Jul 20, 2019  
University of Alberta Calendar 2018-2019 
University of Alberta Calendar 2018-2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

The Degree of MSc in Physical Therapy (course-based) [Graduate]

Entrance Requirements

The minimum admission requirements include a baccalaureate degree from the University of Alberta with a grade point average of at least 3.0 in the most recent ★60 or its academic equivalent from a recognized academic institution. Prerequisite courses are required and include the following: Human Anatomy (★3), Human Physiology (★6), Human Movement (★3), English (★3), Statistics (★3), Human Psychology (★3) and Humanities or Social Sciences (★3) – for examples see Programs and Certificates .

Where applicable refer to the English language requirement for the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (English Language Requirement ). Applicants must have a TOEFL score of 580 (paper-based) or 92 (Internet-based) or higher (or an equivalent approved English language examination result).

Additional weight will be given to the anatomy pre-requisite course in the GPA calculation for admissions. Anatomy must be completed within the previous five years, and must be completed by February 1 in the year of admission. All other prerequisite courses may be completed in the Winter Term of the year of admission (registration by February 1 and completion by June 1).

Activity courses in Physical Education, studio courses in Fine Arts, and practicum courses are not considered part of the required ★60 credits admission requirements and are not included in the calculation of the academic score.

A minimum of 30 hours of volunteer or paid work is required. Work must include direct contact involving interaction with persons with cognitive or physical disabilities at no more than two facilities. Applicants are required to submit a letter from the primary work supervisor verifying the volunteer/paid work experience.

The deadline date for submitting applications for admission (including a listing of prerequisites completed and/or in progress) is January 15 for international applications and February 1 for domestic applications. Please contact the Department of Physical Therapy for further admission information. Normally deferral of admission will not be allowed.

The selection process is competitive and will be based mainly on the GPA in the most recent ★60 taken prior to January of the admission year. The grade point average of the prerequisite courses may be included in the admissions evaluation process. In addition to academic requirements an interview will be required. While preference will be given to residents of Alberta, approximately 15% of the available seats will be offered to out-of-province and international applicants.

Provincial Licensing: In order to be a practising physical therapist in the Province of Alberta, graduates from the course-based MScPT program at the University of Alberta are required to take the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) which consists of both written (Qualifying Examination) and clinical (Physiotherapy National Examination) examinations. The fee for the examination is the responsibility of the student. Information on the cost of the examination can be obtained from the Physiotherapy Alberta - College and Association. Successful completion of the PCE will enable graduating physical therapists to practice in Alberta. Contact (780) 438-0338 for more information.

General Academic Standing Requirements

The Department of Physical Therapy requires that all students pursuing a Master of Science in Physical Therapy (MScPT) degree must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0. A student whose academic standing falls below a grade point average of 3.0 at any time will typically be placed on Academic Probation and may be required to withdraw. Additionally, students in the MScPT program may fail only one academic or clinical course. If the department and Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research recommend that the student be allowed to repeat the course, the student will be required to repeat the failed course the next time it is offered. Students must pass all courses within a term/block to progress to the next term/block. Students who fail more than one academic or clinical course may be required to withdraw from the program.

Academic Standing: See Academic Standing  for policies on Academic Standing in the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. The Department of Physical Therapy has established procedures governing academic standing which are available on admission in the MScPT Student Manual. The Department of Physical Therapy has established appeal procedures so that students who encounter special problems relating to academic standing, grade or course concerns and program requirements are reviewed in an equitable manner. Regulations regarding appeals are included in the MScPT Student Manual provided on admission. Deadlines exist for submission of appeals. Contact the Department for details.

Financial Assistance

Fellowships and scholarships may be obtained from a number of external sources (e.g., Alberta Government, CPA, IODE, Arthritis Society, and others). More detailed information on these and other awards can be obtained in Graduate Financial Support , Graduate Financial Aid.

Program Requirements

Requirements for the course-based MScPT degree include successful completion of all graduate PTHER and INT D courses as listed including clinical placements (31 weeks) and a major project, consisting of:

  1. A practical examination of clinical skills within an Objective, Structured Competency Examination (OSCE), and
  2. A group written case study analysis with individual oral examination.

Students must successfully complete both components to pass the major project.

Course-based MScPT courses are organized in blocks, with time periods different from the usual university terms. The start and finish dates for the blocks will vary from year to year. Normally, block classes will begin one week before the usual term. The last day of Block classes may extend past the last day of classes for a term. These block dates are available annually from the Department Office.

Each Block will include lecture, lab, and seminar time. Students are advised that self-directed learning is an expectation of graduate students and will maximize their learning.

To be eligible for clinical placements the students must meet the following requirements:

  1. CPR Certification
  2. Security Clearance Check (see Fieldwork/Clinical Practice Requirements ).
  3. Immunization Requirements (see University Infectious Diseases Regulation ).
  4. Fit Testing for Respirator Mask, as required
  5. For students requesting Student Accessibility Services (SAS) accommodation and for students returning to the program after a prolonged period of absence due to illness, a medical examination and relevant documentation may be required prior to clinical practice.

Details on these clinical requirements are available in the MScPT Student Manual. Note that all fees and costs for these clinical requirements are the student's responsibility (e.g., travel, visa, accommodation, health and travel insurance, course registration). Students must be prepared to travel throughout the province in order to obtain the placement experiences that are required for graduation. Students may choose to apply for a national or international placement at designated times.

Students must have completed an acceptable level of clinical performance over the course of the MScPT program in order to graduate. A student could fail a clinical placement and/or be required to do remedial work if there were evidence of:

  1. Unsafe clinical practice
  2. Unsatisfactory professional conduct
  3. Clinical/professional skills are not at a suitable level of performance for graduation

As per regulations, the student would have the right to appeal any conditions put on this remedial work (see the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine's Practicum Intervention Appeal Procedures). A student who fails a clinical placement may appeal that decision. Information regarding appeal procedures is available in the MScPT Student Manual.

Practicum Intervention Policy: The Dean, or supervisor acting on behalf of the Dean, may immediately deny assignment of a student to, withdraw a student from, or vary terms, conditions, or site of practicum/clinical placement if the Dean or supervisor has reasonable grounds to believe that this is necessary in order to protect the public interest. Refer to Practicum Intervention Policy  for additional information.

Assistance/Accommodation: Students who may require assistance/accommodation due to personal circumstances and/or conditions affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning and physical or mental health, should refer to the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine Student Accommodation Procedures document on the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine website at www.uofaweb.ualberta.ca/rehabmed/ and to University Student Services  Student Accessibility Services.

Length of Program

A minimum of 28 calendar months will normally be required to complete the program. Dependent on clinical placement availability, completion of the program may be 31 months. Normally the MScPT program will be completed within a maximum of three consecutive academic years.

Students will move through the blocks sequentially as a cohort. In the event that a course is failed or deferred, there will be an impact on the time required to complete the program.


  1. The above PTHER courses are open to course-based MScPT students only or by consent of the Department.
  2. Students must complete approved elective course work totalling ★3. Courses completed prior to the MScPT course-based program will not be considered for the ★3 elective requirement.