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LM100 - Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy

Course Details

Course Code: LM100

Level: Honours Bachelor Degree
Length: 4 Years
CAO Minimum Points Entry 2013: 555* Course Leader: Clinical Therapies
Phone: 00 353 61 234232

Tel: 00 353 61 202015

*Indicates that not all applicants who scored these points were offered places

The Student Experience

Course Description

About You

If you are the type of person who enjoys working with people and has good communication skills; if you have an interest in working with people who are ill or disabled and would like a practical, hands-on, challenging career, then this programme might suit you.

Why study Physiotherapy at UL?

This programme is designed to prepare graduates who will contribute to the development of Physiotherapy in Ireland through their expertise in research and through their ability to act as competent, reflective and innovative practitioners.

Programme Aims

The main aim of the programme is to prepare graduates who will contribute to the development of Physiotherapy in Ireland and internationally through their expertise in research and through their ability to act as competent, reflective and innovative practitioners.

On completion of the programme, the graduate physiotherapist will be able to:

  • Explain the theoretical basis underpinning the practice of physiotherapy, including the structure and function of the human body, together with a knowledge of dysfunction and pathology
  • Discuss the relevance of social and psychological sciences to health and healthcare
  • Assess patients; select, perform and evaluate management programmes
  • Communicate effectively with patients, the public and professional colleagues
  • Critically evaluate research findings and implement in their practice as appropriate
  • Engage in self-directed learning that promotes lifelong professional development

"The course itself is excellent..... My expectations were that I would be "taught" how to be a physio, and what techniques to use in each situation etc - but to my initial shock (and now reflective appreciation!), the course is more geared towards equipping you with the abilities to be a physio, but also, more importantly, the mind-set to be an innovative, motivated and reflective practitioner, who relies on research evidence and clinical experience to decide what to do in a given situation. They teach you how to think, learn and grow in knowledge and skills, so that by the time you finish your 4 years you'll be ready to face the working world (where the learning curve continues!) as a valuable member of any healthcare team".

A. Kehoe,  mature student graduate

Course Structure

Year 1

Semester 1

Semester 2


PY4001 Human Anatomy 1

PY4062 Human Anatomy 2


SS4202 Introduction to major Physiological Systems

PY4082 Human Anatomy 3


PH4301 Physics for General Science 1

SS4012 Exercise and Health Fitness for Physiotherapists


GM4001 Health Informatics

PY4092 Physiotherapy: Theory and Practice


PY4061 Introduction to Communication and Human Behaviour: Theory and Practice





Year 2

PY4093 Neurological Physiotherapy

SS4204 Support Systems to Muscle Contraction


SS4203 Physiology of Muscle in Movement

PY4033 Essentials of Respiratory care


PY4103 Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy 1

PY4104 Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy 2


SS4023 Clinical Biomechanics 

PY4114 Lifespan Development and Behavioural Psychology in Healthcare


PY4113 Preparation for Practice Education

PY4124 Practice Education 1




Year 3

PY4085 Case Management in Healthcare 1

PY4056 Case Management in Healthcare 2


PY4015 Research methods in Physiotherapy  1

PY4036 Research methods in Physiotherapy  2


OT6045 Health systems & management for Therapy professions

PY4066 Psychosocial and Ethical Issues in Healthcare


PY4095 Physiotherapy Practice in Contemporary Healthcare

SS4418 Clinical Applications of exercise 


PY4115 Practice Education 2a

PY4076 Practice Education 2b




Year 4

PY4007 Project 

PY4008 Project


PY4047 Short Courses in Health 1

PY4088 Short Courses in Health 2


PY4057 Practice Education 3

PY4098 Practice Education 5


PY4067 Practice Education 4





Programme Content & Structure

The 4 year programme encourages students to explore the scientific basis of clinical practice and concepts of research and clinical evaluation are discussed at all levels of learning. Students are encouraged to develop independence in learning, problem-solving skills, the ability to engage in critical self-evaluation and personal development in order to meet the needs of patients, and the ability to adapt to changes within health care provision and the profession.

Year 1

Basic biomedical sciences form the major component of the first year of the programme and provide a basis upon which knowledge from other modules and later years are built. The modules studied are: Human Anatomy and Physiology; Physics; IT; Psychology and Sociology; and Physiotherapy Clinical Skills.

