What I wish I knew before studying physiotherapy

12 June 2023

What should you know before studying physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is an extremely popular program with Canadians, and we often have physio grads eager to cohost helpful webinars for prospective students. After all, who better to learn from than from someone who’s done it?

They have all the great advice!

One of the most frequent tips we hear from current physio students and graduates is, “Know your anatomy and physiology.”

physiotherapist with patient
Learn more about Australian physiotherapy programs!

What OzTREKK students say about knowing anatomy

“It’s important I mention that Australian programs do not review any anatomy material that should be learned in undergrad. They wholeheartedly expect students to know their stuff from day 1, and the main piece of feedback we receive from students who commence the program is that they wish they reviewed their anatomy or studied more of it in undergrad, as they felt behind and it was a struggle. I like to encourage students to think of it more through the lens of ensuring that they know their stuff rather than ticking a box in order to gain entry into a program.”

“I can only say I wish I learned anatomy more before attending this program because professors here assume you know a lot about it.” Macquarie University Doctor of Physiotherapy student

“Review your anatomy, make sure you assumed knowledge is up to date.” Macquarie University Doctor of Physiotherapy student

“I would suggest doing some [anatomy] review before starting because it with help with every class down here.” UQ Master of Physiotherapy Studies student

“Be sure to refresh your anatomy and do a bit of prep work in the coming months of your departure. It will make a world of difference.” Bond University Doctor of Physiotherapy student

“When they recommend you brush up on your anatomy, it really does help!” UQ Master of Physiotherapy Studies student

“Anatomy revision cannot be emphasized enough!” Bond University Doctor of Physiotherapy student

“Learn your anatomy, don’t worry about anything else, start with the most complex portions first like forearm/hand and lower leg/foot. Muscle origin/insertion, action, nerve innervation, blood supply. Do this and you’ll be ahead of the game.” University of Melbourne Doctor of Physiotherapy student

Why honestly representing your knowledge of prerequisites is important (especially Anatomy)

“In the first week of class you’ll start practicals and you can expect to be singled out in your practical class to name the origins and insertions of specific muscles as this is the time in the semester where professors go over muscle palpation. Let me tell you, there is nothing more embarrassing than not knowing your anatomy and drawing a blank when getting singled out in front of your fellow classmates that you literally just met.

“My advice for anyone starting the Melbourne physiotherapy program would be to immediately check the university’s website to see which anatomy textbook they recommend, go and buy it at the book store and start studying it every night before you begin classes. Like I said above, although the course is very intense right from the beginning, you’ll come to appreciate this because it forces you to know your anatomy concepts very well, and since you’re in physiotherapy, you’re going to need to know them like the back of your hand anyways.

“I wish I would have reviewed my anatomy more before coming into this course because first-semester foundations was just a killer. In my undergrad I competed two anatomy courses and multiple physiology courses (as most of you have in order to meet the prerequisites requirements to apply to this school), but this was by no means enough to prepare me for foundations class.

“Coming into the first week of classes, professors expect you to know your anatomy like the back of your hand. I’m talking about every single bone, every muscle and its origin, insertion, and action. Of course they brush over these anatomy concepts in lectures, but they definitely expect you to know your stuff well. I thought I was prepared going in—I wasn’t. I had to spend hours each night reviewing my anatomy just so that I didn’t fall behind in lectures and, most important, in practical classes where you learn physiotherapy techniques first semester.” Melbourne Doctor of Physiotherapy student.

Australian Physiotherapy Degrees

In Australia, physiotherapy programs are offered at both the undergraduate- and graduate-entry levels:

  • Bachelor of Physiotherapy
  • Master of Physiotherapy
  • Doctor of Physiotherapy

Graduate-entry Physiotherapy Degrees
Both the Master of Physiotherapy (MPT) and the Doctor of Physiotherapy (DPT) are master’s-level programs designed to produce qualified, highly skilled physiotherapists. Read more about the differences between an MPT and a DPT.

University Minimum GPA Prerequisites
Bond University approx. 65% – 70% anatomy (2); physiology (2); biomechanics (1); research methods/statistics (1); exercise physiology (1)
Flinders University approx. 70% anatomy (2); physiology (2); psychology/sociology (1); research methods (1)
Macquarie University approx. 65% – 70% anatomy (2), physiology (2), research methods/statistics (1), psychology (1)
Monash University approx. 70% anatomy (1); physiology (1); biostatistics (1)
University of Melbourne approx. 70% anatomy (1); physiology (1)
University of Queensland approx. 65% – 70% anatomy (1); physiology (1)
University of Sydney approx. 70% N/A

Important: Minimum GPAs for eligibility shown. Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee entry.


Undergraduate-entry Physiotherapy Degrees
Australian bachelor physio degrees are 4 years in duration and begin in February/March each year.


Would you like to know more about studying physiotherapy in Australia? Contact OzTREKK’s rehab sciences admissions officer at rehabsci@oztrekk.com for more info. We’ll walk you through the whole process!

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