Physiotherapy BSc


Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:B160
Qualification:BSc Hons
Type and duration:3 year UG
Qualification name:Physiotherapy
UCAS code
UCAS code
Physiotherapy | BSc Hons
3 years full-time UG
A level offer
Required subjects
including a biological science or PE. Applicants are required to pass the practical element of assessment in biology, chemistry and/or physics if assessed separately. General studies not accepted. Plus a minimum of six GCSEs at A/B grade, taken in one sitting, to include maths, English language and biology/double science 
IB score
34 (6 in biology at Higher Level)
Course location
Clinical Sciences Building, City Hospital Campus, approximately four miles from University Park Campus 
Course places
39 (plus 8 international places)


With a strong employability record, this course will provide you with the practical skills and theoretical knowledge needed for modern physiotherapists in both the NHS and private practice.
Read full overview

This course aims to prepare students in all areas of practice fundamental to the needs of a newly qualified physiotherapist. For this, students must be able to exercise sound judgement in a variety of clinical situations, and be able to evaluate and adapt their therapeutic skills to meet the needs of the individual patient. 

Course structure

We pride ourselves on the flexible approach to education that we offer in year three; you choose two optional modules in each semester, enabling you to select a course of study based on your interests.

Two modules run throughout the course; one covers the basic tenets of research culminating in a 6,500 word dissertation project and the other includes aspects relating to personal and professional development such as skills for effective management of learning, communication, models of healthcare, medical records/ethics, personality, behaviour and life-long learning.

Years two and three contain a total of 32 weeks supervised clinical practice split into eight four week blocks in the core areas of physiotherapy. The choice available in the academic modules in year three also extends into one of the clinical placements where you can choose from a wide variety of special interests including paediatrics, women's health, adult learning disabilities, mental health, burns and plastics, oncology and rheumatology.

Towards the end of the third year of the programme you are given the opportunity to undertake a three week elective placement. Students arrange their own negotiated placement and have the potential to go anywhere in the world provided the country is deemed safe and you are supervised by a physiotherapist whose qualifications are recognised by a relevant Statutory Body, or Competent Authority.

Find out more about how you will learn and be assessed, including an example first-year timetable on our teaching webpage

Further information about physiotherapy placements can be found on the Placements section of the school website. We also have a Fees and Finance page.

Watch our student profiles


Entry requirements

Whilst the majority of applicants offer traditional qualifications we are happy to consider non-traditional qualifications on an individual basis. These must be taken in relevant subjects and passed at an equivalent standard.

For individual advice, please make an enquiry.

Minimum requirements for the most common applicant profiles are shown below.

Minimum requirements


  • Minimum of six subjects at A or B grades to include maths, English language and either biology or integrated/combined sciences. 

Plus one of the following:

  • A levels
  • or BTEC National or Higher National Diploma  

A2 levels:

  • AAB in three A2 levels, one of which must be in biology or physical education, or acceptable biological science, i.e. human biology. Applicants are required to pass the practical element of assessment in biology, chemistry and/or physics if assessed separately. General studies is not accepted. 

Alternative qualifications:

BTEC Higher National Diploma:

  • 16 units, majority in biology and the life sciences (please contact the division for guidance on acceptable HND qualifications) 
  • Merit > distinction profile (DDM)  

BTEC National Diploma:

  • Sport and exercise science pathway only
  • 18 units, distinction profile (DDD)
  • Other BTEC diplomas are accepted at (DD profile) if accompanied by ALevel biology or physical education at grade B

Irish Leaving Certificate:

  • Five papers at Higher Level, taken at one sitting
  • Minimum of AAABB
  • to include maths, English and biology

Scottish Advanced:

  • AA to include biology/PE
  • plus AABBB at Highers

International Baccalaureate:

  • 34 points, with 6 in biology
  • Minimum of three subjects at Higher level, including biology 

Qualifications for applicants considering a career change or return to academic study 

Applicants who have had a break from education or are looking at a change in career are welcomed. Academic requirements are as follows:

Previous degree:

  • 2:1 in a relevant subject within the last three years (if in a non-relevant subject, or outside the three-year limit, contact us for advice). 

Other previous academic suitability:

  • Applicants who have not studied for three or more years but who would otherwise have been considered academically suitable must show evidence of recent study, usually one A2 level. This should be biology or physical education, unless previously achieved in which case we recommend sociology or psychology. 

