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?

Attend an open day How to apply
Attend a course fair How to apply


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


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 complete units from this masters degree 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) in Advanced Physiotherapy.

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 option units to help you meet your personal and professional goals.

You’ll need to currently be working in a clinical practice for some of the option units, such as all of the Manual Therapy focus units, Musculoskeletal Medicine Injection Therapy, and Advanced Musculoskeletal Practice.

If you choose the Manual Therapy focus, 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.

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 units in Advanced Physiotherapy. They must form two thirds of your final credits.

Your final assignment for this course is either a dissertation or an Advanced Physiotherapy Project (APP).

Many of our students choose the APP route, which 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

We've designed this unit to enable you to produce a scholarly piece of work, which demonstrates application of the knowledge you've learned on the Research Methods and Data Handling units. You'll explore either empirical research/audit/clinical enhancement, or a literature review, plus an oral examination.

Research Methods

We've designed this unit to enable you to utilise and undertake sound and clinically relevant Physiotherapy research. You'll gain an enhanced knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research processes for professional, practice and personal development.

Likely Optional Units

Rehabilitation in Sport

In this unit you'll explore the theoretical aspects of rehabilitation in sport, with particular emphasis on the role of the physiotherapist. You'll explore assessment and rehabilitation of the athlete including children, and the psychological implications of injury in sport. You'll enhance your knowledge and skills to critically appraise the current available literature and to independently consider its relevance in relation to sports rehabilitation.

Multi-Professional Approach to Stroke Rehabilitation

In this unit you'll review the rehabilitation pathway and multi-professional management of stroke patients across all sectors. You'll focus on critically evaluating the evidence behind rehabilitative strategies in order to recognise the challenges faced by stroke survivors as they aim to achieve their full potential for recovery. You'll need to be a registered health care professional who's worked within stroke services for a minimum of one year to study this unit. This unit is commissioned and developed in partnership with the NHS Greater Manchester and Eastern Chesire and supported by the Operational Delivery Network.

Musculoskeletal Medicine Injection Therapy

We've designed this unit in injection skills to develop the essential cognitive and psychomotor skills you'll need to specialise in injection treatments for musculoskeletal lesions. You'll develop the knowledge of the clinician in the theory, application and practice of injection treatments in musculoskeletal disorders. You'll also enhance your constant critical reasoning and evaluation in the application of injection skills.

This module is only open to those who can demonstrate that medical supervision is in place for the inter-unit course work.


  • Evidence base of injection therapy
  • Medico-legal aspects of injection therapy
  • Principles of diagnosis and treatment
  • Absorption and elimination of drugs
  • Drug nomenclature and doses
  • Local anaesthetics and Corticosteroids
  • Equipment
  • Safety
  • Aseptic no touch technique
  • Injection technique
  • Emergencies and complications
  • Record keeping and treatment protocols
  • Regional injection techniques
  • Aspiration
  • Supervised clinical practice
  • Anatomy laboratory session
  • Injection protocols
Musculoskeletal Medicine Lower Quadrant

We've designed this unit in musculoskeletal medicine to develop the cognitive, psychomotor and clinical reasoning skills you'll need to specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal lesions, particularly in primary care.

Musculoskeletal Medicine Upper Quadrant

We've designed this unit in musculoskeletal medicine to develop the cognitive, psychomotor and clinical reasoning skills you'll need to specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal lesions, particularly in primary care.

Advanced Musculoskeletal Practice

We've designed this unit to develop the knowledge and skills required by the autonomous, advanced physiotherapy practitioner working within musculoskeletal practice, to make complex decisions for patient management and onward referral. It's suitable for experienced musculoskeletal practitioners working in or towards advanced practice in an extended role.

The unit covers the following areas:

  • Advanced musculoskeletal practice (overview and legal implications)
  • IRMER training
  • Requests for and interpretation of radiographic procedures (scanning and x-rays) and blood tests
  • Red flags/spinal masquerades
  • MSK pharmacology
  • Differential diagnosis in rheumatological, neurological and vascular presentations
  • Current orthopaedic surgical interventions
  • Advanced clinical reasoning and consolidation (case based)
  • Formative presentations (with peer and tutor feedback)
Biomechanical Analysis (Lower Limb)

We've designed this unit to develop skills in relation to biomechanical gait analysis of the lower limb. You'll evaluate and synthesise literature in relation to lower limb biomechanical gait analysis.

In this unit, you'll look at:

  • Study the phases of human gait
  • Critically evaluate the evidence surrounding biomechanical analysis
  • Use 2D and 3D motion analysis system, and will generate kinetic and kinematic data. The normative data they collect in the process will be analysed by themselves using Qualysis and Visual 3D software
  • Complete a project involving the 3D motion analysis system and critically discuss their findings
Soft Tissue Manipulation

We've designed this unit to develop the practical and theoretical skills you'll need to manage soft tissue injury, you'll cover:

  • Principles of soft tissue therapy
  • Functional anatomy and biomechanics
  • Subjective and objective patient examination
  • Treatment modalities to support soft tissue repair
  • Massage and soft tissue manipulation to prevent and manage injury
Assessment and Management of Neuromusculoskeletal Dysfunction in the Lower Quadrant

We've designed this unit to develop both the cognitive and psychomotor skills you'll need to specialise in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction.

