• 28 July 2020
  • 11 min read

Top UK Universities For Physiotherapists

  • Mat Martin
    Content Manager
    • Mat Martin
    • Kirsty Combes
    • Matt Farrah
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Richard Gill
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"Physiotherapy is a fantastic career with great prospects, so rest assured you’re in good company."

A complete guide to UK Physiotherapy University courses. Here we look the University rankings and unpack some common considerations when finding the right course for you.

Topics covered in this article

Introduction

An A-Z Of Universities Offering Physiotherapy Courses

Which Universities Are Best For Physiotherapy In 2020?

Tips For Researching Physiotherapy Courses

Why It’s Important To Research The Course

Choosing A University

Make Sure You Carefully Consider The Location Of The University

Consider Your Extra-Curricular Needs

Consider The Reputation Of An Institution, But Be Aware Of Bias

Why You Should Attend Open Days

Entry Requirements For Physiotherapy Courses

Tips For School-Age Students Considering Physiotherapy

Introduction

Becoming a physiotherapist offers the potential for a long, fulfilling, varied and lucrative career.

As with most highly skilled professions, the journey starts at university.

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If you’re considering your options and wondering where you should study or what you need to do to prepare, this article offers a great starting point for budding physiotherapists.

An A-Z Of Universities offering Physiotherapy Courses

Here’s the very latest list of all the UK universities that offer undergraduate courses in physiotherapy:

Bournemouth University

Bristol, University of the West of England

Brunel University, London

Canterbury Christ Church University

Cardiff University

Coventry University

Glasgow Caledonian University

Glyndwr University, Wrexham

Keele University

King’s College London

Leeds Beckett University

London South Bank University

Manchester Metropolitan University

Northumbria University, Newcastle

Oxford Brookes University

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen

Sheffield Hallam University

St George’s, University of London

St. Mary’s University, Twickenham

Teesside University, Middlesbrough

Ulster University

University College Birmingham

University of Birmingham

University of Bolton

University of Bradford

University of Brighton

University of Central Lancashire, Preston

University of Chichester

University of Cumbria, Carlisle

University of East Anglia, Norwich

University of East London

University of Essex, Colchester

University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham

University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield

University of Huddersfield

University of Hull

University of Leicester

University of Liverpool

University of Nottingham

University of Plymouth

University of Salford

University of Southampton

University of Sunderland

University of Winchester

University of Wolverhampton

University of Worcester

York St. John University

As you can see from this extensive list, you can study physiotherapy in every corner of the UK.

Almost all courses are offered on a 3-year basis, although one or two universities do offer ‘integrated’ courses that include a master’s degree.

Which Universities Are Best For Physiotherapy In 2020?

Determining the ‘best’ universities for physiotherapy is always challenging.

That’s primarily because different factors matter more to different prospective students.

For some, it might be all about the quality of the premises; for others, all that matters is the teaching.

And that’s not forgetting other issues like location.

However, every year various experts attempt to publish a definitive list of the best universities for physiotherapy, and currently, this is the Complete University Guide’s top 10:

1. University of Southampton

2. Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen

3. Cardiff University

4. Glasgow Caledonian University

5. University of Birmingham

6. University of Liverpool

7. Coventry University

8. University of Bradford

9. University of Salford

10. University of Central Lancashire, Preston

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This list is based on factors including research quality, entry standards and graduate prospects.

It’s worth noting that the list changes every year and the margins between each university are very small.

The list should therefore be taken with a pinch of salt.

Tips For Researching Physiotherapy Courses

When you’re starting to plan your physiotherapy studies, the first thing you need to do is understand your options.

Qualifying as a physiotherapist requires you to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), and that in turn requires you to complete a physiotherapy degree.

On the surface, physiotherapy degrees are all the same.

But in reality, there are many variations in terms of what you study, and how you study.

You can study part-time over a number of years as opposed to taking a full-time, three-year course.

You can also choose to qualify through a degree apprenticeship.

And in terms of the courses themselves, each university will offer different approaches.

The mix of practical and theoretical could vary, and the areas in which you might specialise could differ too.

When you start researching, it’s important that you consider all of these factors.

Why It’s Important To Research The Course

Physiotherapy degrees might have the same titles, but their content and the way they’re taught can really differ.

Researching courses and understanding these differences is important because each will shape the kind of physiotherapist you want to be.

Physiotherapists work in the NHS or privately; with elite sports professionals or the elderly; in people’s homes or in state-of-the art facilities crammed with new-age technology.

You can decide on the kind of physiotherapist you want to be while you’re studying, or even after you’ve qualified.

But having some idea in advance will help you to choose the right course for you.

Choosing A University

Choosing the right university is all about weighing up the different factors that will influence your decision.

