of rehabilitation practice, considering factors influencing rehabilitation and recovery from the context of the ICF. 

    • Living and Staying Well (PHY504)

      This module will provide practical rehabilitation skills focused around management of long-term conditions. The module will include a range of conditions, but will be organised into three overarching themes: Supporting people at diagnosis and early stage management, maintaing participation and optimising quality of life.

    • Project Studies (SOHP503)

      This module develops knowledge and skills related to evidence-based practice and lifelong learning. The content is designed to enable the students to understand different research designs, to evaluate the research literature and to prepare them to undertake research at undergraduate level. Meets all or part of HCPC Standards of Proficiency: 2b.1, 3a.

    • Practice Placement 2 (PHY509)

      This is one of two Practice Placements completed at Level 5. The student will be placed within a setting relevant to Physiotherapy Practice under the supervision and guidance of a placement educator. This module includes pre-placement preparatory workshops.

    • Practice Placement 3 (PHY510)

      This is one of two Practice Placements completed at Level 5. The student will be placed within a setting relevant to Physiotherapy Practice under the supervision and guidance of a placement educator. This module includes pre-placement preparatory workshops.

  • Final year

  • In your final year you will study more complex case scenarios in the key areas of Physiotherapy practice. You will have the opportunity to undertake a supervised project in an area of your choice. During your placements, emphasis is on the levels of professional mastery and fitness for practice that you will require for registration and employment. 

    Core modules

    • Complex Case Management (PHY601)

      This module develops students’ critical evaluation of physiotherapy management within inter-professional teams across an array of patient pathways and settings (acute to community), building on knowledge from previous modules. Mental health and social reintegration aspects of complex case management will be explored and critically evaluated.

    • Contemporary Physiotherapy Practice (PHY602)

      This module develops students’ critical evaluation and application of emerging and contemporary physiotherapy practice to?improve prevention, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and management of acute and long-term conditions. 

    • Public and Global Health (PHY603)

      This module will enhance students’ knowledge and awareness of contemporary UK public health and global health issues relevant to the physiotherapy profession. Students will explore the challenges affecting public and global health and the potential for physiotherapy to affect positive change.

    • Inter-professional Working in Health and Social Care (SOHP602)

      Students will explore, in depth, areas of inter-professional working to include quality enhancement of service provision and the patient experience.

    • Project (SOHP605)

      This module consolidates knowledge and skills related to evidence-based practice and lifelong learning. The content will support the students to undertake research at undergraduate level, to discuss their findings in the context of the contemporary evidence base and to evaluate the implications of their activities on their future practice.

    • Practice Placement 4 (PHY606)

      This is one of two Practice Placements completed at Level 6. The student will be placed within a setting relevant to Physiotherapy Practice under the supervision and guidance of a placement educator. This module includes pre-placement preparatory workshops.

    • Practice Placement 5 (PHY607)

      This is one of two Practice Placements completed at Level 6. The student will be placed within a setting relevant to Physiotherapy Practice under the supervision and guidance of a placement educator. This module includes pre-placement preparatory workshops.

