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Conduct high-quality clinical research on musculoskeletal health

Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences

This Master’s programme is unique in its multidisciplinary focus on clinical experimental research in musculoskeletal physiotherapy.

The programme has close connections with the Master’s programme in Human Movement Sciences, but differs mainly in its focus and approach of addressing musculoskeletal problems from a clinical and applied perspective. 

It offers you the necessary scientific expertise, grounded in an academic attitude and skills, to advance physiotherapy practice.

The Master's programme in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences is a one-year, full-time programme. It is also possible to do the programme part-time. The programme is taught in English.

Dynamic teaching methods
In this programme, we use various teaching methods such as lectures, practicals, workgroups, seminars and directed self-guided learning. We also apply blended learning by combining on-site and online teaching. This makes the programme and your learning dynamic. The different formats enhance your theoretical knowledge and research skills, and integrate those within the context of practical problems related to physiotherapy.

Programme credits
This Master's programme consists of 60 EC. You will follow 5 compulsory courses (total 27 EC), in which you acquire in-depth knowledge of physiotherapy, develop scientific skills, and apply methodology with regard to data acquisition and analyses. In addition, you take a number of electives (9 EC in total) and carry out an individual research project (24 EC), usually in the second semester. Most courses are 6 EC, a few 3 EC.

Individual research project
During the programme, you will conduct a five-month substantial individual research project. This project can be conducted within the labs of our own faculty or in a clinical practice, such as one that is part of the VU Science Network. You can also choose to conduct your research project abroad. Regardless of where you decide to conduct your internship, you will be supervised by an experienced member of our academic staff.

Optional: Become a qualified lecturer in higher education
As part of this master’s programme, you can also choose to obtain the qualifications to become a lecturer in higher education (taught only in Dutch). This additional programme component consists of an additional 30 EC. Additional information about this option can be found here.

Studying part-time
The Master's programme can also be followed part-time. The courses are scheduled in such a way that you can divide the study over 2 years, for example. Please contact the academic advisors to discuss the possibilities of adapting this part-time option to your individual situation.

The start date of this programme is September 1st.

Master's programme

The programme is spread over 6 blocks. In blocks 1 and 2 (September – December), you will take courses on clinical experimental research related to current physiotherapeutic topics such as:

  • Pain, Body and Mind
  • Current challenges in musculoskeletal health (for example: osteoarthiritis, aging, low back pain)

You will be trained in the basic principles of data acquisition and data processing in measuring human movement. This is supported by advanced knowledge of research methodology (design, statistics and appraisal). The focus is on translating this knowledge and these skills into clinical practice.

In blocks 3 – 6 (January – June), besides the compulsory course ‘Translational Research’ you can select a combination of elective courses based on your interest, such as Clinical Exercise Physiology or EMG. In parallel, you will prepare and conduct your individual research project.

Specific information about the courses can be found in the study guide.

Teaching in higher education

If you’re considering a future in education and academia, you may want to enhance your teaching skills as well. Each year, the Research Master’s programme offers 15-20 students the opportunity to acquire an accreditation for teaching in higher education. Because this accreditation is only valid in the Netherlands, this additional programme is taught exclusively in Dutch.

Change your future with the Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences programme

Change your future with the Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences programme

With a Master's degree in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences, a wide range of career opportunities awaits. Having a Master's degree from VU Amsterdam, as a leading institution in the field, can be helpful when applying for management or policy-making positions in physiotherapy, exercise therapy, occupational therapy or physician/specialist care. This is also the case if you aspire to an academic or commercial research career. The programme provides you with the ideal preparation for pursuing a PhD in Physiotherapy or related fields in Human Movement and/or Health Sciences.

Explore your future prospects