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Pre-Registration Physiotherapy (MSc)

  • Duration: 2 years
  • Mode: Full time

Applications are closed

Applications for this course are currently closed. Contact us for more information.

Physio massage

Conversion course

This is a conversion course. Conversion courses allow you to study a subject unrelated to your undergraduate degree or current career, and support you with a change of career path.


Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

Physiotherapy is an exciting and ever-evolving professional career concerned with supporting individuals to live fulfilling and active lives.


We are ranked 1st in Wales and 3rd in UK

For pre-registration physiotherapy education.


Only University in Wales

To offer a two-year MSc Pre-registration Physiotherapy programme.


Professionally accredited

Our programme is validated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).


Clinical exposure

Placements across Wales ensure a range of clinical experiences, as well as opportunities to work or volunteer abroad.


State of the art facilities

Our skills laboratories and practical rooms allow you to safely practice essential skills before going on placement.

On this programme, you will develop the skills to act as an autonomous practitioner providing holistic, person-centred care.

Successful completion of our physiotherapy programme will result in you being eligible to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for registration, and then subsequently practice as a qualified, registered physiotherapist in the UK.

A career in physiotherapy opens opportunities to work closely with public health organisations, to explore innovative ideas around health promotion and to be at the forefront of healthcare delivery. Physiotherapy offers you the chance to be in stimulating, sociable and supportive environments where you will work closely with other professions as part of multi-disciplinary teams, patients, and their families.

At Cardiff University, we strive to ensure that our graduates are ready for the next step in their career and the many opportunities that await them. Our programme aims to develop your knowledge, skills (intellectual, discipline specific and transferrable), professional behaviours and values to help you secure rewarding and satisfying employment after qualifying. That is why 99% of our physiotherapy students are in employment or further study after 15 months since graduating (DiscoverUni).


Where you'll study

School of Healthcare Sciences

Our courses are designed to provide you with the knowledge and experience you need to embark on a professional healthcare career.

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  • Telephone+44(0) 29 2068 7538
  • MarkerUniversity Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN

Admissions criteria

This is a conversion course. Conversion courses allow you to study a subject unrelated to your undergraduate degree or current career, and support you with a change of career path. No prior knowledge or degree in the subject is required.

In order to be considered for an offer for this programme you will need to meet all of the entry requirements. Your application will not be progressed if the information and evidence listed is not provided.

With your online application you will need to provide:

  1. A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts which show you have achieved a 2:1 honours degree in any subject area, or an equivalent international degree. If your degree certificate or result is pending, please upload any interim transcripts or provisional certificates.
  2. A copy of your GCSE certificate(s) which show you have achieved a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C/4 or higher. These must include Maths and one science (from Biology, Chemistry, and Physics), or equivalent qualifications (subject and grade).
  3. A copy of your IELTS certificate with an overall score of 7.0 with 6.0 in all subskills, or evidence of an accepted equivalent. Please include the date of your expected test if this qualification is pending. If you have alternative acceptable evidence, such as GCSE English language at grade B/6, please supply this in place of an IELTS.
  4. Two references (academic or professional) to support your application. References should be signed, dated and less than twelve months old at the time you submit your application.
  5. A personal statement (maximum 600 words) which shows evidence of:
  • an understanding of the nature of physiotherapy and the breadth of the profession,
  • a desire to study physiotherapy,
  • an ability to demonstrate attributes and skills relevant to the physiotherapy profession,
  • previous research experience.

Application Deadline

We allocate places following interview on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible. Applications normally close on 31st January each year.

Selection process

We will review your application and if you meet the entry requirements, we will invite you to an interview. The interview aim to challenge applicants to critically appraise information, to communicate ideas, and demonstrate that they have insight into the values and some of the issues that are important to the physiotherapy profession. Following interview, offers will be made to the highest scoring candidates.

Additional requirements

All successful applicants will be required to have a satisfactory health screening prior to enrolment on this programme, which is conducted independently by the University’s Occupational Health Department. There will be a need to adhere to any immunisation requirements identified. Full guidance will be provided during the application and enrolment process.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You will be required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check if your application is successful. If you are applying from certain countries overseas, a Certificate of Good Conduct may be required.

If you have a relevant criminal conviction, this will be stated in the check and may affect your ability to enrol on the course. Applicants who are on the barred list should be aware that applying to this course is likely to be considered a criminal offence.

