Physiotherapy BSc (Hons)

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Course starts: 16 September 2019Apply now

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Study human movement and function. Learn how to prevent and treat disease, injury and disability. Become a future leader in the healthcare profession.

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Physiotherapy is recognised as a healthcare profession where human movement and function are viewed as central components of individual health, wellbeing and quality of life. Physiotherapy uses physical approaches in the prevention and treatment of disease, injury and disability recognising that physical, psychological, social and environmental factors may limit movement and function. 

The course content is person-focused, in line with the direction of the profession. We aim to develop well-rounded, safe and effective physiotherapists who can communicate appropriately to service users, carers, peers and other healthcare professionals. By promoting the integration of science and practical-based knowledge and skills, we aim to develop graduates capable of practice at the highest level within all areas of the profession, who also develop essential skills for continued and lifelong learning to enhance service delivery and become future leaders.

Please note we are now accepting direct applications for September 2019.


Why us?

  • Multi-million pound investment supporting a suite of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, sport, exercise and rehabilitation laboratories
  • The course is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and pending accreditation by The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) 
  • Access our excellent links with local NHS Hospital Trusts and other placement providers, committed to providing quality student placements and learning experiences
  • Have the opportunity to arrange an elective placement to explore your personal special interests in the profession, or experience working in non-standard clinical settings.
  • Gain a nationally and internationally-recognised professional qualification
  • Patient Carer and Public Involvement (PCPI) members actively support our course. You will regularly meet and work with patients and carers who are integrated in the teaching activities and positively contribute to your learning and development through assessment and feedback
  • Our senior lecturers continue to work in an honorary capacity in the clinical practice setting helping to ensure you learn from academics that continue to be immersed in relevant and contemporary physiotherapy practice
  • Our large number of health-related courses offer an excellent opportunity for collaboration across professions
  • On successful completion of the course, you will be eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC Register for Physiotherapists

Course structure

You will be taught by a highly-skilled and motivated team with both clinical and teaching expertise. Evidence-based practice is embedded in the course, which ensures you are taught the most current and up to date skills and knowledge. You will learn through a variety of methods including lectures, presentations, seminars, group work, clinical simulation, self-study, practical clinical and physiotherapy skill sessions, online tutorials and problem-based learning activities. A strong professional identity and confidence to work with various professional groups is an essential part of the course. You will have the opportunity to work and learn alongside students from other professions and to learn about the other professions through participation in inter-professional education.  As this course leads to a professional qualification a minimum attendance level of 80% per semester is required.

Assessment is varied to reflect different styles of learning. You will be assessed through written coursework assignments, critical reflective practice, oral presentations, poster presentations, and practical and written examinations. You will be supported by a personal tutor who will offer support with personal and professional development.

You will also undertake a variety of practice placements (minimum of 1,000 hours) where you may be expected to work outside normal working hours including weekends. Placements can be anywhere in the North East region. Practice placements are arranged by academic tutors and you will be expected to travel daily or stay in local accommodation for the duration of your placement. Practice placements occur in every year of your study and range from four to eight weeks. Please note some placements take place outside the normal University academic calendar.

Year 1 (national level 4):

Core modules

  • Introduction to Research 1 (10 credits)
  • Personal Professional Development 1 (10 credits)*  
  • Introduction to Physiology and Pathology for Physiotherapy Practice (20 credits)
  • Functional Anatomy and Movement for Physiotherapy (20 credits)
  • Human Function and Lifestyle Development Psychosocial Foundations for Holistic Practice (20 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Communication and Assessment for Therapeutic Practice (20 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Physical Activity and Exercise (20 credits)

 * A practice placement is aligned to this module


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 2 (national level 5):

Core modules

  • Evidence-Based Practice and Research 2 (10 credits)
  • Personal and Professional Development 2 (10 credits)
  • Neurological Pathology and Physiotherapy Practice (20 credits)
  • Cardiorespiratory Pathology and Physiotherapy Practice (20 credits)
  • Musculoskeletal Pathology and Physiotherapy Practice (20 credits)
  • Physical Activity and Exercise in Long Term Conditions (20 credits)
  • Developing Holistic Physiotherapy Practice (20 credits)*

 * A practice placement is aligned to this module


Year 3 (national level 6):

Core modules

  • Dissertation (40 credits)
  • Personal Professional Development 3 (20 credits)
  • Contemporary Perspectives in Physiotherapy Practice (20 credits)*
  • Complex Integrated Physiotherapy Practice (20 credits)
  • Evaluating and Improving Physiotherapy Practice (20 credits)*

 * A practice placement is aligned to this module


  • You can access free Wi-Fi throughout the University campus, so you can work from anywhere. If you don't want to carry a laptop around, just use one of the University’s PCs or Apple Macs. We have hundreds of computers for you to use in the Murray Library, St Peter's Library, and the David Goldman Informatics Centre. If you ever have any technical problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.

