Triangle

Course overview

Veterinary physiotherapy plays a vital role in helping animals recover or adapt from injury or surgery. Working with vets, owners, and businesses, you'll ensure animals have the best quality of life after they recover.

At Nottingham, our veterinary physiotherapy course is part-time so that you can continue your career while you learn. With an emphasis on hands-on learning with real animals, plus all the theory. We'll ensure you have the skills you need to become a registered veterinary physiotherapist.

Ideal for veterinary nurses and surgeons, musculoskeletal practitioners, as well as other related professions - for example defence animal trainers.

Why choose this course?

Accreditation

This course is accredited by the AHPR and we are approved as a Recognised Educational Provider by RAMP.

A flexible course

36 months part-time, enabling you to continue your career while you learn

Award-winning school

From student satisfaction and research power, to individual awards for staff and students.

Course content

On this course you'll learn all the theory and practical elements that you require to become a veterinary physiotherapist. The course is taught through lectures and clinical sessions in our purpose-build facilities and clinical caseloads in veterinary practices.

In year one you will cover:

  • electro therapies
  • professionalism
  • anatomy and physiology
  • pathology
  • clinical skills
  • core manual skills and clinical reasoning in the practicals

In year two you will cover:

  • applied clinical reasoning
  • exercise programming
  • case reporting
  • professionalism
  • project proposal for year three
  • advancing your manual skills, clinical reasoning and managing cases within the clinics and placements

In year three you will cover:

A project with relevance to veterinary physiotherapy. You will be allocated a supervisor and be given full support to run and complete your project. The projects run for 365 days.

Modules

You’ll need to complete 180 credits, including a research project.

Year one modules

Foundations of Professional Practice in Veterinary Physiotherapy 30 credits

You’ll develop skills in:

  • fundamental scientific principles
  • risk assessment, first aid, basic approaches to handling
  • professional ethics, health and safety law, veterinary surgeons act and exemptions orders
  • study skills, IT skills
  • professional and peer communications
Anatomy, Physiology and Pathophysiology 20 credits

This module covers the musculoskeletal system, including neurology, from cellular microanatomy to gross tissue organization, coupled with the physiology of relevant systems.

You will undertake dissections are of the whole canine, equine limb, and the examination of laboratory specimens. The module also covers biomechanics and gait analysis which serve as the grounding knowledge for module two. Practical work relates to identification of bony landmarks, differentiating between axial and appendicular skeleton and comparative anatomy.

Integrated with anatomy and physiology, the teaching on this module continues the theme of physiology, focusing on the reaction of the body systems to inflammation, injury and disease.

Foundations of Clinical Practice 10 credits

This modules introduces specific skills required by the veterinary physiotherapist. These include, palpation, manual techniques – massage, trigger points and myofascial release, active and passive range of motion along with electrotherapies and commonly used equipment such as cryotherapy and thermotherapy, wobble boards, proprioceptive tracks. Many of these skills are taught in small group practical sessions with live animals (horses, greyhounds and agility dogs). The sessions are guided by qualified veterinary physiotherapists.

In addition you will need to undertake at least 15 days of work-based learning within the animal care industry.

Year two modules

Applied Clinical Skills 40 credits

Building on the skills from the Foundation of Clinical Practice module, this unit develops clinical assessment, reasoning and evaluating outcomes measures into exercise programming and rehabilitation.

There is a heavy emphasis on in-field experience achieved by 32 days of work-based learning. For these days you will be working alongside practicing veterinary physiotherapists on the day-to-day cases referred for treatment. You will also develop communication skills to enable you to engage with other professionals and with owners.

Progress in this module is measured by the Record of Achievement which addresses day-one competencies via the demonstration of professional skills (DOPS).

Project Proposal and Development 10 credits

This module establishes the groundwork for a clinically-relevant project. You will evaluate current conditions, theories and treatments to identify an area for research. The module will address writing and testing hypotheses, ethics, data analysis and methods of writing up a formal report. Students are assigned an individual tutor for assistance with this.