No previous academic suitability:

Applicants who have no relevant academic qualifications, or failed to achieve the required grades, are expected to have a GCSE grade C in maths and English language or equivalent, plus one of the following:

  • AS/A2 levels: two academic A2 levels (to include biology or physical education) at B grades.
  • Access Diploma: science or health based; with a minimum of 24 credits in biology. Total of 60 credits are required with 45 passed at level 3. A minimum of 30 level 3 credits must be at distinction. For further information please contact the division.
  • Open University qualifications: 30 points at Level 2, accrued within one year at Pass Grade 2. SK277 Human Biology is usually the accepted module. For further information please contact the division.

International applicants 

We offer a limited number of international places each year. Please contact us for further information. 

Home/EU applicants

The NHS-commissioned places are apportioned to us by the Trent Multi-Professional Workforce Deanery. We are unable to consider students who would not be eligible for an NHS-funded place. This ruling affects non-EU students. Applicants should confirm their eligibility using the Department of Health website

Channel Islands and Isle of Man students are eligible to apply and can be offered commissioned places (ie treated as home students) providing that they can supply a copy of their award letter from the Channel Islands or Isle of Man governments. 

English language

Physiotherapy students need to be fluent in the English language in order to both understand and complete the course and to communicate effectively with patients and members of the multidisciplinary team. For students whose first language is not English we require an IELTS score of 7.5 with no less than 7 in any element. Please note that a pass at GCSE English language with a B or above will normally be regarded as meeting this requirement. 

Students who require extra support to meet the English language requirements for their academic course can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to prepare for their future studies.

Students who pass at the required level can progress directly to their academic programme without needing to retake IELTS.

Please visit the CELE webpages for more information.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We consider applicants’ circumstances and broader achievements as part of the assessment process, but do not vary the offer from the grades advertised as a result of these. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.


Completing a UCAS form

All applications must be made through UCAS

We do not normally consider late applications, after the mid-January deadline. 

An excellent UCAS form includes: 

  • a strong academic profile with either traditional or non-traditional qualifications on offer 
  • a highly supportive reference (normally an academic reference) 
  • a personal statement which tells us all about the applicant. 

The personal statement is paramount in deciding who will be chosen to go forward for interview. We look for the applicant who knows what the profession involves in terms of actual work and the traits and characteristics necessary in a physiotherapist, and could go on to complete the course and become a credit to the profession. 

Work experience 

Physiotherapy is a vocational degree and applicants need to be enthusiastic about the profession and sure in their own minds that they really want to be a physiotherapist. We require you to undertake as much physiotherapy work experience as possible primarily within the NHS hospital and community settings before applying. Experience in other areas, such as special schools, private practice, sports clinics, and centres for the elderly will strengthen your application. It is important to note that without work experience it is likely that your application will be rejected. 

Health and Criminal Records screening 

All applicants are subject to satisfactory health screening, by Occupational Health, and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks before they can commence the course. 

Deferred applications

We welcome applications from students wishing to take a gap year and encourage them to use the year creatively. Gap year students form 10-15% of each cohort. 



Typical Year One Modules


Developing Evidence-Based Practice (research)

This module will introduce you to the principles underpinning evidence-based practice in order to develop your ability to use evidence to inform clinical decision making. You’ll be taken through the process of evidence based practice in logical sequence and over the course of the module will develop a search strategy around a clinical question, carry out a search of the literature, critique the literature and consider the application to clinical practice. Teaching includes lectures, tutorials, library sessions, directed activities and a mini conference.

Pathophysiology 1 and 2

The module aims to prepare you with the underpinning knowledge of basic tissue structures, and in particular of nerve and muscle tissue, in order to be able to discuss the physiology of muscle contraction, the control of movement and the mechanisms of sensation (including pain). Teaching includes lectures, tutorials, and laboratory based sessions. 

Musculoskeletal Disorders and Disease

You’ll develop your understanding of the mechanism of injury, pathology, healing and management of fractures, soft tissue injuries and rheumatological conditions in order to provide effective physiotherapeutic management. For this module teaching includes direct teacher contact, lectures and tutorials, directed study, clinical skills sessions and independent learning. 

Neuromusculoskeletal Studies 1 and 2

You’ll develop a solid foundation of knowledge that relates to human structure, function and movement as well as basic physiotherapy assessment and treatment skills, and awareness of core physiotherapeutic concepts. The focus is on the cervical spine and upper limb, therefore the aim is for this knowledge to be specifically developed in respect of the cervical spine, shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand. Teaching includes a variety of lecture and practical based sessions, anatomy dissection and gym based practical work. 

