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.

We do not accept international/EU applications for this course. 

Why choose this course?


AHPR accredited and approved as a Recognised Educational Provider by RAMP

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

Gain the theory and practical elements required to become a veterinary physiotherapist. The course is taught at weekends through lectures and clinical sessions in our purpose-built facilities and clinical caseloads in veterinary practices.

In year one you'll cover:

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

In year two you'll 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'll cover:

An in-depth research project with relevance to veterinary physiotherapy. You'll be allocated a supervisor and given full support to run and complete your project. The projects run for 365 days.


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

Year one modules

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 20 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.

Foundations of Professional Practice in Veterinary Physiotherapy 20 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

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).

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.

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

Year three modules

Research project 60 credits

You'll 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 Monday 13 May 2024.

Due to timetabling availability, there may be restrictions on some module combinations.

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.

How you will be assessed

  • Formative assessment
  • Clinical assessment
  • Coursework

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

Contact time and study hours

A commitment of self-allocated days for the year 3 MSc project.

These days will include:

Year 1

  • Year 1 has 11 taught contact weekends which include lectures, group work and practicals, 15 observational days in clinical practice and a minimum requirement of 10-15 hours self-directed study per week.

Year 2

  • Year 2 has 5 taught contact weekends which include lectures, group work and practicals, 30 practical clinical days with approved providers based around the UK and a minimum requirement of 10-15 hours self-directed study per week.

Year 3

  • Year 3 has 1 week of taught content, a minimum of 10 supervision sessions through the 365 days and a minimum requirement of 10-15 hours self-directed study per week.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.

Undergraduate degreeA 2:2 first degree in an animal science or science subject. Alternatively, we will consider a 2:1 first degree in a BSc non-animal science or a BSc non-science subject.
Work experience

Animal handling experience

You'll be required to have a good working knowledge of the care, management and handling of dogs and horses. This should amount to at least six weeks of 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. 

Read our guidance for pre-course work experience (pdf).

Professional qualification

We welcome applications from qualified veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses, and human physiotherapists. 


The application deadline for this course is 1 May 2024.

Please note: All interviews will be held via MS Teams. Dates as follows; Each day weeks commencing 6th and 13th May (excluding Bank holiday).

You'll 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 if you are made an offer.

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

How to apply


Qualification MSc (part-time fees)
Home / UK £14,700
International £21,500

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

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

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

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'll 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.

Please allow time for your application fees to be processed if you are completing your application close to the deadline.



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.

Find out more about veterinary physiotherapy as a career on our dedicated careers and employability page.

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 Monday 13 May 2024. 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.