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MSc Manual Therapy

Study a course that enhances your proficency and effectiveness in neuro-musculoskeletal practice. The course is designed to advance and challenge your clinical, therapeutic and reasoning skills. You develop your skills in communication and leadership to bring about more evidence based, efficient and effective services. This enables you to engage in debate with other therapists and empowers you to deliver improved services and patient care.

Course length 3 Years
Location Collegiate Campus

Course description

This course is designed for experienced postgraduate physiotherapists working within neuro-musculoskeletal clinical practice. It is also suitable if you have studied manual therapy at a high level on clinically-based courses, such as with the International Maitland Teachers Association (IMTA). You can have relevant clinically focussed learning recognised and the credits transferred via a recognition of prior learning (RPL) process.

The course enables you to advance your clinical, therapeutic and reasoning skills within the field of neuro-musculoskeletal practice. You engage in debate and develop skills which enhance your ability to facilitate service development and enhance patient care. Successful completion of the course leads to the opportunity to meet the requirements for registration with the Musculoskeletal Association of chartered Physiotherapists (MACP).

The course is structured around two core manual therapy modules that focus on the upper and lower quadrant. The upper quadrant includes key aspects of evidence, theory and reasoning that inform clinical practice. The lower quadrant considers different dysfunctions and also different principles that guide our practice. These modules develop and challenge your clinical handling and reasoning skills.Together these modules form a Postgraduate Certificate in Manual Therapy.

At postgraduate diploma level you choose optional modules relevant to your personal and professional development. This enables you to either increase the breadth of your learning or maintain a focus on developing clinical skills relevant to your physiotherapy practice dependent on your goals. One module which allows you to continue developing advanced clinical skills is the MACP clinical placement in neuro-musculoskeletal physiotherapy.

Your assessments are designed to fulfil the aims and learning outcomes of modules, as well as replicate the challenges you may face within your clinical field. This provides authentic experience and the opportunity to develop skills that are directly transferable to practice.

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
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. Experienced tutors also provide regular personal guidance and feedback.

Recognition for prior learning
Physiotherapy students who have successfully completed 2a, 2b, and 3 International Maitland Teachers Association (IMTA) modules can gain credits against specific modules from the MSc Manual Therapy. This can be achieved through the recognition for prior learning (RFPL) process. For more information read our IMTA guidance.

Entry requirements

2017 entry requirements

You normally need a BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy or an equivalent physiotherapy professional qualification, and at least two years recent postgraduate neuro-musculoskeletal clinical experience as an autonomous physiotherapist. 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

Overseas applicants from countries whose first language is not English need an IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in all skills or equivalent.

If your English language skill is currently below an IELTS score of 6.5 we recommend you consider a Sheffield Hallam University Pre-sessional English course which will enable you to achieve an equivalent English level.

Course structure

Part-time – typically three years

Starts September and January

Typical modules may include

Course structure

The masters (MSc) is achieved by successfully completing the postgraduate diploma plus dissertation (180 credits).

Core modules

Manual therapy for the upper quadrant (30 credits)
The aim of the module is to enhance your expertise in the innovative management of neuro-musculoskeletal dysfunctions of the upper quadrant. You engage with critical evaluation of relevant literature and reflect on the effectiveness of your clinical reasoning skills.

You develop your understanding of pain physiology and the role of the physiotherapist in pain modulation. You develop a heightened awareness of holistic assessment and management approaches and increase you skill and confidence in your own field of musculoskeletal practice. You improve your ability to work collaboratively with your patients, which improves the efficiency, effectiveness and patient-centeredness of your practice.

You also gain reasoning skills, greater understanding of pain physiology and pain modulation, the ability to apply evidence to your clinical practice and skills in holistic assessment and management.

Manual therapy for the lower quadrant (30 credits)
The aim of the module is to enhance your expertise in the innovative management of neuro-musculoskeletal dysfunctions of the lower quadrant and develop your advanced clinical skills within neuro-musculoskeletal conditions of the lower quadrant.

