MSc Advanced Physiotherapy

Can you recognise physiological deterioration in patients who are critically ill? What are the evidence-based approaches to rehabilitating a person who has had a stroke?

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Designed for registered and qualified physiotherapists, this course gives you the opportunity develop your knowledge and professional practice across a range of practical and theory-based units.

You’ll complete a number of core units and choose option units to improve your professional practice and develop specialist skills in your chosen area.

Practical sessions are an important part of this course and, depending on the units you choose, you’ll learn techniques such as soft tissue manipulation and manual therapy techniques. 

Depending on the option units you choose, you will mainly study on-campus. For example, when studying the sports units, you may study at the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance (MIHP).

Our lecturers are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and many still work in practice alongside teaching. Our teaching team also includes researchers with expertise across a range of specialisms, including knee dysfunction, spinal dysfunction, and musculoskeletal interventions.

Our course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).

If you’re not ready to commit to a full-time masters, you can study individual units as standalone modules, as part of your continuing professional development (CPD).

You can also exit this course with a postgraduate certificate (PgCert) or postgraduate diploma (PgDip).

Features and Benefits

  • Specialist study - You are able to focus on particular areas of specialist study including Musculoskeletal, Neurological or our Manual Therapy Clinical Pathway. We also offer several units suitable for clinicians who are entering First Contact Practitioner [FCP] roles.
  • Flexible studying - Fit studying around your career and take modules as continuing professional development (CPD) units or study full or part-time.
  • Specialist facilities - You’ll use our on-campus physiotherapy facilities, which includes seven separate practice rooms and a gait laboratory.
  • Professional development - When you complete the Manual Therapy units, you are able to apply for membership of the Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (MACP).
  • Accreditation - Our course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).

Accreditations, Awards and Endorsements

"Some of the key skills I gained through this course were clinical reasoning and the skill to diagnose through a comprehensive format. This is something I train my junior physios in now to ensure that they formulate the best treatment for a patient after a comprehensive evaluation.”

Neha - MSc Advanced Physiotherapy

Career Prospects

On our course, you’ll develop specialist physiotherapy skills to help you in clinical practice, as well as critical evaluation and research skills.

As a graduate, you’ll have gained significant expertise in practice, giving you the opportunity to apply for more senior roles. You could apply for a promotion to the next band in the NHS pay scale, for example.

You might look to open a private practice or perhaps go into teaching, continuing the research you began during your course.

In November 2016, seven of our students presented their abstracts at the 4th European Congress of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (ER-WCPT), in Liverpool.

Presentations included 'The impact of rehabilitation on parents and caregivers of children with cerebral palsy: A Systematic Review' (Abeer Abdullah Al-Mutayliq) and 'Clinical and cost-effectiveness of a physiotherapy Case Management Service for back pain' (Judith Smith).

Future students may have the opportunity to present abstracts of their work at the next ER-WCPT, in 2020.

Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

Applicants must hold a minimum 2:2 UK undergraduate honours physiotherapy degree (or international equivalent) and have clinical experience. Students with graduate diplomas in physiotherapy with evidence of recent practice can also apply.

Overseas applicants will require IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any category, or an equivalent accepted English qualification. Accepted English qualifications can be viewed here.

Applicants for Musculoskeletal Medicine Injection Therapy are required to have:

A minimum of four years’ clinical experience is normally required, of which 12 months should have been with musculoskeletal patients.

Access to musculoskeletal patients while attending the course.

Successfully completed postgraduate training in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal lesions in musculoskeletal medicine in the upper and lower limb.

Clinical supervision is in place​ with an appropriately qualified practitioner (Doctor or Physiotherapist qualified and experienced in injection therapy) for the inter-unit course work/supervision of injections.

Applicants for Advanced Musculoskeletal Practice are required to have:

An entry requirement of four years’ clinical experience is normally required, of which 12 months should have been with musculoskeletal patients.

Access to musculoskeletal patients whilst attending the course.

Applicants for the Manual Therapy Clinical Pathway are required to have:

a)  A BSc Physiotherapy degree at 2:2 degree classification or equivalent (there is further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications).

b)  A minimum of two years' clinical experience, of which 6 months should have been with neuro-musculoskeletal out-patients.

c)  Health Council PC registration.

d) IELTS of 7 (with no element below 6.5) for students whose first language is not English.

e) Students residing outside the UK will need to provide a current criminal record report equivalent to the UK Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

f) Two character references. One reference must be from a clinical manager or someone who can report on the applicant’s physiotherapy working knowledge and performance. Both references must be provided on headed paper or have an organisation stamp.


Specific Clinical Placement Unit Requirements

Manual Therapy students undertake mandatory Clinical Placement units. They must obtain a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and health screening through the University procedure on admission to the programme. 




Meet Joe Loftus, who completed a part-time masters while balancing his career and raising a young family.

