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The University of Notre Dame Australia

  • 2% international / 98% domestic

Doctor of Physiotherapy (Research)

  • Doctorate (PhD)

Are you interested in a research-based degree in the field of Physiotherapy? The University of Notre Dame Australia is dedicated to building a solid and innovative research culture.

Key details

Degree Type
Doctorate (PhD)
3 years full-time
Study Mode
In person

About this course

School of Health Sciences

Are you interested in a research-based degree in the field of Physiotherapy? The University of Notre Dame Australia is dedicated to building a solid and innovative research culture. The Doctor of Physiotherapy Research fits within the category of a professional doctoral degree and, as a research degree, is suitable if you aspire to the highest academic achievement with a particular emphasis on the context of professional practice. Your professional doctorate provides an extension of research training and is likely, through a research thesis of approximately 80,000 words, to examine crucial issues and developments within the profession.

Entry requirements

The following criteria apply to students seeking admission to the Professional Doctorate program:

  • The Pro Vice Chancellor-Research, on the advice of the Dean of the School, determines admission to the Doctor of Physiotherapy Research Award.
  • Applicants to the doctoral program are expected to satisfy the following criteria:
    • Possession of a research Masters degree by thesis or dissertation appropriate to the professional field of the applicant; or
    • Possession of a Masters degree by coursework appropriate to the professional field of the applicant completed at a superior standard; or
    • Possession of a Bachelor's degree with Honours (typically 1st Class or Class 2A Honours level or equivalent); or
    • Possession of a Master of Philosophy; or
    • In exceptional circumstances, an equivalent academic or professional background that is considered by the Dean of the School to be an appropriate preparation for independent study and research work at Doctoral level.
  • In addition to the academic criteria listed above, applicants are normally expected to satisfy the
    • have a minimum of 3 years of relevant professional practice;
    • have the support of an industry or professional mentor.

You may be required to demonstrate an ability to understand and communicate in both written and spoken English at a level adequate for the purpose of pursuing the program of study.

Study locations


What you will learn

The Professional Doctorate is a research degree designed to meet the needs of professionals who aspire to achieve academic excellence and lead the development of knowledge within their profession. The program seeks to examine crucial professional topics and integrate professional experience with scholarly inquiry.

In particular, it aims to generate a research-based approach, providing answers to questions relevant to the professions or industry and encouraging a systematic way of collecting, analysing and interpreting data. For this reason, we recommend you seek the support of a relevant professional body, employer or industry group in defining your research area.

Career pathways

Depending on your research topic, a Doctor of Physiotherapy can lead to careers such as a physiotherapist, or clinical laboratory scientist.

Course structure

  • RSCH7000 Quantitative Research Methods
  • RSCH7001 Qualitative Research Methods
  • RSCH7002 Scholarly Reading and Writing
  • RSCH7003 Developing a Research Proposal
  • RSCH7031 Supervised Research - Physiotherapy

The Professional Doctorate comprises coursework and a substantial research component leading to the submission of a thesis. The coursework component includes four compulsory research training courses to be completed as a prerequisite to your individual research project. The coursework will provide opportunities for you to formulate substantial elements of your planned research (e.g. topic refinement, identification and justification of the preferred research method(s), preparation of a draft proposal), and to develop personal competencies in critical analysis and scholarly writing relevant to your profession.

The completion of the coursework is facilitated by a course delivery schedule which takes into consideration that you may also be in employment during your candidature.

Full details of the program are contained in the Program Requirements.

More information regarding courses can be found at the course descriptions page.