Course structure

The programme consists of 2 years of full-time study. It follows a modular framework with each individual module studied at Masters-level (Level 7). The first year of the programme will total 120 academic credits and the second year will total 60 credits and include a distinct and substantial research project. The award of MSc Pre-Registration Physiotherapy requires the accumulation of 180 credits.

The integrated curriculum will help you to identify connections between the knowledge, skills and behaviours that are key to a developing physiotherapist. The first year of the programme is structured so modules run in parallel, and you can integrate knowledge of physiological, biomechanical, anatomical, behavioural, and clinical sciences which provide the foundation for physiotherapy practice. You will also gain a deeper understanding of research in healthcare. As you progress you are required to add different layers and increasing levels of complexity to your knowledge and skills revisiting subject areas such as patient-centred care, multi-disciplinary working, service user diversity, practice-based learning, government and professional drivers, and public health.

You will participate in 12 weeks of practice-based learning in the first year of the programme and a further 16 weeks in year 2, during which you will explore the patient journey and develop your personal and professional skills across a range of different areas of physiotherapy.

The second year of the programme adds further complexity in terms of clinical decision making, reasoning approaches, deeper explorations of injustice and inequality in society, and legal and ethical frameworks affecting practice. You will also plan, conduct, and disseminate a research project with guidance from your project supervisor. 

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/25 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

Year one

In year one you will explore the fundamental knowledge of physiotherapy, including human anatomy and physiology, psychology, sociology and behaviour science, biomechanical and exercise science, and clinical Sciences.

Knowledge of the theory and practice of the profession will allow you to acquire therapeutic skills and an understanding of critical theory, research methods and evidence-based practice. You will study the process of undertaking ethical research in the field of healthcare and develop skills of critical appraisal to evaluate the concepts of best practice and evidence-based care. The skills which you develop will help you to conduct a full piece of independent research in the second year of the programme.

You will use hands-on peer-to-peer practice, simulation, and practice-based learning experiences to investigate and apply clinical reasoning and person-centred approaches to physiotherapy assessment and management strategies.  Service user engagement will occur at multiple stages in the programme so you can benefit from authentic encounters with patients, families and carers and build an understanding of the impact of your actions, behaviours, and communication along the patient journey. Practice-based placements will provide experiential learning in a variety of settings and further develop your confidence in service-user management skills. Year one includes 12 weeks of practice-based placements.

You will be supported by academic staff and your interprofessional Study Group to identify your personal learning needs and goals to empower you to take an active learning role as the programme progresses. You will be expected to contribute to your Study Group to grow your own development as well as contribute to that of your peers. Exploration of your personal and professional identity will start the process of self-evaluation and reflection, key skills needed to become a practicing Physiotherapist.

Critical reflection of your own practice, multi-disciplinary working, communication, and personal identity will be themes developed through the completion of tasks/activities, culminating in a portfolio which will continue the process of self-evaluation and personal and professional development.

Year two

In year two you will be required to use initiative, balance competing demands, self-evaluate your own learning, negotiate, and demonstrate a sense of judgement. You will be expected to take increasing responsibility within the clinical environment and in your learning. The second year includes 16 weeks of practice-based placements.

Guidance and support from clinical educators and research supervisors remain crucial to support your development to become an autonomous practitioner. The management of your own independent research project will reinforce the key skills that are essential for evidence-based practice, thus building on theoretical research experienced in year one.

You will develop analytical skills to challenge assumptions and integrate multiple concepts to justify your clinical decisions. Through critically reflective practice, you will develop the ability to evaluate your decision-making skills and adapt your practice when managing service users with complex conditions and multi pathologies. Again, service users will form a key part of this experience and you will have the opportunity to discuss theory and practice with patients, families, and carers within the university setting.

In the second year, there will be a focus on becoming ‘employment ready,’ and you will need to consider wider responsibilities such as public health, preparing continued professional development portfolios, management and leadership, service development and developing entrepreneurship.
You will continue to work with and learn from your interprofessional Study Group, specifically investigating contemporary issues affecting healthcare in Wales and co-producing innovative solutions/service improvement plans to address these issues. You are expected to participate in and contribute to a final year student-led symposium to showcase research, innovative practice, project outputs and general professional development.

Towards the end of the year, you will have the opportunity to engage with clinical educator training to build an understanding of supporting students on placement so that you are ready and able to contribute to the mentoring role within practice in your first employment role.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Complexity in Healthcare and RehabilitationHCT36320 credits
Applied ResearchHCT36440 credits

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.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

Our course is designed to be stimulating and relevant to the needs of a professional physiotherapist. Great emphasis has been placed on the practical and clinical aspects of the course, all of which have been accredited by the relevant professional bodies.