You learn to critically evaluate and reflect on the comprehensive management of lower quadrant neuro-musculoskeletal dysfunctions and its impact upon therapeutic services. You critically evaluate and reflect on the theory and evidence that underpins and challenges contemporary concepts of neuro-musculoskeletal management and clinical practice, demonstrate your ability to use advanced clinical skills for the lower quadrant and critically justify and reflect on their application within clinical practice.

You also develop your practice in line with requirements for registration with the Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (MACP). You will be able to pass on your knowledge to others, improving overall effectiveness and patient outcome.

Project design and planning (15 credits)
This module supports the development of project planning, as well as the identification of your own development needs to bring about successful project management. You learn to understand and apply appropriate processes and methodologies in the design and preparation of a research project or service evaluation. This module prepares you for your dissertation through project management skills and practical skills associated with undertaking an investigation of your own.

Dissertation (60 credits)
The final module of the masters degree is a dissertation. You conduct an investigation relevant to your practice, 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. The dissertation may be studied as distance learning so that you benefit from our support, but have the opportunity to conduct a study that fits best with your work and life commitments.

Optional modules

You study 45 credits worth of modules, which could include teaching and learning, leadership skills or more clinically relevant topics such as:

MACP clinical placement in neuro-musculoskeletal physiotherapy (30 credits)
This is a mandatory module for those wishing to gain MACP registration. It challenges your existing clinical practice by exploring established and evolving concepts, knowledge and evidence related to patient centred assessment and management of neuro-musculoskeletal dysfunction. You advance your clinical skills and management of patients with musculoskeletal disorders through integration of knowledge, theory and critical application. You will be able to make informed judgments to enable effective and efficient patient-centred assessment and management. You develop better reasoning and reflective skills, the ability to apply evidence to your clinical practice and skills in holistic assessment and management

Pain management (15 credits)
This module further explores the science and dimensions of pain and pain behaviours. It introduces emerging approaches for the management of pain and discusses how to effectively apply pain management principles to clinical practice.

Musculoskeletal radiographic image interpretation – axial skeleton – acute and emergency care (15 credits)
This distance learning module enables you to interpret musculo-skeletal radiographic images of the axial skeleton through the study of radiographic appearances commonly seen in acute and emergency care.

Concepts of learning and teaching (15 credits)
This module gives you the opportunity to explore the theories and practical aspects of adult learning and teaching. It is aimed at facilitating students with the skills and knowledge to plan teaching to undergraduate students, patients, carers and other professionals.

The leadership landscape (15 credits)
The aim of this module is for you to explore your organisational landscape and develop an understanding of how you lead within the context that you work within.

The postgraduate certificate (PgCert) is achieved by successfully completing manual therapy for the upper quadrant and manual therapy for the lower quadrant (60 credits).

The postgraduate diploma (PgDip) is achieved by successfully completing the postgraduate certificate plus 60 credits to include project design and planning (120 credits).

Assessment Assessments include
  • presentations
  • practical assessment
  • vivas
  • written assessment


Previous students have gained employment in physiotherapy in a variety of settings, including
• the NHS
• overseas in public sector posts
• private clinics and private hospitals
• advanced practice roles, such as emergency department physiotherapist
• extended scope practitioner (specialist physiotherapists or those who work in an extended role alongside a medical consultant)
• research
• teaching.


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

Typically £7,700 for the course.

International Maitland Teachers Association (IMTA) students are charged at £10 a credit for recognition of prior learning. Read our IMTA guidance for more information including fees.

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

2017/18 academic year

Typically £7,820 for the MSc, 15 credits £655 or 30 credits £1,305

International Maitland Teachers Association (IMTA) students are charged at £10 a credit for recognition of prior learning. Read our IMTA guidance for more information including fees.

International student

2017/18 academic year

This course is only open to home or EU students. We are currently not accepting applications from international students.

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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