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Master of Physiotherapy (MPhty)



The Master of Physiotherapy (MPhty endorsed) programme endorsed in one of the specialist areas (Acupuncture, Neurorehabilitation, Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapy, Occupational Health Physiotherapy or Sports Physiotherapy) aims to advance the student’s clinical reasoning and patient management skills beyond that of the entry level practitioner and provide one of the prerequisites necessary to achieve specialisation. The one-semester research components that may comprise the design and implementation of a small research project, a case series, a data-based clinical review, a systematic review, or a critical review under the supervision of a member of staff, will ensure that the student is research enabled and ready to embrace evidence based practice in the performance of their career.

Alternatively, students can undertake two papers from the approved schedule and a thesis to obtain a research master's (MPhty). The School of Physiotherapy has a strong postgraduate research programme currently supporting numerous master's research students working on topics that range from neurological disorders to anatomical studies. We aim to provide students with a high level of knowledge and experience in order to help them develop their own research skills whether using qualitative or quantitative methodologies for statistical analysis, lab-based studies or community work, prevalence studies or intervention trialling – our aim is to have students complete their master,s confident in their abilities to conduct research and assess relevant literature and practices, whether this leads to PhD study in the future or to more assured clinical practice.

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Information for new applicants

This qualification is available to registered physiotherapists. Domestic students must have a current Annual Practising Certificate from the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand. International students must obtain Special Purpose Scope of Practice from the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand before arriving in New Zealand.

For the endorsed Master's, distance based students must be practising physiotherapy whilst undertaking the clinical paper in Year 2 of the programme and should note that some papers involved in this qualification involve attending residential blocks in Dunedin and phoning in on audioconferences. On-campus students will be based at the School of Physiotherapy in Dunedin.

Applicants enrolling for distance learning should enrol in papers from the schedule with a PHTX prefix where possible. Those studying on-campus should enrol in papers from the schedule with a PHTY prefix where possible.

For the research Master's, students must have a supervisor for the special topic paper and the thesis. For assistance with finding a supervisor please contact the Research Administrator. Before acceptance can be granted applicants must work with their potential supervisor to submit either a draft proposal or a project title with their application.

For the endorsed Master's, students must have a supervisor and submit a draft proposal for the research component 6 months prior to undertaking this paper.

Applications normally close on 31 October, however late applications may be considered.

Subject to approval, the following qualification will replace the Master of Physiotherapy (Manipulative Physiotherapy) from 2013: Master of Physiotherapy (Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapy. For information on how to apply for this qualification please contact the Academic Administrator.

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Contact details

Email us at or visit the School of Physiotherapy website.

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Subject area

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Schedule of Endorsed Options

The Master of Physiotherapy (MPhty) degree is available with endorsed options in:

These endorsements for the Master of Physiotherapy (MPhty) are also available through Distance Learning.

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Programme Requirements

Master of Physiotherapy (MPhty) endorsed in Acupuncture

  • PHTX 501  Biomedical Science in Physiotherapy

  • PHTX 530  Theoretical Constructs in Clinical Practice

  • PHTX 543  Orthopaedic Manipulative Physiotherapy

  • PHTX 548  Introduction to Musculoskeletal Acupuncture

  • PHTX 610  Research Methods

  • PHTX 650  Research Project

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Master of Physiotherapy (MPhty) in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy

  • PHTY 501 or PHTX 501 Biomedical Science in Physiotherapy

  • PHTX 544  Foundations of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy

  • PHTY 561  Clinical Practice

  • PHTY 590 or PHTX 590  Dissertation

  • PHTY 610 or PHTX 610  Research Methods

  • A candidate who has completed components of the Diploma in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy offered by the McKenzie Institute International may be exempted from one 30-point paper, subject to the approval of the Board of Studies in Physiotherapy.

