Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences

MSc in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy

MSc in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy

In the last 10 to 15 years, research in physiotherapy has increased exponentially, both in volume and quality. Many clinicians are consumers of research when reading the literature to stay up-to-date. But to really understand the ins and outs of research, you have to conduct research yourself. At least once. Producing science is a lot more exciting and satisfying than consuming it. If you are interested in clinical research and in disorders that affect the musculoskeletal system, the Master's degree programme Musculoketal Physiotherapy Sciences might be exactly what you are looking for. You will learn how to conduct high quality research in physiotherapy, from pre-clinical research in a lab environment to evaluating the effects of novel interventions in the clinic, and apply the acquired knowledge and skills in your own research project. This Master's degree programme is unique in its multidisciplinary focus on clinical experimental research in musculoskeletal physiotherapy. It offers the students the necessary expertise to advance physiotherapy practice.

Career prospects

Graduates of the program may join or return to clinical practice, being more competitive for (more senior and leadership) positions. Others may aspire to a teaching and/or research career. The program is an ideal preparation to commence a PhD in Physiotherapy or related fields in Health Sciences.

Study programme

The study programme consists of a combination of lectures, practicals, seminars, project work and directed self-guided learning. It includes a 5-month individual research project. The programme equates to 60 EC and is delivered in English. On a full-time basis, completion of the Master's degree programme takes one year. It is also possible to complete the programme part-time over a two-year period.

Admission requirements

To gain admission to the programme, a successfully completed Bachelor's degree in a relevant field is required. In addition, fundamental skills in Methodology, Mathematics and Physics are required. Please check the specific entry requirements  to find out whether you can be admitted directly, or whether a preparatory program is required (premaster's programme). A university Bachelor's degree in Human Movement Sciences or Kinesiology may suffice, but please note that a premaster's programme is needed if your highest degree is a Dutch HBO Bachelor's degree in Physiotherapy or in  Occupational or Exercise Therapy (Cesar, Mensendieck). 

Teaching qualification programme for students Human Movement Sciences
In addition to these tracks, the Master’s programme offers a limited number of students (15-20 each year) the opportunity to acquire an accreditation for Teaching in Higher Education. This additional programme is taught in Dutch and amounts to 24 credits that can be partially incorporated into the regular Master’s programme. More information (in Dutch).

The Master's degree programme Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences is a one-year, full-time programme (for part-time options, see below). The programme is taught in English. Various teaching formats are used, such as lectures, practicals, work groups, seminars and directed self-guided learning. The different formats enhance your theoretical knowledge and research skills, and integrate those within the context of relevant physiotherapy-related problems. The programme also involves a substantial individual research project. This project can be conducted within the labs of our own faculty or in clinical practices that are part of the VU Science Network. Selected students can conduct their research project abroad. Regardless of the location, you will be supervised by an experienced staff member from our faculty.


The programme
The Master's degree programme consists of 60 EC. The study load of most courses is 6 EC, elective courses are 3 EC and the research project is 21 EC (specific infomation about the courses). The programme is spread over 6 blocks. The first 2 blocks (September – December) are reserved for courses that focus on specific knowledge and skills regarding research methodology and movement analysis. In blocks 3-6 (January – June) you will prepare and perform your research project. In addition, you can select two elective courses based on your individual interest. Another course in this period will focus on the process from lab research to clinical implementation. Throughout the programme (schematic), seminars are organised to introduce you to national and international state-of-the-art researchers in physiotherapy research.

Studying part-time
The Master's degree programme can also be followed part-time over a two-year period. Please contact the study advisor to discuss the possibilities for tuning this part-time option to your individual situation. 

Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences courses in the study guide.

With a Master's degree in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences a large and varied range of career opportunities awaits. Graduates of the programme may use their scientific perspective and training to join or return to clinical practice, being more competitive for (more senior and leadership) positions in primary, secondary or tertiary care facilities. Having a Master's degree from a leading institution can be helpful when applying for management or policy-making positions in physiotherapy. Others may aspire to an academic or commercial research career. The program is an ideal preparation to commence a PhD in Physiotherapy or related fields in Health Sciences. Others may become successful lecturers at a vocational institute. And for those not specifically looking for a specific career opportunity, having had a well-rounded scientific training will give you much better perspectives on developments in physiotherapy care and related health domains.