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

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

BSc Hons Physiotherapy Programme Specification 2023 24 6938

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

120 - 136

Normally 5 GCSEs grade C/4 or above to include Mathematics, English and Science. Preference is given to applicants who have obtained these grades on application. Please note the institution may consider Functional Skills Level 2 in Mathematics.
Plus one of the following:
A level
ABB must include Biology, Human Biology, PE or Applied Science. Excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking.
33 overall with Higher Level Grade 6 in Biology or Sports, Exercise and Health Science.
GCSE equivalence – Higher Level = 4, Standard Level = 5 in Maths, English, and Science.
If overseas and not studying English within IB – MUST have IELTS 7.0 overall with 6.5 in all elements.
Access to HE Diploma
Pass Access to HE Diploma with 30 Level 3 credits at Distinction, to include 12 Level 3 credits in Biology. The remaining 15 Level 3 credits must be at Merit.
T level
Accepted – preference pathways would be Health and Science. Typical offer will be confirmed once an application is received.
BTEC RQF National Extended Diploma/ QCF Extended Diploma
BTEC National Extended Diplomas and Extended Diplomas are considered on an individual basis, depending on the units that are studied. They may be considered on their own or alongside A level biology, human biology, PE, or applied science, subject to the biological content of the BTEC units studied. Please provide a full list of units studied within the BTEC in order for this to be assessed.
BTEC modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information, we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.
Equivalent qualifications may be considered. Alternatively, if you have any questions or concerns about meeting the entry requirements listed above we would encourage you to contact the Admissions Team on +44 1752 585858 or email, where a member of the team can offer you further advice.
For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.
Extended entry requirements
  • You must pass disclosure and barring service and occupational health checks satisfactorily in order to be able to start this course.
  • If English is not your first language and you do not have GCSE English grade C or above you will have to achieve an IELTS or equivalent qualification at the grades stated below.
  • IELTS – overall average score of at least 7.0, with a score of at least 6.5 in all elements.
  • Meeting the academic minimum is the first stage of an application being considered. Applicants must also submit a strong personal statement in order to be considered further.
  • English language requirements 
  • We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.
  • Students must be 18 years old or over at the start date of this programme.
Further information
Direct entry to year 2
If you have achieved certificated learning in addition to the entry criteria required for your programme of study, it may be possible to accredit this learning towards your chosen course. Full details on how to make an application are available on our open access MOODLE site ( download details on how to access the site and submit your claim and supporting evidence). Your application will then be assessed and you will receive confirmation by email on the status of your claim.
Deferred entry
Unfortunately, we cannot permit deferred entry. However, if you have a query please refer to an experienced admissions administrator who will be able to explain the UCAS application process in more detail
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £16,300 £18,100
Part time (Home) £770 £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Additional costs

All students within the School of Health Professions will spend time in placements away from university. The South West is a largely rural region, which often requires students to travel longer and further distances than may be expected when universities are in largely urban areas. In many cases, students will stay away from home for the duration of that placement. Some students on these courses are eligible for reimbursement of additional travel and accommodation costs over normal daily travel costs. This support is part of the Learning Support Fund administered through the NHS Business Services Authority. However, this should be investigated by the student to make sure this applies to their chosen course of study.
It is difficult to give a precise estimate of placement costs for each individual programme, due to the geographical spread of placements, and duration. However it is recommended you attend an Open Day to find out more about what placement costs can be anticipated or discuss placement with a member of our admissions teams.
Despite these costs, placements offer an excellent opportunity to learn from experienced practitioners and are recognised as an essential part of students' development towards becoming a registered practitioner.
Further information
More details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are included in Faculty of Health additional costs

Undergraduate Merit Scholarship for international students

Scholarship value: £2000 off your tuition fees in year one. 
To recognise continued academic achievement, you may also receive:
  • 10% off the successive years tuition fee if an overall grade of 60% or above is maintained
  • 20% off the successive years tuition fee if an overall grade of 70% or above is maintained.
To be eligible you must:
  • achieve one grade above your academic offer.
  • meet our standard English Language requirements.
This scholarship will be offered automatically, providing you meet the eligibility criteria. A separate application will not be required.

NHS Learning Support Fund

The NHS Learning Support Fund provides additional funding for eligible healthcare students. It is supplementary financial support to the mainstream student loans system and is intended to support students whilst they train and gain professional registration. Please be aware that this funding is provided by the NHS and is reviewed periodically, which means levels of funding could be subject to change. For more information, please see the guidance available:

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 
Apply for this course on the UCAS website.
For more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.
The deadline for the receipt of international applications is 31 May 2024 for entry in September 2024. 
All NHS funded professional courses are required to select and interview their applicants using a ‘values based’ approach. As part of this process, your UCAS personal statement requires this additional information, which will demonstrate insight into your understanding of the importance of NHS values in your chosen professional discipline.

Progression routes

International progression routes

The University of Plymouth International College (UPIC) offers foundation, first-year and pre-masters programmes that lead to University of Plymouth degrees. Courses are specially designed for EU and international students who are missing the grades for direct entry to the University, and include full duration visa sponsorship. You can start in January, May or September, benefitting from small class sizes, top-quality tuition and 24/7 student support.
Find out more at or contact our team at

Ranked top 10 for physiotherapy in the Complete University Guide 2024.