Diverse learning and teaching methods are used throughout and reflect module content and your developing knowledge and expertise. All modules have a formalised teaching and learning structure which employ a range of formal lectures, seminars, workshops, practical skills sessions, case scenarios and simulation. The sessions are balanced across each week to provide a blended approach which includes a variety of face-face and online interactions, as well as asynchronous activities conducted at a suitable time for you.


Independent studies are an important aspect of the programme. Specific work may be set but you will also be required to identify gaps in understanding and address these in self-study or independent learning sessions.

The modular structure embraces teaching and learning opportunities available in a practice-based environment, where you will spend 1,000 hours in a practice setting. Acquiring knowledge and skills through practical experience is key to our physiotherapy degrees.


Just as in the professional environment, dedicated focus is placed on working in a multi-disciplinary team at university. Opportunities for shared learning and interprofessional education, learning with and from students from other disciplines, are embedded throughout. You will work regularly with an interprofessional Study Group, participate in simulated case-based learning activities/scenarios, and explore and reflect on alternative views of healthcare using media, arts, and patient stories.

We offer elements of provision through the medium of Welsh. This is achieved by placing students in Welsh speaking areas or with Welsh speaking supervisors in their clinical placements (where possible), supporting students with learning materials and group work in the medium of Welsh where appropriate and by enabling students who wish to submit assignments or to complete examinations in Welsh to do so. All students are entitled to a Welsh speaking personal tutor for the duration of their studies.

How will I be assessed?

Assessments include written assignments (including report writing), visual and verbal presentations, practical examinations, portfolio creation, clinical assessment and the production and dissemination of a research project.

We will provide you with feedback on your work in a variety of formats. These will include oral and visual feedback during practical lessons and tutorials, feedback provided during lectures, written feedback provided through online module discussion forums, and electronic written feedback on assessed coursework through Feedback Studio.

You will be provided with summary written feedback in relation to examinations and you can discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor. During placements, you will be supported by mentors/clinical educators who will provide verbal and written feedback on your progress and clinical performance. You will be expected to develop self-evaluation skills during learning experiences, including the use of reflection on academic and clinical feedback.

How will I be supported?

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your studies, with whom you will have regular meetings. They will provide pastoral support and academic guidance throughout the programme. In addition, you will be assigned an academic supervisor who will support you in the development of your research project. When you are out on placements you will be assigned to a mentor/clinical educator who will support you with your practice-based learning.

Your interprofessional Study Groups will offer peer-to-peer support and this will also be facilitated by a named academic who will guide the group through learning experiences.

Our virtual learning environment is accessible via desktop and mobile devices, allowing you to access electronic resources from anywhere. Dedicated computer labs, student study rooms, campus wide Wi-Fi networks, printing facilities and a dedicated Healthcare Library are available year-round. Staff are available onsite and online to assist students and provide support and advice.

You will have access through the Learning Central VLE to relevant multimedia material, presentations, videos, lecture capture, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises, and discussion circles.

The University offers a range of services via the Centre for Student Life, Student Connect, Student Futures, the Student Disability Service, as well as excellent libraries and resource centres. Services on offer cover all areas relating to student life, including support with study, health and well-being, preparing for the future, managing money and living in Cardiff. 

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below. On successful completion of the Programme, you will be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding:

  1. Apply core physiotherapy knowledge and skills associated with the safe and effective best practice of physiotherapy with due regard to the ethical, social, political, and legal aspects of care to meet the needs of diverse, contemporary environments and their populations.
  2. Identify, understand, and respond to the complex needs of diverse populations and be conscious of your influence, impact, leadership, and responsibilities in relation to service users, peers, colleagues, the wider profession, local, national, and global communities and the environment as a whole.

Intellectual Skills:

  1. Critically and systematically evaluate research evidence including healthcare guidelines and integrate with individuals’ needs and personal/professional experience to provide effective management.
  2. Contribute positively to the development of ethical research within the healthcare setting with ability to critically evaluate research questions, methodologies and research findings and integrate into their professional practice.
  3. Methodically deal with unpredictably complex issues using creativity where necessary and communicating with appropriate reasoning to explain decision-making strategies to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  4. Exhibit self-direction and originality when tackling and solving problems, demonstrating a clear vision of individual learning needs whilst formulating, implementing, and evaluating strategies to address these where required.