Shortlist of career opportunities

  • Clinician with a scientific training
  • Clinical researcher
  • Lecturer in higher education
  • PhD student
  • Knowledge broker in Physiotherapy or related Health fields
  • Manager / policy maker in health care domain


A program with a unique focus

VU Amsterdam is the first university in The Netherlands (and probably the world) to offer a dedicated scientific Master's degree programme in clinical experimental research in musculoskeletal physiotherapy. It is an excellent stepping-stone to a successful clinical or research career.

Learn and team up with the best
We have a long tradition of providing excellent education and research. Our staff are recognised as international experts and leaders in various fields, such as physiotherapy, human movements sciences, clinical psychology, biomechanics and physiology.

An integrated approach
We conduct applied clinical research and fundamental research to discover, diagnose and manage biologically plausible contributors to pathology in people with musculoskeletal disorders. Both biological and psychosocial factors are considered. Thanks to the integration of basic and applied clinical sciences – often within one research group – discoveries in the lab influence clinical practice, and clinical research questions drive lab experiments. The overall goal is to advance physiotherapy practice.

A national and international network
We have a vast national and international network. The Master's degree programme is linked to the Professorial Chair in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy at VU Amsterdam, which is supported by the Dutch Physiotherapy Association (KNGF). Our faculty has a national science network of physiotherapy clinical practices which participates actively in research. (Exchange) students and staff collaborate closely with international partners in Europe, Australia and the United States.

A personal touch while being part of an international group
We value personal interaction and student well-being. There is flexibility in the programme thanks to optional courses and a wide range in choices in research topics. We value close interactions between students, lecturers and researchers. It is also inspiring to be part of an international group of like-minded people who want to advance physiotherapy practice. The student social club of the faculty further enhances the friendly and welcoming environment.

Enjoy your time in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is an inspirational and vibrant city that provides plenty of opportunities for relaxing, making friends, and expanding your horizons. Living in this charming city will give an extra boost to your experiences as an international student.
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Overview Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences

Language of instruction

English

Duration

1 year

Application deadline

15 July / For International students who apply after April 1 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam can not guarantee that accommodation will be available for them

Start date

1 September

Study type

Full-time

Specializations

-

Admission requirements

Information about admission

Field of Interest

Health and Movement

Dutch students

Entry requirements
To gain admission to the Master's programme Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences you must have a Bachelor's degree and basic knowledge of Anatomy, Physiology and Psychology at the level of "Introductory textbooks". In addition, sufficient research skills and knowledge of Mathematics and Physics are required. Because the Master's programme is taught in English, you also need a good command of the English language.

Please consult the list of admission criteria. 

Application deadline 
July 15, 2017 

Direct admission

You can be admitted directly to the Master's programme, if you have one of the following Dutch university Bachelor's degrees: 

  • Human Movement Sciences (VU)
  • Human Movement Sciences (RUG)
  • Health Sciences with major Human Movement Sciences (UM) 
  • Biomedical Sciences with major Human Movement Sciences (UM)
  • Biomedical Sciences with major Human Movement Sciences (Radboud University)

Please consult the VU website for the application procedure.

Direct admission requiring review by the Admission board
If you don’t have one of the Bachelor’s degrees listed above, but are confident that you meet all admission criteria, the Admission board of the Faculty of Human Movement Sciences will decide whether you are indeed directly admissible.
The procedure is as follows:

  • Send an email to admission2master.fbw@vu.nl with the following documents:  
    • List of courses of your completed Bachelor's programme, including grades and credits (EC
    • Description of courses that are relevant for Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences. Please use this form
    • Motivation letter. Please use this form
  • Within 4 weeks you will receive a letter with the decision regarding your admission.
  • If you are not directly admissible, it is possible that you are invited to apply for the premaster's programme, as outlined below.

Not directly admissible: Premaster's programme

If you are not directly admissible to the Master's programme, it may be possible to enter the programme after completion of a premaster's programme. The Admission board will decide whether you can be admitted to the premaster's programme, based on your educational background.


