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Physiotherapy Undergraduate

Entrance Requirements

  • Matriculation exemption,
  • English,
  • Mathematics,
  • Life Sciences and or Physical Sciences

A minimum of 60% pass in each subject is required. It should however be noted that for the School of Therapeutic Sciences (Physiotherapy included), you will not be selected solely on your school leaving results, although they are very important. A composite index is calculated, taking into consideration (1) your academic results for FIVE subjects; (2) National Benchmark Test scores.

The Faculty of Health Sciences does not calculate an Admissions Points Score (APS). Only five subjects are used to derive a matriculation score, which is calculated according to the percentages obtained, NOT symbols. These are English, Mathematics, Physical Science/ Life Sciences and the best two other subjects.

ALL applicants are required to write the Health Sciences Selection Tests (National Benchmark Test – NBT).

*All applicants are expected to have spent some time in a physiotherapy department in order to gain some first hand knowledge of what the job entails.

Course Duration and Workload

The course requires 4 years of full-time study. The first year is based at the University of the Witwatersrand main campus while years 2 to 4 are based at the Medical School in Parktown. In the 3rd year of study, preclinical teaching at the beginning of the year is followed by students doing clinical work in the mornings in various hospitals, schools and clinics in Gauteng. Lectures, tutorials and practicals take place in the afternoons. In the 4th year of study, pre-clinical teaching at the beginning of the year is followed students working in various hospitals the whole day. Students are also required to spend 4 weeks at a rural hospital as part of their Public Health block. The course is time consuming and involves considerable commitment from the students.

Please note that all new graduates serve a period of 1 year compulsory community service.

First Year

First year focuses on giving students a grounding in the basic sciences and introduction to basic physiotherapy techniques. 

A student shall include in his/her curriculum for the 1st year of study:

  • APES1000  Introduction to Medical Science
  • CHEM1029 Chemistry
  • PHYS1009  Physics
  • PSYC1007  Introduction to Psychology I
  • PSYC1004  Basic Principles of Group and Individual Psychology I
  • SOCL1012  Human Behavioural Sciences
  • PHST1000  Introduction to Physiotherapy

Please note that during your physiotherapy practical you will be required to be partially undressed in front of your classmates. This is very important to practice the skills that will be used during clinical years. Please get permission beforehand from your respective religious denominations to undress if required.

For further information on the courses please see https://www.wits.ac.za/media/wits-university/students/academic-matters/documents/2018%20Health%20Sciences%20Rules%20and%20Syllabuses%20-%20reduced%20size.pdf

Second Year

The following qualifying courses are prescribed for the second year of study:

  • ANAT2033 Anatomy for Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy students
  • PHSL2003 Physiology and Medical Biochemistry I
  • PHST2000 Physiotherapy I

This year demands a lot of time from students. Many hours are spent dissecting human cadavers.

Please note that during your physiotherapy practical you will be required to be partially undressed in front of your classmates. This is very important to practice the skills that will be used during clinical years. Please get permission beforehand from your respective religious denominations to undress if required.

For further information on the courses please see https://www.wits.ac.za/media/wits-university/students/academic-matters/documents/2018%20Health%20Sciences%20Rules%20and%20Syllabuses%20-%20reduced%20size.pdf

Third Year

Students start the year with preclinical teaching. This is then followed by clinical work in the mornings and a return to medical school in the afternoon for lectures, tutorials and practicals. Transport to most of the hospitals is provided.

The following qualifying courses are prescribed for the third year of study:

  • PHST3000 Physiotherapy II
  • PHST3001 Rehabilitation I
  • PHST3002 Clinical Physiotherapy I
  • PHST3003 General Medicine and Surgery
  • PHAR3002 Pharmacology
  • PHST3004 Research Methodology Part I

(Note: the examinations in Pharmacology (PHAR3002) will normally be conducted in June and the examinations in the other qualifying courses shall normally be conducted in November unless the Senate determines otherwise.

For further information on the courses please see https://www.wits.ac.za/media/wits-university/students/academic-matters/documents/2018%20Health%20Sciences%20Rules%20and%20Syllabuses%20-%20reduced%20size.pdf

Fourth Year

The structure of fourth year is similar to that in third year in many respects except that students work for the whole day in the hospitals post preclinical teaching.

The following qualifying courses are prescribed for the fourth year of study:

  • PHST4000 Physiotherapy III
  • PHST4001 Rehabilitation II
  • PHST4002 Clinical Physiotherapy II
  • PHST4004 Research Methodology Part II
  • PHST2001 Management for Therapists

The examinations in Physiotherapy III, Clinical Physiotherapy II, and Rehabilitation II will normally be conducted in October unless the Senate determines otherwise. The examinations for Research Methodology and Management for Therapists will normally be conducted in May/June unless the Senate determines otherwise. Students submit a research protocol as part of the requirements for completion of a degree with Honours status.

For further information on the courses please see https://www.wits.ac.za/media/wits-university/students/academic-matters/documents/2018%20Health%20Sciences%20Rules%20and%20Syllabuses%20-%20reduced%20size.pdf

On completion of their studies students are required to take the Hippocratic Oath and have to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa prior to practicing as a professional physiotherapist.

All students that graduate as physiotherapists throughout South Africa are required to complete one year of community service after graduation. The Department of Health of South Africa arranges the community service placements for all candidates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here for a list of frequently asked questions.

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