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Taught postgraduate

PgD / MSc

Veterinary Physiotherapy

Year of entry


3 to 4 years part-time

Start date: September 2022


Final award: MSc
Intermediate awards: PgC Animal Musculoskeletal Function and Dysfunction, PgD Veterinary Physiotherapy

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Please note: The course will be delivered part-time over four week-long blocks per year from September 2021 rather than at weekends as it was previously delivered.

The course

We have a long history of successfully delivering animal science-related courses in conjunction with animal healthcare organisations, for individuals and their employers. This programme is another example of collaboration, this time with the National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists (NAVP). Delivery is provided by colleagues from Harper Adams, technical specialists who are members of NAVP and also specialist external academics.

The programme fulfils the need to support veterinary surgeons who treat both companion and large animals. The veterinary physiotherapist (VP) can provide this support during an animal’s recovery from injury or surgery as well as in preparation of the athletic animal. Considering the number of animals owned and cared for in the UK and a general wish for high standards of animal health and welfare, there is now a growing need for well-educated and highly qualified, accredited VPs to provide this sort of service.

This programme is delivered on a part-time basis and studied over three academic years, with students completing the taught modules of the PgD within the first two years and completing the Masters Research Project within an individually negotiated timescale over one to two years.

How will it benefit me?

Veterinary physiotherapy is now well established as a mainstream complimentary treatment and offers the opportunity to become part of a growing professional community. Successful completion of this programme will provide individuals with more extensive opportunities for graduate employment as a VP in the animal health sector by developing the specific scientific, technical and business skills required. On successful completion, students will gain a recognised Higher Education postgraduate qualification as a veterinary physiotherapist as well as being able to apply for registration with the Animal Health Professions’ Register and membership of NAVP.

Further information

Due to the course being part-time only, Harper Adams is unable to accept international students who will require a Student Visa. If you require more information on this please visit the UK Visas and Immigration website.


The three-year part-time course is eligible for a postgraduate loan.

Application deadline 

Closing date is 1st July 2022

Block-based study

Modules are delivered in one week (and in a select few modules two week) blocks on campus. You will know in advance which weeks require physical attendance as they’ll be scheduled on the timetable. In addition to this, you will be required to allocate time for self-study to complete the assignments associated with each of the modules. Some modules may also include research and/or exam elements, these are also highlighted on the timetable.

Entry requirements for 2022

Candidates would be expected to have obtained a minimum of a 2:1 in an animal science/health, veterinary nursing, veterinary science or physiotherapy degree.

You will need a minimum of four weeks' relevant work experience. All applicants must have at least 2 weeks of recent hands-on experience working with large animals and 2 weeks with small animals by July.

We also welcome applications from Veterinary Surgeons where consideration for approval of prior learning may be granted for the first year of study. For all applicants, evidence qualifications is required.

If you don't have enough relevant work experience at application, the additional amount required may be added as part of a conditional offer.

What constitutes a 'week'? 5 days (in a block or separate days) totalling 35 hours.

Acceptable types of experience: Hands-on experience with dogs and horses is preferred, including in a riding school, livery/competition/rehabilitation yard, commercial/hunt kennels, grooming parlours or a hydrotherapy centre. Time in the 'in-patient' area of a veterinary practice or with a veterinary physiotherapist/chiropractor/osteopath will also give useful insight. For offer making purposes, we will only consider work experience that has taken place in the period 2 years immediately before the course start date (so if you were applying for September 2022 entry, we will not consider experience gained before September 2020); this is to ensure that you have recent experience on the most up to date practices and procedures.

Further information: It is the responsibility of the student to provide evidence of the experience when requested. This evidence must include a reference from each placement on letter headed paper.

While the area of veterinary physiotherapy is quite specialised, it may seem hard to find work experience, however, we accept a wide range of experience provided that it is hands-on with animals. NAVP has a list of members who may be able to help with some experience however, bear in mind that these are often small businesses and may not have the capacity to help, partly due to insurance restrictions. It is important to do some research when applying for experience and ensure you explain what your career aspirations are and to stress that it is part of a university course application.

Teaching and learning

Teaching and learning methods will include formal lectures, laboratory practicals, practical taught sessions on animals and professional clinics. Students will also need to attend external placements with veterinary physiotherapists. Typically, modules will be assessed through formative in-course and summative end-of-module time constrained assessments. Importantly, practical competency tests in two of the seven PgD modules must be completed successfully in order to pass that relevant module. High quality ‘hands-on’ skills are recognised as vital for such a practical profession so all students must successfully complete a Skills Enhancement Log over the period of the PgD.

Course structure

All modules are at level 7 unless indicated.

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Year one focuses on the pre-clinical aspects Year two takes a clinical approach  
PgD Veterinary Physiotherapy MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy
Critical Evaluation of Evidence (level 6) 15 Professional Practice for Veterinary Physiotherapists 20 Research Project 60
Veterinary Anatomy Locomotion & Practical Skills 30 Large Animal Evidence Based Physiotherapy 20
Musculoskeletal, Injury & Disease 15 Small Animal Evidence Based Physiotherapy 20
To be undertaken in alignment with each module throughout the PgD:
Skills Enhancement Log

There are many career opportunities available to the qualified VP such as direct or self-employment within a veterinary practice, teaching and research positions in academic institutions and also within the growing sector of sports performance development. Currently, this is a growing young profession and there are many opportunities to develop a future career in the field of animal health.

98% Employability

Harper Adams University has the best and most consistent long-term graduate employment performance in specialist agri-food higher education

(HESA 2017)


For course related enquiries please contact:

No. 1

In the UK for graduate employment
(Graduate Outcomes 2020)


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