Physiotherapy - BSc (Hons)

2025/26 Full-time Undergraduate course

Award:

Bachelor of Science with Honours

Faculty:

Faculty of Life and Health Sciences

School:

School of Health Sciences

Campus:

Derry~Londonderry campus

UCAS code:

B160
The UCAS code for Ulster University is U20

Start date:

September 2025

Students from England, Scotland, Wales or EU (except the Republic of Ireland)

Unfortunately, Ulster University is not in a position to accept applications from students from England, Scotland, Wales or EU (except the Republic of Ireland) for this course due to regulations issued by the Department of Health Northern Ireland.

Further information on Department of Health funded courses

Overview

Training you for success as a modern, proficient, up-to-date and research-informed physiotherapist.

Summary

Are you willing to put patients first in everything you do, and treat all with respect, dignity & compassion? Are you aware that physiotherapists work in all areas of health (e.g. elderly care, intensive care, respiratory care, stroke care, mental health & orthopaedics) not just in musculoskeletal/sports injuries? Do you realise that, for the safety of their patients, all physiotherapy students are required to be vaccinated and to pass both a medical and an enhanced criminal record check? Do you appreciate that physiotherapy students are expected to act in the role of patients for their classmates during practical classes, and that this sometimes means being appropriately dressed for that activity? Are you prepared to put in a lot of work (20+ in-class hours in Year 1, plus plenty of home study)?... If so, this may be the course for you.

We will train you to cope with virtually all situations that physiotherapists meet professionally. We will also focus on your academic development, aiming to leave you able to: identify problems that need solving, seek out related information and critically appraise its value, come up with recommendations for tackling the initial problem, and produce a report/presentation with which to transmit your recommendations to an audience.

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

About this course

About

Comments from academic peers from other universities include:

"The programme compares highly favourably with similar programmes that I am familiar with at other institutions."

"A highly contemporary professional course that more than meets the requirements of academic and professional regulatory bodies."

"The performance both from an academic and clinical perspective across each student group is reflective of an outstanding level of student support."

"Students are producing a very high standard of work across all three levels."

"I was particularly impressed with some of the writing skills of students in their second year. Written assignments tend to be reduced in courses these days and this may impact on the dissertation in Year 3."

"Feedback to the students was detailed."

"The integration of contemporary policy and professional issues, clearly linked to employment and employability contributes to keeping the programme content highly relevant."

"Quite rightly a very highly regarded pre-registration programme in the UK."

Attendance

Three years, full-time. In addition, two placement blocks occur in summer semesters. Attendance is closely monitored given the large amount of practical components within the course but also to allow staff to identify students who might require additional support.

Start dates

  • September 2025

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

You will work both individually and in groups. You will be taught in lectures (approx. 90 students), seminars (approx. 30 students) and practical classes (approx. 30 students). The majority of the course is delivered in practical classes where you will learn and practise the various practical skills needed by a physiotherapist. In these classes, you will alternate between taking on the role of physiotherapist and patient.

Lectures may be delivered live in person or online dependent upon the module. Lecturers might use a range of techniques to deliver materials.

You will be assessed in a variety of ways, such as written class tests, practical skills tests, presentations, oral tests, essays, dissertation, etc. You will also be assessed on your performance on placement.

Attendance and Independent Study

The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

  • Attendance and Independent Study

    As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

    Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10, 20, or 40 credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate courses typically 15 or 30 credit modules.

    The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Teaching and learning activities will be in-person and/or online depending on the nature of the course. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

    Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

    Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.

  • Assessment

    Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes.  You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessments. This feedback may be issued individually and/or issued to the group and you will be encouraged to act on this feedback for your own development.

    Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification, the assessment timetable and the assessment brief. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised. The module pass mark for undergraduate courses is 40%. The module pass mark for postgraduate courses is 50%.

  • Calculation of the Final Award

    The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

    Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

    All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study.

    In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

    Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 60% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (19%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (22%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic and learning support staff (85%) are recognised as fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advance HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise.  The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff.  This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.

