Scottish university launches first doctorate of physiotherapy course in the UK

Physiotherapists in Scotland have developed the UK’s first doctorate of physiotherapy course.


Donna Wynne (back row, second right), course leader and senior physiotherapy lecture, with RGU’s physiotherapy team and Elizabeth Hancock (centre left), head of RGU's school of health sciences and professor Valerie Maehle (centre right), dean of the university's faculty of health and social care

The physiotherapy team at Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen spent two years devising the course and received advice from the CSP’s learning and development team.

It will start at RGU in January 2017 and is open to graduates with a first class degree in a science or health related subject. Students on the three-and-a-half year course will qualify as physiotherapists, gain workplace experience and develop doctorate level research skills.

The course will include six placements and include research degree training.

After two years successful students will be awarded a postgraduate diploma in physiotherapy. This will allow them to register with the Health and Care Professions Council and become practising physiotherapists, while also working on a doctoral thesis during the final 18 months of the course.

Donna Wynne, course leader and a senior physiotherapy lecture at RGU, told Frontline: ‘Currently we know that once you are qualified as a physiotherapist it’s very difficult to maintain a clinical and an academic pathway, but these students will have a research background and be able to continue within a clinical field.

‘That will be brilliant for clinical research because they will be able to maintain and consolidate their skills as working as physiotherapists while also being research degree students – so they will have capability to conduct valuable data collection within the health service.

‘Ultimately, this may help to improves services and get more quality research projects off the ground.’

Applications for the course are now open.


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