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Degree Programme in Physiotherapy

Spring 2018

Select years, semesters and periods (when only one year is selected) by clicking buttons below. (S = Spring, A = Autumn)
Year of study 1 2 3 4
Search for study unit: ECTS 1 2 3 4 1S 2A 2S 3A 3S 4A 1 2 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2
BASIC STUDIES 32                                                
English Professional Skills, B2 3  
Finnish Language and Communication 3                                                
Higher Education Studies and Working Life Skills
Higher Education Studies and Working Life Skills 1 1
Higher Education Studies and Working Life Skills 2 1  
Higher Education Studies and Working Life Skills 3 1  
Higher Education Studies and Working Life Skills 4 1    
Higher Education Studies and Working Life Skills 5 1    
Swedish Communication, B1
Swedish for Working Life, Oral Communication (replacing compulsory Swedish) 1    
Swedish for Working Life, Written Communication (replacing compulsory Swedish) 2    
Basis of Physiotherapist's Work 5
Social and Health Care System and Rehabilitation 3  
Physiotherapy Science and Development 5  
Research Methods 5    
PROFESSIONAL STUDIES 73                                                
Functional Anatomy and Physiology 1 5
Functional Anatomy and Physiology 2 5  
Supporting Human Learning 5
Assessing and Exercising Joint Mobility 5
Assessing and Exercising Muscle Strength and Flexibility 5  
Assessing and Exercising Aerobic Condition, Coordination and Balance 5  
Assessment of Pain and Pain Relieving 4  
Assessing and Exercising of Clients' Basic Motion and Functioning 5  
Age and Functioning 4  
Environment Enabling Function 5    
Physiotherapy for Promoting Clients Psychophysical Entity 5
Physiotherapy for Promoting the Function of Locomotor System 5  
Physiotherapy for Promoting the Function of Respiratory and Cardiovascular Systems 5    
Physiotherapy for Promoting the Functional Ability of Neurological Clients 5  
Geriatrics 1  
Orthopaedics 1  
Neurology 1  
Children's Medicine 1  
Pharmacology 1  
OPTIONAL STUDIES 15                                                
PRACTICAL TRAINING 75                                                
Health-Enchancing Physical Activity and Education 5  
Basics of Project Skills 5  
Multiprofessional Project Working 5  
Physiotherapy Training for Promoting the Function of the Locomotor System 9    
Physiotherapy Training for Promoting the Function of Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems 6      
Physiotherapy Training for Promoting the Functional Ability of Traumatological or Orthopaedic Client 6      
Physiotherapy Training for Promoting the Functional ability of Neurological Clients 9    
Adapted Physical Activity 6    
Optional Training
Optional Training 9    
Elective Training 1 9      
Elective Training 2 6    
BACHELOR'S THESIS 15                                                
Planning the Bachelor's Thesis 5    
Implementing the Bachelor's Thesis 5      
Reporting the Bachelor's Thesis 5      
ECTS credits per period / semester / academic year 26 71 64 31 26 38 33 32.5 31.5 31 13 13 19 19 11 11 11 18.8 18.8 12.6 12.6 12.6 18 18

Due to the timing of optional and elective courses, credit accumulation per semester / academic year may vary.

Programme description


Physiotherapist (Bachelor), EQF and NQF level 6

210 credits, 3 years

A physiotherapist degree entitles a person to work as a physiotherapist expert in health, social, sports and rehabilitation systems, either as an employee or as an entrepreneur. The goal of a physiotherapists work is to maintain and promote human movement, activity, participation and wellbeing; taking into consideration the prevailing environmental conditions and social situations at any given time.

The physiotherapy education studies teach skills that meet the expectation and need for expertise in working life. Amongst other things national (The principals council of the Universities of Applied Sciences (Arene), Ministry of Education (OKM)) and international (European Network of Physiotherapy in Higher Education (Enphe), The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)) competence descriptions have been utilised in their design. As a physiotherapist works both in multi-professional teams and independently in customer situations, both workplace skills, as well as physiotherapeutic examination and clinical reasoning skills, teaching and counselling skills and therapeutic skills are emphasised. The physiotherapist's role and expertise changes with society; therefore a physiotherapist is also required internationalisation, development and technology skills.