    IT provision
  • We’ve got thousands of books and e-books on pharmaceutical and biomedical science, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.
    Some of the most important sources for your studies include:

    • Embase: A complex database covering drug research, pharmacology, pharmaceutics, toxicology, clinical and experimental human medicine, health policy and management, public health, occupational health, environmental health, drug dependence and abuse, psychiatry, forensic medicine and biomedical engineering/instrumentation
    • PsycARTICLES: Includes information about the psychological aspects of medicine, psychiatry, nursing, sociology, pharmacology and physiology
    • PubMed: Contains life science journals, online books and abstracts that cover fields such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine and health care
    • Science Direct: Offers more than 2,000 full-text journals published by Elsevier
    • Web of Science: Covers a broad range of science areas
    Library Services - sciences
  • The Living Lab at the University of Sunderland was opened by Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Chief Nurse of Health Education England in 2016, following significant investment and major redevelopment of the ground floor of Fleming Building in the Sciences Complex. Our aim is to provide a state-of-the-art venue for all forms of healthcare related simulation based education.

    The Living Lab boasts the region’s only immersive simulation room allowing participants to experience events in simulated environments. An adjacent task trainer room which can be used flexibly can aid with the development of clinical and non-technical skills. Integral cameras enable participants to view live or recorded footage in our dedicated debrief room. The Lab also has a 7 bedded ward and Point of Care Testing (POCT) facility along with an OSCE suite and seminar rooms.

    The facility currently has 2 SimMan 3Gs, a SimNewB, a SimMom birthing simulator and 2 TraumaFX simbodies. A range of other clinical equipment and part task trainers as well as a pop-up ambulance are available to complement the facilities.

    The Living Lab
  • Map and directions


This course is based in the Sciences Complex in our City Campus, which has benefited from a recent multimillion pound investment. Teaching takes place in multi-media classrooms with state-of-the-art resources for learning. 

Primarily for Physiotherapy provision, Darwin Building will house shared spaces for Physiotherapy and Sport and Exercise Sciences and will include a gym fully equipped with a range of cardiovascular and resistance training equipment, and an Activities of Daily Living (ADL) mock flat with simulated living space including bedroom, kitchen and bathroom areas. A separate multi-purpose open plan space will be used for active play and creative activities, suited to the developmental or rehabilitative needs of children and adults.

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is 120 UCAS points or BBB, from three A Level passes or equivalent, which must include at least one of the following subjects: Biology, Human Biology and/or PE at Grade B or above. Please note we do not accept General Studies AS or A Level.

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS Tariff calculator.

We also require at least five passes at GCSE grade C (numerical grade 4) or above which must include English Language or equivalent, Mathematics and Science. 

BTEC Extended National Diploma (Sport and Exercise Science, Health Science and Applied Science preferred) DDD. Other BTEC National Diplomas may be considered with AS or A2 Biology / Human Biology / PE at grade B.

Access to Higher Education Diploma accepted – 120 UCAS points from your level 3 units, which must be in a Science/Health related subject or include some units in Biology/Human Biology.

Your completed application form will be reviewed by our Admissions Team to ensure that you have the required entry qualifications. If you meet these requirements, then your application will be individually assessed by the BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy Admissions Tutor and if successful, you will be shortlisted for interview.

Please note we are unable to accept applications from international students.

Fitness to practise

Medical assessments and disclosure of criminal convictions apply to all Physiotherapy courses and are based on current HCPC requirements. Physiotherapists are registered health care professionals and the ability to practise safely, effectively and professionally is essential, so all applicants will be subjected to fitness to practise procedures.

