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Why I went back to university and became a physiotherapist

A student and alumna discuss how they overcame their fears about returning to study, and found job satisfaction in a new career.

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In response to COVID-19, the University of Sydney has reviewed the availability of courses to be delivered remotely for students commencing their studies in 2021 and 2022.

Students commencing this course in 2021 and 2022 are required to commence their studies in-person on campus. Remote study is not available for this course. Applicants will be eligible for admission only if they are able to demonstrate they are physically present in Australia on the date specified in the offer made to them by the University.

About this course

The Master of Physiotherapy develops the ability to use highly-developed clinical reasoning skills to assess, diagnose and treat people with movement problems caused by a wide variety of joint, muscle, nerve and metabolic disorders. You will also learn to help people avoid injuries and maintain a fit and healthy body.

As a physiotherapy student, you will learn from leading academics how to use a range of drug-free techniques to treat and prevent injuries, as well as promote a healthy body. In addition to the high-profile sports side of physiotherapy, graduates also practice in roles that contribute significantly to the wider community, such as the management of neurological conditions, movement disorders, rehabilitation and recovery.

During this two-year degree, you will explore introductory and advanced musculoskeletal, neurological, and cardiopulmonary physiotherapy, applied to patients across the lifespan. Biomechanics, occupational health and community health are incorporated in various units of study, and evidence-based practice and professional practice are embedded throughout the curriculum. Four five-week clinical placements in your second year will provide the opportunity for you to apply your knowledge and gain significant practical experience in a range of clinical areas including rehabilitation, acute care, ambulatory care/outpatients and community/general care.

Why study with us?

  • You'll learn in our new state of the art Susan Wakil Health Building, with access to brand new clinical simulation teaching spaces, research facilities, a multi-service clinic and a brand new library.
  • You'll gain real-world, hands-on training through clinical placements within our extensive network of clinical partners.
  • You'll learn from highly respected practitioners, clinicians and researchers, who are at the forefront advancing health sciences.
  • With a multidisciplinary focus, we prepare graduates with generalist and specialist healthcare knowledge and skills.

Learn more about studying health sciences at Sydney. 

Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) are available for this course for eligible domestic students. This means that your course fees are subsidised by the Australian Government and you pay a student contribution amount (SCA). CSP places are limited in number and are allocated based on academic merit.

Subject areas

There are no specialisations for this course.

Shared pool

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your admission criteria

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

For academic requirements check the ‘Admission requirements’ section on this page.

Your fee

How to apply

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Applying for a Commonwealth supported place (CSP)

There is no separate application required to apply for a CSP. Once you apply for admission, if you are successful in securing a CSP, you will receive notification via an offer of admission.

A Commonwealth supported place (CSP) is not guaranteed as there are a limited number of CSPs available for postgraduate courses. The number of available CSPs for a course can change each semester/year.  CSPs are also not automatically awarded for course transfers and upgrades.

CSPs are awarded for the duration of a course based on academic merit determined by the University and eligibility criteria specified by the Australian Government. Learn more about CSPs. If you do not qualify for a CSP you may be offered a domestic fee-paying place.

Application dates

Applications open - 1 July of the preceding year

Application close - 31 October of the preceding year

Early offers:  A small number of rolling offers released to applicants with high academic merit

Offers released: December - January

We strongly encourage applicants to apply as early as possible, offers are made on a rolling basis and places are limited. Separate scholarship deadlines apply - check the scholarships website for details.


Starting date

Semester 1 (February)

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Application dates

Applications open - 15 March of the preceding year

Application close - 31 October of the preceding year

Offers released: Offers are made throughout the year based on academic merit and subject to availability in the program

We strongly encourage international applicants to apply as early as possible to allow time for visa and travel arrangements. Separate scholarship deadlines may apply - check the scholarships website for details.


Starting date

Semester 1 (February)

What you'll study

You will follow a prescribed course of study with a total 96 credit points (cp).