Personal and Professional Development 1

This module introduces you to the development of key skills used for effective study and management of your own learning. This aims to develop self-management and facilitate your ability to integrate knowledge gained in different subject areas to assist future learning. Learning style, reflection and development of strategies to facilitate independent learning are introduced and the physiological effects of illness or injury on an individual and the family will be discussed, including quality of life. Over the course of the module, you’ll have 55 hours of directed teacher contact and independent directed learning.


Typical Year Two Modules


Management of Cardiorespiratory Conditions(semester three only)

This module aims to prepare you to manage patients with acute or chronic respiratory and cardiovascular disease.  You will increase your knowledge of predisposing factors and the pathological processes of disease as well as learning about treatment programs and medication. By the end of the module you’ll be able to identify a patients’ problem and select appropriate treatment methods. You will have three hours and fifteen minutes of lectures plus a clinical practical session weekly.

Management of Musculoskeletal Conditions (semester three only)

In this module you’ll develop your critical reasoning, assessment and treatment skills and concepts within assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions relevant to physiotherapy. There’ll be a focus on the use of therapeutic techniques such electrotherapy (TENS, ultrasound) and hydrotherapy in the management of soft tissue injuries & associated pain. You’ll also gain an understanding of professional conduct and the clinical responsibilities of the physiotherapist. You’ll learn through a mix of lecture, seminars and practical classes. 

Management of Neurological Conditions (year-long)

This module aims to provide you with insight into the natural ageing process and the manner in which society regards the elderly both when in good health and when they are not. You’ll be introduced to the pathology, progression and effects of neurological diseases and the possible strategies of care available to the elderly. There will be an emphasis on the identification of patient problems and discussion on how these might be addressed using case studies, clinical reasoning and practical skills. You will have about six hours of classes for this module split between lectures, seminars and practical clinic-based sessions. 

Management of Long Term and Complex Conditions (year-long) 

Introduces the treatment and management of patients and carers with more complex conditionsand problems. This module is delivered as a combination of lectures, practical based sessions, clinical sessions and independent learning. 

Personal and Professional Development 2
This module builds upon the theme of personal and professional communication and management introduced in level 1. Communication in the form of written medical records is introduced at the beginning of the third semester in preparation for clinical education modules. The development of personality, the individual and consequences of behaviour are continued from Semester II, including their effect on team participation, leadership and management. 
Research Methods and Planning
This module involves the identification of potential areas and topics for research, with a view to the student developing a particular research question and selecting the appropriate design and analysis. In preparation for this the concepts of statistical significance and hypothesis testing are discussed with further reference to the analysis & interpretation of data started in level 1.

Typical Year Three Modules


Personal and Professional Development 3

This module will continue the management theme established in years one and two by building on your ability to manage your own learning and reflect on and evaluate your academic and clinical performance. To achieve this you’ll review historical and contemporary professional issues and assess how they might impact on the roles and responsibilities of a physiotherapist. You’ll have around 24 hours of contact time through lectures, tutorials and group work.

Physiotherapy Project

Over the course of your final year, you’ll have the opportunity to produce a self-directed piece of work, supported by an academic supervisor throughout. You’ll chose an area of research worthy of investigation in the field of physiotherapy and perform a thorough examination through a long essay and a presentation of your project. This module is 100% self-directed although you will have scheduled progress meetings with your supervisor to keep you on track.



Exercise Science and Therapy

The aim of the module is to introduce you to the theoretical and practical elements of exercise physiology and biochemistry. You’ll gain an understanding of the response of the human body to exercise and its specific adaptations to various forms of training. A range of nutritional, psychological and exercise-based strategies which can be used to improve human physical performance and health will be examined. You’ll spend one full day in classes per week for six weeks of this module.

Physical Activity for Health

This module will increase your effectiveness as health promoters and care providers by increasing your awareness of the psychological and sociological perspectives of exercise and activity participation. You’ll examine the definitions and descriptions of models of physical activity for health; you’ll then explore the benefits and barriers of these for different target populations. You’ll have one full day per week of contact time for this module.

