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Institute of Physiotherapy

«The Institute of Physiotherapy stands for life-long learning with bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as academic continuing education. Together with its research and development projects, the Institute is working towards a sustainable and future-proofed health system.»

Prof. Dr. Markus Wirz, Head of the Institute of Physiotherapy 

Movement as therapy

The Institute of Physiotherapy has a performance mandate in the four areas of academic teaching at bachelor and master level, research and development as well as continuing education and services. It follows the premise of a «Research and Teaching University».

Studying for a degree

The Institute of Physiotherapy offers an internationally recognised, scientifically sound and practice-oriented bachelor degree programme as well as a postgraduate master degree programme.

Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy

Physiotherapists are specialists in the musculoskeletal system of the human body, its disorders and pain management. The three-year study programme in physiotherapy provides the necessary theoretical background and practical skills.

Master of Science in Physiotherapy

The MSc in Physiotherapy is a science-oriented postgraduate degree programme (following completion of the BSc). During the course, students expand their clinical expertise during their studies, deepen their knowledge of evidence-based physiotherapy and are trained in the application of research methods. They work in research teams and with our practice partners during their clinical placements, which enables them to network during their studies and to learn new approaches and perspectives from renowned lecturers from home and abroad.

Continuing education

Switzerland has a high demand for recognised, academic continuing education programmes. Our continuing education programmes are designed as part-time courses, which allow participants to continue to work in their profession and to implement their newly acquired know-how directly into practice so that clinical work is combined with up-to-date knowledge and scientifically tested methods and techniques.

Modular course

Our continuing education courses are modular, which gives students more freedom to plan.

The great advantage of this modular system is that it offers candidates maximum freedom of choice.

Research in Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy focuses on physiotherapeutic diagnostics and treatment as well as physiotherapy in the context of healthcare. Our research priorities are physical activity, supply and implementation research, analysis in our movement laboratory, new technologies as well as research and educational research. The team consists of specialists in Physiotherapy, Movement Science and Sports Science, Psychology and Social Science, who have broad experience in practice and research at home and abroad to the benefit of our students in Physiotherapy and Movement Science, who are involved in projects while working on their master thesis or as student apprentices in a research team. Our clients and partners include public institutions, hospitals, practices and companies. We maintain cooperation with various ZHAW institutes, other Swiss universities of applied sciences as well as national and international universities.


The Institute of Physiotherapy offers a wide range of services for companies, public institutions and individuals.

Institute of Physiotherapy: At a glance

Number of employees: 80

Number of BSc students: 150 per year

Number of MSc students: 38 per year

Continuing education courses offered: 4 Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) / 1 Diploma of Advanced Studies (DAS) / 27 Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) / various continuing education programmes

Research projects in progress: 22

Clinical placement providers: 85

Objectives and Vision

Who we are

The Institute of Physiotherapy of the ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences is Switzerland’s largest physiotherapy institution for teaching, research and continuing education. We are committed to sustainable professionalization with our bachelor's and master's degree programs, research and development, and through academic continuing education.

Our mission and goal

The Institute of Physiotherapy applies the basic premise of a "Research and Teaching University"  to its 4-fold mission of bachelor and master of science teaching, research and development as well as continuing education and service provision. By optimally linking teaching and research, students are prepared for roles in clinical, research and teaching settings. Our goal is to develop and position physiotherapy in the healthcare and educational communities.

How we work

At the Institute of Physiotherapy, we have been working in a flexible self-organization based on holocracy since 2022. Responsibilities and accountabilities are transparently distributed along roles within subject areas. This promotes an agile working environment with flat hierarchies and enables each employee at the Institute to experience a high level of self-responsibility and decision-making authority with regard to his/her roles, while simultaneously helping to shape and change the organization. The spirit and purpose of the organization stands in the foreground.

Our graduates

The professionals trained at the Institute are in demand in the professional world. They are able to apply their broad clinical and scientifically-based expertise to the areas of rehabilitation, prevention, health promotion and research. Thanks to their high level of professional specialist capabilities, they assume responsibility as well as professional leadership. This directly benefits the well-being of patients and other interest groups.

Our networking

Excellence in teaching, national and European harmonization as well as interprofessionalism and internationality are standard practice for us. The high level of networking with national and international organizations, such as associations, colleges, universities, research institutions, industry partners, practice institutions as well as health, education and professional policy bodies contributes to this.