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Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
1 year
Full time
Master's degree
Scholarships available
On campus
01 September 2023
Application deadline: EU students: July 1st 2023 | Non-EU students: May 1st 2038

About this program

Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences

Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences Musculoskeletal disorders generally lead to pain and restricted mobility. They are the leading cause for functional disabilities and physiotherapy treatment.

Scientific research on musculoskeletal health and clinical treatment has increased exponentially over the last 15 years. By learning to conduct clinical research yourself, as a clinician or therapist you will better understand and value the possibilities, limitations, and results of scientific evidence from clinical research as well as its translation into clinical practice.

In this one-year Master's programme, you will receive theoretical education within the context of clinical challenges on musculoskeletal disorders and physiotherapy, as well as skills in clinical experimental data collection, data analyses and research methodology.

This master is unique in its multidisciplinary focus on both clinical experimental research (e.g., underlying mechanisms of pain or pathophysiology) and applied studies (like virtual reality or eHealth interventions).

To follow this programme, a background with skills in clinical reasoning is needed and a pre-master is not required. The programme is fully in English and can be followed in part-time.

In this Master's programme, you will learn how to conduct high-quality research in the field of musculoskeletal physiotherapy, from searching for theoretical evidence of clinical problems to translating knowledge into clinical solutions. You will apply pre-clinical and innovative research methods in a lab environment, and put the knowledge and skills you acquire to use in your own clinical research project.

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Admission requirements

To gain admission to the programme we have 3 requirements:

First, to gain admission to the programme we require sufficient knowledge and insight on clinical reasoning. Applicants who have successfully completed one of the following Bachelor (of Science) programmes meet this requirement:

  • HBO Physiotherapy
  • HBO Occupational or exercise therapy (Cesar Mensendieck)
  • WO Medicine

Secondly, sufficient knowledge on basic mathematical and analytical skills is required to successfully complete our academic Master's programme. This requirement can be met in either of the following ways:

  • By successfully completing an academic (WO) Bachelor of Science programme
  • By successfully completing courses on mathematical and analytical skills at an academic level. The Admission Board will determine whether the courses taken are of a sufficient level. An example of this is the Master Preparation Minor which is offered at the European School of Physiotherapy (ESP / HvA) and consists of courses at an academic level.
  • By completing a GMAT test (scroll down for more information). A minimum score of 300 is required to be eligible for admission. Note that successful students of the master's programme Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Sciences typically have a GMAT score of at least 450. If your score is between 300-450, we therefore advise you to follow an additional educational programme to meet the required mathematical and analytical standards. Please note that it takes time to take a GMAT test and to receive the results! On average the process will take you three months. The cost of this test is approximately 250 US Dollar.

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Program content

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. In the first semester, you will take 6 required courses (each 6 EC), in which you will acquire in-depth knowledge of physiotherapy, develop scientific skills, and apply methodology regarding data acquisition and analyses. During the second semester, you will take elective courses related to research skills and methods (generally 3 EC) and conduct your individual research project (24 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.

Scholarships & funding

With our own scholarship, the VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP), we offer highly motivated students with excellent study results the unique oppurtunity to pursue a Master’s degree with financial support provided by the university. The VUFP scholarship is a tuition fee waiver. The Holland Scholarship Programme (HSP) is meant for students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who want to follow a Master’s programme in the Netherlands. VU Amsterdam embraces diversity as an enrichment to our teaching, research and our contribution to society. This scholarship is specifically intended for excellent students who contribute to the diversity at our campus. As an international student planning to study at VU Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries


  • Tuition fee for EU: € 2,209
  • Tuition fee for NON-EU/EEA: € 16,830

Career paths

As a graduate of the programme, you can use your scientific perspective and training to join or return to clinical practice.

Your degree will enable you to work as an academically trained scientist/therapist, pursue a scientific career in physiotherapy sciences, become a teacher in higher (physiotherapy) education, or can make you a more competitive candidate for senior and leadership positions.

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About this institute

Welcome to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (‘VU Amsterdam’) is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English-taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to more than 26,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff...

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Why study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

With more than 24,000 students, of which 4,088 are international, VU Amsterdam conducts cutting-edge research into problems of societal and scientific importance.

They distinguish themselves in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes:

  • Human Health and Life Sciences
  • Science for Sustainability
  • Connected World
  • Governance for Society

As a student this will help you to look beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines, and to seek for tangible solutions for a better world.

In addition, VU Amsterdam regards diversity, whether in culture, conviction, nationality or prior education, as source of innovation and progress, and hence as special strength.

The Dutch higher education system has been ranked in the top 10 by Universitas 21. In the first Times Higher Education University Impact Ranking, VU Amsterdam is ranked 16th worldwide. In this ranking, universities are assessed based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to measure the impact of the universities on society. In the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018 (Shanghai Ranking) VU Amsterdam holds the 104th position. The international QS World University ranking 2021 places the Vrije Universiteit at number 236 in the world, which means the Vrije Universiteit belongs to the top 20% of the world.

At VU Amsterdam, the teaching style can be described as student-centred: they encourage students to develop their own opinions through independent and creative thinking. This means that teaching is mainly conducted in small tutorials, where interactivity is the norm rather than the exception. At every opportunity, students are encouraged to engage in constructive dialogue with their professors.

Contact info

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands, the

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