Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Master's Program

Clinical Setting

Advance your health care practice

Building advanced clinical reasoning and skills that foster confident clinicians

Question your approach, harness current research and cultivate your clinical expertise. The Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy master's program delivers an advanced education in orthopaedic physiotherapy to experienced clinicians. Students in the program develop advanced clinical reasoning skills to assess and manage clients while learning specialized manual therapy skills and how and when to best apply them.

The program’s curriculum emphasizes an evidence-informed approach to physiotherapy that encourages life-long learning, and prepares graduates to thrive in any clinical environment.

An Evidence-Based Approach

Throughout the program, students develop new ways of thinking that improve the assessment and treatment of complex musculoskeletal clinical conditions. Students abandon decision making based on habit in favor of a purely evidence-informed approach.

Program Features

This program is ideal for those who are seeking new skills and clinical expertise to enhance their own practice, and the preparation to take on leadership roles in policy development, research, academia and beyond.

  • Earn a master’s degree and complete your FCAMPT designation in one year
  • Receive one-on-one support and guidance from an experienced mentor
  • Acquire competencies for clinical practice in advanced clinical reasoning, pharmacology, diagnostic imaging, manual therapy skills and motivational interviewing
  • Participate in a group research project offered by researchers affiliated with Western University

Interested in learning more about this program?

Complete the form below to get started.




Frequently Asked Questions

The videos below feature the field leader for the Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy program and answer some commonly asked questions in relations to program content, structure, outcomes and clinical mentorship.

Video FAQs

Program Structure

Mentorship

Motivational Interviewing

After Graduation

Program Streams

Our Students

Working While Studying

Transform all aspects of your practice in just one year of full-time study

Learn from a combination of self-directed online materials and in-person support from renowned musculoskeletal specialists. Students learn to critically evaluate the various methodologies associated with peer-reviewed literature and consider opportunities for its application in their practice. Become a leader, problem-solver and advanced health care practitioner. Advance your profession and initiate change around you.

Transform your patient care

Graduates of the Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy program are equipped with advanced professional skills that promote comprehensive care of their patients, beyond the basic scope of practice.

Students learn to streamline clinical consultations and improve interview efficacy by developing as active listeners and effective communicators. Motivational interviewing improves graduates’ ability to engage with their patients, and work with them to establish personalized goals for their treatment.

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Students also acquire a base knowledge of pharmacology to better understand clients’ drug interactions and integrate pharmacological considerations in plans of care for their clients. Clinicians are taught the fundamentals of diagnostic imaging, so that they are prepared to appropriately order or request imaging (X-Rays, MRIs) for their clients without a referral to a general physician.

These additional competencies provide advanced health care practitioners with tools to construct a comprehensive overview of their patient’s condition, which informs a clinician’s ability to assess, optimize treatment and advocate on their behalf.

Authentic learning delivered virtually

Online courses in the Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy field of the Advanced Health Care Practice Program are taught using various digital and online mediums that bring course content to life and encourage student engagement and group  discussions. Students acquire new knowledge through world-class instructors, relevant readings, videos and guest lecturers representing diverse health disciplines.

Instructors present patient assessments to the class in order to illustrate key concepts, and students collaborate on authentic case studies to apply and reinforce what they have learned. Group work fosters a sense of community in the classroom, and encourages perspective sharing and reflective practice among classmates.

Experiential learning opportunities with experts in the field

On-site residency periods and one-on-one mentorships support online coursework, providing students with face-to-face instruction from prominent Canadian manipulative therapy experts, many of whom are also graduates of this program.

Advanced clinical reasoning manual therapy skills are the foundation on which students develop additional competencies. Residency periods support students’ mastery of musculoskeletal physiotherapy skills through hands-on instruction and simulation activities. During this immersive on-campus learning experience, students have the opportunity to observe advanced health care practitioners in action, and have their own skills assessed. Through simulation activities and clinical skills labs, students articulate their rationale for treatment and receive feedback from instructors on their decision making and their ability to interpret research.

In the program’s mentorship course, students are paired with FCAMPT-certified mentors in their own community In over 150 clinical hours of mentorship, students have the opportunity to apply theory to patient interactions, providing a transition from academia to clinical practice under the guidance and leadership of an experienced mentor. Students become reflective practitioners, as they apply what they learned in mentorship into the class discussions and learning activities within their courses.

student with mentor

Lead. Mentor. Advocate.