Year 2

The assessment, evaluation and management of disability provides the focus for this year of the programme. Physiotherapy modules therefore predominate, as the student is introduced to the management of respiratory and neurological problems, and continue to develop their skills in the management of musculoskeletal problems. Clinical Biomechanics and Psychology are also studied and the study of Human Anatomy and Physiology is completed within this year.

Year 3

This year encourages students to integrate physiotherapy theory with practice at a higher level and reflect on their clinical practice experience. Students are also provided with the opportunity to consider in greater depth the psychosocial aspect of physiotherapy intervention and the ethical and legal issues pertaining to practice. Research Methodology is studied in preparation for the final year research project.

Year 4

Student led activity forms the core of this year in the form of a final year research project, seminars on aspects of impairment and disability, and reflection on clinical practice.


Entry Requirements

Applicants are required to hold at the time of enrolment the established Leaving Certificate (or an approved equivalent) with at least Grade C3 in two Higher Level subjects and Grade D3 in four Ordinary or Higher Level subjects (including Mathematics; Irish or another language; and English). In addition applicants will be required to hold at least an Ordinary Level B3/Higher D3 in the Leaving Certificate in any one of: Physics, Chemistry, Physics with Chemistry, Biology, Agricultural Science.

† Indicates that students admitted to the programme are required to undergo a Garda Vetting process.
* Indicates that not all applicants who scored these points were offered places. We welcome applications from mature students. Mature applicants must apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) by 1 February.

As entry is on a competitive basis for 30 places the actual entry level will generally be substantially higher than the minimum requirements.

Mature students

Approximately 10% of places each year are awarded to mature students. These are highly sought after and are awarded competitively. Prior to applying, mature applicants are advised to gain knowledge of the role of a physiotherapist (attributes, skills) and to increase their understanding of the scope of physiotherapy practice (areas of practice, client groups). They should also consider what transferable work/life experience they may have that is relevant to physiotherapy. As this is a high level academic programme, evidence of academic ability is required. Applicants should have one of the following:

Leaving Cert honours, Grade C or higher, in a least once science subject
Minimum of FETAC level 5 qualification (or equivalent), with distinction, in a health related area
A first or upper second class honours degree in any subject Please note that we receive large numbers of applications each year so applicants are advised to include evidence of the items above when completing their application. "Going back as a "mature" student was tough - there was an age gap with most of my class, which made it tough to start, but after a few months I think any difficulties I felt were only a memory. I was surprised how quickly I settled into the study routine. It’s easy when you’re doing a course you're interested in and I think that's the big thing - you need to be interested in what you do in college. ........ I'm delighted I took the decision to go back to physiotherapy at UL. I feel I've gained the practical skills, life skills and motivation on which to build a fulfilling career. It was hard work but there were enough enjoyable experiences along the way to make it seem easy, and I'd have to say I thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I've made lifelong friends and memories in my time in UL, and believe me you'll wonder when you finish (with some regret no doubt!) how the years went so quickly!" A. Kehoe mature student graduate

Applicants are required to undertake the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP) test.  There is one sitting of the test annually. Further details, including test date and test centres, are available from

Garda clearance

Please note that Garda Clearance will be required as placements may involve working with children or vulnerable adults. Applicants will be asked to complete a Garda Vetting form that will be forwarded by the Office of the President to the Garda Central Vetting Unit for clearance. The Garda Vetting process can take approximately 6 to 8 weeks to complete. In cases where any issues arise around clearance, they will be referred in confidence to the UL Authorised Signatory in the Office of the President, who will contact the applicant.


From academic year 2012/2013 all incoming students onto the Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy Programs will be required to attend the Occupational Health Facility contracted by the University Of Limerick Department Of Clinical Therapies for an immunisation consult. The cost for this service will range from €65 and up depending on the amount and type of immunisation each individual requires. The average price is €260 and if additional vaccinations are needed it could be up to €500. The Department of Clinical Therapies does not cover the cost of this. As you will be considered a Category A Health Care Worker on clinical placement this is a statutory requirement and you cannot attend placement until this process has been initiated. The Department of Clinical Therapies will arrange an appointment for you with the Occupational Health Facility.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do to ensure I have chosen the right career?
Physiotherapy is a wide ranging and varied profession and you are strongly encouraged to seek some work experience in a hospital to increase your knowledge of the wide spectrum of the profession. As a student and a qualified physiotherapist your patients will include those who are acutely ill and people with progressive debilitating conditions, therefore it would be useful if you have seen this area of work. If the idea of working with ill people does not appeal to you it is better to find this out before applying for the course.