This module aims to develop investigative skills in the context of the workplace. It aims to develop and demonstrate skills in:

  • the analysis of a problem
  • planning and organising a task
  • exercising judgement in the light of observed and published data 
  • compiling a report 
  • data analysis
  • writing a literature review
  • giving an oral presentation
Clinical Reasoning and Reporting 10 credits

In this module you will focus on methods of collecting, collating and analysing patient data to prepare feedback reports to the veterinary surgeon. The module also addresses clinical reasoning and critical evaluation of treatment outcomes by comparison with current theories and studies.

Year three modules

Research and Dissertation 60 credits

You will run a research project with relevance to veterinary physiotherapy. You will be allocated a supervisor and be given full support to run and complete your project. The projects run for 365 days.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Wednesday 22 September 2021.

You’ll need to complete 120 credits. Modules include:

Year one modules

Foundations of Professional Practice in Veterinary Physiotherapy 30 credits

You’ll develop skills in:

  • fundamental scientific principles
  • risk assessment, first aid, basic approaches to handling
  • professional ethics, health and safety law, veterinary surgeons act and exemptions orders
  • study skills, IT skills
  • professional and peer communications
Anatomy, Physiology and Pathophysiology 20 credits

This module covers the musculoskeletal system, including neurology, from cellular microanatomy to gross tissue organization, coupled with the physiology of relevant systems.

You will undertake dissections are of the whole canine, equine limb, and the examination of laboratory specimens. The module also covers biomechanics and gait analysis which serve as the grounding knowledge for module two. Practical work relates to identification of bony landmarks, differentiating between axial and appendicular skeleton and comparative anatomy.

Integrated with anatomy and physiology, the teaching on this module continues the theme of physiology, focusing on the reaction of the body systems to inflammation, injury and disease.

Foundations of Clinical Practice 10 credits

This modules introduces specific skills required by the veterinary physiotherapist. These include, palpation, manual techniques – massage, trigger points and myofascial release, active and passive range of motion along with electrotherapies and commonly used equipment such as cryotherapy and thermotherapy, wobble boards, proprioceptive tracks. Many of these skills are taught in small group practical sessions with live animals (horses, greyhounds and agility dogs). The sessions are guided by qualified veterinary physiotherapists.

In addition you will need to undertake at least 15 days of work-based learning within the animal care industry.

Year two modules

Applied Clinical Skills 40 credits

Building on the skills from the Foundation of Clinical Practice module, this unit develops clinical assessment, reasoning and evaluating outcomes measures into exercise programming and rehabilitation.

There is a heavy emphasis on in-field experience achieved by 32 days of work-based learning. For these days you will be working alongside practicing veterinary physiotherapists on the day-to-day cases referred for treatment. You will also develop communication skills to enable you to engage with other professionals and with owners.

Progress in this module is measured by the Record of Achievement which addresses day-one competencies via the demonstration of professional skills (DOPS).

Project Proposal and Development 10 credits

This module establishes the groundwork for a clinically-relevant project. You will evaluate current conditions, theories and treatments to identify an area for research. The module will address writing and testing hypotheses, ethics, data analysis and methods of writing up a formal report. Students are assigned an individual tutor for assistance with this.

This module aims to develop investigative skills in the context of the workplace. It aims to develop and demonstrate skills in:

  • the analysis of a problem
  • planning and organising a task
  • exercising judgement in the light of observed and published data 
  • compiling a report 
  • data analysis
  • writing a literature review
  • giving an oral presentation
Clinical Reasoning and Reporting 10 credits

In this module you will focus on methods of collecting, collating and analysing patient data to prepare feedback reports to the veterinary surgeon. The module also addresses clinical reasoning and critical evaluation of treatment outcomes by comparison with current theories and studies.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Wednesday 22 September 2021.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Workshops
  • Demonstrations
  • Clinical caseloads
  • Clinical skills sessions

All your lectures and pre-clinical teaching will take place at our purpose-built veterinary school, based at our Sutton Bonington Campus.

