Doctorate of Physiotherapy DPT

1. Overview

This course is a unique opportunity to qualify as a Chartered Physiotherapist combined with a PhD leading to a Doctorate in Physiotherapy.

The course will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to practice physiotherapy through an accelerated programme which builds on prior learning and experience.

The initial two years are run largely in parallel with the MSc (Pre-registration) Physiotherapy course with an enhanced research element that leads to undertaking a Doctoral Thesis in the final 18 months of the course.

After 2 years successful candidates will be awarded the PgDip and will be eligible to apply for Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration which gives eligibility to practice. Successful completion of the final doctoral thesis will then lead to the award of Doctorate of Physiotherapy. The course is also recognised and validated by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).

Our MSc course has had a long association and accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) being the only Physical Therapy programme outside North America they accredited. We have welcomed a number of students from the United States and Canada as well as students from other countries who wish to practice in the USA to this course. The Doctorate is now the minimum qualifying programme for eligibility to practice in the US.

The Doctorate is accredited by CAPTE.
1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Telephone: 703-706-3245

2. What you will study

There is a firm emphasis on the development of doctorate level research skills in conjunction with the clinical reasoning and practical skills required of a physiotherapist.

Academic modules have been developed to allow students to develop strong core assessment treatment and research skills and a deeper knowledge of core areas such as exercise prescription and health improvement theory. Integrating the core practice areas of cardiovascular respiratory, neurology and musculoskeletal encourages students to think holistically about their patients and to embed this in their practice. The thesis allows the transfer of practical and academic elements to the clinical application of research.

Stage 1

  • Foundations of Physiotherapy Practice
  • Exercise And Health
  • Clinical Education 1
  • Physiotherapy Practice 1 & 2
  • Clinical Education 2

Stage 2

  • Clinical Education 3
  • Physiotherapy Pathways
  • Physiotherapy Research Proposal
  • Clinical Education 4 & 5
  • Enhancing Service and Practice
  • Clinical Education 6

Stage 3

  • Thesis

Read more about the MSc Physiotherapy Modules

3. How you will learn

The problem orientated model of learning used throughout the course is particularly suited to those who have already experienced a University learning environment. You will be taught via a mixture of enquiry based learning, practical workshops, projects and simulation, working with volunteer patients and in our state of the art Clinical Skills Centre including METIman.  During the course, we also frequently invite external speakers including expert clinicians.

Students are required to work in groups and learning occurs through practical and tutorial sessions with some group and individual project work. Experienced tutors with current clinical experienced will facilitate this.

The Doctoral thesis will allow in-depth study of a clinically or service relevant area to PhD level with the student working with a group of experienced clinicians and academics.   

4. Entry Requirements

Applicants typically possess a Bachelors undergraduate degree in a science subject, such as biological, or sports science, and should contain human anatomy and physiology with a 1st Class honours classification, or a minimum GPA of 3.6 out of 4.0 Scale, or equivalent. Those with a 2.1 honours degree or a GPA of 3.3-3.5 will be considered on an individual basis.

Experience of the research process is an essential requirement for the course. Relevant work experience in the field of Physiotherapy and healthcare would be desirable.

Applicants from the USA will also be required to demonstrate that they have undertaken all the prerequisite subjects in accordance with recommendations adopted by the Educational Section of the American Physical therapy Association. Further information for US applicants:

MSc Physiotherapy - Applicants from the USA

Applicants from other countries should hold an equivalent award in a relevant subject.

All international students, for whom English is not their first language, are required to have an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of at least 7.0 in all aspects of the test or an appropriate equivalent, on application to the course.  

All applicants who pass the application screening stage must attend for a mandatory interview.  Interviews are held in North America in April and August each year and in the UK at RGU campus in May and September. 

English Language Requirements

Please Note

This course is not appropriate for Qualified Physiotherapists who wish to undertake a postgraduate degree.

5. Placements and Accreditations

Successful completion of the first two years leads to the award of the PGDip and eligibility to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council and membership of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

The Doctorate of Physiotherapy (DPT) at Robert Gordon University has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: website:

Students undertake six placements which are spread over the duration of the first 2 years of the course. The last of these is an elective which is arranged by students themselves; this can be undertaken in any country if the required conditions are met.