"Studying a range of relevant different subjects has allowed me to broaden my views on what physiotherapy involves and I feel that this approach has benefited my ability as a physiotherapist". L. Hughes graduate

Do you need to be interested in sport to be a physiotherapist?
You do not need to be athletic or involved in sport to be a physiotherapist. Treating sports injuries is only a very small component of physiotherapy and only a small percentage of physiotherapists work in this area. If you only want to work with sports people, you may need to reconsider your choice of course.

" time here has opened my eyes to the diversity of conditions physiotherapists can play a role in. These include, but are by no means limited to strokes, multiple sclerosis, respiratory conditions and cerebral palsy". M. Tierney, graduate.

How intense is the course?
Because the course leads to a professional qualification the workload is high compared to many other courses. You should anticipate being on campus for most of the week and be aware that some clinical placements will result in shortened summer and winter vacation periods.

Are some school subjects more useful than others?
Students who have studied Biology often find it an advantage during their first year of study. Due to the high social science content of the programme, and as you will be working with people it is important to have an interest in people and how they interact.

What are the CAO points for entry onto the programme?
Minimum entry of 560 for 2013

How many places are there on the programme?
Currently there are 30 places available, including 3 dedicated places for mature entry.

"The small class size means that it's easy to get to know people straight away, and likewise you get to know your lecturers quite well too". O. Kelly, graduate.

Where do students undertake their clinical placements?
Many, but not all, of the 1000+ hours of clinical placement will take place within the HSE Mid-West region. It is important that students gain a wide range of experience treating different groups of people in different environments and this is accomplished by undertaking placements both within and outside the HSE Mid-West region. Thus clinical placements can take place in clinical sites in a wide range of geographical locations including Limerick, Cork and Mayo. This means that physiotherapy students will incur additional costs in either travelling to their placements or staying in accommodation near the placement site.

Do physiotherapy students get paid when they are on their clinical placements?
Physiotherapy students do not get paid while on placement as these placements are part of the undergraduate education programme.

Will I share lectures with other students?
Several of the modules will be shared with other health professionals and sports science students. As all students of UL are taught on the same campus you will have the opportunity to meet a wide variety of students.

What are the fees?
Information on Fees

EU and non-EU requirements:

Applications from outside of Ireland are welcome through the CAO system. Applicants should offer equivalent subjects and grades in the interests of equity for all people.

Career Prospects

Graduates of the programme will be eligible for membership of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists and will be equipped to work in clinical practice in Ireland and other countries where their chartered status is recognised. Graduates of the programme work in all areas of clinical practice in HSE, for voluntary bodies and in private practice.

Follow-on study

We have a suite of taught postgraduate certificates for physiotherapy graduates wishing to further their education and specialise in areas such as Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy, Neurological Rehabilitation, Advanced Clinical Practice and Pain. A new taught Masters of Science in Advanced Healthcare Practice is starting in September 2013.

Want to find out more about possible careers with this degree? Click Here

Student Profile

Laura Comber
I was always interested in working with people. Physiotherapy appealed to me as it allowed me to make a difference to peoples lives.

During transition year I spent a week on work experience with the Munster rugby team’s physiotherapist in the UL Sports Arena. I instantly fell in love with the campus. From then on, I knew UL had to be my number one choice. Everything you need is on the university grounds or surrounding area.

Right from the beginning, there was a friendly atmosphere. Lecturers were approachable and the small class size helped us form good friendships. Everyone looked out for each other.

Over the four years I have had six clinical placements. This is my favourite aspect of the course. These placements give you the opportunity to put into practice the knowledge and skills you learn in college. Every placement is in a different setting and each one posed different challenges, making each experience as rewarding as the last.