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Find out about the research we do in Physiotherapy

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Physiotherapy PhD

PhD topics

Find a supervisor

Start date

January

October

April

Mode of study

3 years full-time

6 years part-time

Fees

2020/21

International £19,280

UK £4,407

2021/22

UK £4,327

International £19,855

Entry requirements

2:1

MPhil option available
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Research profile

Physiotherapy offers a multi-stranded research programme exploring the development and evaluation of rehabilitation strategies, the environments in which they can be used and the lived experience of patients across a broad spectrum of acute and long term conditions.  This includes the whole rehabilitation pathway and beyond, aiming to explore and promote the best in evidence-based practice. Physiotherapy at Brunel has a large team of academics who are actively involved in research across a wide range of clinical specialties. The academic team has internationally renowned expertise in cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal and neurological health and rehabilitation and in quantitative, qualitative and mixed research methodologies. We have an established national and international profile in terms of relationships with health, government, professional and research funding bodies to support collaborative research. The academic team has extensive clinical expertise and retains strong collaborative links with several key London hospitals and NHS trusts.

Find out about the exciting research we do in this area. Browse profiles of our experts, discover the research groups and their inspirational research activities you too could be part of. We’ve also made available extensive reading materials published by our academics and PhD students.  

Learn more about research in this area.

Applicants are welcome to contact us about their own specialist topics and projects.  However, we particularly welcome proposals on :

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of contemporary and novel rehabilitation strategies for long term conditions.
  • The refinement of contemporary rehabilitation, preventative and health promotion strategies used to enhance the wellbeing of people with stroke, cerebral palsy, cardiac disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and people in critical care.
  • The use of electronic and assistive technologies.
  • Peoples’ experiences of physiotherapy and/or living with long term health conditions.
  • The use of principles from sports psychology to help older adults overcome the fear of falling and improve mobility and to reduce gait deficits (such as freezing of gait) in people with Parkinson’s disease.
  • The use of principles from sports psychology.
  • Investigating participation and pedagogy to enhance the learning experience of student physiotherapists.

You can explore our campus and facilities for yourself by taking our virtual tour.

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Find a supervisor

Our researchers create knowledge and advance understanding, and equip versatile doctoral researchers with the confidence to apply what they have learnt for the benefit of society. Find out more about working with the Supervisory Team.

You are welcome to approach your potential supervisor directly to discuss your research interests. Search for expert supervisors for your chosen field of research.

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Research journey

This course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in January. Or this course can be studied 3 years full-time, starting in May. Or this course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in April. Or this course can be studied 6 years part-time, starting in October.

Find out about what progress might look like at each stage of study here: Research degree progress structure.

PhD topics

While we welcome applications from student with a clear direction for their research, we can also provide you with some ideas. Search for PhD topics for your chosen field of research.

The programme specification is in the process of being updated and may not be an accurate reflection of the programme.

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Research support

Excellent research support and training

The Graduate School provides a range of personal, professional and career development opportunities. This includes workshops, online training, coaching and events, to enable you to enhance your professional profile, refine your skills, and plan your next career steps as part of the Researcher Development Programme.

Find our more: Study environment for research students

Library services

Brunel's Library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 ebooks, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs.

The Library services boast:

  • state-of-the-art research information management tools including a research
  • publication and grant database
  • one of the largest UK's full text repository
  • an integrated data management system
  • analytical tools such as Altmertic and InCites
  • Open Access centrally managed fund

Find out more: Brunel Library

A training programme will be provided by the College to assist students with achieving targets.  The programme will include the underpinning principles such as philosophy of science, research integrity, ethics and specialist methodology.  Sessions in core, specialist and advanced research methods will prepare students for an independent research career.  The College research methods programme includes sessions from specialists with research expertise in qualitative, quantitative, reflexive, practitioner and insider research, and is aligned with the ESRC research methods expectations. 

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Careers and your future

Tailored careers support is offered to all our current PhD students and for up to 3 years after you complete your research at Brunel. We help you to actively engage in career planning and managing your personal development right from the start of your research. Our careers provision includes online advice, one to one consultations and a range of events and workshops.

In addition, where available, you may be able to undertake some paid work as we recognise that teaching and learning support duties represent an important professional and career development opportunity.

Find out more.

A PhD in Physiotherapy will particularly suit physiotherapists who wish to contribute to the development of research knowledge in their specialist area or to academic training. Universities recruiting lecturers for Physiotherapy courses usually expect a PhD as well as a practice experience.

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UK entry requirements

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1). 

An interview may be required as part of the admissions process, and if so it would be conducted by one of the academic staff members remotely via Skype, phone or other means. 

Applicants will be required to submit a personal statement and a research statement.
Please contact your proposed supervisor, where possible, to receive feedback and guidance on your research statement before submitting it. Learn how to prepare a research statement here.  

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EU and International entry requirements

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 7 (min 6.5W, 6.5L, 6.5R, 6.5S)
  • Pearson: 64 (58 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 70% (65% in all areas)
  • TOEFL: 100 (min 20 in all areas)

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason. We offer our own BrunELT English test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options through our Brunel Language Centre.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants. This information is for guidance only and each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Entry requirements are subject to review, and may change.

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Fees and funding

2020/21 entry

International

£19,280 full-time

£9,640 part-time

UK

£4,407 full-time

£2,203 part-time

2021/22 entry

UK

£4,327 full-time

£2,160 part-time

International

£19,855 full-time

£9,925 part-time

UK fees are subject to change in January 2021 following an announcement by the UK Research and Innovation.

Fees quoted are per year and are subject to an annual increase.

Fees for EU applicants- For entry in 2021/22 academic year, eligible EU applicants will have the same tuition fees as UK students to support EU students during this transition period. These fees will be applied for the duration of the course. EU fees for 2022 entry are not yet confirmed.

Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. Recently the UK Government made available the Doctoral Student Loans of up to £25,000 for UK and EU students and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.