BSc (Hons)

Veterinary Physiotherapy

Entry requirements for 2017

I am currently studying/I am

Open Day

Saturday 13 May
9.30AM - 4.00PM

UCAS code: D31A

Institution code: H12

Application: please include GCSE results on your UCAS application form.

Duration: Four years

File: Student Handbook


The course

This undergraduate programme is recognised by the National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists. It will provide the knowledge and skills for you to become a veterinary services professional and work closely with veterinary surgeons.

Physiotherapy following veterinary referral can help animals recover from a variety of conditions such as back pain, sprains, strains, fractures and sporting injuries. It can also be used following orthopaedic, neurological or general surgery, as well as improve biomechanics and athletic ability.

As such its use within the veterinary field is increasing. Animals can undergo a wide range of treatments including manual techniques, electrotherapies and exercise therapy.


Successful completion of the course will allow entry to the National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists.

Find out more about the association at

Work placement

This course will provide you with the opportunity to work closely with animals during a year-long placement during the third year, supervised by Harper Adams. The placement will help you develop practical competences and build confidence as you enhance your interpersonal skills. This is augmented by further clinical placement during your fourth year, when you will work alongside an experienced veterinary physiotherapist, to hone your physiotherapy competences in preparation for your chosen career.

Contact information

For course related enquiries please contact:

Telephone: +44 (0)1952 815 000

Course structure

What you study

In the first year you will study modules that provide the underpinning knowledge you need to work with animals. You will also study some physiotherapy techniques including massage and hydrotherapy. In the second year you will be studying the underpinning science required to work as a veterinary physiotherapist, including anatomy, biomechanics and locomotion and musculoskeletal injuries. Also included in second year is more teaching of physiotherapy skills and knowledge including the electrotherapeutic modalities and exercise prescription. The final year will include clinics and teaching to further your knowledge in the field of veterinary physiotherapy and animal health plus the honours research project.

Teaching and learning

Teaching may consist of formal lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical exercises, laboratory sessions, study visits, clinics or the use of guest speakers. As the course is highly vocational in nature there are many practical skills to be learnt and then honed in the clinics of the fourth year. In addition to the taught sessions you will be expected to undertake further study in your own time, complete tutorial exercises, written assignments and if required, to prepare for an exam.

Assessment methods

Each module you study is assessed through a combination of written or oral individual assignments, group projects, and summative written examinations as is the normal for most university courses.  This course, as with other clinical taught courses, also uses practical competency tests (OSPEs/OSCEs) to assess your ability to carry out practical tasks that are relevant to the veterinary physiotherapist. The requirements for entry to NAVP membership include successful completion of the course and of the Skills Enhancement Log (SELs) which are a record of competency of practical skills focused on Veterinary Physiotherapy.

Learning in Higher Education – how is it different?

Whilst a student’s prior experience or qualifications should prepare them for Higher Education, most will find that study at university level is organised differently than they might have experienced at either school or college.  Higher Education sets out to prepare students to think and learn independently, so that they are able to continue learning new things beyond their studies and into the workplace, without needing a tutor to guide them.  This means that the time spent in classes with tutors provides direction, guidance and support for work that students undertake independently through:

  • finding useful information sources and compiling bibliographies of reading material, in paper and online
  • reading and making notes to help make fuller sense of subjects
  • engaging with online materials and activities found on the College’s own virtual learning environment 
  • preparing assignments to practise skills and develop new insights and learning
  • preparing for future classes so you can participate fully

In order to develop the skills of a graduate (whether at Foundation Degree or Honours Degree levels), students are expected to not only be able to recall and explain what they know but also to be able to:

  • apply what they know to new problems or situations
  • analyse information and data and make connections between topics to help make sense of a situation
  • synthesise, or draw together, the information and understanding gained from a range of sources, to create new plans or ideas 
  • evaluate their own work and also the work of others, so that they can judge its value and relevance to a particular problem or situation

Tutors will expect students working towards a Degree to be able to use what they know to solve problems and answer meaningful questions about the way in which aspects of the world work and not just rote-learn information that they have been told or read, for later recall.  This means using all the bullet-pointed skills and to think critically by questioning information, whilst also being rigorous in checking the value of the evidence used in making one’s own points.  Students will be expected to become increasingly responsible for recognising the areas where they themselves need to develop.  Taking careful note of tutor feedback can help to identify the skills and abilities on which attention could usefully be focused. To be successful, students need to be self-motivated to study outside of classes, especially since in higher education, these higher level skills need to be practised independently. 

At Harper Adams students are gradually supported to become less reliant on class-based learning, so that they are able to spend a greater proportion of their time in their final year working on projects of interest to themselves and in line with their future career aspirations.  Whilst in the first year of a course, a student might spend around one-third of their time in class, they will typically spend 15 - 20% in class by the time they reach their Honours year.  At Harper Adams, we are fortunate to have not only an extensive estate and great facilities for students to use as a source of information and inspiration, we also have a well-stocked library and access to countless specialist sources of paper-based and online information.  Many of the staff at Harper Adams are involved in research work, which helps ensure the content of the courses is at the forefront of the discipline.   This also means that amongst the library books and online journals that students use, there may be some familiar names.

The Bamford Library and Faccenda Centre each have spaces in which students can work, either individually or in small groups, using either their own laptop computers or the provided desktop computers, all of which can access the network.  Working spaces are zoned to reflect different working conditions, so there is a study space for everybody, whether they need silence or work better in a livelier environment.

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Veterinary physiotherapists work alongside veterinary surgeons and nurses within vet practices and hospitals in the treatment of animals. A number of physiotherapists work closely with the equine sports industry within racing or other sporting disciplines. Others work independently, setting up their own businesses working with horse and dog owners.

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