MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy
Writtle University College has an excellent reputation for its existing undergraduate Equine Sports Therapy course and our Integrated Masters in Vet Physio as well as our BSc in Animal Therapy that have both academic and professional input and by popular demand we are now offering an MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy as a postgraduate pathway.
This exciting course is recognised by RAMP, Accredited by AHPR and supported by NAVP. The programme is designed to develop the skills of the student to support veterinary surgeons in the rehabilitation of a variety of species and will in particular focus on equine and canine patients. It will also focus on supporting equine and canine athletes both during competition and for recovery.
It is designed to enhance competency in existing therapists and to help students with less experience achieve their goal as capable and knowledgeable veterinary physiotherapists. The programme offers successful students the opportunity to become part of the existing para-veterinary profession of veterinary physiotherapists by developing excellent understanding and knowledge of anatomical structure in relation to function, treatment, rehabilitation of a variety of animals and of core business skills for those who plan to be self-employed.
The programme will be run on a part-time basis over three years, with the majority being delivered at weekends (11 weekends for the 1st year , 19 weekends - including internal placements on site - for the 2nd year). There will be the occasional Friday or Monday that requires attendance, such as Academic Induction and examinations. The first year is quite structured and enables us to accurately predict the level of commitment required from each student to pass the modules. In the second clinical year, students differ widely in their ability to pick up and accurately apply the techniques being taught. So the requirement for self-directed practice can be substantial. There is also an increased level of contact in year 2 as students need to undertake placement days alongside the taught element, so weekends become far more frequent than during the first year. By year 3 students will be able to organise their own study time to complete the dissertation.
The first two years will comprise the Postgraduate Diploma in Veterinary Physiotherapy and if successful the student will obtain their VP practitioner status. The third year involves the dissertation and on completion the student will have a full MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy.
A successful veterinary physiotherapist will soon find that demand for their services outstrips their availability as there are a limited number of qualified therapists in the industry.
|SEMESTER 1||SEMESTER 2|
|Biomechanics and Gait Evaluation|
|Advanced Functional Anatomy|
|Pathophysiology of Injury and Disease|
|Academic and Professional Skills|
|SEMESTER 3||SEMESTER 4|
|Physiotherapeutic Techniques and Clinical Skills|
|Rehabilitation and Remedial Exercise|
|Clinical Practice for Veterinary Physiotherapists|
|SEMESTER 5||SEMESTER 6|
|Taught Masters Degree - Dissertation|
Applications will take into consideration:
- Your academic profile
- Your practical experience - relevant reference letters to be sent alongside your qualification for your application, from professional providers who supervised your placements.
- Your equine handling skills - practical task videoed and sent for evaluation
- Your answers to formal questions during the interview that will take place over the phone
When applying, you will be asked to produce a personal statement and name 2 referees from whom you will require recommendation letters on the pro-formatted template we will provide. Alongside your application, you must send copies of all your qualifications. Applications must be complete in order to be processed.
Practical experience evidence
We would like to see evidence of a minimum of:
- 150 hours for equine
- 100 hours for canine
done under the supervision of professional providers ready to vouch for your skills. Ideally the placements are done prior to the interview (letters from the providers, on headed paper, stating the date and length of the placements, the animal handling activities undertook and the skills developed, are to be sent with your application. Alternatively, proof of competition (equine or canine), BHS qualification must be sent for evaluation.
References for placements must be sent to Admissions by the 15.06.21. If placements have not been done prior to the interview, reference letters confirming that you have secured your placements must be submitted by the same date. All placements must have been effective before the beginning of the course. Placements must be less than three years old to be taken into consideration. We are looking at practical hands-on placements, not observational ones. Applicants could consider:
- For equine: a yard, a riding school, a sanctuary, an equine vet practice
- For canine: kennels, dog groomer, dog walker, dog day care, RSPCA, Dog trust, small vet practice, hydrotherapy centres
Owning a dog or a horse does not constitute evidence of practical handling.
You will be asked to send a video evidence of your practical skills. The task, simple but aiming at evaluating how safely you handle a horse, will need to be videoed by someone. The video must be less than 10mns. It must not be edited and does not necessitate running commentaries. Video evidence needs to be sent before the interview date you will be attending. Failure to submit the video before the set deadline will result in losing your interview slot. Not being able to perform to adequate standards will result in no potential offer being made.
There will be two interview dates for this recruiting cycle: 31.03.21 and 14.07.21
An interview with the academic team will form part of the admissions criteria for entry onto the course. The interviewer, knowing your level of handling skills after evaluating your video evidence, will discuss your practical experience and ask more formal questions as part of the interview.
It is recommended that applicants hold a recognised qualification in either canine or equine massage.
Applications from mature students from a relevant academic background will also be considered on an individual basis.
Q. How long is the MScVP course?
A. The programme will be run on a part-time basis over three years. The first two years will be taught on a modular basis and will require the student to attend 11 weekends in the first year (1 weekend a month). Attendance in the second year will increase and will additionally include 8 internal placements with a variety of physiotherapists. Finally another 2 external placements will have to be arranged by the students at professional providers. These two years will comprise the Postgraduate Diploma in Veterinary Physiotherapy and the Student will also be able to get his membership with AHPR and approach RAMP as a RAMP recognised course student. The third year involves the dissertation and on completion the student will have a full MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy.
