The University of Western Australia    Centre for Musculoskeletal Studies, School of Surgery



School of Surgery


Master of Manual Therapy

17 August - 6 Nov 2015
Course full for 2015
No new applications will be accepted


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Based within the Medical Faculty, the Centre for Musculoskeletal Studies at The University of Western Australia in Perth, offers a fully accredited postgraduate Master of Manual Therapy degree. This highly popular and successful program, which has run for over 10 years, offers a uniquely flexible learning model incorporating a mix of distance learning modules followed by a single semester on-campus of intensive [9-5 every day] clinical reasoning and manual skills focussed study. The distance study packages are completed while working fulltime and the clinical course semester selected that best fits with practice commitments. 

The MMT degree program is IFOMPT and  Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia (MPA) accredited (Re-accredited December 2013).

MMT graduates, who meet the prescribed requirements, are eligible to apply for titled memebership of MPA and the 2 year Fellowship training program to become a specialist musculoskeletal physiotherpaist offeredby the Australian College of Physiotherapists.

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Designed to upskill clinicians interested in advancing their scope of practice in musculoskeletal physiotherapy, the Centre for Musculoskeletal Studies offers the Master of Manual Therapy, with one on-campus intake each year. This course, accredited by Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia (MPA), is offered to qualified physiotherapists who wish to develop their clinical skills and related biomedical sciences knowledge in the area of manual therapy. Graduates of the UWA Master of Manual Therapy are eligible for level 2 (titled) membership of the MPA. This qualification forms a strong basis for subsequent specialisation in musculoskeletal physiotherapy and ultimately for seeking Fellowship of the Australian College of Physiotherapy by examination.

Applications can be submitted throughout the year and are reviewed competitively, with places offered to physiotherapists with a demonstrated graduate track record in musculoskeletal practice, evidence of participation inrelevant professional continuing clinical education and a declared interest in developing their career in this area of clinical practice.

The 12 week on-campus clinical training component of the course is developed around the themes of clinical reasoning, diagnosis, manual therapy skills, and musculoskeletal rehabilitation. This includes clinical examination and interpretation, in addition to planning and progression of manual therapy treatment programs. Application and development of these objectives is facilitated through supervised clinical practice sessions conducted in physiotherapy outpatient clinics located in teaching and community hospitals in the Perth metropolitan region. Treatment methods include articular mobilisation and manipulation, muscle energy and muscle imbalance techniques, management of neurogenic pain disorders and rehabilitation of the neuromuscular system.

Special emphasis with be given to clinical anatomy, musculoskeletal pathology, radiology and pain management as they relate to clinical reasoning and clinical practice. Broader issues of musculoskeletal rehabilitation, exercise prescription and progression, goal-setting, outcome measurement and evidence-based practice are included in the clinical component. The remainder of the course is completed by off-campus distance study modules which are typically commenced prior to the clinical course in Perth. These units cover a range of issues in musculoskeletal biomechanics, pathology and neurophysiology which have direct relevance to the practice of musculoskeletal physiotherapy.

During the weekly clinical anatomy review sessions in the School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology, a disection project is undertaken.

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Course Structure

Clinical Units - on-campus in Perth

PTMT5701       Diagnosis in Manual Therapy
PTMT5702       Manual Therapy Practice
PTMT5703       Rehabilitation Science
PTMT5704       Research and Evidence-based Practice in Manual Therapy

Distance Units - may be commenced prior to the on-campus clinical units

PTMT5705       Joint Structure, Physiology & Response to Injury
PTMT5706       Skeletal Muscle and Tendon
PTMT5707       Pathoanatomy & Mechanics of the Vertebral Column
PTMT5708       Chronic disease management in Manual Therapy

Unit Content

The course consists of a 12 week intensive clinical component (4 units) and 4 units which can be completed by distance study mode.

Teaching Faculty

The academic teaching faculty include: Kevin Singer, PT, PhD, the program clinical coordinator is manual therapist, Peter Fazey, PT MT, PhD, FACP, who is supported by Christoper Barrett, PT, MT, FACP. Several visiting clinicians, including Senior Teaching Fellows: Toby Hall, FACP & Kim Robinson, FACP, with specific manual therapy expertise and interest, teach specialist sessions. Pain review lectures are provided by Professor Stephan Schug, MD PhD, director of the pain medicine clinic at Royal Perth Hospital. Other clinicians cover such topics as: neuroradiology of the spine, rheumatology, pain management, orthopaedics, neurology, neurosurgery, clinical pyschology, pharmacology, medicolegal and professional issues in MT clinical practice, and musculoskeletal radiology.

The units of the clinical program are:

PTMT5701 Diagnosis in Manual Therapy
The objectives of this unit are to develop proficiency in musculoskeletal clinical assessment; review and refine clinical reasoning processes; demonstrate critical study of manual skills in musculoskeletal case assessment;  demonstrate development of triage and classification of disorders; and apply skills during supervised clinical placement. Students develop an advanced level of knowledge and clinical skill in methods of patient interview and physical examination. Physical examination of the articular, muscular and neurological systems within the context of manual therapy practice are comprehensively reviewed, along with interpretation of information to facilitate appropriate clinical reasoning strategies. Classification of disorders in relation to indications for manual therapy treatment are central objectives of this unit.