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Master of Physiotherapy (MPhty) endorsed in Neurorehabilitation


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Master of Physiotherapy (MPhty) endorsed in Occupational Health Physiotherapy


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Master of Physiotherapy (MPhty) endorsed in Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapy


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Master of Physiotherapy (MPhty) in Sports Physiotherapy


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Regulations for the Degree of Master of Physiotherapy (MPhty)

  1. Admission to the Programme

    1. Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences) on the advice of the Board of Studies in Physiotherapy, which must be satisfied that the candidate has the ability and experience to proceed to the programme.
    2. Every applicant shall
      1. have been admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Physiotherapy or hold an equivalent qualification in physiotherapy acceptable to the Board of Studies in Physiotherapy;
      2. be registered with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand and possess an Annual Practising Certificate; and
      3. have had relevant full-time post-qualification clinical experience in physiotherapy, where the application is for an area of specialisation.

  2. Structure of the Programme

    1. The programme shall consist of either:
      1. PHTY 501 or PHTX 501 or PHTY 545 or PHTX 545; PHTY 610 or PHTX 610; and a thesis embodying the results of one year of full-time or equivalent part-time supervised research (unendorsed option); or
      2. approved papers and either a dissertation or research project, as prescribed for the area of specialisation concerned, to a total value of 180 points  (endorsed option).
    2. A candidate may be permitted to substitute approved papers for one or more of the PHTY or PHTX papers prescibed for an endorsement in the Schedule, provided that at least 50% of the programme is specific to the subject of the endorsement.
    3. A candidate whose qualification for entry to the programme is a Postgraduate Diploma in Physiotherapy or equivalent may be exempted from all or some of the required papers.
    4. A candidate may not present a thesis or dissertation which has previously been accepted for another degree.
    5. The programme of study, the topic of the thesis, dissertation, or research project, and the supervisors of the research must be approved by the Board of Studies in Physiotherapy.
    6. For a thesis, the research should be of a kind that a diligent and competent student should complete within one year of full-time study.
  3. Duration of the Programme

    A candidate achieving the degree by papers and a thesis shall normally follow a programme for the equivalent of not less than three semesters of full-time study and not more than five semesters of full-time study, and a candidate achieving the degree by thesis alone shall normally follow a programme of study for the equivalent of not less than one year of full-time study and not more than two years of full-time study. Exceptions shall be permitted only with the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences).

  4. Withdrawal from the Programme

    Where a candidate withdraws from the programme after completing the equivalent of 120 points of approved papers required by regulation 2(a)(ii) the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences) may recommend the award of the Postgraduate Diploma in Physiotherapy (endorsed) or determine which papers shall be credited towards the diploma.

  5. Examination of Thesis or Dissertation

    1. The thesis or dissertation shall be assessed by at least two examiners. In the case of the thesis, at least one examiner shall be external to the University and in the case of the dissertation the external examiner may be one who is external to the School of Physiotherapy.
    2. The candidate's supervisor shall not be an examiner but may make a report on the work of the candidate to the Dean of Physiotherapy.
    3. Each examiner shall supply a written report on the thesis or dissertation and recommend a mark and grade on the basis of the thesis as submitted, and an overall result selected from the options specified in clause (d) below.
    4. The examiners may recommend that a thesis or dissertation:
      1. be accepted without amendments;
      2. be accepted subject to amendments being made at the discretion and to the satisfaction of the Dean of Physiotherapy;
      3. does not meet the criteria for the award of the degree, but may be revised and resubmitted for examination;
      4. does not meet the criteria for the award of the degree, and should be rejected without right of resubmission.
    5. Amendments 5(d)(ii) and revisions 5(d)(iii) shall be completed by a specified date to be determined by the Dean of Physiotherapy.
    6. A candidate shall be permitted to revise and resubmit a thesis or dissertation for examination once only.
    7. If a revised and resubmitted thesis or dissertation is finally accepted, the result shall be either Pass or Fail (i.e. ungraded) and without eligibility for the award of the degree with distinction or credit.
    8. Where examiners cannot agree on a result, the Dean of Physiotherapy should so report to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences) or nominee who shall arrive at a decision after consulting a referee who should normally be external to the University.
    9. In the case of a thesis 'Fail' result the degree will not be awarded. In the case of a dissertation 'Fail' result, a candidate may be eligible to be considered for the award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Physiotherapy, subject to fulfulling the requirements for such an award.
  6. Level of Award of the Degree

    The degree may be awarded with distinction or with credit.

  7. Variations

    The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences) may in exceptional circumstances approve a course of study which does not comply with these regulations.

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