Everyone has their own way of learning and commitments outside of studying.

To help you fit your course around work and family life, we offer a range of study options, including full-time and part-time routes.


Course details

We offer a range of optional units of study to assist practitioners in developing their knowledge and evidence-based-practice. These are focused around:

To help you fit studying around your work commitments, you can exit this course with a Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) or Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) in Advanced Physiotherapy instead of a full masters degree (MSc). Alternatively, you can just complete individual units from this masters degree as continuing professional development (CPD).

On our masters course, you’ll have a mix of lectures and practical sessions. Some of the topics you might explore include exercise prescription for patients and mobilisation techniques.

For units with practical content, we’ll teach you the theory behind the techniques in your lectures. We’ll demonstrate how to perform the techniques in practical sessions and then you’ll practice with fellow students, supervised by your lecturer.

Some units have guest lectures with practitioners across clinical fields. Past external speakers have included practitioners working in rugby and football.

As well as core units, you’ll choose optional units to help you meet your personal and professional goals.

You’ll need to currently be working in clinical practice for some of the option units,  such as all of those within the Manual Therapy Clinical Pathway, Musculoskeletal Medicine Injection Therapy, and Advanced Musculoskeletal Practice. If you choose the Manual Therapy Clinical Pathway, you’ll also complete compulsory clinical placements as part of the core units.

If you’re interested in studying option units focused on sport, you might be able to take one or two of the units on our MSc Sport and Exercise Medicine course as part of your Advanced Physiotherapy qualification.

We deliver the units Rehabilitation in Sport and Maximising Sports Performance in collaboration with experts currently working in sport. Some sessions in these units take place at the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance (MIHP).

Whichever area you focus on, in order to graduate from this masters degree, you will need to complete the majority of your units from the Advanced Physiotherapy course syllabus. These must form two - thirds of your final credits.

Your final assignment for this course is an Advanced Physiotherapy Project (APP). This involves conducting research, writing a paper of 6,000 words, and a viva voce (oral examination).

In addition to studying a range of selected units, you'll normally undertake a mix of core and option units.

As a full-time student you'll complete taught units within 12 months. If you're a part-time student, you must undertake a minimum of one unit per academic year.

Core units

  • Research Methods
  • Advanced Physiotherapy Project

For the option units and the full unit descriptions, click read more about this year of study below.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Advanced Physiotherapy Project

The Project enables you to produce a scholarly piece of work that demonstrates application of the knowledge learned in the Research Methods unit. It will take the form of either empirical research/audit/clinical enhancement or a systematised literature review, plus an oral examination.

Research Methods

This unit is designed to gives you an enhanced knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research methods for professional, practice and personal development.

Likely Optional Units

Rehabilitation in Sport

This unit will explore the theoretical aspects of rehabilitation in sport with particular emphasis on the role of the physiotherapist. It will include assessment and rehabilitation of the athlete including children, and the psychological implications of injury in sport.

Multi-Professional Approach to Stroke Rehabilitation

This unit focuses on critical evaluation of the evidence behind multi-professional rehabilitative strategies in order to recognise the challenges faced by stroke survivors as they aim to achieve their full potential for recovery.

Musculoskeletal Medicine Injection Therapy

This unit is designed to develop skills essential to the advancement of the clinician specialising in injection treatments for musculoskeletal lesions. It should be noted that this module is only open to those who can demonstrate that medical supervision is in place for the inter-unit course work.

Musculoskeletal Medicine Lower Quadrant

This unit is based upon the musculoskeletal medicine approach to manual therapy and is designed to develop the skills essential to the advancement of the clinician specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal lesions.

Musculoskeletal Medicine Upper Quadrant

This unit is based upon the musculoskeletal medicine approach to manual therapy and is designed to develop the skills essential to the advancement of the clinician specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal lesions.

Advanced Musculoskeletal Practice

This unit is for experienced MSK clinicians and covers all the necessary knowledge and skills to work as an advanced MSK practitioner including assessment, clinically reasoning and differential diagnoses, triaging, managing at an advanced level.

Biomechanical Analysis (Lower Limb)

This unit is intended to develop skills in relation to biomechanical gait analysis of the lower limb. You will have the opportunity to evaluate and synthesise literature in relation to lower limb biomechanical gait analysis.

Soft Tissue Manipulation

This unit is intended to develop practical and theoretical skills to manage soft tissue injury.

Assessment and Management of Neuromusculoskeletal Dysfunction in the Lower Quadrant

This unit forms part of the Manual Therapy clinical pathway. It provides you with practical, lecture and tutorial-based teaching to develop the evidence-based assessment and treatment of patients with neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction of the lower limb, lumbar spine and lower thoracic spine.

