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Bachelor in Physiotherapy

«Practical and scientifically sound»

Cécile Ledergerber, Head of BSc in Physiotherapy Programme

Physiotherapy practitioners are specialists in movement.

Three good reasons for studying Physiotherapy at ZHAW

BSc in Physiotherapy that suits my needs

(Filmclip in Swiss German)

Physiotherapy practitioners are interested in working with movement, physical function disorders and pain. They treat people of all ages with acute or chronic diseases, with disabilities or following accidents. Rehabilitation takes centre stage – however, health promotion and prevention are becoming increasingly important.

Entry requirements for BSc in Physiotherapy

  • Baccalaureate and additional module
  • Federal Specialised Baccalaureate and additional module
  • Federal Vocational Baccalaureate and additional module
  • Degree from a College of Higher Education and Training

Additional information on entry requirements


Structure of the course

A full-time study programme together with all its additional modules takes four years to complete. The BSc in Physiotherapy offers dual benefits:

  • firstly, the licence to practice as a fully qualified physiotherapy practitioner
  • secondly, the applied degree Bachelor of Science ZHAW in Physiotherapy

Study achievements are evaluated using ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System), which make your degree comparable across Europe. The study programme covers 180 ECTS credits, with a total of approximately 30 working hours.

Our bachelor degree programme in Physiotherapy fulfils the required national and international standards as well as the educational requirements. The study programme is divided into 40 percent classroom teaching and 60 percent self-directed study. Our teaching is a combination of presentation-based teaching and independent and action-oriented learning (exercises, case studies, project work, workshop instruction and role playing).

Profession-specific modules

  • Fundamentals in medicine: anatomy, physiology, pathology, biomechanics and basic clinical knowledge (in orthopaedics, traumatology, rheumatology, internal medicine, neurology)
  • Fundamentals of practice: physiotherapeutic examinations and treatment of the musculoskeletal system, internal organs and vessels as well as the neuro-motor and sensory systems
  • Problem-based learning: deepening and cross-linking of learned knowledge using case studies

Interprofessional modules

ZHAW offers a number of bachelor degree programmes at the School of Health Sciences: BSc in Occupational Therapy, Health Promotion and Prevention, Midwifery, Nursing and Physiotherapy offering students the opportunity to engage in intensive interprofessional exchanges during their studies. Topics that are important for all five professional fields are addressed in joint lessons with students of other health professions as learning with, from and about each other stimulates thinking beyond professional boundaries, a quality that is essential to practising the professional activity.

Practical experience

Students complete three clinical placements of 12 weeks each in different clinical disciplines during their fourth and fifth semester at ZHAW. On completion of their sixth semester, students must undertake two five-month clinical placements (additional module C).

Clinical placement providers are located throughout German-speaking Switzerland and can be contacted through ZHAW.

Bachelor thesis

Students work on a relevant topic for their bachelor thesis and apply their sound theoretical and scientific methods from classroom learning.

«I opted for this study programme because I enjoy working with people of all ages on movement. One day I would love to work in rehabilitation with accident patients or in neurology.»

Lea Arnold, BSc student in Physiotherapy

Professional profile and training objectives

Physiotherapy practitioners work in a wide variety of health settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation clinics and specialist clinics, retirement and nursing homes, disability institutions, outpatient practices and sports clubs. Experienced professionals can be responsible for a team, run an entire department, their own private practice on a self-employed basis or fill positions in academic teaching, research and health promotion and prevention.

Competencies in seven roles

During your studies you will acquire competencies in seven different roles:

  • As an expert, you perform specialist tasks and make appropriate decisions.
  • As a communicator, you facilitate the building of trusting relationships and selective sharing of information.
  • As a collaborator, you proactively participate in interdisciplinary team work.
  • As a manager, you assume professional leadership, contribute to the effectiveness of the organisation and develop your own professional career.
  • As a health attorney, you are committed to help patients responsibly within the healthcare system.
  • As a scholar, you are committed to lifelong learning and the development, transfer and application of knowledge.
  • As a professional, you promote the professionalisation process in physiotherapy using reflected practice.

At a glance

Degree: Bachelor of Science ZHAW in Physiotherapy

Workload: 180 ECTS credits

Duration of study: 3 years

Course structure: full-time, practice-oriented bachelor degree programme

Start of the course: Calendar week 38

Registration deadline: January 15

Teaching location: Winterthur

Language of instruction: German

Tuition fees: CHF 720.- semester fees + additional study and living expenses

Postgraduate courses:Master of Science in Physiotherapy