Frequently Asked Questions


Is physiotherapy right for me?

To help you understand whether the physiotherapy profession is right for you, we encourage you to visit a variety of different practice settings of musculoskeletal, neurological and/or cardiorespiratory foci, client populations, and observe how PT varies from setting to setting.  There are many online resources that can be used to find out more information on our profession including the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, Provincial Physiotherapy associations (e.g. Nova Scotia Physiotherapy Association) Provincial colleges (e. g. Nova Scotia College of Physiotherapists) and/or Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators.
There are also a number of physiotherapy journals available that would provide you with the latest research in physiotherapy practice (e.g. Physiotherapy Canada, Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy). In addition, be sure to look up research being conducted in the school you are interested in applying to, this will provide you with a glimpse of how schools not only contribute to educating students but also research to support and advance the PT profession.

What is a physiotherapist?

Physiotherapists are highly skilled, and autonomous health professionals who provide safe, quality client-centred physiotherapy through a commitment to service availability, accessibility and excellence. The profession is shaped by scientific evidence and the education and competencies of the physiotherapists delivering the services. Physiotherapy is grounded in the belief that, to be effective, its services must respond to the changing needs of populations and our health system. More information can be found though the Canadian Physiotherapy.

Physical therapist, Physiotherapy and PT are protected marks for those registered with the appropriate provincial regulatory body. In all provinces and territories in Canada, a physiotherapist requires a license to practice.  Upon successfully completion of the physiotherapy program at Dalhousie University, graduates can apply to the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators to take the examination that is required for licensure. The exam, that includes both written and clinical components, is referred to as the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) and is administered by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy regulators. This exam is not free of charge and costs are not included in your MSc.PT degree. The current cost of this exam is approximately $2400 (Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators.)



What are essential skills and attributes of a physiotherapist?

Please see this link for the essential skills and attributes required for the study of Physiotherapy\Physical Therapy.


What is the length of the program? 

The Master of Science in physiotherapy program is completed over 24 months, including summers. Students can expect to be in classes or in clinic from 8/9AM to 4/5PM each day of the week. 

What is the cost of the Master of Science in physiotherapy program?

These details can be found under Tuition and Fees on Dalhousie's Money Matters webpage.


What is the general structure of the program?

The Master of Science in physiotherapy program is separated into modules, beginning in September of the academic year that includes both theory and clinical practice structures. Traditional cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal and neurological topics are taught throughout the two-year program with foundational courses, such as research methods, anatomy, physiology and movement sciences integrated throughout. There are clinical placements offered within our catchment area of the Atlantic Provinces. Given this unique catchment area and diverse opportunity for clinical placements, while some placement customization is possible, it is expected that all students are available to be placed throughout the Atlantic Provinces. In addition, there is a large focus on interprofessional and collaborative health education initiatives throughout our MSc-PT where students work closely with others (e.g. Occupational Therapy) within the Faculty of Health.

Do I need research experience to apply to the MSc PT program?

No. While our profession is grounded in evidence-based principles and previous research experience would be considered an asset, it is not required for a successful application. We have a research component associated with the MSc-PT degree offered in the School of Physiotherapy so you will obtain research experience upon completion of your degree. We also offer, separate from our MSc-PT entry level program, an MSc in Rehabilitation Research and a PhD in Health. The Faculty of Graduate Studies at Dalhousie University does not consider marks obtained from graduate degrees in the GPA calculation. Only the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate studies will be considered.

Can I take the program on a part-time basis?

No. The Master of Science in Physiotherapy program is only offered on a full-time basis

Can I work during the two years?

The Master of Science in Physiotherapy program is intensive and demanding. Each student has a personal method of time management and varying priorities. Most students in the program find it difficult to manage part-time employment.

How many students does the school accept in the first year?

The School of Physiotherapy currently accepts 62 students.

Is there a quota restriction?

Yes. Enrolment in the program is limited to 62 students. The School of Physiotherapy at Dalhousie is the only school serving Atlantic Canada. As such, a provincial quota system is in place with a specified number of seats allocated annually for residents of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. In addition, there are also 19 discretionary seats which may be offered to Atlantic Canadians, applicants who reside outside of the Atlantic Provinces and international applicants.  If you are unclear about your residency status, please check the Residency Guidelines.

What bursaries or scholarships are available to students entering the MSc-PT entry-level?

Some entrance scholarships are awarded to new students based on academic excellence. See the Graduate Calendar for information on the Faculty of Graduate Studies scholarship and fellowship awards.

When do I get to see my first patient?

Our entry level to practice program contains six clinical placements. Your first placement will begin in December of your first year of study. In addition to these standard clinical rotations, clinical site visits are utilized in the modules to enrich your learning experience. These can occur as early as September of your first year (i.e within three weeks of beginning the program). In order to participate in these site visits, all Immunization, CPR and Vulnerable Sector Check documentation needs to be completed. These details can be found in the FAQ section as well as on the Supplementary application form.