Robert Gordon University (RGU) has launched an innovative Doctorate of Physiotherapy (DPT) course which meets professional development needs and is the first of its kind in the UK.
Devised by RGU’s Physiotherapy team, the new three-and-a-half year course will produce physiotherapists with clinically applied doctoral research skills and workplace experience.
The university’s MSc physiotherapy course has a well established reputation for employable, experienced graduates both in the UK and internationally. DPT graduates will have all of these attributes in addition to highly sought-after doctoral level research skills.
The DPT course is based on the university’s existing pre-registration Physiotherapy MSc which has a long association with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) in the US.
Delivered at RGU’s School of Health Sciences, the programme builds on prior learning and experience and is the only physical therapy programme outside North America which the organisation has accredited.
The first two years of the DPT, which includes six placements, are run in parallel with the MSc course with integrated research degree training that leads to working on a Doctoral Thesis in the final 18 months of the course.
After two years successful candidates will be awarded the PgDip and are then eligible to apply for Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration which gives eligibility to practice in the UK.
From a UK perspective the DPT course is an innovative and unique pathway to increase research capacity and capability within the physiotherapy profession to help improve the quality of care and productivity of health services.
Internationally, CAPTE have from 2016 onwards changed the minimum level of qualifying programmes to doctoral level which means the qualification will be in high demand by those wishing to pursue a career in the US and beyond.
Donna Wynne, RGU’s course leader for the new Doctorate of Physiotherapy course, said: “Doctorate level physiotherapy is becoming increasingly common internationally and has proved popular in both North America and Australia where we have strong market links.
“The doctorate course follows a model similar to an integrated PhD where students undertake the majority of the modules on the MSc Physiotherapy course to become qualified Physiotherapists with a Postgraduate Diploma Physiotherapy (pre-registration) at the end of their second year.
“They are then eligible to register with the Health and Care Professions Council and can continue with completion of the research degree in their third year as HCPC registered physiotherapists.”
The ability for students to practice as registered physiotherapists during their final 18 months on the course will help students gain as much experience as possible in the field to be attractive to future employers as they look to build their careers.
Ross AndersonCommunications Officer | Health and Sport