Doctor of Physiotherapy

Course MC-DPHYSIO (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Year and Campus: 2016 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 071302J
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 300 credit points taken over 36 months full time.


Dr Louisa Remedios


Physiotherapy enquiry

Melbourne School of Health Sciences (Physiotherapy)

Currently Enrolled Students:

Future Student Enquiries:

Course Overview:

The Doctor of Physiotherapy (DPT) is a 3 year full time (300 point) entry to practice graduate degree.

The curriculum is designed around three elements which provide both horizontal and vertical integration throughout the program. These elements are:
1) Physiotherapy Theory and Practice;
2) Research and Evidence in Physiotherapy; and
3) Healthcare in Context.
These elements are covered explicitly in stand-alone subjects throughout the program. Further, each subject description provides learning outcomes under these three curriculum elements.

The ‘constructive alignment’ model has been used in designing each subject within the program. This model aligns each learning outcomes with both teaching activities and assessment tasks. Assessment tasks emphasize a mix of individual and group work assessment, written and oral presentations in traditional and in e-assessment formats and skills based assessment. In addition, students will complete a ‘Critical perspectives in physiotherapy’ portfolio that will explicitly and cumulatively build on students’ ability to reflect on their learning experiences and their understanding of the Physiotherapy Graduate Attributes.

The program will be delivered outside the standard university semester. The semesters are 17 weeks in duration. This allows us to incorporate the clinical component of the course within the subjects.

Attached are subject descriptions for the three years of the program.

Learning Outcomes:

The Doctor of Physiotherapy draws on the University of Melbourne's reputation for excellence in teaching and research to inspire and enable students to become outstanding physiotherapists ready to excel as world-class leaders in their chosen field. Desired graduate attributes have been carefully defined, developed and mapped to every component of the course. The 67 attributes, listed in full below, have been collated into six domains:

1. Self

2. Knowledge

3. Patient

4. Physiotherapy profession

5. Systems of Health care

6. Society

Course Structure & Available Subjects:

The Doctor of Physiotherapy program is a fully fixed course.
In order to qualify for the Doctor of Physiotherapy students must successfully complete all subjects as outlined below (300 credit points).

Subject Options:

First Year


Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Second Year

Students choose one of PHTY90103 and PHTY90093 to take in second year, and then take the other in third year.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Third Year

Students choose one of PHTY90103 and PHTY90093 to take in second year, and then take the other in third year.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
February, June
Not offered in 2016
February, June
Entry Requirements:

1. In order to be considered for entry, applicants must have completed:
• either
– an undergraduate degree in any discipline, with studies to have been completed within 10 years of commencing the Doctor of Physiotherapy, or
– for applicants whose most recently completed undergraduate degree was completed 10 or more years before 1 January of the year in which the applicant intends to commence the Doctor of Physiotherapy, a Graduate Diploma, Master or PhD degree or equivalent completed within 10 years before 1 January of the year in which the applicant intends to commence the Doctor of Physiotherapy;
• pre-requisite University subjects in human anatomy and in human physiology or equivalent (one subject of each), with pre-requisite subjects to have been completed within 10 years of commencing the Doctor of Physiotherapy; and
• a multi-mini interview (which may be restricted to shortlisted applicants).
Meeting these requirements does not guarantee selection.

2. In ranking applications, the Selection Committee will consider:
• prior academic performance; and
• the interview.

3. The Selection Committee may seek further information to clarify any aspect of an application in accordance with the Academic Board rules on the use of selection instruments.

4. Applicants are required to satisfy the university’s English language requirements for postgraduate courses. For those applicants seeking to meet these requirements by one of the standard tests approved by the Academic Board, performance band 7 is required.

Additional notes for the Handbook

1. The performance of applicants in their previous studies will be assessed using a Grade Point Average (GPA) computed in a manner approved by the Academic Board for the Doctor of Physiotherapy (see note 2 below). The GPA will be used to determine which applicants are shortlisted for multi-mini interview. Offers will be made on the basis of a combined ranked list where ranks by GPA and interview are given equal weighting.