Our students leave the program knowledgeable about up-to-date best practices, and with the confidence to continue to integrate innovative approaches and research into their own practice as well as other professional activities. They are equipped with the research and appraisal skills to become better evidence-informed practitioners, and to participate effectively in clinical research projects. Advanced healthcare practitioners foster effective communication and collaboration in interprofessional settings, and advocate on behalf of their clients. Many of our graduates become valuable mentors within their own organizations and communities.

See the bigger picture. Advance your practice.

Graduates from the Advanced Health Care Practice - Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy master's program obtain a global understanding of patient-centered care. Students learn to leverage evidence-informed clinical skills together with advanced clinical reasoning to assess and manage patients with complex clinical presentations. The program is designed to help students develop strong self-reflection skills in order to assess potential biases and ethical considerations and evaluate their impact on client care.

Program Streams, Structure and Course Offerings

Over the course of one year, students will develop the necessary clinical reasoning, life-long learning strategies and clinical skills to graduate as an advanced health care practitioner. This program is taught through a combination of online courses, on-campus residency periods (see below) and clinical mentorship. Students have the flexibility of self-directed learning with access to our world-class instructors.

CMP Stream (Preparation for FCAMPT Membership)

Are you considering registration with the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy?

The Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy (CMP Stream) program is an intense one-year program comprised of seven online courses - two academic courses, three clinical specialty courses and two full-year courses. There are three intensive residency periods wherein students are required to be on campus at Western. Those periods take place in September, February and July.

  • This program option prepares physiotherapists to be advanced clinicians in the assessment and treatment of neuromuscular dysfunction and provide effective management of complex clinical conditions.
  • Through advanced clinical reasoning, evidence-informed and experienced orthopaedic practice, the physiotherapist will be able to apply the biopsychosocial framework to manage clients, and when indicated, use the skill of manipulation safely, effectively and appropriately in their own clinical practice.
  • Graduates are eligible to apply as a fellow in the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy (CAMPT). Graduates obtain the research and professionalism competencies necessary for CPA specialization.
  • This program option requires students to be on campus for residency periods in September, February and July (see below).

CMP Curriculum

Fall Term (September-December)

PT9600: Critical Appraisal of Health Literature
This course is designed to provide participants with an introduction to quantitative research methods including basic study design and critical appraisal of studies evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention:

  • Validity of a diagnostic test
  • Identification of risk factors for disease development
  • Identification of prognostic factors for disease outcomes
  • The quality of a systematic review

PT9640: Advanced Orthopaedics
This course emphasizes the principles, rationale, effects, and practical application of advanced musculoskeletal clinical reasoning and the application of manual therapy involving the upper and lower quadrants, including:

  • Use clinical and deductive reasoning in the assessment and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal clients by considering the best available evidence, reflecting on clinical expertise and respecting the wishes of the patient
  • Recognize and differentially diagnosis patients presenting with neuro-musculoskeletal syndromes involving the upper and lower quadrants by triangulating data based on understanding pain mechanisms, clinical patterns (evidenced informed clinical history and examination), natural history, and prognostic indicators within the biopsychosocial framework
  • Identify indications and contraindications (red, yellow, blue flags) for manual therapy including manipulation

PT9620: Clinical Mentorship
One hundred and fifty hours of clinical mentorship will be completed in a designated clinical placement setting(s). If there is an eligible appropriate FCAMPT mentor close to the student’s permanent residence, the mentorship can be organized in the student’s locale. If an appropriate mentor is not available near the student’s home, the mentorship will be organized with a FCAMPT mentor in the London region for a one-week block (or timeline arranged by the student and the course manager) after each on-site block.

PT9630: Research Experience
Various research experience projects will be offered by researchers affiliated with Western University. The course will provide students with the opportunities to be part of a group project that may involve systematic reviews, knowledge translation, or data collection for a new or ongoing project related to orthopedics or manual therapy. This course will culminate in a presentation at Research Day in July.