Modules

Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Cardiorespiratory 1

Year: 1

Cardiorespiratory 1 module provides students with the knowledge and understanding of the role of the Physiotherapist in the management of the spontaneously breathing patient with respiratory compromise. Students will develop their physiotherapy assessment and treatment skills relevant to common clinical cardiorespiratory disorders. This will help prepare them for the assessment, treatment and management of cardiorespiratory patients on clinical placement.

Development of the physiotherapist as a professional and Professional practice placement 1

Year: 1

This module will prepare the physiotherapy student for life as a professional particularly in relation to clinical placement. It will address professional codes of conduct and how these need to be adhered to. It will also prepare the student for clinical placement through an understanding of how it is managed and allocated, their role and that of the educator and the academic staff. It will introduce them to reflective practice and portfolio keeping which will be an integral part of the placement.

Fundamentals of Rehabilitation

Year: 1

This module will introduce physical activity and exercise as a core physiotherapy modality to be used with a range of client groups. There will be a strong emphasis on behaviour change and the need to engage the patient in their own care.

Rehabilitation of Conditions

Year: 1

This module will introduce the student to physiotherapeutic specific skills in the assessment and management of a number of rheumatological conditions, fractures and soft tissue musculoskeletal disorders. The students will begin to foster an awareness of what it means to work professionally as a healthcare professional and develop clinical reasoning skills.

Structure Function and Assessment

Year: 1

This module gives the student a firm knowledge base in anatomy and function of the upper and lower limbs. It introduces students to simple clinical pictures and clinical reasoning strategies to make the anatomy meaningful, and introduces them to a basic diagnostic assessment of the peripheral joints.

Knowledge and Skills for Personal & Professional Development

Year: 1

This module provides opportunities to learn in an interprofessional context. Students will acquire skills for both academic and practice based learning. It will provide them with an opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills on issues relating to professional practice and personal development within a supportive environment.

Year two

Health Science Research

Year: 2

The module develops research knowledge and skills for using published evidence to inform practice and for designing and conducting research and clinical audit post-registration. The focus is on research design and qualitative and quantitative methods appropriate for healthcare research. A series of lectures and seminars will develop research knowledge and its application in using and producing research evidence. Workshops will provide practical experience of research activities including data analysis. In addition, course specific seminars will provide guidance on the development of a research idea and presentation of an outline research proposal.

Neurological Rehabilitation 1

Year: 2

This module develops student critical understanding of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and normal movement analysis and relates this information to the assessment and management of adults with a range of neurological conditions.

Professional Practice Placement 2

Year: 2

This is the second of five integrated practice-based learning modules and will equip students. It will give students the opportunity to acquire knowledge of practical skills relating to clinical practice within a supportive environment designed to meet level 5 learning outcomes.

Neurological Rehabilitation 2

Year: 2

This module will enhance the student's knowledge of neurorehabilitation through analysis of more complex patient presentations in neurological conditions, including an introduction to the clinical specialty of paediatric physiotherapy.

Musculoskeletal Assessment & Management: Peripiheral

Year: 2

In this module, students will further develop their ability to assess, clinically reason and diagnose musculoskeletal conditions of the peripheral body. The students' range of treatment options will be expanded to cover techniques from different manual therapy schools including Mulligan and Cyriax.

This module should leave students able to competently assess a range of peripheral musculoskeletal conditions, arrive at a working diagnosis and suggest a reasonable management plan.

Musculoskeletal assessment and management: Spinal

Year: 2

In preparation for this module on assessment and management of spinal dysfunction the student is introduced to the anatomy and biomechanics of the spine, pelvis and trunk. This module then introduces the student to the assessment, management and prevention of vertebral dysfunction through a manual therapy approach incorporating evidence based practice and psychosocial issues using a clinical reasoning approach.

Year three

Research Project

Year: 3

In this module students will develop research skills by undertaking a research study on a topic related to practice. Each student, with support, will have an opportunity to undertake one of the following types of research project: (i) a systematic critical review to inform practice;(ii) a research protocol involving the design of a research study or health promotion activity or (iii) a research report involving the collection and/or analysis of data to produce evidence to inform practice. Lectures and clinics, supplemented by online material, will provide the theoretical knowledge and guidance required to undertake the research task. Workshops will provide support for practical skills such as systematic searching for literature, using critical appraisal tools and data management and analysis.