Practical teaching will be delivered by qualified veterinary physiotherapists, both at the campus and local veterinary practices.

Due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, teaching will be done through online lectures and workshops.

How you will be assessed

  • Formative assessment
  • Clinical assessment
  • Coursework

You will be assessed through a combination of examinations, coursework and practical assessments. You will need to pass each module with at least 50% to progress.

Contact time and study hours

You'll study on a flexible basis on weekends, with a total of 428 days for the MSc, or 63 days for the PGDip. These days will include:

MSc

  • 48 hours of lectures
  • 48 hours of practicals at our veterinary school
  • 28 clinical placement days in veterinary physiotherapy practices
  • 15 work-based learning days
  • 365 days of project work over weekends and distance learning, with 10 hours of supervision
  • 4 assessment days

PGDip

  • 48 hours of lectures
  • 48 hours of practicals at our veterinary school
  • 28 placement days in veterinary physiotherapy practices
  • 15 work-based learning days
  • 4 assessment days

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

Undergraduate degreeA 2:2 first degree in an animal science or science subject. Prior learning experience may be taken into account for mature applicants.
Work experience

Animal handling experience

You will require a good working knowledge of the care, management and handling of dogs and horses. This should amount to at least six weeks animal handling and general care experience - three with dogs and three with horses. Shadowing of a veterinary physiotherapist is not required at this stage. Additionally, a minimum of six working days in a veterinary practice is required, ideally with a mix of large and small animals. This does not have to be in one block. Owning your own animals will not be sufficient. If you are unsure, please contact us to check whether your animal handling experience is adequate.

Typical examples are working at a stables and working at a kennels. Dog grooming and dog walking, for example, would not be sufficient.

We take into consideration previous work experience, but we do ask that your work experience has ideally taken place in the last 12 months. You will be given a formative workbook to complete during the summer. This will help to keep you on track with your pre-course experience requirements.

Professional qualification

We welcome applications from qualified veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses, and human physiotherapists. Applicants with non-animal and science subjects at degree level are also welcome to apply.

 

Applying

The application deadline for this course is 1 June 2022.

You will be required to obtain an occupational health clearance before you register on the course. Details of how to do this and when it should be done will be sent to you directly.

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply

Fees

All listed fees are per year of study.

UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. We expect fees for 2022 entry to be confirmed in August 2021.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will pay international tuition fees in most cases. If you are resident in the UK and have 'settled' or 'pre-settled' status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be entitled to 'home' fee status.

Irish students will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our information for applicants from the EU.

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses: These include:

  • Overalls (£26)
  • Tunic (£20)
  • Travel to and from placements - this will vary depending on your placement locations

You will be provided with boots and a hard hat for all outdoor activities at the school, and PPE for dissections.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles.

 
 

Funding

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding

Careers

We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

Graduates from this course go on to work as veterinary physiotherapists.

Career progression

100% of undergraduates from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

AHPR accredited

We are accredited by the Animal Health Professions’ Register (AHPR).

RAMP accredited

We are a recognised educational provider by the Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP).

Accepted by IRVAP and NAVP

This course is accepted by the professional bodies Institute of Registered Veterinary & Animal Physiotherapists (IRVAP) and National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists (NAVP).

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" I gained the academic knowledge needed to form my clinical skills and reasoning, with the final year honing my research skills. The research I produced was then published as part of an equine science book. There was also an extraordinary level of hands-on practice enabling me to develop the manual therapy skills needed for veterinary physiotherapy. I am now self-employed as a veterinary physiotherapist working with elite and leisure horses and competition dogs. Not only did the degree help me develop the skills to be a veterinary physiotherapist, but helped build professional communication skills, essential for working with clients and vets alike. "
Anne Skivington, MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy student

Related courses

This content was last updated on Wednesday 22 September 2021. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.