On-Campus Residency Period: 2-3 weeks in September

Winter Term (February-April)

PT9610: Advanced Professional Practice (March - May)
This course introduces medical diagnostic testing and pharmacology to the advanced orthopaedic physical therapy practitioner. It will also focus on:

  • Professionalism
  • Critical thinking and clinical reasoning
  • Reflective practice/experiential learning/lifelong learning
  • Leadership within the orthopaedic physical therapy practice
  • Pharmacology and MSK conditions
  • Diagnostic imaging and MSK conditions

PT9650: Advanced Manipulative Therapy
This course will be a continuation of PT9640 with further learning objectives including:

  • Recognize and differentially diagnosis patients presenting with complex neuro-musculoskeletal syndromes involving the upper and lower quadrants
  • Appreciate the interdependence and limitations of the patho-anatomical, biopsychosocial and functional model for hypothesis generation
  • Demonstrate advanced clinical reasoning and problem-solving skills in the treatment of patients with complex neuro-musculoskeletal problems which includes identifying dominant pain mechanisms and biopsychosocial issues
  • Discuss the impact of work-related injuries on prognosis and predicting rehab outcome and management strategies
  • Review recent scientific evidence pertaining to the treatment properties of manual therapy treatment techniques and understand how such information can be used to promote an evidence-informed approach in clinical practice

PT9620: Clinical Mentorship
See course description above.

PT9630: Research Experience
See course description above.

On-Campus Residency Period: 3 weeks in February/March

Summer Term (May-August)

PT9610: Advanced Professional Practice (Cont'd until June)

PT9620: Clinical Mentorship
Completion of clinical mentorship hours and satisfactory performance on clinical exam (to be scheduled during summer residency period - July).
See course description above.

PT9630: Research Experience
Presentation of results from a supervised research experience at the School of Physical Therapy Research Day (to be scheduled in July each year).
See course description above.

PT9680: Clinical Consolidation (CMP)
This mandatory course consolidates theoretical knowledge and practical skills covered in PT9640 and PT9650 advanced orthopaedic courses. This course links the advanced orthopaedic courses, the clinical mentoring hours and the critical appraisal of the evidence that students accumulate during the prior academic year with a patient presentation from the student’s clinical caseload. There is also practical examination that tests practical, oral and clinical reasoning skills associated with spinal manipulation.

On-Campus Residency Period: 1-2 weeks in July

Advanced Standing FCAMPT Stream (Preparation for degree completion)

Are you a registered fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Therapy?
Have you earned an Advanced Diploma in Manual and Manipulative Therapy?

The Advanced Standing Stream is designed for physical therapists who already possess the Advanced Diploma in Manual and Manipulative Therapy will receive advanced standing for PT9620, PT9640, PT9650 and PT9680. Course requirements will focus on Research Methods (PT9600), Advanced Professional Practice (PT9610) and a Group Research Project (PT9630). This stream does not have a residency requirement.

  • This program option is designed for registered fellows of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy (CAMPT) possessing an Advanced Diploma in Manual and Manipulative Therapy and wanting to expand their professional and research interests.
  • Students in this stream participate fully online and take fewer courses than those in the full program.

FCAMPT Curriculum

Fall Term (September-December)

PT9600: Critical Appraisal of Health Literature
This course is designed to provide participants with an introduction to quantitative research methods including basic study design and critical appraisal of studies evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention:

  • Validity of a diagnostic test
  • Identification of risk factors for disease development
  • Identification of prognostic factors for disease outcomes
  • The quality of a systematic review

PT9630: Research Experience
Various research experience projects will be offered by researchers affiliated with Western University. The course will provide students with the opportunities to be part of a group project that may involve systematic reviews, knowledge translation, or data collection for a new or ongoing project related to orthopedics or manual therapy. This course will culminate in a presentation at Research Day in July.

Winter Term (February-April)

PT9610: Advanced Professional Practice (March - May)
This course introduces medical diagnostic testing and pharmacology to the advanced orthopaedic physical therapy practitioner. It will also focus on:

  • Professionalism
  • Critical thinking and clinical reasoning
  • Reflective practice/experiential learning/lifelong learning
  • Leadership within the orthopaedic physical therapy practice
  • Pharmacology and MSK conditions
  • Diagnostic imaging and MSK conditions

 

PT9630: Research Experience
See course description above.

Summer Term (May-August)

PT9630: Research Experience
Presentation of results from a supervised research experience at the School of Physical Therapy Research Day (to be scheduled in July each year).
See course description above.

Admission and Applying/Tuition and Fees

All applicants must meet the following general requirements, in addition to the specific requirements outlined below.