Complexity in Physiotherapy Practice

Year: 3

This module is to allow you to explore physiotherapy practice working with patient populations who have complex health care needs. You will build on previously acquired knowledge from year 1 and 2 and apply this knowledge and apply these skills in working with people who may have multiple morbidities, complex health needs, long-term conditions or those seen within specialist areas of practice

Professional Practice Placement 5

Year: 3

This is the final integrated practice-based learning module. This module will prepare students for practice and provide a fifth placement experience. This will provide students with a range of comprehensive placement during the 3 years of the BSc (Hons) course. It will give students the opportunity to develop further knowledge of practical skills relating to professional practice within a supportive environment designed to meet level 6 learning outcomes.

Cardiorespiratory 2

Year: 3

This module will introduce the Critical Care environment and patient. The student will learn approaches to identifying the at-risk patient. They will be introduced to new treatment modalities and learn how to select and rationalise these modalities through specific patient cohort case studies. The focus on person-centred assessment, clinical reasoning and application of techniques will help prepare the student for working life and on-call duties. This will be reinforced through evaluation of literature, Simulation Based Education and Service User Involvement.

Professional Development and Employability

Year: 3

This module will continue to develop the employability skills required to be a successful graduate. Professional and personal development skills will be further developed to enhance your career progression on graduation. Service development and innovation will also be integrated in the module to ensure ongoing quality improvement for service users. A clear focus on peer learning will be used within the module to enhance your learning experience but also to continue to develop the theme of team working.

Standard entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

A level

BBB to include one from:

Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, CCEA Single Award Life & Health Sciences (first taught September 2016), Double Award Life & Health Sciences (grade BB) or Double Award Applied Science (grade BB).

Applied General Qualifications

RQF Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Extended Diploma

Award profile of DDM

Essential Subjects (You will need one of the following):

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Applied Science (RQF) (601/7437/7)

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Sport & Exercise Sciences (RQF) (601/7422/5) – to include four modules from Sport & Exercise Physiology, Functional Anatomy, Nutrition, Biomechanics, Sport Massage, Sport Injury

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Health & Social Care (RQF) (601/7198/4) – to include Anatomy and Physiology plus four modules from Infection Prevention and Control, Scientific Techniques for Health Science, Physiological Disorders and their Care, Microbiology for Health Science, Nutritional Health, Medical Physics Application in Health Sector, Genetics, Biomedical Science, Biochemistry for Health

We will also accept smaller BTEC/OCR qualifications (ie Diploma or Extended Certificate/Introductory Diploma/Subsidiary Diploma) in combination with A Levels or other acceptable level 3 qualifications.

Essential Subjects (You will need one of the following):

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Applied Science (RQF) (601/7436/5)

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma in Applied Science (RQF) (601/7438/9)

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Applied Science (RQF) (601/7435/3)

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Applied Human Biology (RQF) (603/3040/5)

To find out if the qualification you are applying with is a qualification we accept for entry, please check our Qualification Checker –

https://www.ulster.ac.uk/study/entrance-requirements/equivalence

We will also continue to accept QCF versions of these qualifications although grades asked for may differ. Check what grades you will be asked for by comparing the requirements above with the information under QCF in the Applied General and Tech Level Qualifications section of our Entry Requirements –

https://www.ulster.ac.uk/study/entrance-requirements/undergraduate-entry-requirements

Irish Leaving Certificate

Grades H3,H3,H3,H3,H3 to include two H3 Highers in the following: Maths, Biology, Physics or Chemistry. Plus English and Mathematics grade H6 at Higher Level or Grade O4 at Ordinary Level.

Irish Leaving Certificate UCAS Equivalency

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Overall profile of 65% (120 credit Access course) (NI Access course), including 65% in each level 3 module to include two level 3 modules from the following: Mathematics, Biology, Physics or Chemistry. To include a 20 credit Level 2 Mathematics module, passed at 40% or successful completion of NICATS Mathematics as part of the pre-2021 Access Diploma.