PTMT5702 Manual Therapy Practice
Students are able to demonstrate an advanced competence in sequencing and the safe application of appropriate manual therapy techniques; develop clinical communication skills with clients and colleagues; and apply outcomes evaluation in clinical management. This unit provides students with an advanced level of competence in planning and implementing appropriate manual therapy treatment programs and develops a high level of competency in the application of passive treatment techniques for articular systems and associated soft-tissues. The unit includes a review of current trends and issues in relation to evidence-based practice and how they influence management.

PTMT5703 Rehabilitation Science
Modules include an overview of the principles and application of specific rehabilitation programs for patients with musculoskeletal injury and disease, methods of evaluation of physical impairment and disability, developing specific rehabilitation goals and how to measure the achievement of these, the principles of motor control theory as they relate to exercise prescription and the principles and practice of sub-maximal cardiovascular exercise testing. Clinical anatomy is reviewed in relation to the manual therapy and the rehabilitation curriculum.

PTMT5704 Research and Evidence-based Practice in Manual Therapy
There is an emerging clinical evidence base for manual therapy practice. This unit provides an overview of the research process and critique of current evidence in manual therapy. Students are required to examine the domains and levels of evidence in evidence-based practice; undertake the assessment of literature quality using PEDro, GRADE and Consort statements; assess quality issues associated with treatment and diagnosis in the manual therapy literature; and review related research methods and statistical analyses. The unit introduces fundamentals of research design, ethics and informed consent, clinical audit, and the development of a focused case research proposal and presentation in an area of applied clinical practice.

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Time Table

The weekly timetable involves all sessions and comprises an anatomy review program, rehabilitation lectures and lab sessions, supervised clinical practice in hospitals and manual therapy skills instruction. Clinical reasoning is fundamental to this program and is incorporated into every module. Class exercises involve case histories and clinical problem solving to complement the clinical placement experience in the hospitals. The training facility is available for independent skills practice out of hours.

Session Time

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Distance Study Units

The off-campus distance study modules integrate aspects of anatomy, biomechanics, pathology and neurophysiology around core themes. This structure is designed to assist integration of concepts from these disciplines and facilitate transfer of information into the clinical context. The units reinforce concepts and information introduced in the on-campus clinical units. Three units must be completed for the Master of Manual Therapy degree. For each unit, students will receive resource material and a unit guide which includes the assignment questions. Each unit seeks an understanding of the reading material through clinical case studies and develops skills in searching for related literature, and providing a concise synthesis and critique of this work.

The available units are:

PTMT5705 Joint Structure, Physiology and Response to Injury
Students are able to conduct a review of contemporary literature and discuss through interpretation its relevance to manual therapy clinical theory and practice of articular systems. A case study approach is adopted throughout to encourage the development of clinical reasoning which integrates content with evidence-based management. This unit review the anatomy and biomechanics of synovial joints including articular cartilage and connective tissue structure and mechanics, response of these tissues to injury, classification of joint surface and ligament injuries, diagnostic methods (clinical and radiological), sensory and articular responses to joint injury, joint stability issues and neurogenic inflammation.

PTMT5706 Skeletal Muscle and Tendon—Structure, Physiology and Pathology
Students are able to conduct a review of contemporary literature and discuss through interpretation its relevance to manual therapy clinical theory and practice related to tendon and muscle dysfunction. A case study approach is adopted throughout to encourage the development of clinical reasoning which integrates content with evidence based management. This unit includes an overview of skeletal muscle structure and function, mechanisms of injury and repair, exercise-induced muscle injury, muscle pain mechanisms, muscle neurophysiology and motor control issues with particular reference to neuromuscular control of spinal movement.

PTMT5707 Pathoanatomy and Mechanics of the Vertebral Column
Students are able to conduct a review of contemporary literature and discuss through interpretation its relevance to manual therapy clinical theory and practice related to spinal disease. This unit provides a detailed review of spinal anatomy from a clinical perspective and includes structure and mechanics of the vertebrae, intervertebral disc and zygapophysial joints, with particular reference to the effects of degeneration, ageing and injury. Regional differences in mechanisms of disc injury and degeneration, their biomechanical consequences and clinical manifestations are reviewed. The pathology, imaging and mechanics of spinal disorders, including whiplash, are included in the unit. Spinal innervation is reviewed as a basis for studying pain presentation patterns.

PTMT5708 Chronic Disease Management in Manual Therapy
This unit examines contemporary clinical research concerning chronic disease management and relating this to rehabilitation practice in Manual Therapy. Students are able to gain awareness of the nexus between common co-morbidities and their implications for effective management and outcomes in musculoskeletal clinical practice. Evaluation of sources including osteoporosis, cardiovascular health, diabetes and obesity, and chronic pain, and relating these complications to the management of complex musculoskeletal clinical cases. A unifying appreciation of the significance of aerobic conditioning and resistance training across these conditions is intended from studying this unit.


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General Information

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