  • A minimum bachelor's degree from a recognized university and at least a (B) standing (or equivalent) over the final two years of the program
  • Advanced computer skills
  • Two references
    • Academic (if attended university within the last five years) and professional
  • Demonstrated English language proficiency, including both written and oral communication
    • See below for more information

CMP Stream (to become eligible for FCAMPT membership)

In addition to the general requirements listed above, applicants to the CMP stream must:

  • Be Canadian citizens or permanent residents
  • Be licensed to practice physiotherapy in Canada with a minimum of two years of clinical experience in orthopaedics
  • Have completed, or be in the process of completing, the Level II Upper and Lower Courses in the CPA Orthopaedic Division Advanced Orthopaedic Manual and Manipulative Physiotherapy
    • If Level II course availability is an issue, please contact the Program Assistant - ahcp@uwo.ca
  • 30 hours of documented mentoring, including at least 20 hours of direct supervision (which may be virtual due to COVID-19 restrictions

FCAMPT Stream (CAMPT members advanced degree)

In addition to the general requirements listed above, applicants to the FCAMPT stream must be:

  • Licensed to practice physiotherapy in Canada
  • Registered with the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy (CAMPT)

Clinical Mentorship Requirements

As a prerequisite to the Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy field, students are required to complete 30 hours of mentoring with a certified FCAMPT Physical Therapist.

  • Mentorship hours must be completed no later than June 30 in the year of application
  • Hours can be a combination of direct and indirect, however, no more than 10 hours can be indirect
  • Direct hours can be virtual due to COVID-19 restrictions
  • Visit www.orthodiv.org to acquire the mentorship log forms and view the national database for available mentors

Students with difficulties acquiring the 30 hours of mentorship should contact the Program Assistant - ahcp@uwo.ca 

Supplemental Application Materials

In addition to completing the online application, applicants are required to submit the field-specific supplemental materials outlined below. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all supplemental application materials are uploaded as part of their online application.

Orthopaedic Clinical Experience:

Using the form below, applicants should outline their previous clinical experience in the area of orthopaedic physical therapy. Do not include non-orthopaedic clinical experience. List current (ie. most recent) clinical experience first.

Note: Two years of clinical experience in orthopaedic physical therapy is required for admission.

Program Mentorship Options:

The program includes a mentorship course in which students will work with registered mentors of the National Orthopaedic Division of FCAMPTs. Based on the preference indicated below by the applicant, the program may assist with arranging mentorship.

Applicants should indicate if they would prefer to do their mentorship hours:

  • In London (ie. an additional week of on-site time in the fall and/or winter terms only if there is no available mentorship in your home region), or
  • In their home region

Level Certificates:

Copies of Certificates from all completed level courses are required.

CV/Resume:

Please provide information on education, clinical and other experience.

Proof of completed mentorship hours:

Provide (a) proof of completion of 30 hours of mentorship and (b) a photocopy of Mentorship Log Book, signed by a registered mentor is acceptable.

Proof of current registration to practice:

Photocopies are acceptable.

FCAMPT Support Documentation:

  • Registration with the Fellowship in Canadian Manipulative Physical Therapy (FCAMPT) organization.
  • A CV/résumé of educational, clinical and other experience.

English Language Proficiency

  • Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS is recommended)
  • A minimum TOEFL score of 620 (paper-based), 105 (internet-based), 260 (computer-based) or an IELTS score of 8 is required
  • Students who, after admission, show an inadequate command of spoken or written English must improve their proficiency to the satisfaction of the Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Students may be asked to withdraw from the program if their command of English interferes with their ability to provide quality professional services
  • Students who are required to present evidence of proficiency in English must make their own arrangements to write the TOEFL and to have the official results sent directly to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • The English language proficiency requirements outlined above do not apply to students from Quebec

Applying to the Program

Apply Now

To apply to the Advanced Health Care Practice - Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy program, students should:

  • Visit the online application website
  • Follow the instructions on that page to access the application
  • Select "Advanced Health Care Practice MClSc" from the program options in the application and select the appropriate field

Application Deadline

  • April 1
  • Applications may be accepted after that date if space is available
  • Offers of admission are sent out beginning in late April and continue until the program is filled

Tuition and Fees

The annual tuition fee for this program is approximately $14,000 including ancillary fees (plus $1,500 mentor fee i.e. $500/term***) which is payable over three terms (September, January and May), plus course fees payable in the Fall term.

These fees are subject to change and are set by Western University. Instructions for students paying tuition from a Canadian bank are available from the Office of the Registrar.

