A physiotherapist and patient working with a dumbbell weight

Mode of Study



2 years full-time

Start date

January 2024


Our MSc (Pre-registration) Physiotherapy programme offers you the opportunity to turn your undergraduate science degree or clinical experience in to a Master’s degree. The course is designed to provide you with a well-rounded knowledge of contemporary physiotherapy practice, which puts service-users at its core. While you study, you'll get extensive clinical experience on a series of work-based placements in both NHS and private physiotherapy settings so you'll be ready for whatever kind of physiotherapy career you have in mind.

At the University of Portsmouth, we keep our student cohort smaller than some other programmes, enabling you to bond with peers and teaching staff, which fosters a close and productive working community. When you successfully complete the course, you'll be able to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) – which is a requirement for all practicing physiotherapy professionals in the UK – and work towards chartered status under the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).

To give you an extra advantage as you embark on your new career, we'll also pay for your first year of professional accreditation with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.


This course only accepts UK students.

Unfortunately, we can't accept EU or international students on this course.

Application deadline

To start this MSc Physiotherapy (Pre-registration) course in January 2024, the deadline to apply is 31 August 2023.

Applications and supporting documentation received after the deadline may not be considered and will be subject to availability of places on the course.

NHS Learning Support Fund – at least £5,000 a year

Students on this course may be eligible for additional funding through the NHS Learning Support Fund bursary of at least £5,000 a year.

Course highlights

  • Explore how physiotherapy can transform the lives of people affected by injury, illness or disability
  • Understand how to prescribe rehabilitation exercise to improve patient mobility, manage pain and maintain health
  • Study applied anatomy and physiotherapy techniques across core areas including musculoskeletal, neurological, respiratory, paediatric, community care and professional sport
  • Work with other healthcare professionals and within busy multidisciplinary teams to get the best results for patients
  • Learn about the research shaping the future of physiotherapy practice
  • Become eligible to register with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a qualified physiotherapist
  • Receive your first year of professional accreditation with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) for free when you graduate
Health & Care Professions Council
White border version for Web use.
For web/digital use only
WhatUni? Student Choice Awards 22 - Top 10 Postgraduate

HCPC approved

This course is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

What you'll study


All modules on this MSc Physiotherapy (Pre-registration) course are core.

Additional content

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Summarise details of core anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology theory in relation to physiotherapy practice
  • Work as a member of a group to enable the researching, preparation and delivery of an oral presentation on clinical diagnosis and treatment options for a specific disease, disorder or dysfunction
  • Demonstrate and justify appropriate systematic assessment and treatment skills
  • Use appropriate communication skills to explain physiotherapy principles to a set audience

Explore this module

Additional content

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Compare approaches and priorities of different healthcare disciplines and produce a multidisciplinary care plan
  • Critically evaluate different approaches to case management
  • Develop an patient-focussed presentation on contemporary approaches to assessment and prescription

Explore this module

Additional content

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Critique and defend the importance of the patient centred approach to physiotherapy practice
  • Critically evaluate different approaches to case management
  • Summarise and recommend approaches for minimising risk in clinical treatment
  • Work as part of a professional team to clearly communicate information relevant to physiotherapy practice

Explore this module

All modules on this MSc Physiotherapy (Pre-registration) course are core.

Additional content

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Use critical enquiry to identify complex treatment priority areas
  • Appraise and recommend strategies for the management of complex cases across the lifespan
  • Critically evaluate and justify approaches to multi-pathology cases
  • Communicate effectively around treatment options considering a biopsychosocial approach to treatment

Explore this module

Additional content

Module information to be confirmed.

Explore this module

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, course content is revised and regularly reviewed.  This may result in changes being made in order to reflect developments in research, learning from practice and changes in policy at both national and local levels.

Careers and opportunities

Careers this Master’s prepares you for

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) – the professional, educational and trade union body for the UK's chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and support workers – predicts that the need for qualified physiotherapists is set to increase.

People are living longer, with more physically active lifestyles, and many are managing long-term conditions, recovery or rehabilitation, and will all contribute to this high demand for physiotherapy.

When you successfully complete this Physiotherapy Master's degree, you'll be eligible to register with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), which you need to practise physiotherapy within the UK.

To help prepare you for the workplace and stand out to employers, the University of Portsmouth will also pay for your first year of professional accreditation with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

As a qualified physiotherapist, you'll be able to practise in settings such as:

  • the NHS
  • private healthcare clinics
  • sports rehabilitation clinics
  • occupational health
  • professional sports environments

9 reasons to do a Master's

Career planning

During your course you'll have expert careers advice from our Careers and Employability Centre, your tutors and our Student Placements and Employability Centre. You can access support from our Careers and Employability Centre for up to 5 years after you graduate.

Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

You'll benefit from:

  • Networking events
  • Applied projects with employers
  • 1-to-1 appointments
  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Interview preparation and practice
  • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
  • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
  • Support starting your own business
Learn more about your career support

Placements and work experience

On this course, you'll put your learning into practice and get clinical experience with patients on 5 separate 6-week physiotherapy placements. Our students go out on their first placement in their first term at university. This enables students to be able to experience life as a physiotherapist and immediately put their university learning in to context.

You'll work with placement providers from the NHS, such as Solent, Portsmouth and Southern Health, across the south coast in a variety of placement settings. We are also very proud of the private practice placements we offer. We have strong links with professional sports clubs and specialist neurological rehabilitation services. Both student and educator feedback has been extremely positive regarding these unique opportunities.


SHSSW photo shoot, November 2018
Nursing, Operating Department Practice (ODP) and Paramedic Science students.

Centre for Simulation in Health and Care

This modern facility helps you develop the practical skills you need to work in the health and care-related sciences, in a safe, contextual and realistic environment.

Explore the centre

Female runner on treadmill with motion capture cameras

Biomechanics laboratory

Use equipment including force plates, pressure plates and our electromyography system to explore the impact of exercise on the body in this lab, from the limits of human endurance to the effects of chronic health conditions.

Learn more

16th & 17th January 2019
Centre for Enzyme Innovation Bid

Pharmacy and Biomedical Science Teaching Centre

Practise the skills needed to diagnose and help people manage diseases, including collaborative microscopy - examining 3D microscopic images on a big screen with academics and other students. 

Learn more about the centre

Specialist equipment

As well as common clinical tools used within physiotherapy, you'll have access to the following specialist equipment:

  • Infrared motion analysis to understand how the body moves
  • A portable EMG system to measure how muscles activate and fatigue
  • Force plates to assess total force and rate of force development for patients, which helps you prescribe the right rehabilitation exercise programme for them
  • An isokinetic dynamometer to assess and monitor musculoskeletal injury and rehabilitation
  • A swimming flume for analysis of movement in the water
  • Equipment for physiological testing such as an electrocardiogram, lung function assessment and body composition analysis

How you'll spend your time

We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your Master's degree, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to be on campus and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change. You should receive your full timetable several weeks before you start with us.

Course structure

The MSc (Pre-registration) Physiotherapy programme is a full-time, two-year course and all teaching sessions are compulsory.

We recommend that full-time students allocate around 35 hours per week to their studies – equivalent to a full-time job. There'll be up to:

  • 21 hours (3 days) per week of on-campus, in-person teaching
  • 14 hours (2 days) per week of independent study time such as additional reading and revision, project design, data collection and coursework, either individually or in groups

During your placement you'll spend approximately 35 hours (5 days) per week with your placement provider.

In the last 3 months of the course you'll focus on your research project.



Master's study is deeper and more specialised than an undergraduate degree. This means you'll focus on something that really matters to you and your career as you work closely with academics committed to the subject.

You'll spend more time in independent study and research than you did for your undergraduate degree, but the majority of your teaching time will be in-person and face-to-face.

Teaching on this course includes:

  • Teaching on this course includes:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • workshops
  • lab-based activities

Our teaching staff have academic and clinical experience in physiotherapy and related areas, such as:

  • acute medicine
  • neurological rehabilitation
  • musculoskeletal physiotherapy
  • elite sport
  • exercise in people with chronic conditions
  • cystic fibrosis
  • anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction
  • dementia

When you undertake your own research project, you'll benefit from the extensive research that takes place in the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Science. We've organised our research activity into three themes:

How you're assessed

You'll be assessed through:

  • practical assessments
  • client reports
  • essays
  • portfolios
  • presentations

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Teaching staff

These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this course:

Tim Exell

I'm the MSc Physiotherapy (Pre-registration) Course Leader. I'm also Associate Head (Employability and Placements), and a Senior Lecturer in the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Science.

After undertaking a PhD at Cardiff Metropolitan University, I undertook post-doctoral research at the University of Southampton, I've worked with a number of sports governing bodies, including UK Athletics, Welsh Athletics, British Gymnastics, the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union.

