The Master of Science (PT) prepares students in their eligibility to be registered practicing physiotherapists in Canada. This program meets Canadian professional accreditation and practice standards.
Our curriculum is developed and modified by faculty who keep themselves apprised of changing trends in health care and physiotherapy practice overall. The faculty are acutely aware of the current and evolving roles of physiotherapists. Physiotherapists are working in increasingly complex sectors which require an advanced skill set. New graduates need to be autonomous primary health care practitioners able to design new programs, develop proposals, evaluate outcomes and supervise others in order to provide the best interventions to the clients who we serve. There is a greater emphasis on independent, evidence-based practice which requires physiotherapists to have critical appraisal skills and additional preparation in research methods.
The curriculum is based on the principles of problem-based, small group, and self-directed learning. There are five academic units along with four clinical placement periods following Units 1 through 4. Clinical placements occur in multiple settings (i.e. acute/hospital, community, rehabilitation, role emerging) and various practice areas (i.e. musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiorespiratory).
Unit I - Fundamentals of Physiotherapy Practice (14 weeks)
Unit II - Essentials of Physiotherapy Practice (13 weeks)
Unit III - Optimizing Physical Function and Mobility Across the Lifespan: Multi-system Dysfunction (10 weeks)
Unit IV - Optimizing Physical Function and Mobility Across the Lifespan: Multi-system Dysfunction and Emerging Roles (12 weeks)
Unit V - Transition to Independent Practice (10 weeks)
Provide students with a variety of innovative learning experiences that reflect current and emerging practices in physiotherapy and education.
Provide students with an academic and clinical educational foundation that enables them to safely practice within the professional, legal and ethical framework of physiotherapy practice.
Promote the importance of professional growth and life-long learning to the continued development of self as physiotherapist.
Deliver a curriculum that is responsive to the educational needs of students and communities served by the McMaster Physiotherapy Program.
Ensure program quality through ongoing assessment of outcomes.
Educate the communities served by the McMaster Physiotherapy Program about current and emerging roles of physiotherapy.
As experts in movement function and dysfunction and functional performance who promote, improve, and maintain mobility and health, graduates of the McMaster Physiotherapy Program will:
Demonstrate clinical competency in physiotherapy diagnosis, prognosis, evaluation, management, and implementation across health care settings. (*Communication, *Physiotherapy Expert, *Professionalism)
Collaborate in a professional, ethical, legal, and compassionate manner to optimize health care delivery. (*Collaboration, *Communication, *Management, *Professionalism)
Demonstrate a commitment to society and physiotherapy through advocacy and advancement of the profession. (*Communication, *Leadership, *Physiotherapy Expert, *Scholarship)
Critically evaluate and effectively apply evidence as a basis for physiotherapy practice in relation to evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, and management, and to contribute to the body of knowledge in physiotherapy. (*Management, *Scholarship)
Function as effective knowledge exchange brokers using a variety of communication mediums, including verbal and written communication, and technology. (*Communication, *Collaboration, *Professionalism, *Scholarship)
Demonstrate knowledge, skills and behaviours necessary to safely function as an autonomous and self-regulated physiotherapy professional in all roles. (*Collaboration, *Communication, Physiotherapy Expert, *Professionalism, *Scholarship)
*National Physiotherapy Advisory Group (NPAG). Competency Profile for Physiotherapists in Canada (2017). https://peac-aepc.ca/pdfs/Resources/Competency%20Profiles/Competency%20Profile%20for%20PTs%202017%20EN.pdf
The MSc(PT) Program curriculum has been renewed using the concept of a spiral curriculum. A spiral curriculum occurs when there is an iterative revisiting of topics, subjects or themes across the program (Harden, 1999; Fraser et al, 2019). Within a spiral curriculum, the complexity of a topic or theme increases with each successsive introduction – so new learning is related to previous learning (Harden, 1999; Fraser et al, 2019).
The benefits of a spiral curriculum include:
The MSc(PT) program’s mission, educational philosophy, values, student outcomes and program outcomes form the foundation for the physical therapy curriculum. At the core of the curriculum design are patient/client centered care and the physiotherapist as an expert in function and functional capacity. This is based on the integration of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) (https://www.who.int/classifications/icf/en/) within a clinical decision making framework and the Essential Competencies for Physiotherapists (https://physiotherapy.ca/essential-competency-profile).
The curriculum emphasizes a self-directed, problem-based, evidence-based, and integrated approach. The curriculum is supported by organizing elements – which provide the foundation on which all units of study are built. These elements are:
Additionally, there are themes which can be identified throughout courses and the curriculum (known as trans-curricular themes), and that are used to assist in preparing students to function in an increasingly complex social and health care systems. These themes are:
With exposure to the SPIREL curriculum, its’ organizational elements and trans-curricular themes, graduates of the McMaster MSc(PT) Program will be competent to practice physiotherapy autonomously at an entry level, in Canada.
Click on each term from our SPIREL curriculum to learn more about how it relates to the Physiotherapy Program at McMaster:
Formative and summative approaches are used to evaluate student performance on a regular basis throughout the MSc(PT) Program. A variety of evaluation methods are used to assure faculty, patients, clients, and society that students and graduates possess the required knowledge, skills, and professional behaviours to function as competent autonomous professionals.
The selection of an evaluation method is based on educational purpose (e.g., formative or summative), learning objective domain (e.g., cognitive, psychomotor, affective), measurement properties (e.g., reliability, validity, generalizability), and feasibility (e.g., time needed, resources required, costs).
Note: McMaster University unequivocally states that scholarly integrity is required of all its members. All MSc(PT) students and faculty are expected to be aware of and abide by the Academic Integrity Policy at McMaster University.
Some student evaluation methods used in the MSc(PT) Program include:
Content comprised of multiple choice questions (MCQs) and short answers are used to assess knowledge, and application of knowledge.