Burns and Plastic Medicine

This module will introduce the specialist area of burns and plastic surgery from a physiotherapy perspective, with an emphasis of hand trauma. It includes the medical, surgical and therapeutic management of the patient, both in the acute stage and in their long term rehabilitation with a focus on the prevention/reduction of deformities and contractures. You’ll have a mix of lectures, tutorials and clinic-based practice one day per week for this module.


This module will build on your knowledge and understanding of problems, presentation and therapeutic management of patients with cardio-respiratory disease from pervious modules.  You’ll consider the role of the physiotherapist as part of a multi-professional team in a variety of speciality areas such as burns, palliative care, cystic fibrosis and others. You’ll spend one full day per week on this module, incorporating six hours of clinic-based visits and two hours of tutorials every week.

Sports Medicine and Injuries

This module will introduce you to the discipline of Sports Medicine. You’ll gain an understanding of the role of the physiotherapist within the context of sport, as well as the roles and perspectives of various other members of the multidisciplinary team. The subjects of injuries and medical conditions in sport will be addressed in detail. You’ll spend one full day per week for six weeks in classes for this module as well as an evening visit to a professional sports facility to observe sports physiotherapy in practice.

Analysis of Human Movement

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of human movement analysis. It’ll also provide you with practical experience in measuring and analysing human movement using data collection equipment, building on existing skills to evaluate critically the output of these tools and methods. You’ll consider the relevance of movement analysis to current physiotherapy practice and explore its use in a clinical or research setting. You’ll have one day per week of direct contact time for six weeks with this module.

A Combined Approach to Rehabilitation of the Spine 1 and 2

In this module you’ll focus on the lumbar spine and pelvis, using your existing knowledge of treatments you’ll develop skills in the application and reasoning of anatomical, biomechanical and practical clinical approaches to the assessment and treatment of the spine. The module explores the rationale, philosophy and practical techniques behind different treatment approaches underpinned by the evidence currently available in the field. You’ll spend one full day per week in a mix of lectures, clinic-based practicals and independent study for this module.

Women's Health

In this module you’ll develop an understanding of the changes that occur at various stages throughout a woman’s life and how these may affect physical and psychological health. You’ll explore issues such as sexual health, promotion of a healthy lifestyle and inequalities in healthcare. You’ll explore and develop your understanding of current physiotherapeutic management of musculoskeletal problems associated with childbirth. You’ll have one full day per week for six weeks for this module.


This module will provide you with a greater insight into the problems and presentations of patients with disorders of the nervous system with a particular focus on posture and balance. You’ll build upon the knowledge gained from the level two modules and the clinical modules in semesters five and six to deepen your understanding of related issues. The physiological bases behind major concepts of treatment will be explored in the context of academic physiology which will give you a greater awareness of physiotherapeutic practice. You’ll spend one full day per week working on this module.



The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.


International Opportunities

All students have the opportunity to spend three weeks on an international clinical elective placement. Previous students have undertaken placements in India, Malawi, Sri Lanka and Uganda. 


You will have a sound knowledge of the fundamentals of physiotherapy and will have extensive experience of relating theories to practice in your clinical placements. You will have developed skills in research, and spent considerable time on personal development.

In the UK, most physiotherapists work within the wide variety of specialities offered by the NHS, including burns and plastics, healthcare of the elderly, maternity, mental health, neurology, orthopaedics,
out-patients, paediatrics, respiratory and women's health. However, there are many other settings including research and academia, charitable organisations, industry, special schools, sports centres, the armed forces, social services and veterinary practices.

Professional recognition

 HCPC-logo       chartered-society-of-physiotherapy2             

This course is recognised by the Health and Care Professions Council and The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2015, 100% of first-degree graduates from physiotherapy who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £22,681 with the highest being £27,500.*

*Known destinations of full-time home first degree undergraduates 2014/15. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  

The University of Nottingham is the best university in the UK for graduate employment, according to the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.



Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

The University of Nottingham provides information and advice on financing your degree and managing your finances as an international student. The International Office offers a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees.

Changes to the funding and financial support of students beginning nursing, midwifery or physiotherapy courses were announced in the government Spending Review in November 2015. From 2017/18, new students will no longer receive NHS bursaries and will need to take out maintenance and tuition loans like other students. 

For current details please visit and the Council of Deans of Health website. For an independent view on student finance see Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert website

Also visit our fees and finance page for physiotherapy for details of additional course costs (i.e. equipment).



Key Information Sets (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.


There is a three week elective placement at the end of the third year.

How to use the data


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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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