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The basics
Study abroad : Subject Guides

What to expect when studying physiotherapy

Everything you need to know about physiotherapy courses from tuition fees and entry requirements to careers and salaries.

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Are you considering doing a physiotherapy course? Would you like to know what the entry requirements are and what you’ll be studying? Do you want to know how much a physiotherapist can earn? You’ll find the answer to these questions and more in this article.


What are the entry requirements?


As with any subject, entry requirements for physiotherapy degrees differ depending on your study level and also where you are applying. Make sure you check with the each institution before sending off your application. However, you can find general guidance below:



  • Good A-levels grades (or equivalent) including a biological science or physical education subject.
  • A minimum of five GCSE’s (or equivalent) including maths, English and one science subject.
  • personal statement reflecting your passion, drive and relevant experience.
  • English language proficiency – an overall IELTS score of 6.5, no lower than 6.0 on each paper (universities may differ in their admission requirements).



  • An undergraduate degree (ideally 2:1 or above) in a relevant subject such as biology, sports science, anatomy.
  • Some universities may ask for work experience.
  • Proof of English language level (check with the university).


If you didn’t study for a relevant degree, don’t worry. You can enrol on a pre-master's course to prepare for a postgraduate degree. However, it will be beneficial for you to prove your interest in physiotherapy with relevant work experience or your own research to show your motivation and aptitude for physiotherapy.


What modules will I cover?


To succeed in the field of physiotherapy you must care about the physical health and wellbeing of your patients and want to improve their quality of life. These are some of the basic requirements for any student taking a course in physiotherapy, whether at the undergraduate or postgraduate level.


While courses will differ in their approach, you can use the below as a guide for what you can expect to cover in a physiotherapy degree:


  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Cardiorespiratory
  • Pathophysiology
  • Health psychology
  • Orthopaedics
  • Musculoskeletal therapy
  • Neurological therapy


On top of these core modules, you are likely to focus on developing independent research skills, which are essential for progressing onto a master’s level course. Additionally, some universities offer work placements in hospitals, rehabilitation clinics or in people’s homes. This will provide you with real-life, hands-on experience that will enable you to gain relevant practical experience.


How long does a physiotherapy degree take?




Again, it really depends on the university and where it is located. In some countries, most degrees take three years on average whereas others require four years of study. In New Zealand for example, students are expected to study health science for one year prior to three years of physiotherapy. In the UK, full-time physiotherapy undergraduate degrees tend to take three years.




Master’s degrees vary from one to two years in length depending on the institution, course and whether you decide to study part-time or full-time. Some physiotherapy courses will take two years of full-time study whereas others might offer just one year.


You may also find that some institutions require a certain number of clinical hours which you’ll have to fulfil during the course.


What are the top universities for physiotherapy courses?



How much does a physiotherapy degree cost?


You will need to check each university’s websites for more accurate fees in the different destinations. However, the below fees for undergraduate physiotherapy courses will provide you with an idea of the costs:


Physiotherapy fees in 2022

  Undergraduate Postgraduate
UK GBP 13,000-29,500 GBP 20,000-29,400
USA USD 31,700-43,374 USD 17,588-47,428
Canada CAD 23,464-51,025 CAD 17,000-29,200
Australia AUD 36,480-57,000 AUD 41,400-73,920
New Zealand NZD 14,000-47,776 NZD 39,100-51,400


If you’re concerned about affording your studies, you can also apply for a scholarship to receive financial assistance.


What physiotherapy specialisations are there?


There are many different specialisations that you can choose within the field of physiotherapy. Some of these are:

  • Paediatrics – helping children with their movement and physical development.
  • Neurology – treating people who suffer from issues related to their central nervous system which affects the brain, spine and nerves.
  • Orthopaedics – advising patients who have injuries or problems with their joints, muscles and ligaments.
  • Oncology – being involved in the care and rehabilitation of cancer patients.
  • Geriatrics – helping to improve the physical health of elderly patients.
  • Sport – dealing with sport-related injuries and helping players to improve their physical health.


How much do physiotherapists earn?


You may be worried about the cost of a physiotherapy degree, but the below table shows that there are opportunities to earn a high salary once you’ve gained the necessary experience and qualifications.


Average physiotherapy salaries around the world in 2022

  UK USA Canada Australia New Zealand
Physiotherapist salary GBP 28,649 USD 76,771 CAD 98,376 AUD 76,000 NZD 62,325

Glassdoor 2022


Hopefully, you now feel more confident in knowing what to expect from a physiotherapy course. For more information and guidance, check out our article on how to become a physiotherapist or if you’re sure this is the right course for you, use our course matcher tool to find the right programme and university.


Want to check which program suits you the best?
Find out with our new "Course Matcher" tool!

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