Overall Access profile of 24 credits at distinction plus 21 credits at merit in graded units (60 credit Access course) (GB Access course) in a relevant science subject. Plus GCSE Mathematics and English language grade C.

GCSE

For full-time study, you must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course and hold a GCSE pass at grade C/4 or above in English Language, additionally GCSE Mathematics grade C/4.

Please note that for purposes of entry to this course the Level 2 Certificate in Essential Skills - Application of Number is NOT regarded as an acceptable alternative to GCSE Maths.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 7.0 with no band score less than 6.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Additional Entry Requirements

As part of the selection method applicants will be required to undertake a successful video interview. Interviews will occur after the 29 January 2025 deadline.

Applicants should note that, as they will be engaged in 'regulated activity' involving children or vulnerable adults as part of their course, there is a compulsory, legal requirement to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure from AccessNI. The cost for this is payable by the applicant and is currently £33. More information on Enhanced Disclosures may be accessed by www.accessni.gov.uk

You will also be required to demonstrate good health prior to commencing the course. You will therefore complete a health declaration form which will be screened by the University’s Occupational Health Department who will confirm your medical fitness to undertake the course. Following the screening, you may be required to undertake a vaccination programme. You will be liable for the cost of both the health screening and vaccinations. Costs will be provided prior to enrolment.

Acceptable alternative qualifications include:

HND (science related eg Applied Science/Biology) entry requirement: Pass HND with overall Merit to include 60 distinctions in level 5 credits/units.

HNC (science related eg Applied Science/Biology) entry requirement: Pass HNC with overall Distinction to include 90 distinctions in level 4/5 credits/units.

Pass in Foundation Degree in a science related area (eg Applied Medical Science) with an overall mark of 55% in level 5 modules. Applicants will be considered for year one entry only.

Careers & opportunities

Career options

Physiotherapists work in both public, community and private settings such as hospitals, GP practices, industry and private practice. There are also opportunities for our graduates to go on to complete higher degrees by research.

Work placement / study abroad

Work placements are integral to this course. All students have to complete at least 1,000 hours of clinical practice. There are five 6-week placements. The first of these is split into one week of observation (in January of Year 1) and five weeks of hands-on placement (in June-July at the end of Year 1). Please note that students can be placed throughout NI for placement.

Most placements occur in Northern Ireland. It might be possible for one placement to occur outside Northern Ireland if you are in good academic standing.

Given student numbers and placement capacity you will have to do placements throughout Northern Ireland and whilst we try our best to facilitate placements close to your primary or secondary residence this is not always feasible so please be prepared to travel to placement sites.

Professional recognition

Health and Care Professions Council, the (HCPC)

Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of providing eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as a physiotherapist.

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP)

Endorsed by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).

Apply

Start dates

  • September 2025

Fees and funding

Scholarships, awards and prizes

At present, the awards/prizes that are available to our BSc Hons physiotherapy students are:

The Ryan X Seeley Award for the first year who is most supportive of fellow first year students The Physiotherapy Educators: Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, NI Board Prize for the final year student with the highest aggregate placement mark. The Collette Downey Memorial Prize for the final year student with the highest-scoring dissertation. The Northern Ireland Board of Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Prize for the final year student with the highest overall mark.In addition, the names of all first year and second year students who achieve a year average of at least 70% will be placed on the Dean's List.

Additional mandatory costs

Additional costs include: AccessNI Check, Health Screening, Membership of Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Placement Expenses, Uniforms, Books.

Uniforms: as part of your course, you will be required to purchase a uniform during the first week of the semester. 2023/24costs were approx. £80.

Placement Expenses: students may incur expenses during periods of placement. It is not possible to place all students close to the university and students will be on placememt throughout NI. Some placements may be outside Northern Ireland and will incur additional costs.

Membership of Chartered Society of Physiotherapy: The School of Health Sciences feels that it is in the best interest of students to join as student members of their chosen profession. The current cost of student membership is approximately 40 per year.

Books - In 2021/22, buying the Year 1 required reading books new cost approximately 450; the Year 2 books cost approx 300, and there were no additional required books in Year 3.

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals, as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.

Contact

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.


For more information visit

Disclaimer

  1. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  1. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  1. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
  1. The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.