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Course content

This course is for people who are working as physiotherapists, who wish to develop themselves and their profession. The MSc Advancing Physiotherapy Practice aims to help you thrive in health and social contexts where the pace of change is fast and professionals need to be dynamic and proactive to meet the needs of the individuals that they work with.

The programme of study aims to be:

  • Clinical: with a focus on highly topical subjects, ability to learn in and from the workplace, practical experience, and ability to take specialist clinical and practice routes: for example, musculoskeletal physiotherapy, neurological physiotherapy, cardiorespiratory physiotherapy, paediatric physiotherapy, leadership and management, and education. 
  • Flexible: with a determination to enable study for students who have a variety of circumstances, and who live in different countries. Two paces of study are available (full-time and part-time) and two modes of study (distance learning, and blended learning which requires attendance). The standard full-time pace is 18 months, which can be accelerated to 12 months where relevant requirements are met. 
  • Supportive: with a focus on helping you to adjust to master’s level study at the start of the course, to stay engaged with your profession throughout the course, and to increase your employability as you progress towards completion. Alongside modules you will be involved in a ‘Learning in Community Programme,’ which includes study skills training, social events, CPD opportunities such as Master Classes, and opportunities and guidance to increase your employability, including guidance on professional registration.

Study routes

Full-time with attendance: 12-18 months

The full-time study route makes use of a blended mode of learning which includes face-to-face contact supported by online resources. This is designed with international students in mind and offers attractive practical modules as well as opportunities to learn in clinical settings (see modules).

The standard duration of the full-time route is 18 months. This is valuable if your priority is to use all opportunities to develop your professional standing and employability. If you wish to prioritise quick completion of your MSc Advancing Physiotherapy Practice, and meet requirements, you can accelerate it to 12 months duration.

Part-time with attendance: 3-7 years

You can study the MSc Advancing Physiotherapy Practice part-time, with a minimum duration of three years, and maximum duration of seven years. If you study this route you can select modules which involve some attendance and some online study. For example, some modules are delivered with blocks of attendance and online study between these blocks. If you study part-time you can also choose to complete distance learning modules as part of your programme.

Distance learning (part-time or full-time):

1-7 years You can choose modules that enable you to complete your MSc Advancing Physiotherapy Practice entirely as distance learning . You can study distance learning at a full-time pace (12-18 months duration) or at a part-time pace (3-7 years).

Teaching, learning and assessment

We use a range of student-centred learning methods, including tutorials, seminars and practical classes, with facilitation of work based learning and recognition of prior learning. Further specific strategies are used to enable distance learning.

Your performance will be assessed by coursework (assignments), presentations and practical examinations, and you are provided with structured support in learning how to develop and demonstrate your academic skills at a master’s level. Class sizes are usually 5-10 students.

Teaching hours and attendance

Each module that is studied on-campus will require you to attend classes and carry out independent work. Your attendance requirements at QMU will vary between semesters of study, but contact time might average about six hours per week over one academic year; this would be higher during taught modules. Whether you are studying distance learning or through a mixture of face-to-face contact and online work (blended learning), each 30-credit module will entail around 300 hours of student work. This includes contact with tutors (online or face-to-face), supported by independent learning. When thinking about the total amount of learning, for the full-time pace of study, you will undertake 120 credits of study over two 15-week semesters, followed by your dissertation. This suggests up to 40 hours per week of study. A student who chooses to study part-time may be undertaking, for example, 60 credits of study, which would equate to about 20 hours per week of study.

The distance learning route can be studied part-time or full-time.

Links with industry/professional bodies

In order to design a flexible, clinical and supportive course, we talked with current students, former students and employers internationally. We collaborate with many physiotherapists and managers locally to create opportunities for our students to contribute to the development of physiotherapy services during their course. This ensures the relevance of their studies, their professional development, and advancement of the physiotherapy profession. The MSc Advancing Physiotherapy Practice was developed from the MSc Physiotherapy (Post- Reg) which was accredited by the UK’s Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. The MSc Advancing Physiotherapy Practice will be renewed for the same  accreditation. This course does not lead to HCPC registration. However, advice is given to assist the process of registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Course material will also help the student to develop knowledge and skills recognised by the HCPC


This course will enable you to focus your continuing professional development in relation to clinical physiotherapy practice and physiotherapy research. It is intended to enhance your clinical, research and education career opportunities both in the UK  and internationally. Gaining the qualification will increase your employment potential across the world and help you gain academic recognition in Canada, USA, Australia and other countries.

Quick Facts

  • The MSc Advancing Physiotherapy Practice has been designed to address the multiple needs of UK, EU, and International students, with support to help the transition to master’s level study. 
  • The course enables development for all students; both those with and without clinical experience. 
  • Graduates of this course have gained employment across the globe as junior and senior physiotherapists, in government and private practice, and in research and doctoral positions.

Visit the MSc Advancing Physiotherapy Practice Programme page on the Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh website for more details!




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