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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

Studying physiotherapy at Cardiff means you will be studying at one of the top 3 physiotherapy courses in the UK as ranked by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.

Our physiotherapy programme will result in you being eligible to apply to the HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) for registration which means you will be licenced to practice as a qualified physiotherapist after graduating.

Physiotherapy is an exciting and ever-evolving professional career concerned with supporting individuals to live fulfilling and active lives. You will develop the skills to act as an autonomous practitioner providing holistic care with the person at the centre.

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

Our hands-on course offers you the chance to study through both academic and placement learning. Meaning you get to take what you’ve learnt in theory and put it into real practice when you’re out on placement.

You will study areas such as movement and exercise, manual therapies, electrotherapies, education and advice, and behavioural and psychological therapies. Your academic learning will be supported by researchers and academics. You will have a designated personal tutor to support your learning throughout your studies with us. Practical teaching takes place in specially designed labs and simulation suites.

Your placement learning takes place across Wales and takes up about one third of the course. Placements are an essential part of the course and they will give you the confidence and skills to practice physiotherapy professionally in real-life situations with qualified professionals supervising and supporting you. Placement learning also helps you gain insight as to the wide-ranging employment opportunities available to you upon qualification.

We constantly try to make sure you have plenty of opportunity to take part in extra-curricular activities such as physiotherapy-related support with the annual Cardiff Half Marathon.

Above all else, 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 (Knowledge and Skills Framework CSP, 2013) which enhance employability and provide you with the opportunity of securing rewarding and satisfying employment. That’s why 97% of our physiotherapy students are in employment or further study after 6 months of graduating (UNISTATS 2018).

Distinctive features

Studying physiotherapy at Cardiff means you will be studying at one of the top 3 physiotherapy courses in the UK as ranked by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019. Here are some of the key features of why we think our programme will make you the best physiotherapist you can be:

  • Our programme is validated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP);
  • Physiotherapy is a hands on degree developing both theoretical and practical skills. Our blended approach to learning combines face-to-face teaching with online resources and practice placements;
  • For Home/EU students you have the option to choose a fully funded place on the programme or receive a full NHS bursary for Tuition fees providing you agree to work in Wales for two years after qualifying;
  • Throughout the 3 years there is opportunity for you to undertake a global learning experience, either within the UK or overseas;
  • You’ll be studying at a Russell Group University which supports a strong research profile and evidence-based learning. Our programme is one of the few physiotherapy courses where learners complete a full dissertation project opening up career options in the field of research;
  • We have well-equipped skills laboratories which enable you to learn in simulations relating to your profession. Lifelike simulations mean you can safely practice and develop essential skills, developing your confidence and expertise before going out into placement;
  • Placement learning across Wales is an essential part of the programme and with unrivalled access to clinical settings throughout Wales means we can offer you a range of practice-based learning opportunities to ensure your experience is competitive in the UK employment market;
  • There are opportunities to participate in professional body activities, such as becoming a Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Student Representative, and to take part in ‘Community Engagement’ projects. Previous opportunities involved the ‘Inspire’ project, which aimed to support Paralympic athletes training for the 2012 Olympic Games, the Urdd Eisteddfod, collaboration with organisations such as ‘work the world’ and physiotherapy-related support for sporting events such as the 2016 World Half Marathon held in Cardiff and the Cardiff-half marathon.

Accreditations

UCAS codeB162
Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration3 years
ModeFull time

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

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.

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

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

62 with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

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
£19,850None

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

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

Course specific equipment

All equipment needed during your lectures, practicals, tutorials and placements is provided although some students do choose to purchase their own equipment in order to practice skills learnt as part of self-study. Below is a list of equipment students have purchased in previous cohorts;

  • A number of small items that will cost approximately £15 in total including an 8" goniometer, tape measure, marking pencil (eyebrow pencil is usually applicable) and a pack of face paint crayons - useful for surface marking in 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 at university and can be borrowed from clinical areas while on placement. Students can buy their own stethoscope (approximately £45) to take out on clinical placement during their second and third years.

Accommodation

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

Course structure

The Programme takes place over three years of full-time study. It follows a modular framework where each academic year, consists of 4 modules, represents a single level of learning. A single level is equal to 120 credits and the award of BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy requires the accumulation of 360 credits.

The first 18 months of your undergraduate education will be based in university gaining the knowledge, skills and behaviours to be an active participant in your first practice-based education opportunity half way through year 2. The second 18 months you will spend the majority of your time in practice settings developing your personal and professional skills across a range of different areas of physiotherapy and returning to university to complete your research project with guidance from your research supervisor.

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, so you can integrate knowledge of physiological, biomechanical, anatomical, behavioural and clinical sciences which provide the foundation for physiotherapy practice. As you progress through the years you are required to add different layers to your knowledge and skills revisiting subject areas, adding increasing levels of complexity including, reasoning approaches, patient centred care, multi-disciplinary working, service user diversity, practice-based learning, government and professional drivers and public health.   