You'll explore:

  • Functional anatomy and biomechanics
  • Subjective and objective patient examination
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Manual treatment techniques and other strategies
  • Clinical reasoning applied to management of neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction of the lower quadrant
Assessment and Management of Neuromusculoskeletal Dysfunction in the Upper Quadrant

We've designed this unit to develop both the cognitive and psychomotor skills you'll need to specialise in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal  dysfunction.

You'll explore:

  • Functional anatomy and biomechanics
  • Subjective and objective patient examination
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Manual treatment techniques and other strategies
  • Clinical reasoning applied to management of neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction of the upper quadrant
Evidence Based Approach to Acute Stroke Management

We've designed this unit to cover the core concepts of the acute stroke journey. You'll utilise case based learning, the unit will facilitate qualified Health Care professionals to critically evaluate the current policy, guidelines and literature that underpins stroke assessment and management within the acute phase. This unit will help qualified Health Care professionals from a range of disciplines to gain an in-depth understanding of the causes, nature, assessment and identification of stroke, including: investigations, emergency treatment, common stroke mimics, scoring systems, stroke thrombolysis and intra-arterial and surgical interventions. The unit will also cover post stroke care including early mobilisation, positioning, nutrition, mood, medication, monitoring and end of life care. To study this unit you'll need to be a registered health care professional and have worked within stroke services for a minimum of one year.

Approaches to Neurological Rehabilitation

In this unit you'll consider rehabilitation interventions that can be utilised in management of people with neurological conditions. You'll critically examine the evidence for their efficacy and consider the theoretical and physiological constructs that underpin current practice. You'll also critically consider a range of outcome measures, investigating their reliability, validity, sensitivity and clinical utility.

Clinical Placement Lower Quadrant

This unit aims to synthesise the theoretical and practical components your learning developed through the core manual therapy units. You'll work in a musculoskeletal setting to further consolidate and develop your university learning. 

Clinical Placement Upper Quadrant

This unit aims to synthesise the theoretical and practical components of your learning developed through the core manual therapy units. You'll work in a musculoskeletal setting to further consolidate and develop your university learning.

Principles of Health Economics

We've designed this unit to enable you to explore health economics and equip you with the basic principles of economics. You'll examine the current fundamental economic principles and their application to health care. These include the supply of and demand for health and health care, scarcity, choice and opportunity cost. You'll also examine, economic evaluation of health care systems and health care reforms, methods of economic evaluation in healthcare, and priorities setting using health economics. You'll also examine economic analysis of healthcare technologies and valuation of health.

Physical Activity and Health

In this unit you'll critically explore the relationship between physical activity and health in different client groups and critique public health interventions and the broader policy context relating to promoting activity.

Foundation for Effective Leadership and Management within an Organisation

In this unit you'll develop self-awareness and skills in self-management in order to enhance your personal and professional development. You'll explore key areas in managing people at work in order to enhance and refine effective working relationships. You'll also develop the analytical, reflective and planning skills required to facilitate effective management.

Independent Study

In this unit you'll explore work-related issues and articulate the theoretical, evidential, background that supports practitioner developments. The unit can also be used to accredit prior experiential learning (RPL).

Management of Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain

In this unit you'll consider the complex issues that surround patients with chronic pain and which make treatment and rehabilitation a challenge. You'll explore various theories and concepts and best practice in the assessment and management of chronic pain, with reference to the available evidence base

Rehabilitation of Older People

In this unit you'll synthesise and evaluate the different approaches of patient-centred holistic care for older people with reference to the multi-professional approach. You'll also critically examine the theoretical, physiological, psychological, and social constructs that underpin this practice.

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

We've designed this unit to provide you with a comprehensive foundation to the assessment, treatment and management by manual therapists for patients with neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction. It's a vital underpinning for further units dealing with specific clinical presentations.

  • Functional anatomy and biomechanics
  • Theory of manual therapy, including indications and contraindications within a biopsychosocial framework
  • Manual treatment techniques and other strategies
  • Clinical reasoning applied to the management of neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction, including assessment, management, prognosis and discharge.
  • Communication strategies
  • Theory of pain sciences and their integration into practice
  • Principles of assessment and management of neurodynamics, haemodynamics and motor control
  • Integration of research into clinical practice

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

Find out more

Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

Learn more

Want to know more?

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.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Manchester Metropolitan University is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. More information on the role of the OfS and its regulatory framework can be found at

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.