The Thesis will be undertaken at a clinical or academic site with a clinical supervisor in addition to the Research supervision team.

Please note if you are a student from the USA who is planning to apply for a Federal Loan, none of your placements can take place in the USA. This is in order to comply with the requirement of the FERPA.

More information on the US Federal Loan

Find out more about Health Professions Placements & Professional Links

6. Student Funding


Applicants to this course may be eligible for a scholarship. More information:

Health Professions Scholarships

7. Course Fees

For Academic Year 2018/2019

UK/EU Students

  • £9,140 per academic year

International Students

  • £16,970 per academic year

For Academic Year 2017/2018

UK/EU Students

  • £8,860 for year 1
  • £8,860 for year 2
  • £8,860 for year 3 (Doctorate stage)

International Students

  • £16,480 for year 1
  • £16,480 for year 2
  • £16,480 for year 3 (Doctorate stage)

For Academic Year 2016/2017

UK/EU Students

  • £8,600 for year 1
  • £8,600 for year 2
  • £9,135 for year 3 (Doctorate stage)

International Students

  • £16,100 for year 1
  • £16,100 for year 2
  • £15,570 for year 3 (Doctorate stage)

For Academic Year 2015/2016

UK/EU Students

  • £8,300 per academic year

International Students

  • £15,500 per academic year


Course fees are reviewed periodically and so are subject to change for new applicants. All tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in your offer letter. You will also be liable to pay a graduation fee of £40 before receiving a University award.

For further information see Student Finance pages


8. How to apply

All applications should be made via the University's application form for research students.

Completed application forms should be accompanied by:

  • Two academic references
  • A transcript or mark sheet for all graduate qualifications
  • A draft research proposal, or at least a short summary to indicate the potential area of research (Refer to Section 8 of the Application Form)
    Please note this will not necessarily be the area of study pursued for the DPT doctoral thesis, only an indicator of the applicants knowledge and understanding of research methods and methodologies, and potential area of interest.
  • A personal statement indicating the individual’s aptitude, skills for the physiotherapy profession and also the preparedness to underrate a professional qualification as well as a research degree.
  • For applicants whose first language or language of university education is not English - Certificate of English language competency score of IELTS 7.0 in each of the four test components (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking). Students who can demonstrate successful completion of tertiary (university or college) studies in a country whose national language is English, may be exempted from this requirement
  • Any applicant from the USA will also be required to demonstrate that they have undertaken all the prerequisite subjects in accordance with recommendations adopted by the Educational Section of the American Physical therapy Association. Further information: MSc Physiotherapy - Applicants from the USA


All applications are screened and if suitable, will be offered an interview. Interviews are held face-to-face in locations UK at the RGU campus and in North American Locations.  If invited to interview, attendance is mandatory to be considered for a place on the course. 

We accept applications all year round, however, if you wish to be considered for a January 2019 place please ensure your complete application is submitted at least one month prior to the last scheduled interview dates (Home/EU - beginning of August 2018, North America - July 2018).  Applications received after this may not be considered for a January 2019 place.

Interview schedule for 2018 (January 2019 start)

RGU Campus (UK)

  • Selection days are planned for March, June and September.

International (North American locations)

  • February 2018
  • Week beginning 27 August 2018

Applications must be screened prior to the offer of an interview. We operate a rolling application programme however those received too late to be considered for the last interview dates of the year (January 2019 entry) will be considered for a January 2020 intake.

Applying to become a research student

9. Prospects

Students will be eligible for HCPC and CSP registration on completion of their DPT after transfer from their PGDip.

A DPT is a requirement for registration in the United States.

The addition of the PhD is likely to add to graduates prospects in clinical research and academic careers.

Back to postgraduate research
Contact us - Postgraduate Enquiries sRequest a Prospectus RHS


Start Date

January 2017

Course Length

3 Years 6 months

Mode of Attendance


Academic School
School of Health Sciences
More Information:
Donna Wynne Course Leader and Senior Lecturer
+44 (0) 1224 263398
Accredited By
Health and Care Professions Council Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education