A physiotherapist who has graduated from a University of Applied Sciences will have command over the essential knowledge base of physiotherapy, be capable of creative problem solving and will be able to work in multi-professional teams. He uses approved and evidence-based physiotherapy procedures and policies in his decision making process as well as during the examination of the customers capacity for maintaining and promoting their general performance. He possesses the ability to act ethically, in a customer oriented manner, creatively and in a specific manner according to the situation, he will also be able to develop physiotherapy. In addition, he is able to take both national and international challenges into consideration and can also develop the innovation competence of his individual, communal and networking skills.

Physiotherapy (Bachelor) studies are based on the legislation for Universities of Applied Sciences and the legislation for practicing the profession, the framework for European skills and degrees (European Qualifications Framework = EQF), the framework for national degrees (National Qualifications Framework NQF =, and the degree regulations and strategies for Turku University of Applied Sciences, where the pedagogical approach is based on innovation pedagogy.

The physiotherapist studies consist of 210 credits, which requires about 3 years of full time studying. The premise for the studies is professional growth as well as general and professional learning outcomes; and based on these the studies form three year themes. Each year theme is comprised of modules (10-15 credits) and courses (5 credits) and they have been divided into basic studies (15 credits), professional studies (73 credits), internships (75 credits), elective studies (15 credits) and the thesis (15 credits).

The first year: an expert, evaluator and instructor of human movement and function. The student examines people as physical, psychological and social entities. He describes the importance of their living environments, culture and values as part of the physiotherapy process. The student recognizes different patterns people have in motion, movement and behaviour and their premise as well as their connection to human health and wellbeing. According to the physiotherapy process he examines the movement and functional abilities of healthy people and/or people who have health risks; and he works to promote health and wellbeing. The student uses manual, visual and verbal control methods and describes his performance and the customer’s situation using the key concepts of physiotherapy. He uses evidence-based sources of information to justify his actions. The student explains how social, health and rehabilitation services are part of the basic wellbeing of Finnish people. In addition the student applies different means of communication in learning situations.

The second year: an applier of the basics of physiotherapy. The student will safely, reliably and in a versatile manner plan, implement and evaluate customer-oriented physiotherapy together with people with limited movement and functioning capabilities. He will extensively take into account the customers psychological, physical and social entity, the resources and constraints of their participation and the diversity of the functional environment. The student will use key methods of physiotherapy and evaluate his actions in each stage of the physiotherapy process. He will combine different methods of control in different stages and in addition he will make use of different technological, research and therapy opportunities. The student will use a scientific approach and the evidence-based skills that he has learned in workplace-oriented projects as well as in research and development projects.

The third year: an expert in progressive and developing physiotherapy. The student establishes and/or broadens his skills in his chosen field of physiotherapy. The student will innovatively apply what he has previously learnt to new customer situations and environments. He will evaluate and develop his own activity, so that, as his skills, knowledge and experience accumulate, he will function in a quality-conscious manner in multi-professional teams. In his thesis the student will demonstrate that he has become familiar with the scientific functions of physiotherapy and will accomplish a workplace-oriented study and development task under supervision.
In each year theme the research, counselling and therapy capabilities learnt by the student will be evidence-based. The student will combine practice with theory in different learning situations, and especially in practical training.

Each year theme will include studying theory as well as training practical skills. As the student’s skills improve he will apply the theoretical knowledge to increasingly harder customer situations and the theory will act as the base for physical therapy planning and implementation. The studying takes place in class or placements or by conversing and practicing individually or in groups; which allows the student to learn skills in interaction and teamwork.