Assessment and Management of Neuromusculoskeletal Dysfunction in the Upper Quadrant

This unit forms part of the Manual Therapy clinical pathway. It provides you with practical, lecture and tutorial-based teaching to develop the evidence-based assessment and treatment of patients with neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction of the upper limb, upper thoracic spine and cervical spine.

Evidence Based Approach to Acute Stroke Management

This unit assists qualified health care professionals from a range of disciplines to gain an in-depth understanding of the causes, nature, assessment and identification of stroke as well as the core concepts of post stroke care in the acute phase.

Approaches to Neurological Rehabilitation

This unit invites and encourages participants to review their own clinical practice in the light of current literature in neuro-rehabilitation.

Clinical Placement Lower Quadrant

This unit forms part of the Manual Therapy clinical pathway. The student will work in a musculoskeletal setting to consolidate and develop the learning achieved in the corresponding Assessment and Management of Neuromusculoskeletal Dysfunction unit.

Clinical Placement Upper Quadrant

This unit forms part of the Manual Therapy clinical pathway. The student will work in a musculoskeletal setting to consolidate and develop the learning achieved in the corresponding Assessment and Management of Neuromusculoskeletal Dysfunction unit.

Principles of Health Economics

This unit is designed to enable practitioner/you to explore health economics and equip them with the basic principles of economics. You will examine the current fundamental economic principles and their application to health care.

Physical Activity and Health

This unit critically evaluates the evidence base for physical activity and its role in the promotion of population health and wellbeing.

Foundation for Effective Leadership and Management within an Organisation

This unit explores the skills required for effective leadership and management in clinical practice, for qualified healthcare professionals working at any level or clinical setting.

Independent Study

This unit provides an opportunity for you to explore work-related issues and articulate the theoretical, evidential, background that supports practitioner developments. The unit can also be used as a means of accrediting prior experiential learning (RPL).

Management of Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain

This unit empowers you to understand and critically evaluate current research in the multi-disciplinary management of patients with chronic pain in order to adapt professional practice to meet the changing demands of health care systems.

Rehabilitation of Older People

This unit synthesises and evaluates the different approaches of patient-centred holistic care for older people with reference to the multi-professional approach. It critically examines the theoretical, physiological, psychological, and social constructs that underpin this practice.

Principles of Clinical Management for Patients with Neuromusculoskeletal Dysfunction (Foundation Unit)

This unit forms part of the Manual Therapy clinical pathway. It provides a comprehensive foundation to the assessment, treatment and management of patients with neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction.

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A masters qualification typically comprises of 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits and an MFA 300 credits. The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:


Additional information about this course

Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies require students to achieve results that demonstrate their ability to practise safely. There are therefore some exceptions to the standard University Assessment Regulations for those students, for example limitations on resits and on compensation of failed marks.

Placement options

Manual Therapy

If you choose the Manual Therapy focus, you’ll complete practice placements as core units.

On your placement, you’ll have a mentor who’s registered with the Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (MACP).

Your mentor supports you for the time you’re away from the University on placement, helping you to learn in the practice setting as well as assessing your achievements.

You’ll also have support from the unit leader on the course.

Clinical Mentorship for Manual Therapy focus

Clinical mentorship is a very important aspect of Manual Therapy focus. It provides you with the opportunity to develop your clinical reasoning skills related to the assessment and treatment of patients with neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction.

If you study part-time, we usually expect you to work in a clinical practice, assessing and managing clients with musculoskeletal problems.

If you are a full-time student and don’t have access to clinical practice, you might be able to complete a placement at our on-site physiotherapy clinic, the Manchester Movement Unit. However, please be aware that there is very limited availability for placements in this setting.

During your clinical mentorship, our MACP tutors will guide you. Current tutors include Dr Chris McCarthy (PhD, PGD Physio, PGD Biomech, PGD Manual Therapy, FCSP, FMACP), Ruth McDonald (MSc Manual Therapy MMACP) and Jackie Hindle (MSc Manual Therapy MMACP).

Department of Health Professions

Our Department of Health Professions teaches subjects including physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, and nutritional sciences.

The department is committed to ensuring its courses stay relevant and up-to-date with current professional practice, by maintaining links with colleagues in clinical practice and research.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff


Additional costs

Specialist Costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 each year for books and printing.

Professional Costs

0 to 135 depending on your status. Please go to our DBS webpage for more details -

Some units may require Disclosure and Barring Service clearance. Responsibility for DBS on employment based and CPD programmes normally lies with your employer. The University will ensure that you meet the necessary requirements and complete a DBS check if required. It is possible to complete the programme without taking units that require DBS clearance. There may be opportunities for international students to undertake a placement in the UK subject to meeting the admissions criteria for the relevant unit and the conditions set by the placement provider, which could include Disclosing and Barring clearance. Up to date information about DBS is available /

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Loans of up to £10,906 for many Postgraduate Courses

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Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

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How to apply

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online now

If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for postgraduate taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

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All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.