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Course content

This course is for qualified physiotherapists and aims to improve your practice by developing your assessment skills and clinical reasoning. You explore ways to measure the effectiveness of your clinical practice as well as issues such as collaborative practice and engaging patients.

All modules focus on elements of clinical practice, and we encourage you to apply your learning to the setting in which you work or wish to specialise. This ensures that the course gives you a balance of practical and academic skills. Assessments are designed to replicate the challenges you may face within the workplace. This offers an authentic experience and the opportunity to develop skills that are directly transferable to practice.

The course helps to improve your employment prospects and clinical skills, enabling you to lead clinical teams or work in teaching or research. If you study the course full-time, we provide placement experience in the UK where you work with an experienced clinician who is also an experienced tutor. The placement is an integral part of the course, so you choose the field in which you specialise and then apply your learning to clinical practice. If you study the course part-time and already work in clinical practice, you will be supported to apply your learning in your current post.

You learn from enthusiastic tutors including academics who have physiotherapy research published in peer reviewed journals. This includes Dr Stephen May, who is an internationally renowned physiotherapist who has contributed to several well known textbooks including the key text on the McKenzie Approach 'Lumbar Spine: Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy'.

Distance learning study

A key feature of this course is that all modules can be studied as distance learning or as university-based teaching. Distance learning allows you to study from any location in the world, and at times that are convenient for your work and life commitments.

To aid your professional and clinical development we use a range of online learning and teaching activities, such as interactive tutor and peer group discussions, patient video case studies and reflective journals around clinical practice. Experienced tutors also provide regular personal guidance and feedback.

Course structure

The postgraduate certificate (PgCert) is achieved by successfully completing 60 credits.

The postgraduate diploma (PgDip) is achieved by successfully completing 120 credits.

The masters (MSc) award is achieved by successfully completing 180 credits. 

Postgraduate certificate core modules

  • Advancing clinical reasoning (15 credits)
  • Improving clinical effectiveness (15 credits)
  • Optimising therapeutic outcomes (15 credits)

Postgraduate certificate optional modules

Choose one from

  • Pain management (15 credits)
  • Concepts of learning and teaching (15 credits)
  • Personalised study module (15 credits)
  • Pathology and patient management (15 credits)

Postgraduate diploma core modules

  • Improving therapy services (15 credits)
  • Researching for Practice (15 credits)

Postgraduate diploma optional modules

Choose one from

  • Contemporary musculoskeletal rehabilitation (30 credits)
  • Advanced practice in neurological therapy (30 credits)
  • Advanced practice in cardiorespiratory care (30 credits) (only available as distance learning)
  • Personalised study module (30 credits)


  • Dissertation (60 credits)


  • presentations
  • practical assessments
  • vivas
  • written assessments


This MSc opens several career routes. The Supporting Professional Development programme and your academic advisor will highlight opportunities. Increased clinical skills and critical evaluation of practice lend themselves to clinical leadership roles. Graduates will work more independently, developing independent private practices or moving into advanced or extended scope roles. Some graduates pursue research or teaching careers in the UK or internationally, many going onto PhD study.

Students who join the course without HCPC registration may apply for this, to gain work experience in the UK during and after the course. Automatic registration is not guaranteed on completion of the course, however, the learning opportunities provided align to the HCPC standards.

Visit the Advancing Physiotherapy Practice MSc page on the Sheffield Hallam University website for more details!




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