Professional Practical Skills:

  1. Act as autonomous and independent practitioners who critically evaluate and reflect on their practice while adhering to the Health and Care Professions Council Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (HCPC 2016), and Standards of Proficiency (HCPC, 2013) and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) Code of Professional Values (CSP, 2019), with an acute awareness of the scope and limits of physiotherapy practice.
  2. Apply and develop advanced interpersonal, team and networking skills to strategically enhance multi-professional team working whilst providing prudent healthcare with the individuals’ values at its heart; ensuring a humanistic approach to the management of patients of all ages and cultures, utilising opportunities to enhance practice through reflection and critical evaluation to enhance service development.
  3. Systematically organise and communicate advanced information using diverse media, operating a critical approach to adapt these skills to ensure a collaborative and inclusive approach to giving and receiving of information to a range of audiences.
  4. Respond to the varying levels of complexity, unpredictability, and uncertainty in healthcare contexts through demonstration and implementation of appropriate reasoning to implement and critically evaluate physiotherapy skills across the range of practice settings.

Transferable/Key Skills:

  1. Adapt to the changing role, responsibilities, working practices and environments and demonstrate resilience, compassionate leadership, and innovation to advance physiotherapy practice.
  2. Select and apply advanced principles, concepts, theoretical frameworks, and approaches relating to education and mentoring to empower individuals to take responsibility for their own health.
  3. Systematically apply an advanced awareness of ethical and professional values and codes of conduct, to personal and strategic decisions, actions, responsibilities, outcomes, and dilemmas, whilst working proactively with others to suggest and advocate appropriate solutions in unpredictably complex contexts.

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

A full NHS bursary, including tuition fees and a non-repayable bursary for living costs, is available for this programme. Further details are available on our NHS funding pages.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

An NHS placement is a required part of this course. The NHS only makes placements available to students who are eligible to pay UK fees. Therefore, this course is not available for international students.

Additional costs

Applicants are required to meet the costs of obtaining a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Certificate as part of the application process.

Please also be aware that the costs of any elective international experiences/placements will likely incur additional costs at the student’s own responsibility.   

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.


NHS funding for pre-registration Occupational Therapy and pre-registration Physiotherapy

Eligibility for NHS funding is subject to new students committing in advance to work in Wales for 18 months post-qualification.

Careers and placements

Becoming a physiotherapist means you can play a key role in enabling people to improve their health, wellbeing, and quality of life. 99% of our Physiotherapy BSc graduates were in employment and/or further study 15 months after graduating (DiscoverUni).


Once you have a physiotherapy degree you are eligible to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You can also join the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) as a qualified member and enjoy the chartered status which may provide an advantage in the jobs market.


Physiotherapy offers you many different and flexible employment options. Once you have qualified and gained some clinical experience you could go on to work within:

  • Health boards and NHS trusts,
  • Community health services,
  • Local government social service departments,
  • International health services,
  • Higher education institutions
  • Private practice
  • Charitable Organisations
  • Professional Sports.

Our graduates have also gone on to complete further study including a MSc in Physiotherapy or MSc in Sports and Exercise, PhDs, roles as research assistants or train as an equine, canine, or veterinary physiotherapist.


You will participate in practice-based learning in both years of the programme. Placements will allow you to explore the patient journey and develop your personal and professional skills across a range of different areas of physiotherapy. It is expected that you will complete at least 1000 hours of practice-based learning during the programme.

Placements will be located across Wales and in some circumstances in other areas of the UK.  The first practice-based placement is a four-week block in February/March of the first year. The remaining practice-based placements are 8 weeks in duration, with one at the end of the first year (June/July/August) and the others in the second year (October/November/December and March/April).

[Please note that exact placement dates will be cohort specific and subject to slight variations on an annual basis – you can expect to be fully informed at enrolment]

Your placement locations will be varied to ensure you graduate with a strong clinical profile and with experience of working with different NHS Trusts and service providers. There are options for learners to complete international experiences external to the programme or as part of the programme during one of the 4 placement blocks identified above. You can discuss the options with a ‘mobility officer’ who can advise on the logistics of organising an international learning experience.

Practice-based learning placements are aligned to modules within the programme, and you will be expected to reach the pass standard during placements. Experience gained during placements will feed into assessment tasks for the academic module on return to university.

Next steps


Open Day visits

Register for information about our 2023 dates.

Make an enquiry

Contact us for more information about this course.


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Make an enquiry

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Related searches: Physiotherapy, Physio, Pre-registration physiotherapy

HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.