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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?

Fully accredited

Recognised provider by the Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (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

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 and Physiology

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.

Investigating Pathophysiology

Integrated with the Anatomy and Physiology module, 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

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

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

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

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 project and thesis

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 Friday 17 July 2020.

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

Year one modules

Foundations of Professional Practice

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 and Physiology

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.

Investigating Pathophysiology

Integrated with the Anatomy and Physiology module, 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

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

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

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

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 Friday 17 July 2020.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

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

All of 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 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 clinical placement days in veterinary 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 2021 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 experience - three with dogs and three with horses. Additionally five days experience in a veterinary practice is required, ideally with a mix of large and small animals.

We would expect some of your work experience to have taken place in the last 12 months. Yo will be given a formative workbook to complete during the summer.

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

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

How to apply

Fees

UK students

Confirmed August 2020 *

International students

Confirmed August 2020 *

The UK government has confirmed that EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals starting courses in the 2021/22 academic year will no longer be eligible for home/UK fee status or the same financial support as in previous years. We will update our guidance for students when more information becomes available.

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.

The University also offers masters scholarships for international and EU students. Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about funding postgraduate study.

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.

More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

Graduate destinations

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

Average starting salary and career progression

100% of postgraduates from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science secured work or further study within six months of graduation.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" This course was ideal for me because of my passion for animal care. The fact that its part-time meant I could carry on working and enjoy my other commitments. The facilities are great. From teaching and practical spaces such as dissection labs, to hands-on animal facilities like stables and kennel to help assist our learning. I've loved everything about the course, and the support has been second to none, especially for a distance learning course. "
Alexandra Pinyoun, MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy student

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning (2017/18). Our teaching is of the highest quality found in the UK.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a national grading system, introduced by the government in England. It assesses the quality of teaching at universities and how well they ensure excellent outcomes for their students in terms of graduate-level employment or further study.

This content was last updated on Friday 17 July 2020. 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.