Part-time education is planned and implemented in a way that the students are able to complete their studies while working at the same time. Stydying in the degree programme is based on the premises of innovation pedagogics defined in the strategy of Turku University of Applied Sciences. The strategic innovation pedagogy at Turku University of Applied Sciences means an approach to learning that emphasizes work-oriented, research, development and innovation (RDI) expertise. Theoretical studies are supported by a strong connection to practical working life, for example in development tasks connected to internships, theses and workplace-oriented courses as well as services and workplace-oriented RDI projects of Universities of Applied Sciences. The innovative teaching and learning methods are also used during the lessons. The student will take part in different joint research and development projects as well as the services of the Universities of Applied Sciences and working life. Innovative learning and teaching methods, flexible study paths, internationalisation and entrepreneurial activity are some of the ways that the innovative pedagogy methods can be seen in physiotherapy education.

Only a licensed professional or a person who has completed a physiotherapy degree can work as a physiotherapist. The social and healthcare licensing and supervisory agency (Valvira) grants professionals the right to practise the work based on their applications.

In the thesis the student will demonstrate his readiness to work independently and use research-based information critically. The theses are implemented as workplace-oriented and partly multi-disciplinary commissions. Workplace and RDI project representatives recruit students for their own development tasks. Writing the thesis takes place during the final stages of the studies.

In the physiotherapy education program the most important goal of the evaluation is to guide and support the student’s learning process as well as promote his professional growth. The premises for the evaluation are the competence descriptions and goals of physiotherapy work, which have been registered in the competence map of the curriculum. The achieved skills are assessed during the modules and courses.

During the evaluation the student receives feedback on his skills and his progress in correlation to his goals. The achievements that are evaluated include oral and written exams, presentations, reports and learning diaries. The evaluation is rejected or approved (on a scale from 1-5). The student will receive either oral or written feedback. In addition to the teacher’s evaluation the student’s self-assessment and the review carried out by the peers is also an important part of thefinal evaluation. The aim of the evaluation is to steer the student towards embracing methods of working and learning that he can make use of later on while working in a specific field of expertise.

The evaluation criteria for the courses have been registered into the courses implementation plan (the SoleOPS system) and general evaluation guidelines of the Universities of Applied Sciences have been used in their preparation. The evaluation criteria separately describes the student’s professional knowledge, ability to obtain information, professional skills and responsibility and entrepreneurial and leadership skills; and these different learning stages have been taken into consideration in their levels of description.

In physiotherapy education the functioning is developed by collecting feedback on the courses implementation from the students during a feedback day at the end of the studies and semester. The students can influence its outcome at the start of a course, during the demonstration of the implementation plan. A student satisfaction survey (student barometer) takes place annually at the Turku University of Applied Sciences. At the end of the studies the students answer an OPALA questionnaire complied by the Ministry of Education and give feedback on the entire study period.

Students carry out studies that support internationalisation (30 credits) in different ways during their physiotherapy degree: for example by applying for an exchange student position, taking part in intensive courses or through an international semester.

It is hard to replace an employee with technology in the social and healthcare field, so the field will continue to employ well in the future. A physiotherapist works independently or as a member of a multidisciplinary team, as an expert in the areas of health, social, sports and rehabilitation either as an employee or an entrepreneur. The curriculum provides graduates with the skills function in the sectors developmental tasks.

Depending on the individual some find it important to develop physiotherapy at their workplace after graduation. Some will want to further their studies progressing for example into the service of a ministry or working as a professor abroad.

The most common physiotherapy titles are physiotherapist, physiotherapist (UAS) and specialized physiotherapist. As a physiotherapist it is possible to apply for a specialist title according to the guidelines of Finland’s Physiotherapists. A physical therapy specialist is required to have a high level of knowledge, strong specialty experience, evidence of work development and extensive professional performance. The titles that can be applied for are children’s physiotherapy, musculoskeletal physiotherapy, adult neurological physiotherapy, primary health care physiotherapy and occupational Physiotherapy. (Finland’s Physiotherapists 2014.)

The bachelor's degree from a University of Applied Sciences provides the opportunity for postgraduate studies in a Master’s degree or university degree.
Turku University of Applied Sciences also offers these opportunities.

For more information on the education, contact the student advisors.

Competence objectives

Pedagogic approaches