Doctor of Physiotherapy course structure

The integrated Doctor of Physiotherapy program will provide you with the knowledge, skills and clinical practice experience required to work as a physiotherapist, with a particular focus on the development of leadership skills. This graduate entry course consists of thirteen units delivered over three years. Building on an undergraduate degree in foundational sciences and learning from expert physiotherapists and researchers, the Doctor of Physiotherapy will prepare you to work in public and private hospitals, private practice, sports, aged care and community health, both locally and beyond.

From the first unit, the integrated curriculum is structured around the four themes of personal and professional development, population, society and health, applied practice and research. Conditions for which people typically seek physiotherapy provide the context for integrating previous biomedical or science studies with physiotherapy skills. An early focus on exercise prescription and programming is embedded into the foundation unit and applied to musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiorespiratory cases over the first year. A program of simulation and early work integrated learning placements, also commencing in year one, ensures early exposure to the practice of physiotherapy in clinical settings. In year two, the focus moves from campus based study to learning in the clinical environment. Monash University partnerships with multiple public and private health providers, facilitates high quality clinical learning. Clinical placement opportunities allow students to appreciate the relevance of on-going learning in the context of supervised health care delivery. The final year of study requires application of research, business, leadership and advocacy skills, to prepare you for the multiple opportunities available within a physiotherapy career.

The Doctor of Physiotherapy is a challenging and demanding course.  Students can expect to spend significant time in self-directed learning that supports the course of study. Students will be expected to be fit to undertake the course by accepting responsibility to maintain their health and take adequate rest.

Clinical placements across all years of the course are compulsory. In the second and third years of study, the majority of time is spent in clinical education. Some flexibility may be required of students, both in terms of hours worked at clinical settings, and scheduling of clinical placements. Students can expect to have rural attachments during the course. Students should take these matters into consideration when considering casual employment.

DPT students will complete 24 credit points in each Semester (1-6) over the three years of the course. The course operates with a mid-year entry, commencing in Semester 2 of each academic year.

Doctor of Physiotherapy Course outline

1st Year


Foundations of physiotherapy


Musculoskeletal physiotherapy


Neurological physiotherapy


Cardiorespiratory physiotherapy

2nd Year


Integrated Practice


Clinical placement 1


Clinical placement 2


Disability and chronic disease

rd Year


Clinical placement 3


Applied research in physiotherapy


Business and management in health systems


Clinical placement 4


Leadership, education and advocacy

Physiotherapy Themes

Theme 1: Personal and professional development

This theme focuses on the development of personal attributes and related skills to assist students in the transition to physiotherapist. It includes communication and interprofessional collaboration skills and ethics and legal issues.

Theme 2: Population, society and health

This theme provides the structure to consider the broader cultural, society and population issues that impact on health and health care delivery. Dedicated studies in leadership, business, education and advocacy support this theme.

Theme 3: Applied practice

This theme develops clinical competencies integral to physiotherapy practice. It focuses on the incorporation of the best available research evidence with the clinical reasoning skills of assessment, management and evaluation of patients within a range of environments and the delivery of appropriate health care.

Theme 4: Research

This theme focuses on the knowledge and skills that are required to independently collect or locate, interpret and critically evaluate research that investigates issues relevant to physiotherapy practice.

Year 1

During the first year of the course, previous biomedical studies (in anatomy, physiology and biostatistics) are further developed and applied to the physiotherapy context with the introduction of biomechanics, kinesiology, pathology, pharmacology, psychology and sociology. Musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiorespiratory physiotherapy units are undertaken in year one, led by clinical and research experts. Students will participate in a program of simulation and work integrated learning to ensure early exposure to clinical work.

Years 2 and 3

On-campus learning continues in the early weeks of Year 2, followed by a sequence of clinical education placements in a diversity of settings, with challenges increasing across Year 2 to Year 3. Clinical placements aim to develop knowledge and practical experience in the delivery of physiotherapy services under the supervision of experienced physiotherapists. The final year of study requires application of research, business, leadership and advocacy skills, to prepare you for the multiple physiotherapy career pathways available.