Directly admissible to the premaster's programme
Students with the following Dutch HBO Bachelor's degrees can be admitted directly to the premaster's programme, provided that they pass the HBO assessment:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Exercise therapy (Mensendieck, Cesar)
  • Human Kinetic Technology

These students can apply for the premaster's programme, according to the procedure outlined on the VU-website (make sure you choose Bachelor’s programme and then apply for the premaster’s programme). After you have applied, you will receive an email from the Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, asking for the following documents:

  • List of courses of your completed Bachelor’s programme, including grades and credits (EC).
  • Motivation letter. Please use this form.

As soon as the Faculty of Human Movement Sciences receives the results of your HBO assessment, you will receive an email indicating whether you are admissible to the premaster’s programme.

Not directly admissible to the premaster’s programme: review by Admission board
Students with a Bachelor’s degree other than those mentioned above, can apply following the procedure outlined on the VU website  (make sure you choose Bachelor’s programme and then apply for the premaster’s programme). After you have applied, you will receive an email from the Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, asking for the following documents:

  • List of courses of your completed Bachelor’s programme, including grades and credits (EC)
  • Description of courses that are relevant for Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences. Please use this form
  • Motivation letter. Please use this form

Based on this information (together with the result of the HBO assessment, if you have a HBO bachelor's degree) the Admission board decides whether you can be admitted to the premaster’s programme. The content of the programme depends on your previous education.

Check whether your background in mathematics is sufficient

Although mathematics (Wiskunde B) is not a formal entry requirement, it is expected that you have sufficient basic knowledge of mathematics. If you are not sure about this, please take the Mathematics Pretest (in Dutch). If your knowledge turns out to be insufficient, we strongly advise you to get additional mathematical training before entering the premaster's programme.  

HBO assessment

If you have a HBO Bachelor's degree and you want to be admitted to the Master's programme Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences, you will have to take the HBO assessment (or premaster assessment). More information on the HBO-assessment can be found here.

If you are not directly admissible to the Master's degree programme, it may be possible to enter the programme after completion of a premaster's programme.

  • The actual programme may vary between students, depending on differences in educational background (HBO programme, additional courses undertaken, etc).
  • The premaster's courses are delivered in Dutch (for international students they are partly available as an online distance learning programme in English). 
  • You can only be registered for the premaster's programme for one year. Hence, you will have to complete the entire programme within that year.

More information 

Follow the premaster's programme in advance!
Within several Physiotherapy Bachelor's programmes it is possible to complete the standard premaster's programme as part of your Dutch HBO Bachelor's programme. You can then be admitted directly to the Master's degree programme and it is not necessary to take the HBO assessment. The courses can be followed at VU Amsterdam, or online using the schakelprogramma at de Digitale Universiteit. If the option above does not hold for you, you may still complete the premaster's programme in advance by following on-line modules. In this way you can complete the premaster's programme at your own tempo. For questions regarding the premaster's programme please contact its coordinator (listed under Contact).

If you have a HBO bachelor's degree and want to be admitted to the Master's programme Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences, you will have to take the HBO assessment (or premaster assessment). This assessment provides insight in the competences and skills that you need to complete the Master's programme successfully. The results of this assessment are binding. Note, however, that there is some room for compensation of lower scores on some subjects, by means of higher scores on other subjects or other criteria apart from the assessment.

The HBO-assessment includes the following subjects:

  • Mathematics (“wiskunde beta”, 40 minutes)
  • English reading skills; ability to comprehend an English text (35 minutes)
  • Writing skills in Dutch (30 minutes)
  • Dutch reading skills; ability to analyze a scientific text (“wetenschappelijke casus”) (60 minutes)
  • Motivation and learning style questionnaire; reflection on your motivations and your personal learning style (approximately 10-15 minutes, no time limit)


Information for Dutch students on study related issues as courses, study programme and study choice:
Study advisor
studieadvies.fgb@vu.nl

Information on specifics of the content of the programme:
Prof. dr. Michel Coppieters
Coordinator of the Master's degree programme Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences
m.coppieters@vu.nl

Information on the content of the premaster’s programme:

Jerwin Wieser
Coordinator Premaster’s Programme
schakelprogramma.fgb@vu.nl

Information days 
7 December: VU Master's Evening

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International students

To gain admission to the Master's degree programme Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences you must have 

  • a Bachelor’s degree and knowledge of Anatomy, Physiology and Psychology;
  • sufficient research skills and knowledge of Mathematics and Physics;
  • a good command of the English language, because the programme is taught in English.

