Veterinary Physiotherapy Hartpury

Veterinary Physiotherapy

MSc, Postgraduate Diploma

This course is for those who have completed a BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy degree and who want to qualify as an animal physiotherapist. Accredited by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), successful completion will enable you to register as a professional practitioner with the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy (ACPAT) and the Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP).

Key Information

Course Duration: MSc: 3 years; PGDip: 2 years; part-time
Level of Study: Master's and PhDs
Typical Offer: 2:1 BSc (hons) Physiotherapy (2:2 applicants considered individually)

Course information

We provide the ideal environment for your training, with specialist expertise in canine and equine veterinary physiotherapy, as well as health, welfare, behavior and performance.

You’ll benefit from access to real-world cases and technologies in our canine and equine therapy centres, as well as laboratories kitted out with the latest scientific equipment.

Modules cover a diverse range of animal physiotherapy topics, plus research skills and business management. The course includes work placements and guest lectures from veterinary practices and surgeons, as well as qualified ACPAT canine and equine physiotherapists.

The course is delivered on a part-time basis, via block delivery to help fit around work or other commitments.

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy-accredited

The course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. On completion of your second year, you’ll be eligible to upgrade from a Category B to a Category A member of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy (ACPAT) as well as the Register for Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP).

You’ll need to maintain your ACPAT membership for the duration of your animal physiotherapy practice in the UK. Please visit www.acpat.org for the latest information, including costs.

Academic

Applicants should have at least a 2:1 in BSc (hons) Physiotherapy, registered with the Health Care and Professions Council as well as the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. By the time of enrolment, students need to be a category B member of ACPAT. Students with 2:2 and relevant experience will be considered on a case by case basis.

Non-academic

A minimum of one-year postgraduate experience of working as a human physiotherapist is desirable but not essential.

International

Applicants will be considered from outside the UK but must have achieved a BSc (hons) Physiotherapy and be a member of their country’s professional Physiotherapy body (association/society). In addition to the academic qualification an IELTS 7.0 or equivalent is required.

Please contact us for further information.

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Work placements and experience

Work placements form an essential part of your qualification to help prepare you for professional practice. In total, you’ll undertake 200 hours in the workplace, some hours working as part of our campus businesses and others as with veterinary practices and qualified Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy (ACPAT) practitioners. We’ll support you to find suitable placements, utilising our connections with accredited ACPAT providers.

Guest lecturers

Guest lecturers are selected to provide a wide range of expertise to support your learning and practice.  ACPAT-qualified physiotherapists, specialists in equine and canine physiotherapy, provide invaluable insights into real-world cases. Veterinary surgeons co-lecture two of the professional practice modules – Understanding Veterinary Diagnostic and Physiotherapy Assessment/Veterinary Physiotherapy Rehabilitation.

Graduate destinations

Newly-qualified veterinary physiotherapists have been employed in veterinary/physiotherapy practices and set up their own businesses or undertaken self-employed roles within physiotherapy practices. Graduates often start their careers with the businesses with which they undertook their placements.

Some graduates enjoy academic study so much and decide to progress their learning and advance practice through a PhD.

  • Veterinary physiotherapist
  • PhD
Success Stories

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Duration

We offer flexible part-time options to help students to manage their studies alongside other commitments. These options can be tailored to suit your own needs, enabling you to complete your qualification in two or three years. Please enquire for further details.

Your support network

You'll benefit from a strong support network from day one. This will range from your lecturers, supervisors and personal tutor to our specialist academic (Achievement and Success Centre), employability (Innovation, Careers and Enterprise) and wellbeing teams.

Your learning experiences

You'll experience a range of teaching methods to strengthen your understanding of topics, including lectures, workshops and practical sessions.

Qualifications and modules

This course is for those who want to qualify and practice as animal physiotherapists, registered with the sector’s chartered body, the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy (ACPAT).

Compulsory modules across the MSc and Postgraduate Diploma cover a broad range of topics, including preparing for clinical practice, Applied Anatomy, Physiotherapy and Biomechanics, veterinary diagnostics, the research process and business management. As an MSc student, you’ll undertake a significant piece of research on a topic of your choice in year three to enhance your own and wider industry practice.

By the end of your first year you’ll have a solid level of understanding of animal behaviour, comparative anatomy, biomechanics, physiology, pathology and physiotherapy assessment to confidently assess horses and dogs. Your clinical reasoning skills will allow you to develop a problem list and goals for treatment, and present cases based on this information.

The majority of your time on campus will be focused on practical sessions with horses and with dogs, but in both your first and second years, you’ll undertake placement days to cement your clinical skills. This will support you to undertake complex clinical reasoning and apply assessment and treatment strategies once qualified.