2. Except for (i) applicants eligible under the Guaranteed Pathway and (ii) as explicitly provided for under clause 5 below, the Grade Point Average (GPA) used to rank applicants on academic merit based on their tertiary previous studies will be computed in the following way. The most recent bachelor degree results (including Honours) will be used for the purposes of calculating the Grade Point Average (GPA) regardless of any subsequent graduate studies completed. The Grade Point Average (GPA) will be measured by considering the last three years of the applicant's undergraduate coursework studies (including Honours). Weightings will be applied by weighting the first of the final three years by 1, the second year by 2 and the final year by 3.

3. In considering students under special entry schemes the Selection Committee will consider aspects of disadvantage as set out from time to time in the University of Melbourne Graduate Access policy, evidence of rurality for rural applicants, and confirmation of aboriginality for indigenous applicants.

4. Students applying for the Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Physiotherapy, or Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Melbourne degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Biomedicine, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Environments, Bachelor of Music, or Bachelor of Science who meet entry and course requirements for a guaranteed place are admitted subject only to meeting any minimum grade point average as prescribed by the Academic Board; satisfactory performance at an interview to demonstrate adequate communication skills (Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Physiotherapy only); and completion of relevant pre-requisite subjects.

5. The Selection Committee may re-rank applicants with a high level of performance in postgraduate studies in a cognate area subject to the following:
• postgraduate study must have been completed within ten years of commencement of the
Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Physiotherapy;
• postgraduate study must be the equivalent of at least a one year full time program;
• postgraduate study must be in a discipline that builds upon studies completed at the undergraduate level;
• postgraduate study must be in a health related or biological sciences discipline.
The quotas of places available for selection of applicants re-ranked on the basis of postgraduate study as prescribed below are set initially as follows:
(a) Doctor of Medicine — up to 10 places,
(b) Doctor of Dental Surgery — up to 2 places,
(c) Doctor of Physiotherapy — up to 3 places.
Re-ranked applicants not selected on this basis, who otherwise satisfy the selection criteria, will be considered on the basis of their undergraduate results. The Selection Committee is not required to fill the quotas and any unused places will be allocated as normal.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage policy, academic requirements for this course are articulated in the Course Description, Course Objectives and Generic Skills of this entry.
The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:

Further Study:

The School also offers a number of postgraduate certificates in specialist clinical fields and Research Higher Degrees at PhD.

Graduate Attributes:

A key objective of the DPT program is to prepare its graduates for excellence in professional practice through the development of a reflective and compassionate relationship in the following six domains.


In building their relationship with self, students will be expected to develop:

· an understanding of the principles of empathy, compassion, honesty, integrity, altruism, resilience and lifelong curiosity, the ability to demonstrate them and a recognition of their importance in health care
· an understanding of the principles of reflective practice, the ability to apply them, and a recognition of their importance in health care
· an understanding of the principles of self-awareness, the ability to recognise when clinical problems exceed their knowledge and skill, and a willingness to seek help
· the ability to identify and address their own learning needs
· the ability to respond constructively to appraisal, performance review or assessment
· the ability to manage uncertainty
· the ability to apply effective time management and organisational skills
· the ability to recognise and manage emotion in themselves and others
· the ability to maintain their own physical, emotional, social and spiritual health and a recognition of the importance of professional support in this process
· a recognition of their own personal, spiritual, cultural or religious beliefs and an awareness that these beliefs must not prevent the provision of adequate and appropriate care to the patient

2. Knowledge

In building their relationship with knowledge, students will be expected to develop:

· an understanding of the scientific method relevant to biological, behavioural and social science
· an understanding of research methods and their applications.
· an understanding of normal structure, function and development of the human body at all stages of life
· an understanding of normal life processes including conception, development, birth, ageing and death.
· an understanding of the factors that might disturb normal structure, function and development
· an understanding of the aetiology, pathology, symptoms and signs, natural history and prognosis of important physical illness in all stages of life
· an understanding of the management (pharmacological, physical, nutritional, behavioural and psychological) of important medical conditions
· the ability to access new knowledge from all sources, to analyse and interpret it in a critical manner, and to apply it appropriately to their provision of health care
· the ability to learn from patients, health professionals and the community in a broad range of settings
· an appreciation of the responsibility to contribute towards the generation of new knowledge

3. Patients

In building their relationship with patients, students will be expected to develop:

· an understanding of and respect for the rights of patients including patient choice, dignity and privacy
· the ability to communicate with patients from diverse backgrounds including the ability to listen to, respond to, inform and understand the patient’s perspective
· the ability to advocate appropriately on behalf of the patient
· an understanding of factors affecting human relationships and the psychological, cultural and spiritual well-being of patients
· an understanding of principles of rehabilitation in the amelioration of suffering from acute or chronic disability
· an understanding of chronic illness and disability and its impact on the patient, their carers and communities
· the ability to construct with the patient an accurate, thorough, organised, physiotherapy history and examination
· the ability to integrate and interpret clinical findings and apply rigorous reasoning to arrive at an appropriate plan of management
· the ability to formulate an evidence-based and cost effective management plan in collaboration with the patient
· the ability to recognise serious illness
· the ability to perform relevant physiotherapy procedures effectively and safely, with due regard for the patient’s comfort

4. Physiotherapy profession

In building their relationship with the physiotherapy profession, students will be expected to develop:

· an understanding of the continuum of physiotherapy training and the diverse roles and expertise of physiotherapists
· an understanding of the potential conflicts of interest that may confront physiotherapists and other health professionals
· an understanding of and ability to apply the principles of ethics in the provision of health care and research.
· an understanding of organisational governance, the ability to be an active participant in professional organisations, and an appreciation of the benefits of this participation
· an understanding of the principles of mentorship and the ability to apply them with colleagues
· the ability to give effective feedback to colleagues in order to help them improve their performance
· an understanding of educational theory and practice and the ability to teach
· an appreciation of the responsibility to maintain standards of physiotherapy practice at the highest level throughout a professional career

5. Systems of health care

In building their relationship with systems of health care, students will be expected to develop:

· an understanding of the roles, responsibilities and expertise of all health professionals, and how they work in teams to deliver health care
· a respect for the roles and expertise of other health care professionals and the ability to communicate effectively with them
· an understanding of the principles of team work and the ability to work effectively in a team, including as a leader
· an appreciation of the responsibility to contribute to the education of all health professionals
· an understanding of the principles of efficient and equitable allocation and use of finite resources in health care systems, locally and globally
· an understanding of the principles of quality and safety in health care systems
· the ability to work effectively as a physiotherapist within a quality and safety framework
· an understanding of the principles of effective record keeping and the ability to maintain high quality medical and physiotherapy records
· an understanding of the structure of the Australian health care system and health care systems globally
· an understanding of the role of political systems in shaping health care systems locally, nationally and internationally

6. Society

In building their relationship with society, students will be expected to develop:

· an understanding of the interactions between humans and their social and physical environment
· an understanding of the determinants of a well society and the economic, political, psychological, social and cultural factors that contribute to the development and persistence of health and illness
· an understanding of the principles of health promotion including primary and secondary prevention
· an understanding of the health of indigenous Australians including their history, cultural development and the impact of colonisation and the ongoing health disparities of indigenous people in this country and globally
· an understanding of the burden of disease in differing populations and geographic locations
· an understanding of the differing requirements of health care systems in a culturally diverse society
· the ability to consider local, regional, national and global ramifications of health care issues
· the ability to respect community values, including an appreciation of a diversity of backgrounds and cultural values
· an understanding of the principles of health literacy and a willingness and ability to contribute to the health education of the community
· the ability and a willingness to contribute to the community
· a commitment to contribute to the resolution of health inequities locally and globally
· an understanding of the relationship between environmental issues and the health of local communities and society
· a commitment to practise physiotherapy in an environmentally responsible way

Professional Accreditation:

Graduates are eligible for registration with the Australian Health Practioner Regulation Agency to work in Australia.


Organisations that host clinical placements require that you have obtained a police check regarding your suitability to undertake such placements. If you are an enrolled student, or a prospective student, you are advised that you are required to obtain, and pay for, police checks prior to commencing and during your course.
All students enrolled in the D.Physiotherapy program are also required to obtain a Working with Children check prior to undertaking clinical placements. Year 1 Physiotherapy students need to complete the check prior to enrolment or as soon as possible after enrolment (no later than Orientation Week).
Currently, working with Children checks remain valid for 5 years. If a student is undertaking a course of greater than 5 years duration, a new Working with Children check must be obtained prior to the end of the 5th year of study.

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