Do you have a passion for helping others with their quality of life? Are you looking into an undergraduate that is both academically and professionally rewarding? Then, a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Griffith Uni can provide a great opportunity to learn all about the human body and the different physical techniques to treat different bodily conditions.
In this article, we’ll be going over all the essential details about a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Griffith Uni — just keep reading to know more!
What is a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Griffith Uni?
A Bachelor of Physiotherapy is a fairly recent degree at Griffith Uni, and therefore, the study experience offers a very modern and state-of-the-art mode of learning.
It encapsulates a hands-on approach, as the course topics revolve around learning about the human body and how to use physical movements to aid different bodily conditions and impediments. The course is offered both at the Nathan and Gold Coast campus.
The course teaches a combination of scientific, holistic and clinical knowledge which is all underpinned by a focus on helping future clients with their physical conditions.
While the first half of the course bears much of the brunt of the student’s fundamental theoretical understandings, such as in biomedical, physical and behavioural science, the last two years of this degree focuses on teaching professional client-based and clinical parts of physiotherapy. For example, students get to work in various settings related to a specific area of body knowledge!
The option of studying an Honours program is offered at the end of the second year of the course, which replaces the final two years of study in the standard Bachelor; this is provided that they have achieved a minimum GPA of 5.0 for all coursework, which makes the numbers for acceptance small (in 2019, it was only 10 of 90 that were chosen).
Honours projects are predetermined by researchers from Brisbane and the Gold Coast, which include lecturers or professionals who are external to the university. Upon acceptance of the Honours application, students work closely with researchers to undertake a research project or experiment and in their last year, write a thesis for review.
At the end of their course, graduates of a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Griffith Uni are eligible to register to practice as a Physiotherapist within Australia following accreditation. Registered physiotherapists can work in a range of settings — some of these options include:
- Private practices
- Community health centres
- Sporting teams
- University or government-body research
Core Units for this Degree
From week 1 of studying Physiotherapy at Griffith University, there is a practical focus on the degree where students learn how to ethically and safely handle the human body.
There are no majors in a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and all units are core units in this course. In addition, the core units can be categorised by a split between theoretical units and physiotherapy-specific units.
The first year of the degree is primarily introductory courses where you will develop your broad background understanding to physiotherapy. Scientific theoretical content related to human biology, and anatomy and physiology are taught; for example, Anatomy and Physiology Systems 1 first introduces the five body systems Skeletal, Muscle, Nervous, Endocrine and Reproductive Systems while Musculoskeletal Anatomy is a unit that solely focuses on the structure and function of the musculoskeletal system.
This knowledge is applied to basic physiotherapy techniques such as range of motion assessments, muscle testing, and therapeutic massage in practical units such as Physiotherapy 1, 2 and 3. In these units, the fundamentals of joint range, manual handling, therapeutic massage among other topics are taught.
Second year is an extension on the first-year topics, where a more complex understanding of human anatomy in a musculoskeletal context and the physiology of the various systems in the body are understood; these are taught in theoretical units such as Musculoskeletal Anatomy and Integrated Systems Physiology.
The physiotherapy-specific units, which are Therapeutic Exercise for Physiotherapy, Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy 1 and Physiotherapy 4, respectively focus on exercise prescription in healthy populations and pain management.
Since most of the theoretical content is addressed in the first two years of the course, the third year allows students to “feel like physiotherapists”.
Third-year units study in the context of musculoskeletal, neurological, geriatric (relating to elderly people), paediatric, acute care, as well as the legal and ethical considerations surrounding work in healthcare; these are completed in units including Neurological Physiotherapy, Physiotherapy Across the Lifespan 1 & 2 and Acute Care Physiotherapy.
The last year of this degree consists of four to five 5-week placements. Here, students are placed anywhere in Queensland to work in hospitals, private clinics, or community-based physiotherapy programs.
Students get the opportunity to transition to their professional futures where they work with real patients while still having supervision.
How to Get into a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Griffith Uni
Since a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Griffith Uni is a high-in-demand program, the only entry option into this course is by meeting the ATAR cut-off, which is currently at 98.00. This means that Griffith students cannot internally transfer to this course; all applicants must apply through QTAC or UAC.
Prerequisites and Assumed Knowledge
The pre-requisite subjects are English, English as an Additional Language, Literature or English & Literature Extension (Units 3 & 4, C).
There is also assumed knowledge related to Mathematical Methods (Units 3 & 4, C) and either Biology, Chemistry or Physics (Units 3 & 4, C). There are, fortunately, no additional assessments.
Applications for scholarships are definitely recommended, especially related to academic merit. The Deans Sir Samuel Griffith and Sir Samuel Griffith Scholarships award a respective value of up to $60,000 and $24,000 for students who have demonstrated academic excellence. One of the key merits is achieving an ATAR of 95.50 or above, which commencing Physiotherapy students will have achieved.
What’s the Teaching Format?
A Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Griffith Uni is studied in trimesters and in a combination of lectures, tutorials, and practical classes.