Year 1

  • Cardiopulmonary Physiotherapy
  • Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy IA & IB
  • Neurological Physiotherapy
  • Neurological and Cardiopulmonary Physio
  • Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy II & III
  • Physiotherapy across the Lifespan

Year 2

  • Physiotherapy Practicums 1, 2, 3 & 4
  • Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy IV
  • Physiotherapy Health Care and Society
  • Advanced Physiotherapy Practice
  • Advanced Clinical Reasoning

Faculty Handbook:  Unit of study overview

Units of Study

Work component

Mandatory work component = 840 hours.

This mandatory work component must be completed as part of the award requirements for the course.

Progression rules

The Master of Physiotherapy degree requires the completion of 96 credit points (cp) of study. Each unit of study (UOS) is worth 6 cp and four UOS are undertaken each semester.

Capstone experience

Clinical reasoning is developed throughout the course. In the second year of the course knowledge and experiences from clinical placements, advanced musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiopulmonary physiotherapy, and evidence-based and professional practice are all drawn upon in the capstone unit of study advanced clinical reasoning. In addition, the final clinical placement provides the opportunity for students to practice their clinical reasoning skills just prior to graduating as a physiotherapist.

Admission criteria

To be eligible to apply you will need to fulfill the following criteria;

  1. A Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or a PhD from an Australian institution or equivalent.

  2. A minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 4.5 over 7 (credit average). This does not guarantee an offer as the places are limited and offers are made based on academic merit.

  3. Provide evidence that you have the pre-existing knowledge requirements in all 4 areas listed below:
  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Neuroscience

The faculty has a list of approved degrees and units to meet the knowledge requirements listed above. Applicants will need to complete the pre-requisite information form if their undergraduate degree is not listed as an approved degree.

Please read all instructions carefully and ensure that you refer to the supplementary information, approved degrees and units document before completing the form. 

Admission process

Download the graduate entry masters admissions guide (pdf, 180KB) for more information on the admissions process for domestic and international applicants.

Inherent Requirements

Inherent requirements are the essential tasks and activities necessary to be able to achieve the core learning outcomes of a course. They are specific to a particular course or discipline. To assist students to make informed choices about their study, we have identified and set out the inherent requirements for this course.

The academic criteria that are displayed are applicable to currently available courses only, and are updated annually in October and may be changed without notice. The Handbooks Online and the University of Sydney Calendar are the official legal source of information relating to study at the University of Sydney, and you are referred to those documents.

Credit for previous study

For more information about the University’s credit policy, please see the Credit for Previous Studies page.

Professional accreditation

The Master of Physiotherapy is accredited by the Australian Physiotherapy Council (APC).

Graduates are eligible to apply for registration as physiotherapists with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia (PBA), overseen by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

More information can be obtained from the Australian Physiotherapy Council.

Career pathways

Physiotherapy is applied in the management of a wide variety of acute and chronic cardiopulmonary, neurological and musculoskeletal conditions, among patients across the lifespan. For example:

  • Assess and treat neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease, stroke or movement disorders in children
  • Provide rehabilitation after acute or chronic injury
  • Assist in recovery of normal function following surgery or childbirth 

It also plays a central role in the management and prevention of chronic conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. 

Physiotherapists work in many places, including:

  • private practice
  • sports facilities
  • schools and universities
  • public health organisations
  • community centres
  • aged-care facilities
  • workplaces

Some physiotherapists pursue a clinical career assessing and treating patients; others pursue a career in academia to undertake research to further the evidence base for assessing and treating patients and to teach physiotherapy students; others mix a clinical career with academia.

Future study options

Eligible graduates may consider an additional three years of study as a research candidate for the higher research degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The PhD is designed to provide students with the opportunity to undertake in-depth study in a specialised area under the supervision of a team of two or three academic staff members with expertise in the desired field of research.

The award of a PhD will enhance your profile as a genuine researcher and expert in your chosen field, afford opportunities as a published researcher, and may lead to an academic appointment, or to a research appointment with a government or industrial research and development organisation.

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