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MSc Advancing Physiotherapy Practice

Study a course designed for physiotherapists who want to advance their clinical, therapeutic and reflective skills. It enhances your effectiveness by integrating and applying practical skills, theory and research. You identify ways to improve the healthcare services you provide, enabling improved patient outcomes.

Course length 1-3 Year(s)
Location Collegiate Campus

Course description

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.

Entry requirements

2017 entry requirements

You typically need an approved degree in physiotherapy with work experience. If you don't have relevant work experience, you typically need a 2.1 or above or equivalent. You may also be able to claim credit points which can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete your qualification at Sheffield Hallam. Find out more

If English is not your first language you will need an IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in all skills, or a recognised equivalent. If your level of English language is currently below IELTS 6.0 we recommend you consider an appropriate Sheffield Hallam University Pre-sessional English course which will enable you to achieve the required level of English.

International and European entry qualifications

If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.

Course structure

Full-time – 18 months
Part-time – typically three years
Distance learning – typically three years

Starts September

Typical modules may include

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)
This module aims to develop your advanced clinical assessment, communication and reasoning skills to enable you to incorporate and address wider factors within your assessments. This enables you to devise appropriate and targeted treatment and management strategies for your patients.

Improving clinical effectiveness (15 credits)
This module aims to develop your ability to identify, evaluate and select the most appropriate management strategies for your patients ensuring greater evidence-based, safer and more effective clinical services.

Optimising therapeutic outcomes (15 credits)
This module encourages you to think about personal, political or cultural factors that may affect your treatment outcomes, enhancing effectiveness of interventions for individual service users.

Postgraduate certificate options

Choose one from

Pain management (15 credits)
This module gives you the opportunity to gain a broad understanding of the science and dimensions of pain and pain behaviours, a critical awareness of current pain management and an ability to apply pain management principles effectively in practice.

Pathology and patient management (15 credits)
This module explores a range of pathologies and develops both the physiotherapeutic approach and the wider psychosocial management for patients with these conditions.

Concepts of learning and teaching (15 credits)
This module provides you with the opportunity to explore the theories and practical aspects of adult learning and teaching. It is aims to give you the skills and knowledge to plan teaching to undergraduate students, patients, carers and other professionals. You learn how to plan and delivery effective, imaginative teaching which is a key aspect of health care delivery and working with 'students' of all types.

Personalised study module (15 credits)
This module aims to provide you with the opportunity to plan and carry out a personally chosen study into an area of personal or professional development. You discuss your priorities with your academic advisor and identify the content and assessment task for the module, there will be the opportunity to attend a range of study days within this module or focus your studies within your own working context.

Postgraduate diploma core modules

Improving therapy services (15 credits)
This module is relevant to all therapists regardless of role / level of responsibility and aims to increase your understanding the structures and frameworks governing how you work. You are encouraged to identify areas of your practice that may benefit from improvement. Methods of service evaluation are explored in addition to the theories, models and human factors related to service change and improvement science.

Researching for Practice (15 credits)

Postgraduate diploma optional modules

These are specialist modules that develop your knowledge and skills in the assessment, identification and purposive management within an area of practice. After completing the taught element, you are encouraged to apply your learning to your own practice and/or complete supervised clinical experience with Sheffield Hallam tutors to further develop your clinical skills.

Choose one from

Contemporary musculoskeletal rehabilitation (30 credits)
This module enables you to develop your clinical skills and apply critical evaluation of the literature in the management of musculoskeletal movement disorders. You enhance your understanding of the patient's role in their own recovery and apply relevant contemporary musculoskeletal approaches to your practice.

Advanced practice in neurological therapy (30 credits)
This module facilitates the development of advanced clinical skills that reflect the current evidence base underpinning neurological rehabilitation. Within this module you gain an understanding of how the central nervous system controls movement, how neurological conditions affect the function of the central nervous system and advance your practical and clinical reasoning skills to affect recovery.

Advanced practice in cardiorespiratory care (30 credits) (only available as distance learning)
This module aims to develop your holistic management of patients across a spectrum of respiratory conditions and clinical settings. You are supported to develop advanced clinical reasoning skills as well as critical reflection and evaluation of your role. You are be encouraged to synthesise and apply this learning to inform and develop your own practice, ensuring efficient and effective service provision. The patient journey and experience is at the heart of this module, exploring in detail aspects of disease progression, management strategies and supportive intervention, as well as wider service roles in relation to cardiorespiratory care.

Personalised study module (30 credits)
This module aims to provide you with the opportunity to plan and carry out a personally chosen study into an area of personal or professional development. You discuss your priorities with your academic advisor and identify the content and assessment task for the module, there will be the opportunity to attend a range of study days within this module or focus your studies within your own working context.


Dissertation (60 credits)
You conduct an investigation relevant to your practice. This can be either an evaluation of a clinical service, a piece of primary research or a literature based project. You are encouraged to conduct a project that informs your practice. You are supported by a supervisor and a module team through online collaboration and communication.

Further information about all modules is available on our Continuing Professional Development (CPD) website.

  • presentations
  • practical assessments
  • vivas
  • written assessments


Graduates of this course are likely to gain employment in physiotherapy in a variety of settings
• in the UK NHS
• overseas in public sector posts
• in private clinics and private hospitals
• in sports clubs and professional sports organisations

Many of our masters graduates have started work in teaching, either within their clinical setting or associated with a university.

Opportunities to work in research in physiotherapy are expanding and many previous students have used their masters as a stepping-stone to doctoral study in the UK or overseas.


Home / EU student

Please note tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation. More information can be found in the ‘Tuition Fee Increases’ section of our Fees Regulations (PDF, 2.10 MB)

2016/17 academic year

Full-time – typically £6,300 for the course

Part-time – typically £2,100 a stage for PgCert, PgDip and MSc stages

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are available across the majority of subject areas.

2017/18 academic year

Typically £6,400 for the MSc, 15 credits £535 or 30 credits £1,070

International student

2016/17 academic year

Full-time – typically £12,800 for the course
Distance learning – typically £7,650 for the course

2017/18 academic year

Full-time – typically £13,250 for the course
Distance learning -typically £7,950 for the course

Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs information

How to apply

Complete the application form available at www.shu.ac.uk/study/form

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and student Regulations.

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