First-class facilities to prepare you for your career in physiotherapy

From 2023, InterCity Place will be where undergraduate and postgraduate students from a variety of disciplines learn together under one roof.
Complementing existing clinical facilities, our new innovative suites, simulations and practice labs will help us to train and develop the next generation of nurses, paramedics and allied health professionals.
Intercity Place Physiotherapy Lab
Biomechanics and Neurophysiology Lab mock up at Intercity Place
Intercity Place Cafe

Placements: hands-on experience

Placements are an integral part of our physiotherapy programme providing you with the opportunity to develop and apply the theoretical knowledge and skills you have learnt to a range of clinical settings and graduate with a broad range of clinical placement experience.
You will complete a minimum of 1000 hours of practice placements spread across all three years, where you will work with patients under the close supervision of experienced physiotherapists.
Our placement areas range from large NHS teaching hospitals to rehabilitation units and community teams, plus some non-NHS areas including with the Armed Forces and professional sports clubs. 
Placements are located across the South West region, including Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. Due to the wide geographical spread of our placement opportunities, you will be expected to undertake placements outside the local area. This may require you to relocate and find secondary accommodation for the duration of the placement (see additional costs under the fees, costs and funding section).
Physiotherapy students
BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy more information
"Placement is probably the best part of the whole course. It gives you the chance to apply the knowledge and skills you have acquired at university, and makes you realise you know more than you think. It was quite daunting to start with, but eventually you start to look forward to placement! We have to complete 1000 hours (30 weeks) on placement, which is split into six placements of five weeks long. This gives us the chance to cover lots of different areas in Physiotherapy, and makes you understand that there’s lots of specialities you may not have known before university."
Hayley Ranachan
Physiotherapy graduate insight hayley Ranachan
Physiotherapy students
Human Movement and Function laboratory

Enhancing your experience

We encourage and support a range of voluntary, additional opportunities to enhance your employability and professional development. These include providing Physiotherapy services at events such as the Plymouth Half Marathon, Plymouth 10K and assisting court side with Plymouth Raiders Basketball Team, plus supporting students in their own charitable and community engagement.
Opportunities exist throughout the programme for personal development for example: leadership opportunities by becoming a PALS (Peer-Assisted Learning Scheme) lead; enhancing your confidence and communication as a student ambassador; or developing clinical skills via our pop up Half Marathon and Functional MOT clinics. 
Your Personal Tutor will guide you throughout the programme; providing face-to-face academic and pastoral support.
Sarah Piercy receives strength and conditioning advice from Lecturer in Physiotherapy Dr Erin Byrd

Ruthy Pritchard – graduate profile

“Plymouth equipped me with skills beyond the clinical training:
  • it prepared me to be an effective problem solver
  • it taught me to evaluate the learning process, to be part of a team and to accept differences of opinion
  • it taught me to recognise strengths and weakness in a positive, constructive way
  • it taught me about learning from failure, and learning from success.
“Studying at Plymouth definitely changed how I see myself, it gave me confidence and direction. It taught me how to enjoy and appreciate long life learning.”
Ruthy Pritchard
Kiah Rosenstein, physiotherapist for Plymouth Raiders Basketball team.

Careers insight – Kiah Rosenstein

“I want to help others achieve their physical potential and be the best they can be. This has been a very rewarding career and given me great personal satisfaction.”
Tom Rogers - BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy graduate

Careers insight – Tom Rogers

Since graduating in 2009, Tom Rogers has gone on to work as a Physiotherapist at Swansea City Football Club.
Matt Chan - MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-Registration) student

The skills you need to be an allied health professional

We worked with Your Future Career on the 2020 Careers in Science and Healthcare campaign. A printed publication is enclosed within every copy of The New Scientist newspaper and the content is also available online
The campaign featured exclusive content about the importance of the science and healthcare industries from key thought leaders and industry voices.
Read more at Your Future Career
Helicopter ambulance paramedic
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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.
Smeaton's Tower, Plymouth Hoe