On completion of your postgraduate diploma or the second year of your MSc, you’ll be eligible to register with the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy, which means you can practice as a professional animal therapist.

However, we encourage you to progress into the third year to achieve the full MSc qualification, whilst undertaking a valuable piece of research tailored to your interests and career aspirations. This can focus on dogs, horses or humans. You can utilise our facilities or conduct your project in an external environment. Students often publish their research and present at industry conferences to enhance their professional reputation and networks.

This course is made up of compulsory modules only to ensure you develop the competences required of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

Module credits

Upon successful completion of your modules you’ll gain academic credit that accumulates towards your award. The marks you gain may contribute towards your final qualification differential award (pass, merit or distinction).

The course is taught in English.

Preparation for Clinical Practice

Review normal and abnormal behaviours, legislation, needs, and management of domestic animals. Includes placement work.

Comparative and Applied Anatomy, Physiotherapy and Biomechanics

Understand the anatomy, biomechanics (structure and function) and physiology of a range of species.

Understand Veterinary Diagnostics and Physiotherapy Assessment

Review the veterinary diagnosis and physiotherapy assessment of a range of animals. Includes placement days.

The Research Process

Discuss research methodologies and applications, as well as strengths, weaknesses and limitations of different methods.

Applied Business Management

Understand the essential operations of a small business, including, organisational culture and marketing.

Veterinary Physiotherapy Rehabilitation

Use a range of physiotherapy techniques to treat and rehabilitate both large and small animals. Includes placement days.

Postgraduate Dissertation

Develop and undertake a research project of your choosing.

The modules contain a mixture of scheduled learning – lectures, workshops and practical sessions – alongside independent learning. Students are expected to dedicate at least two to three hours of independent study per contact hour. Your course will also include work placement learning as part of some modules.

The course is taught in English.

  Contact learning Placement learning Independent learning
MSc degree 12% 14% 74%
Postgraduate Diploma 17% 21% 62%
Teaching contact time

Teaching contact time and method will vary depending on the module that you are studying.

You’ll be assessed through a mixture of written exams, practical exams and written assignments. Many of the modules will be marked based on a mixture of assessment types, whilst others will be based solely on one type of assessment. Written feedback will be given for all submitted assessments.

  Written exam Practical exam Coursework
MSc degree 8% 36% 56%
Postgraduate Diploma 13% 41% 46%

This part-time master’s degree is taught over three semesters. There is approximately one teaching block of three or four days each month between September and April, with placement days between teaching blocks and assessments in January and May.

The degree is based around modular blocks of teaching to allow you to study around other commitments, eg. working in human physiotherapy practice. 

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Please visit our student finance page for information on tuition fees and student loans, as well as non-repayable grants, bursaries and scholarships, eligible to different groups, to support with study costs.

Professional insurance

From the January of your first year, you’ll need Category B Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy (ACPAT) student liability insurance. This can be arranged through Graybrook Insurance Broker Limited, who provide the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) professional liability cover. This will be needed for the duration of your course.

ACPAT membership and RAMP registration

On completion of your second year, you’ll be eligible to upgrade from a Category B to a Category A member of The Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy (ACPAT) as well as enter the Register for Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP). You’ll need to maintain your ACPAT membership for the duration of your animal physiotherapy practice in the UK. Please visit the relevant websites via the links below for further details.

Clothing and footwear (circa £100)

You’ll need to have appropriate clothing for the practical sessions involved in some modules, eg. clean, professional and practical clothing suitable for working with small animals and horses. You’ll also need appropriate footwear, such as sturdy boots or shoes, and a riding hat for equine practical sessions. Specific details will be available prior to enrolment.

Optional field trips 

Field trips are generally included in the course fees.  However, extra costs may be required for specific optional trips.

Work placement travel costs

Extra costs required for your work placement, for example, travel and accommodation, need to be funded by the student.

Accommodation and living costs

Please visit our student accommodation page for details.

For further details about this course, including the programme specification and module descriptions, please visit our document library.

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Fees & Funding

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By studying a postgraduate qualification, you’ll deepen your expertise as part of a curious and likeminded learning community.

Megan had been overlooked for a job, with employers citing qualifications. That changed after she studied a master's at Hartpury. Find out how it gives you an edge. 

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Important information

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are reviewed and developed regularly. Changes or cancellation of courses may be necessary to ensure alignment with emerging employment areas, to comply with accrediting body requirements, revisions to subject benchmark statements or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make necessary changes and will notify all offer-holders of changes as and when they occur.