Sport and Exercise Physiotherapy (MSc)

The aims of the course are to develop your evaluative, critical thinking and problem solving skills, and to increase your practical and theoretical knowledge of sports science and injury, so that you can apply these skills in the further advancement of your profession. Minimum 2 year clinical experience required.

This well-established full-time MSc Sport & Exercise Physiotherapy course aims to develop sports physiotherapy practitioners to work at a specialist level within their field.

The course is suited to individuals working in a wide variety of sectors that involve managing people with sport or exercise related injuries, whether at high performance sport level or in a physiotherapy clinic.

The course has evolved thanks to input from national organisations such as the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Sports Medicine (ACPSM) and international organisations such as the International Federation of Sports Physical Therapy (IFSPT).

It is designed to help you develop towards ACPSM Gold standard level, using competencies defined by IFSP, as well as developing the knowledge, skills and behaviours that could help you pursue a career in sport and exercise.

The course aims to develop your evaluative, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and to increase your practical and theoretical knowledge of sports science and injury, so that you can apply these skills in the further advancement of your career.

Full-time students undertake the taught modules in one academic year and then have up to a further six months to complete the dissertation.

Distinctive features

  • The opportunity to learn in a School that is well respected within the physiotherapy profession and specifically within the sports physiotherapy specialist area.
  • The involvement of research-active and clinical staff in course design and delivery.
  • The emphasis on independent learning in a research-led environment.
  • The emphasis on acquisition of high quality clinical reasoning skills and the development of innovative ideas.
  • The opportunity to acquire the theoretical requirements of the Gold level Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Sports Medicine certificate.
  • Flexibility of delivery, enabling you to pursue a professional career in sport while studying part-time, or to take a career break and complete on a full-time basis.

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2018
Duration18 months
Other ways to study this course
Academic Tutor contact(s)
Admission Tutor contact(s)

Admissions criteria

The course is suitable for qualified physiotherapists with at least two years' clinical experience.

Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 (General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.

The personal statement on your application form will be considered when a judgement is made on your suitability for the programme for which you have applied.

You must address the following points in your personal statement, this list is not exhaustive:

  • Why have you selected this programme?
  • What interests you about the programme?
  • Any relevant experience related to the programme or module content.
  • How you plan to use the qualification in your career.
  • How you and your profession will benefit from your studies.
  • Why you feel you should be given a place on the programme.

Application deadline: End of July of each academic year.  Your application will be considered after this date but it may be for a later intake.

The programme is modular, with four taught modules and a dissertation. Full-time students undertake the taught modules in one academic year, earning 120 credits, and a postgraduate diploma award. A dissertation module (60 credits) then leads to an MSc (180 credits total). After the taught modules, as a full-time student, you have up to a further six months to complete the dissertation.

Three modules are specific to Sports Physiotherapy and there is also a generic module. The modules are presented in block format, with students required to attend the University for two to three-day blocks during the year.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2018/19 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2018.

Year one

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, group discussions and practical sessions. All content will be supported by online material through the Virtual Learning Environment, Learning Central to facilitate self-study, which is particularly useful for students living and working away from Cardiff. Self-study contributes to approximately 75% of the notional learning hours.

At the dissertation stage of the MSc, you are also required to undertake a research project involving data collection and some degree of originality.

How will I be supported?

The University offers a wide range of services and activities designed to support students. These include a student counselling service, a student advisory service, crèche and day facilities, sport and exercise facilities, as well as campus information, library and IT services.

This programme gives you the opportunity to share ideas with health professionals. As well as developing your own intellectual abilities, this sharing of ideas will enables you to learn and benefit from the experiences of others.  Opportunity is given for this sort of discussion and exchange of ideas through seminars and tutorials.

All students are given a named personal tutor following registration onto the programme, who is able to assist with any pastoral care as well as advice on writing style, grammar and academic mentoring.

All modules within the programme make extensive use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Learning Central, on which students will find course materials, links to related materials and assessment exemplars.

For students whose first language is not English there are open access English Language courses available. These are 5 week courses run on a first come first served basis and cost an administration fee of £25.


We will provide you with feedback on your work in a variety of formats.  These will include oral feedback during lectures, written feedback provided through online module discussion forums, and electronic feedback on assessed coursework through GradeMark.  You can discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor.

How will I be assessed?

A variety of assessment procedures include written assignments, oral presentations, poster presentations and small projects.

What skills will I practise and develop?

As a result of fully engaging in this course, you should be able to:

  • Practise your profession using an analytical and problem-solving approach and show advanced skills in the management of injuries within sport and exercise.
  • Evaluate practice and critically appraise advances or changes in professional practice.
  • Develop standards of practice based on reflective thinking and problem-solving.
  • Initiate change and lead in the management of change and the advancement of the profession in the sport and exercise environment through research.
  • Develop an holistic approach to the rehabilitation of an injured sportsperson or healthy active individual and be able to communicate with other health and sports related professionals to promote awareness of management and prevention of injury.

The course is designed to help you develop towards Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Sports & Exercise (ACPSM) Gold standard level, using competencies defined by International Federation of Sports Physiotherapists (IFSP), as well as developing the knowledge, skills and behaviours that could help you pursue a career in sport and exercise.

The team have put an MSc programme together that created an environment to give a more in-depth insight into preparing me to fulfil my ambition to work in professional sport. The programme allowed supported learning supplemented by expert guest lecturers who shared their experience and knowledge. This was balanced with teaching me how to highlight personal areas of strengths and weakness in order to direct my own learning, a skill that has been invaluable in ensuring I continually learn and develop in the highly competitive environment of Professional sport.

Nnaemeka ANOZIE (Chris) is from Nigeria. Following graduation, he is now the physiotherapist for the Nigerian National Football Team. He has travelled all over the world with this team and was in Rio Olympics 2016

"Coming to Cardiff for my MSc in Sports and Exercise Physiotherapy was a great experience.My critical appraisal mind sharpened, clinical reasoning broadened and Rehab principles understanding deepened. I will encourage all to come to Cardiff University, the citadel of great learning."

Master's Excellence Scholarships

Scholarships available worth £3,000 each for UK/EU students starting a master’s degree in September 2018.

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Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2018/19)

EU students entering in 2018/19 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course. Please be aware that fees may increase annually in line with inflation. No decisions regarding fees and loans for EU students starting in 2019/20 have been made yet. These will be determined as part of the UK's discussions on its membership of the EU and we will provide further details as soon as we can.

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More information about tuition fees, including for part-time and continuing students.

Students from outside the EU (2018/19)

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Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

 You will not need to provide any specific equipment.