***Please note all fees including mentorship fees and course fees are currently under review and are subject to change and adjustment***

Frequently Asked Questions

About Admission & Application

I have not been in school for a while, what if I can’t acquire two academic references?

Students who have not been in school for more than five years may use a person who is not affiliated with a university (non-academic) reference for one of their letters.

What happens if I apply on time, but my references or transcript aren't available until after applications close?

  • Applications will not be considered by the admission committee until they are complete
  • Starting April 1, the limited spots that are available in the program will be filled by students who have provided complete applications
  • Students are strongly encouraged to have applications complete at least two weeks prior to the deadline (April 1) to allow sufficient time for other requirements (transcripts, reference letters) to be delivered

Have you received a complete application from me?

Students may contact the AHCP Program Assistant (ahcp@uwo.ca) at any time to check on the status of an application.

When can I expect to hear whether I have been accepted into the program?

The admission committee will review completed application files beginning mid-April each year. This committee makes recommendations for admission to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS), which reviews required documents to confirm all requirements. Provided all requirements have been met, SGPS will send out a letter of offer of admission by email to the applicant directly. This typically occurs in late May

About Eligibility

Am I eligible to apply if I don’t have two years of orthopaedic clinical experience?

Students can still apply but the admission committee does consider the amount of clinical experience as a criteria for selecting successful applicants.

Do my 30 hours of mentoring have to be completed before applying?

As a prerequisite to the Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy field, students are required to complete 30 hours of mentoring with a certified FCAMPT Physical Therapist.

  • Mentorship hours must be completed no later than June 30 in the year of application
  • Hours can be a combination of direct and indirect, however, no more than 10 hours can be indirect
  • Visit www.orthodiv.org to acquire the mentorship log forms and view the national database for available mentors
  • Students with difficulties acquiring the 30 hours of mentorship should contact the AHCP Program Assistant - ahcp@uwo.ca

What constitutes advanced computer skills?

This is a course-based graduate program with many of the required courses delivered using online learning tools. Courses are comprised of several modules each of which include resources (readings, lecture notes, etc.), and learning activities (structured discussions, scheduled teleconferences, assignments, or quizzes). An orientation on how to access and use many of the online learning tools will be provided during the first residency period.

Am I eligible to apply as an international student?

Admission is not offered to international students. All applicants must be licensed health care professionals in Canada.

Am I eligible to apply if I am a Canadian graduate working abroad?

A requirement of this program is that students must complete clinical mentorship hours at an approved clinical site. This requires students to have current registration with the appropriate College and have malpractice insurance that is applicable to their chosen clinical site(s).

Students with advanced standing who are not required to take the clinical mentorship course (eg. already have FCAMPT) may request special consideration to enter the program.

Am I eligible to apply if I can’t attend in-class sessions at Western?

It is mandatory for students to attend the on-site residency periods on Western’s campus. If you are unable to attend, you will be required to withdraw from the program.

Physical therapists who are CAMPT fellows or already possess the Advanced Diploma in Manual and Manipulative Therapy do not have to attend resideny periods.

About Fees

If I’m already FCAMPT certified, am I still responsible for full-time graduate tuition fees?

All AHCP students pay the same graduate fees. Those students involved in the mentorship program, are levied a fee in addition to graduate fees.

Are there any additional fees outside of tuition for the school year?

Mentorship fee of $500 per term ($1500 total).

Other FAQs

If English is not my first language, what do I need to do?

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency; the TOEFL or an IELTS is recommended. A minimum TOEFL score of 620 (paper-based), 105 (internet-based), 260 (computer-based) or an IELTS score of 8 is required.

Students who, after admission, show an inadequate command of spoken or written English must improve their proficiency to the satisfaction of the School of Physical Therapy.

Students may be asked to withdraw from the program if their command of English interferes with their ability to provide quality professional services.

Students who are required to present evidence of proficiency in English must make their own arrangements to write the TOEFL and to have the official results sent directly to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

How do I provide proof of Malpractice Insurance?

Please bring a copy of your Malpractice Insurance with you on the first day of orientation.

Can I access computer resources after class hours?

Students have access to Elborn College and the computer labs at all times during residency periods.

How much time should I expect to devote to the program?

Students must be registered as full-time graduate students in the AHCP program and are encouraged to continue to work clinically (part-time) during the program in order to be able to incorporate new knowledge and skills into their clinical practice.

Students can expect to devote at least 20 – 30 hours/week to program related activities (i.e. studying, reading, assignments etc).