Physiotherapy, physiology, and pathology

Studying physiotherapy, physiology, and pathology provides the foundation to restore health and unravel the mysteries of bodily functions.

Choosing to study physiotherapy, physiology, and pathology is committing to understanding the human body and its intricate workings. It will equip you with the skills to rehabilitate and restore physical wellbeing through physiotherapy but also delves into physiological processes and the identification of pathological conditions.

It’s about gaining a holistic perspective, connecting the dots between normal body function, deviations from health, and effective therapeutic interventions. It prepares graduates for diverse roles in clinical settings but also positions them for career growth in research, academia, healthcare management, or specialisation in areas such as neurophysiology, musculoskeletal rehabilitation, or pathology diagnosis. 

The impact you could make
  • Contribute significantly to the field of healthcare and the wellbeing of individuals and communities.
  • Contribute to diagnostic accuracy by identifying and interpreting abnormalities in tissues and bodily fluids.
  • Educate communities about health promotion, disease prevention, and the importance of adopting healthy lifestyles.
What you could study
  • Cardiorespiratory physiotherapy
  • Musculoskeletal rehabilitation
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Chemistry for life sciences
  • Epithelial physiology
  • Forensic pathology
  • Genealogical conditions
  • Neurobiology

Study options

Options to study in this field include:

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Example module
“I really enjoyed anatomy. I loved learning about how our bodies work and enjoyed the mix of learning and then applying that to practice.”
Second year physiotherapy student, University of Chichester
Example assignment
"I really enjoyed my exercise prescription assignment because it challenged by knowledge and outlook of exercise and really opened my eyes to the differences between physiotherapy and general fitness exercises."
First year physiotherapy student, University of Winchester

Subjects it's useful to have studied first

Some physiotherapy, physiology and pathology courses or apprenticeships will have requirements for previous qualifications in certain subjects. Entry requirements vary, so always check with the provider.
78% of students
studying physiotherapy, physiology and pathology would recommend it to others
(UCAS subject guide survey 2023)
Hard skills you'll develop
  • tick!Clinical assessment
  • tick!Rehabilitation techniques
  • tick!Anatomy and physiology knowledge
  • tick!Medical terminology
Soft skills you'll develop
  • tick!Active listening
  • tick!Empathy
  • tick!Collaborative decision-making
  • tick!Patient advocacy

Careers: Where it can take you

Find out more about your career prospects from studying physiotherapy, physiology and pathology. The following information is based on a typical physiotherapist role.

Available jobs
63,661 vacancies in the past year
6.76% growth over next eight years
Average salary
Up to £52,234

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Getting in: Entry requirements

Find out more about what you'll need to study physiotherapy, physiology and pathology at university or as an apprenticeship.

Average requirements for undergraduate degrees

Entry requirements differ between university and course, but this should give you a guide to what is usually expected from physiotherapy, physiology, and pathology applicants.

A levels
Scottish Highers
Other Level 3/Level 6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma or SQCF Level 6) may be accepted as an alternative

A day in the life of a Biology Apprentice

Considering an apprenticeship?

Applying for an apprenticeship is just like applying for a normal job. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Deadline

    Apprenticeships don't follow the same deadlines as applying to uni, the deadline is down to the employer.
  2. Where to apply

    You apply directly through the employer.
  3. No limits

    You're not restricted to one apprenticeship application; you can do as many as you like.
  4. Apply to university and apprenticeships

    There's nothing stopping you applying to university through UCAS, while also applying for apprenticeship vacancies.

Explore further

Go deeper into topics around physiotherapy, physiology, and pathology with the following:
  1. Test your knowledge

    Brush up on the different parts and functions of the human body with this 60-question quiz.
  2. Huberman Lab podcast

    Dr Andrew Huberman’s popular podcast covers all manner of science topics, with some focusing on neurobiology and physiology. 

Application advice

Whether it's personal statement tips or what to write in a cover letter for an apprenticeship application, our advice will help you get ahead in your physiotherapy, physiology, and pathology journey.
Skills, experiences, and interests to mention
  • tick!Can you clearly talk about your interest in rehabilitation and physiotherapy, maybe sharing experiences or observations that have influenced your desire to contribute to the recovery and wellbeing of others.
  • tick!If you can, mention any research or lab experiences related to physiology or pathology, highlighting your interest in scientific inquiry and understanding diseases.
  • tick!Show examples of situations where you demonstrated leadership or worked effectively as part of a team.
  • tick!Talk about empathy and your commitment to patient-centred care, as this will prove your understanding of the human side of healthcare.
  • tick!What are your professional goals in the areas of physiotherapy, physiology, and pathology?

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