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Physiotherapy (BSc)

Entry year

Our Physiotherapy BSc (Hons) programme aims to support you in becoming a physiotherapist who can practise using an evaluative and problem-solving approach.

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Physiotherapy students with skeleton model

Course overview

The BSc Physiotherapy course aims to equip you with all the skills you need to work as a formally registered physiotherapist. You will be comprehensively prepared for the demands of evidence-based practice and become adaptable to the evolving world of contemporary health and social care.

Our course offers the chance to learn through theoretical and practical skills. ‘Hands-on’ application is a major component. Placement learning is also essential, as it directly contributes to your preparation for post-registration careers.

We aim to give you opportunities to develop your knowledge, understanding, intellectual skills, practical skills and personal skills: all of which are necessary for safe and effective physiotherapy.

Validated by the Health and Care Professions Council and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), this degree offers excellent career opportunities. Typically you will spend at least 1,000 hours on clinical placements throughout Wales and in certain circumstances beyond, applying your skills alongside practising professionals.

During your application to the course you will be required to demonstrate that you meet the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) good health and character, fitness to practise requirements. This will be achieved by providing a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate. All applicants will be required to have a satisfactory health screening prior to enrolment on this course which is conducted independently by the University’s Occupational Health Department. Full guidance on this will be provided at application stage.


Distinctive features

  • The Complete University Guide 2015 ranked physiotherapy at Cardiff University first in the UK, based on student satisfaction, entry standards, student-staff ratios and graduate prospects.
  • During the taught element of the course, you will complete the following compulsory, certified courses:
    - All Wales Manual Handling Passport
    - Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation
  • There are opportunities to participate in professional body activities, such as becoming CSP Rep and being Student Reps, and to take part in ‘Community Engagement’ projects. These can expand upon many of your skills and clinical experiences from the BSc course. Previous opportunities involved the ‘Inspire’ project, which aimed to support Paralympic athletes training for the 2012 Games, the Urdd Eisteddfod and physiotherapy-related support for sporting events such as the 2016 World Half Marathon held in Cardiff.
  • The School provides pre-registration courses recognised by the UK Health and Care Professions Council in occupational therapy, operating department practice, physiotherapy, diagnostic radiography and imaging and radiotherapy and oncology. It also provides pre-registration courses in nursing and midwifery. This contributes to a vibrant interdisciplinary environment, with opportunities for shared learning and inter-professional education not available at many institutions.


UCAS codeB160
Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe course typically has approximately 130 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe course typically receives approximately 800 applications.

Study at one of the top 3 physiotherapy courses in the UK as ranked by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.

Entry requirements

AAB including a B in Biology or Human Biology, plus(where applicable) a pass in the practical element of A level Biology. Please note, General Studies will not be accepted. 

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

We only accept BTEC Extended national diploma in Applied Science at DDD or above as a standalone qualification. Other combinations may be considered but applicants should contact the school directly before submitting an application.

34 points to include 6 in Biology or Human Biology at Higher Level.

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Healthcare Sciences admissions criteria pages.

If you are an overseas applicant and your first language is not English, please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our accepted qualifications.

You will require seven GCSEs grade A*-C or grade 9-4 including English or Welsh Language, Maths and Science. If you are successful in both academic and non-academic assessment you will also be invited to attend a multiple mini interview.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

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 outside the EU (2019/20)

Tuition feeDeposit

Tuition fees for international students are fixed for the majority of three year undergraduate courses. This means the price you pay in year one will be the same in years two and three. Some courses are exempt, including four and five year programmes and Medical and Dental courses. Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Additional costs

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

Applicants are advised that while you may be entitled to be reimbursed for some of the costs you incur whilst attending practice placements, you will be required to cover the initial costs for later reimbursement. This may include both accommodation and travel costs (if they are in excess of your normal daily travel costs to your University base).

Course specific equipment

For the start of the first term, you will be asked to purchase several items for practical classes:

  • A number of small items that will cost approximately £15 in total including a  8" goniometer,  tape measure, marking pencil (eyebrow pencil is usually applicable) and a pack of face paint crayons - useful for drawing muscles during surface anatomy practical classes.
  • Skeletons – a life sized set of artificial bones modelled on human ones in a lockable storage box are available for you to hire from the School. Although it is not obligatory, hiring a skeleton is highly recommended to help support your learning of anatomy. Hiring a skeleton currently costs £30 (non-refundable) but they can be shared with a group of four to help reduce the cost and to create a learning group.
  • Stethoscopes will be available for students to use in class during their first year. Students will need to buy their own stethoscope (approximately £45) to take out on clinical placement during their second year.


