Valegro training on the aqua-fit treadmill at Hartpury
MSc, Postgraduate Diploma

Veterinary Physiotherapy

Typical offer: 2:1 BSc (hons) Physiotherapy (2:2 applicants considered individually)

Duration: MSc: 3 years; PGDip: 2 years; part-time

Awarding body: Hartpury University

Accreditation: Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Apply for this course here:


Course overview

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).

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 for the latest information, including costs.

Apply now Contact us: +44 (0)1452 702244

What you'll study

What you'll study

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.

Year one

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

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

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

Year two

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

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

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

Year three (MSc only)

Develop and undertake a research project of your choosing.

Please visit our document library for more module information.

Further module information

How you'll study

How you'll study

We're committed to supporting you to fulfil your unique potential while you're here so that you can achieve your personal and professional goals.

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.

Further details

Two-three years, part-time

Alternatively, 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.

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.

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 learningPlacement learningIndependent learning
MSc degree12%14%74%
Postgraduate Diploma17%21%62%

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 examPractical examCoursework
MSc degree8%36%56%
Postgraduate Diploma13%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


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


Valegro on water treadmill in Hartpury Equine Theerapy Centre

World-class facilities

You’ll have access to a diverse range of facilities while you’re here, many of which are newly built and world class. Alongside lectures halls and workshop spaces, these include:


  • Equine Therapy Centre including Sato high-speed and Aquafit water treadmills
  • Equine veterinary facilities including an examination room where procedures such as nerve blocking, joint medication and radiography are carried out
  • International competition arenas and over 230 horses and riders of all levels on campus, from professional to recreational
  • Dedicated teaching rooms for canine practical sessions
  • Rider Performance Centre including advanced riding simulators, 3D motion capture and electromyography technology, weight-lifting platforms and a dedicated sports therapy area
  • Sports facilities and Medical Centre, home to performance and development athletes


  • Over 70 animal species – domestics, exotics, invertebrates and amphibians
  • Canine Hydrotherapy Centre and dog agility activities
  • Laboratories for dissection and use of modules to support your anatomy learning


Well-equipped laboratories for dissection and use of modules to support your anatomy learning

Study spaces

Our University Learning Centre has books, journals, ebooks, computers and breakout study spaces. In addition, we have a study Lounge - an informal space with sports equipment, study booths and chill-out spaces to support both studying and relaxation. Postgraduate students also have a specially designated study area with 24-hour access.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements


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.


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


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:

Email us

Fees and funding

Tuition fees and financial support

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.

Below you'll find extra costs associated with studying this course, as well as costs associated with living and extra-curricular activities that might be of interest.

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.

Visit Graybrook Insurance Broker Ltd

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.


Visit RAMP

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.

Hartpury University branded clothing is also available through our online shop, for those who wish to purchase it. However, this is not essential.

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.

Access equine scientists and veterinary professionals in our commercial Equine Therapy Centre.

We treat development and performance athletes including 2016 Olympic champion Valegro who visits regularly to stay in shape.

Book open day

Shaping professional practice

We’re carving out best practice, promoting the use of objective measures for monitoring effects of treatment of musculoskeletal conditions by physiotherapists - supporting practitioners to demonstrate outcomes both objectively and confidently to owners, veterinary surgeons and other professionals.

Get in touch

We would love to hear from you, so please get in touch. You can ask a specific question or simply pop your details in to be kept up-to-date with news and events.

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.

*Reflects activities after 15 months for those who graduated in 2020.