Admission requires review by the Admission board

If you have a Bachelor’s degree and meet all admission criteria, you can send your application information to the Admission board of the department of Human Movement Sciences, which will decide whether you are indeed admissible.
The deadlines for application are as follows:
  • 1 April 2017: Non-EU/EEA students with an international degree who need services from the International Office (housing [optional) and visa procedures).
  • 1 April 2017: EU and EEA students with an international degree who need services from the International Office (housing).
  • 15 July 2017: EU and EEA students with an international degree who do not need services from the International Office

To apply for the Master's degree programme Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences, you need to complete the appropriate forms and submit them together with the required documents. Please consult the complete admission procedure. You will receive a letter from the Admission board with their decision regarding your admission within 4 weeks.

The following documents are required (to be submitted in English):

  • Copy of your valid passport
  • Letter of Motivation (please use this form)
  • Copy of your diploma(s)
  • Transcript of records from you Bachelor's programme
  • Description of courses (and associated literature) that are relevant for Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences (please use this form)
  • English language test results

What if you do not meet all admission criteria?

If you do not meet the admission criteria, the Admission board may decide that you are admissible after you have eliminated your deficiencies. These deficiencies depend on your educational background. Please contact us a.s.a.p. to find out whether this is the case for you, and which options you have to become admissible before the start of the new term.

  • For international students who have obtained a relevant HBO-Bachelor's degree in The Netherlands, this implies completing the standard premaster's programme. This programme is partly available in English as online distance learning programme. Alternatively, you may take comparable courses at another institution. In the latter case, please make sure that those courses are acceptable to the Admission board.
    Relevant HBO Bachelor degrees obtained in the Netherlands are:
    • Physiotherapy
    • Occupational therapy
    • Exercise therapy (Mensendieck, Cesar)
    • Human Kinetic Technology
  • For students with another Bachelor's or Master's degree than those listed above, the Admission board will decide on whether or not you are admissible after you have eliminated specific deficiencies. Deficiencies that cannot be addressed by means of our English online distance learning programme should be eliminated by taking comparable courses at another institution. Please make sure that those courses are acceptable to the Admission board. 

 Language proficiency test

VU Amsterdam requires all applicants who have not completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia to take an English language test and to submit their score as part of their application. An exception is made for students who have obtained an International or European Baccalaureate diploma. Please register for a recognized English language test: IELTS, TOEFL or Cambridge Certificates CPE and CAE as soon as possible. Other tests are not accepted.
Language proficiency requirements 

If you do not meet the admission criteria, the Admission board may decide that you are admissible after you have eliminated your deficiencies. These deficiencies depend on your educational background. For international students who have obtained a relevant hbo-bachelor's degree in The Netherlands, this typically implies completing the standard premaster's programme, which is partly available as an on-line distance learning programme in English. Alternatively, you may take comparable courses at another institution. In the latter case, please make sure that those courses are acceptable to the Admission board.

The standard premaster's programme comprises courses on research methods that are commonly used in the field of Human Movement Sciences, like mathematics, programming, biomechanics and a course on measuring movement.

Depending on your educational background, the Admission board may identify additional deficiencies (Psychology, Anatomy and/or Physiology), or exemptions may be granted for specific courses in research methods, mathematics and/or statistics.

Contact the international student advisor (listed under contacts) for your programme.

Practical matters such as application & registration procedure, admission requirements, scholarships:
Wytske Siegersma
International student advisor
Admissionsfhms@vu.nl

Study related issues such as courses, study programme and study choice:
Study Advisors
studieadvies.fgb@vu.nl

Information on specifics of the content of the programme:
Prof. dr. Michel Coppieters
Coordinator of the Master's degree programme Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences
m.coppieters@vu.nl

Information on the content of the premaster’s programme:
Jerwin Wieser
Coordinator Premaster’s Programme
schakelprogramma.fgb@vu.nlempty

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