We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

This is a three-year full-time degree. All course modules are compulsory adding up to 120 credits per year, 360 credits in all.

You must pass all modules and assessments.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

Year one

In year one your foundation studies will include Biomedical and Human Sciences alongside Physiotherapy Studies. Knowledge of the theory and practice of the profession allows you to acquire basic therapeutic skills. You will be assessed through examinations, written assignments, practical and coursework components.

The taught modules in year one total 120 credits. All are core (compulsory).

Module titleModule codeCredits
AnatomyHC111620 credits
Practical Skills 1HC111720 credits
PhysiologyHC111820 credits
Physiotherapy Theory, Physical Activity and ExerciseHC111920 credits
Practical Skills 2HC112020 credits
Personal and Professional Development and Communication 1HC112120 credits

Year two

Assessment and treatment skills are extended in year two (level five). You will apply skills using a problem solving approach in the clinical situation, and begin to develop an understanding of evidence based practice. Continuous assessment includes assignment writing, practical examination and placement learning assessment.

The taught modules in year two total 120 credits. All are core (compulsory).

Year three

During level six, you will develop your understanding of managing patients with complex conditions and multi pathologies. Continuous assessment includes placement learning, coursework, a portfolio and a research dissertation.

The taught modules in year three total 120 credits. All are core (compulsory).

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 courses are designed to be stimulating and relevant to the needs of a professional healthcare career. Great emphasis has been placed on the practical and clinical aspects of the courses, all of which have been accredited by the relevant professional bodies.

Diverse learning and teaching methods are used throughout, reflecting module content, students' developing knowledge and growing expertise. All modules have a formalised teaching and learning structure which employ a range of formal lectures, seminars, workshops, skills laboratories and case scenarios.

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

The modular structure embraces teaching and learning opportunities available in a clinical environment, where a student will typically spend over 1,000 hours on placement. Acquiring knowledge and skills through practical experience is key to the Physiotherapy degree.

As in the professional environment, great emphasis is placed on working in a multi-disciplinary team. Opportunities for shared learning and inter-professional education – training alongside students from other disciplines – are increasingly embedded.

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




How will I be supported?

You will have regular meetings with your personal tutor who 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 dissertation.

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 WiFi networks, printing facilities and a dedicated Healthcare library are available year-round. Staff are available onsite to assist students and provide support and advice.

The School of Healthcare Sciences has recently invested in new facilities and equipment, aiming to provide some of the best technology and modern facilities at your disposal. These include a dedicated Research Centre for Clinical Kinesiology, a radiographic imaging suite, a Virtual Environment Suite allowing for 3D simulations, and dedicated occupational therapy and operating department suites, allowing for training and research in industry-standard environments.

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

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.


We will provide you with feedback on your work in a variety of formats. These will include oral feedback during tutorials, feedback provided during lectures, written feedback provided through online module discussion forums, and electronic written feedback on assessed coursework through GradeMark. You will be provided with summary written feedback in relation to examinations and you can discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor.  During clinical placements you will be supported in your progress by mentors/clinical teachers who will provide verbal and written feedback on your clinical competency.

How will I be assessed?

Assessments include written examinations, written assignments (including report writing), verbal presentation, practical examination, clinical assessment and the production of a research dissertation in year three. 

Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams


Practical exams




Year 2

Written exams


Practical exams




Year 3

Written exams


Practical exams




What skills will I practise and develop?

You will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’.

These include:

  • Extended communication skills from managing patients with varying levels of capacity;
  • Self-directed, independent learning skills enabling you to manage your continued personal and professional development;
  • Project management through experience of managing large volumes of learning and research projects, and the writing of your dissertation;
  • Professionalism, an innate part of your professional development;
  • Effective time and workload management;
  • Adaptability regarding effective self-management in the context of changes in the needs of the Health Service;
  • Critical evaluation skills through your appraisal of peer reviewed literature and identification of good and best practice;
  • An awareness of approaches to and methods of service improvement;
  • Effective approaches to job application and employment interviews.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

As a School of Healthcare Sciences  97% of our graduates were in employment and/or further study six months after graduating.* Our courses offer a considerable amount of time on practical learning opportunities which help develop confidence, abilities and employability as a healthcare professional.

Employers can include: various Health Boards and NHS Trusts, Community Health Services, local government social service departments, international health services, higher education institutions and organisations such as Age Concern and the Cardiff Blues rugby team.

*Graduate destinations statistics are based on HESA Destination of Leavers of Higher Education 2013/14 data.


  • Physiotherapist


During year two and three, you will take part in placement learning, throughout Wales and in some circumstances beyond.  Each placement is four weeks long and there are four placements in each of the two years. 


Next Undergraduate Open Day

Friday 5 July




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