This means you are required to complete two self-declaration forms, one about your health and the other about your conduct. If you are successful, you will also need to complete these self-declaration forms annually for the duration of the course. UK students are required to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. The cost of the DBS check is covered by the University.

A Fitness to Practise information pack containing the relevant documents will be sent to you once you hold a conditional firm offer with us. These forms are then reviewed alongside your application, and you must meet both the academic and fitness to practise requirements before you will be given an unconditional offer. These checks enable us to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain activities.

Care experience

We prefer you to have some experience of delivering care in a professional or voluntary capacity and have a reference from a current or recent employer or educational institution. Evidence of the experience gained, understanding of the profession and a genuine, reasoned commitment to studying a professional course must be explicit in your personal statement to be selected for interview.

Health declarations

You must demonstrate that you are of good health, good character and can satisfactorily pass occupational health screening. The University will, taking into account current HCPC regulations, do all it can to accommodate the needs of candidates who declare a specific learning difficulty, long-term health condition or disability.


All applicants must attend an interview as part of the selection process, which includes an individual and group interview. Your values, problem solving and communication skills will also be assessed. The interview panel will include academic staff, clinical staff, patients and their families or carers.

Second Reference

You will be asked to provide a second written reference as part of the interview process. The reference can be from your current employer, character reference (e.g. former employer, colleague, teacher, advisor, etc.) or from a supervisor at a voluntary role. You will be asked to bring this along to your interview.

If you are currently employed in a clinical setting the reference should be from your employer. Please note this must not be the same reference you have submitted as part of your application.

Personal qualities

We select students based on their knowledge, motivation, experience, values and behaviours, not just academic ability. You need to demonstrate an ability to:

  • Study academic subjects at the level of the course
  • Debate topics and issues
  • Draw on conclusions from written material
  • Study independently and as part of a group
  • Use computers and technology associated with teaching, learning and assessment
  • Interact with patients and colleagues in a caring and compassionate manner
  • Demonstrate an understanding of, and commitment to, the course

If English is not your first language, you need an overall IELTS score of 7, with at least 6.5 in each band.

Fees and finance

The annual, full-time, fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU

We are unable to accept international applicants.

This course is an Allied Health Profession and is therefore approved under HCPC pre-registration healthcare funding regulations. Please see our Student Financial Guidance for further information.

In addition, you will be expected to buy your books, stationery, travel and accommodation. For practice placements you will be provided with a uniform by the University.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

This information was correct at the time of publication.

City Campus by night


Graduate Physiotherapists will be eligible to work in multiple organisations including the acute NHS Trusts, GP surgeries, schools, industry, community physical health services, mental health services, learning disability services and social services / local authorities as well as private practice, charities and other non-traditional and third sector organisations. Graduates could also consider a career working in clinical research or teaching, in the UK or overseas.

Preparing you for practice

You will undertake a range of practice placements to gain real-life experience and apply your learning to real-life situations which may lead to further employment opportunities. To further assist in preparing you for employment as a physiotherapist, this course:

  • Approved by the HCPC's Education and Training Committee (ETC)
  • Offers a variety of practice placements to ensure you are exposed to wider scope of contemporary physiotherapy practice role within the healthcare team
  • Integrates the latest simulation and blended learning technologies in the development of tomorrows physiotherapist


As you may be expected to travel long distances, start your shift in the early hours, or finish your shift late at night, you could be entitled to Travel and Dual Accommodation Expenses (TDAE) which allows you to make a retrospective claim for excess travel costs and/or expenses for temporary accommodation near to the location of your placement. Find out more from the Learning Support Fund (LSF).


Physiotherapy is a protected profession, which means that it is regulated by law to ensure that only people who have passed state approved training courses and have registered with the state regulator, may practise. The state regulator for physiotherapists is the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Only those who register with the HCPC may call themselves physiotherapists and practise physiotherapy autonomously. 

On successful completion of the course graduates will be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Pre-registration students are also eligible to join the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy as student members, and on graduation will be eligible for full membership. 

Career prospects

There is demand in all health and social care services including the acute NHS Trusts, community physical health services, mental health services, Learning Disability Services and Social Services / Local Authorities as well as private practice, charities and other non-traditional and third sector organisations. Therefore graduate prospects and opportunities are far greater than other similar courses. The mean salary six months post-graduation is £21,938.*

*Source: DLHE statistics derived from annually published data by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

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