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

Year one will include foundation studies which include human anatomy and physiology; psychology, sociology and behaviour science; biomechanical and exercise science; and clinical Sciences alongside Physiotherapy Studies. Knowledge of the theory and practice of the profession allows you to acquire basic therapeutic skills, and alongside critical theory you will begin to develop an understanding of evidence-based practice. Initially you will be supported by academic staff to identify your personal learning needs and goals to empower you to take a more active learning role as the year progresses. Exploration of your personal and professional identity will start the process of self-evaluation and reflection, key skills needed to become a practicing Physiotherapist.  

Year two

Year two develops many of the themes introduced at Level 4 in order that you can apply the knowledge and skills within the clinical reasoning and person-centred approaches essential to the clinical aspect of the programme. An integrated approach will continue combining the knowledge and skills of physiotherapy practice with the values, identity and beliefs of service users to ensure delivery of person-centred care. Practice-based learning will provide experiential learning in a variety of settings and develop confidence in service user management skills. Critical reflection of own practice, multi-disciplinary working, communication and personal identity will be themes developed through completion of a portfolio which will continue the process of self-evaluation and personal and professional development. You will be introduced to the process of undertaking ethical research in the field of healthcare to develop skills of critical appraisal to evaluate the concepts of best practice and evidence-based care.

Year three

During Year three 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 for your learning in university. Guidance and support of the clinical educators and research supervisors remains crucial to support your development to become an autonomous practitioner. The management of the BSc research project (dissertation) will reinforce those key skills that are essential for evidence-based practice. They will develop analytical skills to challenge assumptions and integrate multiple concepts to justify their clinical decisions. The Learner will develop, through reflective practice, the ability to evaluate their decision-making skills and adapt their practice when managing service users with complex conditions and multi pathologies. There will also be a focus on becoming ‘employment ready’, considering wider responsibilities such as public health, preparing continue professional development portfolios, management and leadership, service development and developing entrepreneurship.  

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 courses, all of which have been accredited by the relevant professional bodies.

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

Independent studies are also an important aspect of the programme. 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 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 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; learning alongside students from other disciplines are embedded.

This programme offers elements of provision through the medium of Welsh. This is achieved through, where possible, placing students in Welsh speaking areas or with Welsh speaking supervisors in their clinical placements, 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 supported?

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your studies with whom you will have regular meetings with. 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 dissertation. When you are out on practice-based learning you will be assigned to a mentor/clinical educator who will support you with your practice-based learning.

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.

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 including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.

How will I be assessed?

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

Feedback
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 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 practice-based experiences you will be supported by mentors/clinical educators who will provide verbal and written feedback on your progress and clinical performance.

What skills will I practise and develop?

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

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:

  • 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. 

Intellectual Skills:

  • Systematically evaluate research evidence including healthcare guidelines and integrate with individuals’ needs and personal/professional experience to provide effective management.
  • Contribute positively to the development of ethical research within the healthcare setting with ability to evaluate research questions, methodologies and research findings and integrate into their professional practice.

Professional Practical Skills:

  • Act as autonomous and independent practitioners who critically evaluate and reflect on their practice while adhering to the HPC standards of conduct, performance and ethics (2016), with an acute awareness of the scope and limits of physiotherapy practice.
  • Work as members of a multi-professional team to provide healthcare with the individuals’ values at its heart, ensuring a humanistic approach to the management of patients of all ages and cultures.
  • Demonstrate a wide range of effective communication skills, including verbal, visual and written, using a critical approach to adapt these skills to ensure a collaborative approach to giving and receiving of information to a diverse range of audiences.

Transferable/Key Skills:

  • Adapt to the changing role, responsibilities, working practices and environments and demonstrate resilience, leadership and innovation to advance physiotherapy practice.
  • Utilise effective educational and mentoring skills to empower individuals to take responsibility for their own health.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

Becoming a physiotherapist means you can play a key role in enabling people to improve their health, wellbeing and quality of life.

97% of our graduates were in employment and/or further study six months after graduating (UNISTATS 2018). Our programmes offer a considerable amount of time on practice-based learning opportunities which help develop confidence, abilities and employability as a healthcare professional.

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 an MSc in Physiotherapy or MSc in Sports and Exercise, Phds roles as research assistants or train as an equine, canine or veterinary physiotherapist.

Jobs

  • Physiotherapist

Placements

During year two and three, you will take part in practice-based learning, throughout Wales and in some circumstances throughout the UK.  Each practice-based experience is four weeks long and there are seven 4-week blocks in total, four placements in year 2 and three in year 3. There are opportunities for learners to complete international practice-based experiences. There are options for learners to complete international experiences external to the programme or complete the experience as part of the programme during one of the seven practice-based experiences identified above. Learners can discuss the options with a ‘mobility officer’ who can advise them on the logistics of organising an international learning experience. 

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