Q. What will I study?
A. The first year is pre-clinical and subjects focus on Anatomy, Biomechanics and Pathophysiology. The second year is made up of clinical modules (Physiotherapeutic skills, Rehabilitation and Remedial Exercise) and will also include completion of clinical placement days mentioned above. During the third year the dissertation is completed. This will consist of a substantial research project. Although this course is a part-time format delivered at weekends, it still constitutes 15-20 hours per week studying. There is a substantial requirement for self-directed study, and practising of clinical skills, beyond the hours delivered on site. Students need to be aware of, and committed to, these extra hours in order to be successful.
Q. How many days do I have to come into College in year 1 and year 2?
A. The programme will be run on a part-time basis over three years, with the majority being delivered at weekends (11 weekends for the 1st year , 19 weekends - including internal placement weekends on site and exams weekends - for the 2nd year). There will be the occasional Friday or Monday that requires attendance, such as Academic Induction and examinations.
Provisional timetables will be posted as soon as possible and a full induction will take place at the beginning of the semester.
Q. Do I need a specific profile to gain entry to the MScVP?
A. Applicants will normally hold a 2.1 or 1st class Honours degree in Animal Science or a related subject (Equine Science, Zoology, Bioveterinary Science, Veterinary Nursing) or a therapy degree (such as, Equine Sports Therapy, Animal Therapy or Human Sports Therapy).
Prospective students will need to be able to demonstrate practical handling experience corresponding to a minimum of:
- 150h for equine
- 100h for canine
thanks to reference letters - See above for details.
"Writtle University College encourages early disclosure of any learning difficulties and/or disabilities and medical/mental health conditions that you may have. This allows us to discuss with you the impact this may have on your studies and consider reasonable adjustments and support arrangements you may need.
The college takes its health and safety and welfare responsibilities very seriously. Veterinary Physiotherapy is a physically demanding course which will involve you working in close contact with large and unpredictable animals. Students are encouraged to declare and discuss with college staff, anything that may impact on their ability to safely and fully take part in any of the practical elements of the course."
Q. How will the course be delivered?
A. A large proportion of the material will be delivered via traditional lecture sessions, laboratory practicals (including dissections), practical animal sessions (for surface anatomy, individual animal assessments, therapeutic interventions and also for the acquisition of animal handling skills), seminars, discussion forums, via visits, visiting speaker sessions and online learning activities. In addition to module delivery time you will also need to undertake a clinical observation day in the first year and clinical placement days in the second year. These constitute an important part in developing your clinical reasoning skills. 10 placement days (8 internal/ 2 external) will take place on Writtle premises (internal placements). For the 2 external one-day placements left, you will need to be prepared to travel to these placements as the providers are based all across the country. You will also need to be flexible about dates as you need to fit around dates when the providers have suitable clients for you to work with.
Q. How will I be assessed?
A. Assessment will be by a variety of methods including portfolios of evidence, practical competency log, written reports, posters, presentations, written exams, case studies, Objective Structures Practical Exam (OSPE) and Objective Structured Clinical Exams (OSCE). You have the opportunity to resit these exams though some retake fees will apply (£80 for OSCE retake per specie in your second year). The OSPE involves assessing your practical handling skills whereas the OSCE involves assessing clinical competence based on a given scenario. The research project is an essential part of the MSc programme and provides the opportunity to carry out an independent piece of research, critically analyse data and write a dissertation. The project is supervised by an academic member of staff and takes place over an extended period during the third year. The project can be based either at Writtle University College or another suitable external institution.
Q. What if I do not pass the clinical component?
A. The full MSc degree course consists of 120 taught credits and 60 core credits from the dissertation. To obtain an MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy all academic and practical assessments (Objective Structured Clinical Examinations and PCLs) must be passed. You will have three attempts at your OSPEs and OSCEs. However, retake fees will apply. If only the academic components are passed you will be awarded an MSc Animal Health, but you will not obtain your VP practitioner status.
Q. What are my career opportunities?
A. The programme is designed to develop the skills of the student to support veterinary surgeons in the rehabilitation of a variety of species and will in particular focus on equine and canine patients. It will also focus on supporting equine and canine athletes both during competition and for recovery. Validating your MScVP will allow you to become a professional veterinary physiotherapist. The professional healthcare industry for veterinary physiotherapists is an extremely competitive place; therefore it is vitally important to stand out from the crowd when looking for employment. The RAMP recognised Veterinary Physiotherapy course at Writtle enables our students to gain a qualification that will enhance their professional opportunities, giving them all of the necessary skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career within the industry. Alternatively, there is the option to continue with postgraduate studies such as a PhD.
You will only be awarded PG Dip/MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy if all academic and clinical components are passed.
If the clinical component is not passed but the academic elements are, you will be awarded an PG Dip/MSc Animal Health but will not obtain your VP practitioner status.
Provisional teaching schedule for academic year 2020-2021
The following dates are provisional and may be subject to changes, particularly in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19) measures .
MSc VP YEAR 1
Teaching Schedule 2020-21
Advanced Functional Anatomy (online LIVE)
Mock OSPE canine and equine (ON-SITE)
Academic and Professional Skills (online/pre-recorded)
Academic and Professional Skills (online LIVE)
Biomechanics and gait Evaluation (ON-SITE)
OSPE 2 resits (ON-SITE)
Internal placement day (ON-SITE)
MSc VP YEAR 2
Teaching Schedule 2020-21
MSc VP Provisional Schedule Dissertation 2020-21
Provisional teaching schedule for academic year 2021-2022
Some of the theoretical sessions on this provisional schedule may be delivered online but this will be discussed at induction level with the entire cohort.
MSc VP YEAR 1
Teaching Schedule 2021-22
Advanced Functional Anatomy (PM)
Mock OSPE (PM)
Academic and Professional Skills (PM)
Academic and Professional Skills (PM)
OSPE 2 resits
Internal placement day