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. 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 Musculoskeletal 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 from 2018-2019 a successfully completed Bachelor degree in the field of physiotherapy, occupational or exercise therapy (Cesar Mensendieck) or medicine is required.

In addition sufficient knowledge on basic mathematics and basic academic skills are necessary in order to successfully complete our Master’s programme. In order to test this knowledge and skills you need to make a GMAT test. More information on the GMAT and the costs. Typically, we expect that successful students have at least a GMAT score of 550. If you have a considerably lower score, we advise you to reconsider your application for the Master Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences or to consider an following an extra additional educational program on mathematics and analytical skills.

Students with a Bachelor degree in the field of physiotherapy, occupational or exercise therapy (Cesar Mensendieck) or medicine who completed a premaster programme of Human Movement Sciences or passed the premaster assessment do not need to make the GMAT test. From 2018-2019, a completed Premaster’s programme in Human Movement Sciences is nog longer required to enter the Master's degree programme Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences.

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 30 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 24 EC. The programme is spread over 6 blocks. The educational programme will start with courses on clinical experimental research related to current “hot” topics as pain, body and mind, arthroses, aging, low back pain and exercise physiology. Basic principles of data acquisition and data processing in measuring human movement will be trained supported by advanced knowledge on research design, statistics and appraisal. Main focus will be on the translation of this knowledge and skills to the clinic. 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. (See schematic programme)

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, exercise therapy, occupational therapy or physician/ specialist care. 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, exercise and occupational therapy or other 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 Dutch students and EU/EEA students with an international degree who do not need housing services through Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. 1 April for Non-EU/EEA students.

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

SPECIALIZATIONS

-

FIELD OF INTEREST

Health and Movement

Dutch students

Entry requirements
To gain admission to the programme from 2018-2019 a successfully completed Bachelor degree in the field of physiotherapy, occupational or exercise therapy (Cesar Mensendieck) or medicine is required.

In addition sufficient knowledge on basic mathematics and basic academic skills are necessary in order to successfully complete our Master’s programme. In order to test this knowledge and skills you need to make a GMAT test. More information on the GMAT and the costs. Typically, we expect that successful students have at least a GMAT score of 550. If you have a considerably lower score, we advise you to reconsider your application for the Master Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences or to consider an following an extra additional educational program on mathematics and analytical skills.

Students with a Bachelor degree in the field of physiotherapy, occupational or exercise therapy (Cesar Mensendieck) or medicine who completed a premaster programme of Human Movement Sciences or passed the premaster assessment do not need to make the GMAT test.

Application deadline 
July 15, 2018

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 the admission requirements, 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 toelatingscommissie.fgb@vu.nl with your argumentation (and evidence for that argumentation) that you do meet the admission requirements.
  • Within 4 weeks you will receive a letter with the decision regarding your admission.

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:
Coordinator of the Master's degree programme Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences
a.l.pool-goudzwaard@vu.nl

Information days 
4 December 2018: VU Master's evening

International students

To gain admission to the programme from 2018-2019 a successfully completed Bachelor degree in the field of physiotherapy, occupational or exercise therapy (Cesar Mensendieck) or medicine is required.

In addition sufficient knowledge on basic mathematics and basic academic skills are necessary in order to successfully complete our Master’s programme. In order to test this knowledge and skills you need to make a GMAT test. More information on the GMAT and the costs. Typically, we expect that successful students have at least a GMAT score of 550. If you have a considerably lower score, we advise you to reconsider your application for the Master Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences or to consider an following an extra additional educational program on mathematics and analytical skills.

Students with a Bachelor degree in the field of physiotherapy, occupational or exercise therapy (Cesar Mensendieck) or medicine who completed a premaster programme of Human Movement Sciences do not need to make the GMAT test.

Admission requires review by the Admission board
If you don’t have one of the Bachelor’s degrees listed above, 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 2018: Non-EU/EEA students with an international degree who need services from the International Office (housing [optional) and visa procedures).
  • 1 April 2018: EU and EEA students with an international degree who need services from the International Office (housing).
  • 15 July 2018: 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
  • Copy of your diploma(s)
  • Transcript of records from you Bachelor's programme
  • Relevant courses in statistics and methodology and the use of SPSS
  • 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 direct admission. Relevant HBO Bachelor degrees obtained in the Netherlands are:
    • Physiotherapy
    • Occupational therapy
    • Exercise therapy (Mensendieck, Cesar)
    • Medicine
  • 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.

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

Practical matters such as application & registration procedure, admission requirements, scholarships:
Floris Korbee
International student advisor
masters.fbms@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:
Coordinator of the Master's degree programme Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences
a.l.pool-goudzwaard@vu.nl

Meet us in Amsterdam or abroad