Lectures are required for foundational topics in the first and second year, which also are relevant for other degrees.
For physiotherapy students, lectures are once a week, generally 2 hours long and can have over 150 people in attendance. Because of this large class size, they are not as interactive as other classes — while students typically take notes from and listen to the lecturer, questions can also be asked in these lectures for clarification on the content.
Tutorials also occur once a week (for each unit) and are 2 hours long. However, unlike lectures, there is a much smaller class size of maximum 30 people to ensure an effective and interactive learning space.
Tutorials are usually structured as a group-based question and answer session, where there are many more opportunities to ask your tutors on particular physiotherapy questions.
Practicals, or “laboratory” classes, are held twice a week (for each unit) for 2-3 hours and have a class size of 20 to 30 students. As the name suggests, practicals are very hands-on classes where students typically work with partners on massage tables/plinths.
Alternatively, students also attend anatomy laboratories, in which cadavers are often examined. Like tutorials, lecturers and tutors are always available for questions if you have any.
How much time do you spend in class?
Physiotherapy is an especially challenging degree with high expectations, workload and many in-person classes. Classes are held 5 days a week with a minimum of 4 hours a day of in-person class; therefore, the contact hours are a minimum of 20 hours, not including pre-recorded lectures and preparatory work.
What are the assessments like?
The main types of assessments in a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Griffith Uni include:
- Essays (analytical or reflective)
- Individual and group presentations
- Standardised written examinations
- In-person practical assessments (called VIVAs)
- Pre-recorded video assignments (exercise videos)
For theoretical units, essays, quizzes, and written and laboratory (called VIVAs) examinations are the most common. These assessments mainly test the student’s knowledge of the unit; for example, a unit on anatomy will assess how well the student can locate and name the anatomical landmarks of the body in the VIVA, identify physiotherapy-specific laboratory material in a laboratory exam, and how well they have understood all the lecture and laboratory material across the trimester.
For physiotherapy-specific practical units, quizzes, clinical exams/VIVAs, and presentations are common types of assessments. These typically address the professional side of working as a physiotherapist from assessing the student’s selection and performance of clinical massage techniques in a clinical exam to the interpretation of clinical notes into appropriate assessment techniques in a VIVA. Quizzes and presentations help demonstrate the rationale behind physiotherapy techniques.
There is often an almost equal weighting of all assessments and nothing over 50%. However, practical assessments typically weighed higher as Physiotherapy is a practical profession.
Skills That You Refine and Learn
The clinical skills of a Physiotherapy graduate are, indeed, important as their whole profession surrounds helping others with the physical condition. This is sharpened through a blending of theoretical and practical skills; for example, theoretical knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy is used to understand why and where the client feels unease.
Not far behind clinical skills, problem-solving skills relates to the Physiotherapy graduate’s capabilities in providing the correct or appropriate assessment and physiotherapy techniques to the client. This is crucial as inappropriate techniques mean that their work has little effect, or worse, further harm the client.
Physiotherapy requires a strong line of communication between the professional and the client, as well between the professional and any others working in the healthcare setting. As physiotherapy is a high-contact job, physiotherapists must learn to ease, demonstrate and inform their clients on their condition and what is next required of the client in a safe and ethical manner.
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?
The Physiotherapy faculty consists of a tight-knit group of lecturers, tutors and students. There are only about 60 students in the cohort and because of the small cohort size, it is easy to know everyone, including the educators, well through more personalised learning spaces.
For first years, the second and third years will regularly be around campus, who are very friendly and willing to answer any questions you have.
The lecturers and tutors all have strong experience as practicing physiotherapists, in which the lecturers often work in their own clinics alongside teaching and research responsibilities! The staff are extremely invested and supportive of their students; they welcome any questions and even come to some of the social events, such as balls and networking evenings, organised by the university society.
This Bachelor program was only introduced in 2018, in which all the facilities were built to coincide with that date — this means Physiotherapy students get to experience state of the art or near brand new classrooms and equipment.
Griffith Uni provides a range of niche societies that correspond to different course programs; it is definitely recommended to any student. Student-run societies offer a range of opportunities and programs, whether it is to have a good time or learn about different areas of physiotherapy!
For Physiotherapy students, the Griffith University Physiotherapy Society provides opportunities that go beyond the standard university program. There are ongoing events through the trimester, from networking nights, seminars on special interest topics and balls! This is a great opportunity to mingle with cohorts from other years and possibly form new connections!
Mentoring Programs at Griffith
There is a various range of mentoring programs offered at Griffith, from student networking, Peer-Assisted Study Sessions and industry-specific mentoring. While there is not a physiotherapy-specific mentoring program, the Industry Mentoring Program links students with industry professionals and is a great opportunity to boost personal growth!
Lynn Chen is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is a Communication student at UTS with a major in Creative Writing. Lynn’s articles have been published in Vertigo, The Comma, and Shut Up and Go. In her spare time, she also writes poetry.