Bsc (Hons)

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Once perceived as an ‘extra’, veterinary physiotherapy has undergone a period of considerable growth over the last 10-15 years and practitioners now work in a range of settings – veterinary practices, veterinary therapy centres and independent practice – and always with the consent of a veterinary surgeon.

The BSc (Hons) Veterinary Physiotherapy is a three-year, full-time course validated and awarded by the Royal Agricultural University. 

This unique blended-delivery programme has been based at Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA) since its launch in 2017 but, with student numbers growing year on year, it is relocating to Plumpton College from September 2021. The current Clinical and Academic Lead, Dr Beth Cameron, and Course Manager, Aino Halla, will continue to head up the delivery of the programme.

About this course

Designed to provide the knowledge and skills required to practice as a veterinary physiotherapist, graduates meet Day-One Competency requirements and thus are eligible for independent registration with professional bodies within the industry.

Course Structure

As a full-time blended learning programme, compulsory attendance at the four-week-long practical sessions held throughout each year is combined with lectures, seminars, tutorials (offline and online) and guided self-study to build a portfolio of clinical practice.

This requires a commitment to at least 35 hours of study each week but, due to its unique delivery, the course is accessible to those who may already be employed within the wider animal industry and able to reduce or adjust their working hours to accommodate full-time study.

The course begins in September of each year and students will undertake a range of modules totalling 360 credits over the duration of the programme; 120 credits must be achieved at each of Levels 4, 5 and 6. The final award is calculated by applying 30:70 weighting to marks achieved at Levels 5 and Level 6 respectively.

Course content

Practical skills in physiotherapy and rehabilitation are acquired in the context of a sound knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy, biomechanics and exercise physiology in animals.

The primary focus is companion animals, mainly dogs and horses, although consideration will be given to a much wider range of species as these can be encountered in practice.

What is a typical module like?

A typical module, either 15 or 30 credits,  comprises a combination of tutor-led sessions and independent study time to be spent on reading, researching, completing assessment tasks and - for clinical modules - gaining valuable clinical practice hours..

Course attendance and pass requirements

All of the 12 week long practical sessions throughout the three years of the course must be attended and all modules must be passed as it is necessary for students to be proficient in all aspects of the course - both practical and theory -  in order to safely practice in industry. The RAU compensation regulations do not, therefore, apply to this programme and the threshold to achieve a Pass is 40% for all assessed tasks in all modules.

Independent practice of hands-on and Clinical Skills, working on animals belonging to family and friends, is also key to successful completion of  the programme. Evidence of this practice will be required and the hours will count towards the minimum number required to meet Day-One Competency standards.

Career progression after completion of this course

The programme is accredited by the Animal Health Professions Register (AHPR) and on successful completion of the course, students will be eligible to join the AHPR register of Veterinary Physiotherapists. 

Graduates may seek employment in a specialist role within a wider veterinary practice but they are also equipped with the professional and business skills required to allow them to work as a self-employed veterinary physiotherapist.The progressive approach to the development of sound clinical skills combined with robust academic skills also prepares students for further progression in postgraduate education and/or the field of research. 

Entry Requirements:
  • 5 GCSEs A-C/Grade 4 or above to include Mathematics, English Language and a Science. 
  • A minimum of two A-Levels, including at least one Science, preferably Biology, or a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management achieved at MMM grade (triple Merit) or above, or HE access course which must include elements of science, preferably Biology or Anatomy and Physiology
  • Students are required to demonstrate competent and safe horse handling skills and may be required to undertake a horse handling assessment.
  • Confidence in handling dogs is also required
  • All suitable applicants will be required to attend an interview.
  • Students may also be required to submit an essay on a given title and this will need to be of an acceptable standard.
  • All entry criteria will apply to students entering the course via UCAS Clearing.
Dates & Location:

September 2021

Duration:

3 years - full time study

UCAS Details:

Course code - 242W

Costs:

For the academic year commencing 2021-22 the Tuition Fees are £6,000 per year of study.

Facilities

Library

The library facilities at Plumpton located in the centre of the College campus. There is plenty of space for quiet study and plugs at every desk. The library has extensive computer facilities to support student research and there is also easy access to printers. The library is staffed by the library manager and library assistants.

There are over 10,000 books on land-based subjects, plus a range of magazines and journals, including electronic resources that may be accessed from College or home. The library stocks specialist material that covers a broad range of animal management, conservation and veterinary science subjects to facilitate students in their assignments and research projects. Students also have access to subject-specific e-journals and e-publications.

I.T. Resources

We have a dedicated Higher Education I.T. room here at Plumpton, providing reliable access to a quiet study space and printing facilities.

Our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is based on Microsoft Teams. It is used daily by both staff and students to ensure that we adhere to the College aim of using modern technology to help support outstanding teaching, learning and assessment at college. 

HE Study Rooms

HE students have access to their own study area for the sole use of HE students. The rooms are located in the Research & Development building, and creates a quiet self-study environment for students. Additionally, there is also a dedicated HE common room designed to provide students with a space to relax and engage with other HE students.

Future Opportunities

The programme is accredited by the Animal Health Professions Register (AHPR) and on successful completion of the course, students will be eligible to join the AHPR register of Veterinary Physiotherapists. 

Graduates may seek employment in a specialist role within a wider veterinary practice but they are also equipped with the professional and business skills required to allow them to work as a self-employed veterinary physiotherapist.The progressive approach to the development of sound clinical skills combined with robust academic skills also prepares students for further progression in postgraduate education and/or the field of research.

Modules

Year 1

Year 1 (Level 4)

  • Cellular Anatomy and Physiology (15 credits)
  • Musculoskeletal Anatomy (15 credits)
  • Clinical Competency 1 (CC1) - Manual Techniques (30 credits)
  • Animal Behaviour and Welfare (15 credits)
  • Locomotion (15 credits)
  • Introduction to data handling (15 credits)
  • Legalities, Professional Practice and Business Management (15 credits)

Year 2

  • Clinical Competency 2 (CC2) - Rehabilitation (30 credits)
  • Research Skills and Data Analysis (15 credits)
  • Biomechanics (15 credits)
  • MSK Dysfunction, Tissue Damage and Repair (15 credits)
  • Exercise Physiology (15 credits)
  • Orthopedics and Neurology (15 credits)
  • Rehabilitation and Remedial Exercise Prescription (30 credits)

Year 3

  • Honours Dissertation (30 credits)
  • Clinical Competency 3 (CC3) - Veterinary Physiotherapy (30 credits)
  • Electro Physical Agents (30 credits)
  • Clinical Competency 3 (CC3) - Specialist Skills (30 credits)

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