You can start with location of course, but you then need to ponder lots of different aspects of where you’ll study.

Assess all of the academic factors, like the university’s reputation, quality of teaching and research, and the historic levels of student satisfaction.

Graduate prospects is another significant issue and well worth researching – and stats are widely available to reflect this.

Entry requirements are also important, and they do vary quite a bit.

But don’t assume that the universities with the toughest entry requirements are the best.

Ultimately, finding your ‘best’ is a personal decision.

So, work out the factors that matter most to you.

Make Sure You Carefully Consider The Location Of The University

The location of a university is especially important for a number of reasons.

Firstly, you’ll no doubt be considering how far away from home you want to be.

Some people choose to live with their parents and study at their nearest university to save money.

For other people, studying in a new location is fundamental to their academic journey – or they simply want a bigger change.

When considering the location itself, think about how it fits you and your interests.

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You could study by the coast, in a peaceful town, in a more rural area, or in a large city.

Each will offer very different experiences – and each will shape how much you enjoy your studies.

And finally, don’t be afraid of change.

It’s tempting to choose a location that’s convenient and familiar – but studying in a completely new and unfamiliar environment can be an incredibly fulfilling and inspiring experience.

Consider Your Extra-Curricular Needs

A big part of university life is the extra-curricular aspects – the hobbies, sports, passions, nightlife and more.

Again, different locations will tick different boxes, but all of this matters too.

These activities are a fantastic way of meeting likeminded people and can greatly contribute to your wellbeing.

In some cases, the extra-curricular bonds you form at university can last long after you leave.

Consider The Reputation Of An Institution, But Be Aware Of Bias

Reputations inevitably play a big role in which universities students choose.

To some extent, that’s for good reason.

Reputations are built on a history of quality teaching, students building successful careers, and research prestige.

However, it’s important to be aware of bias.

Certain universities rely on their reputation too much, and many journalists and experts have fell into the same trap – advocating their current worth based on historic successes.

Many younger universities with shorter histories are performing increasingly well, and when you’re making your decision, it’s important to make a balanced judgement.

Why You Should Attend Open Days

Not everyone manages to attend university open days when making their decision, but it’s really helpful if you can.

No matter how much research you do online, nothing can replace getting a feel for a university in person.

You’ll be able to meet some of your potential course leaders, see what the facilities are like, and get a sense of how much it lives up to what you’ve read.

You’ll also get the invaluable opportunity to talk to other students about their experiences.

And when you’re done, you can squeeze in some time to visit the local town or city – which could also help to tip your decision one way or the other.

Entry Requirements For Physiotherapy Courses

Broadly speaking, to gain entry onto a physiotherapy degree course, you’ll need three A-levels at A-C grades – and one subject will need to be a biological science.

Some institutions will insist on a second subject being sports related.

You’ll also need a minimum of five GCSEs at A-C level, including English, maths and science.

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Alternative qualifications may also work in some cases, and these can include BTECs, HNDs, relevant NVQs or a science-based access course.

You can also gain entry to a master’s degree if you have an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject.

Most importantly, every university is different.

Access to some courses will demand very high grades in very specific subjects.

At other universities, entry may be far more lenient.

Tips For School-Age Students Considering Physiotherapy

If you’re still at secondary school and considering physiotherapy in the future, the best thing you can do is try to spend some time with a registered physiotherapist.

Get a feel for what the day-to-day job is like.

Ask lots of questions and try to understand what it takes to get to their position.

And make sure you’re clear about the different fields of physiotherapy too.

Then, start thinking about the subjects you’ll need to study at A-level.

Biology or a similar subject is a must; PE or sports science might also be really useful.

Good luck!

Whether you’re a school-age student or about to make your choice of university, good luck with your ongoing plans.

Physiotherapy is a fantastic career with great prospects, so rest assured you’re in good company.

Browse our available Physiotherapist jobs here.

Let us know in the comments your thoughts on becoming a Physiotherapist and where you're planning to study - let's chat there!

Oh, and please Like this article to let us know you enjoyed it - thank you!

About the author

  • Mat Martin
    Content Manager

Hailing from Devon, I have a background in visual media and film content. I'm now developing other content delivery skills, and am enjoying talking to people in health and social care who want to contribute and feel passionate about what they do. I’m constantly struck by the quality and feeling in the articles we receive from them, and I aim to ensure the readers are too.

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About the author

  • Mat Martin
    Content Manager

Hailing from Devon, I have a background in visual media and film content. I'm now developing other content delivery skills, and am enjoying talking to people in health and social care who want to contribute and feel passionate about what they do. I’m constantly struck by the quality and feeling in the articles we receive from them, and I aim to ensure the readers are too.

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