My main research interest is biomechanical asymmetry and strength imbalance and their implications on sports performance, injury risk and rehabilitation. I also have research experience in rehabilitation monitoring, strength training transfer, motor control of skill acquisition and methodological developments within biomechanics.

Read my full profile

Helena Drummond

I am a physiotherapist specialising in neurology. Throughout my career, I have treated patients with a range of neurological conditions in both clinical and community settings. I feel passionately about the difference physiotherapy can make in improving the lives of people who present with challenging conditions affecting them in a variety of ways.

I have a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science from the University of Portsmouth, an MSc in Physiotherapy from the University of Essex, and an MSc in Advanced Physiotherapy: Neurological Physiotherapy from University College London.

My research interests relate to the importance of physical activity and a healthy lifestyle on brain health and the lives of those with neurological conditions. 

Read my full profile

Term dates

January start:

The academic year for this course runs for 12 months, from January to December. There are breaks at Christmas, Easter and in the summer. In the last few months of your second year, you'll be writing your project / dissertation.

See key dates

Supporting your learning

Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

The Maths Café offers advice and assistance with mathematical skills in a friendly, informal environment. You can come to our daily drop-in sessions, develop your maths skills at a workshop or use our online resources.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

You'll also get face-to-face support from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (January 2023 start)

  • Full time: £9,400

University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

Funding your studies

Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government Postgraduate Master's Loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

If you're a UK student who achieved a first in your undergraduate degree you may be eligible for a £3,000 University of Portsmouth scholarship.

Additional funding – at least £5,000 a year

Students on this course may be eligible for additional funding through the NHS Learning Support Fund of at least £5,000 a year. The bursary is non-repayable and is in addition to any other support you are eligible for, including Government student loans.

For more information, including eligibility criteria, please visit our scholarships and bursaries page.

Loans, scholarships and bursaries

Browse funding such as the Government Postgraduate Loan, our scholarships for new and returning students, and subject specific loans.

Explore funding

Funding for international students

Learn more about sponsorships, scholarships and loans for students applying from outside of the UK.

international business students
Discover your options

Fees and funding for postgraduate taught courses

Discover how you can fund your postgraduate studies at Portsmouth – including loans, scholarships and bursaries – and read our guidance on topics like how to budget, and how to get support if you're disabled or have dependents.

Explore funding

Additional costs

These course-related costs aren't included in the tuition fees, so you'll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. Additional costs could include:

  • Accommodation: Accommodation options and costs can be found on our accommodation pages.
  • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
  • General costs: such photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.
  • Placement costs: You will need to pay any travel/additional accommodation costs associated with your placements, though the NHS may reimburse these through the Learning Support Fund.
  • Professional body membership: We strongly encourage you to join the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) as a student member while studying on the course. The cost of this is currently £42 per year.
  • Clinical items: You’ll need to purchase clinical items (such as a stethoscope) over the course of your study. You should budget around £50 for this.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Entry requirements​


This course only accepts UK students.

Unfortunately, we can't accept EU or international students on this course.

January 2024 start

Qualifications or experience
  • A lower second-class honour degree (2:1), or equivalent, in a relevant subject or a master's degree in an appropriate subject. Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. 
  • Applicants are advised to have relevant work experience through voluntary or paid employment or shadowing in a physiotherapy or health care environment.
  • All shortlisted applicants will need to attend an interview.
  • All successful applicants will be asked to complete confidential occupational health, immunisation, and disclosure and barring service checks.

Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered, such as previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component score below 6.5.

You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

  • you have a UK degree
  • you have a degree from a majority English speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country

Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English speaking countries will be considered on a case by case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

If you're applying as an international student with a non-UK degree, you’ll need to show you meet the UK entry requirements listed above.

To find out if your non-UK degree or other qualification is accepted, please visit our page for your country and view the UK equivalent of your qualification.

How to apply

Application deadline

To start this MSc Physiotherapy (Pre-registration) course in January 2024, the deadline to apply is 31 August 2023.

Applications and supporting documentation received after the deadline may not be considered and will be subject to availability of places on the course.

You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. Current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth and international students also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

Standard applications

Start this course in January 2023

Please contact us.

Start this course in January 2024 

We're accepting applications, to start this course in January 2024, from April – August 2023.

I'm a current Portsmouth student, or a recent Portsmouth graduate

If you're currently in your final year of study at Portsmouth, or you graduated since July 2021, you're eligible to make a fast track application. You'll have:

  • a shorter application form to complete
  • access to the 20% Alumni fee discount
  • a guaranteed conditional offer, for most Master's courses 

Learn more about fast track

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.