Bachelor of Physiotherapy

Program Description

The Physiotherapy program aims to educate students for the profession of physiotherapy. Physiotherapists work in the fields of prevention and treatment of movement disorders that result in functional problems in daily life activities of people. People in Papua New Guinea who may benefit from physiotherapy assistance include people with amputations, brain damage, spinal cord injury, Cerebral Palsy, poliomyelitis, leprosy, burns, nerve or tendon damage, or congenital deformities such as clubfeet and spina bifida. Also people benefit who have joint pains, back and neck problems or sports injuries.



Duration of Study

The Physiotherapy program requires four-years of full-time study leading to the award of the Bachelor of Physiotherapy. The program has a balance of theory and practical work. During the program there will be extended periods of placements in hospitals and village settings for practical application of learning. By working alongside experienced physiotherapists in both hospital and community settings, students develop the skills to respond competently to individual patient needs and to work as a member of a health care team.



Study Mode and Location

Full time on Campus, Divine Word University, Madang

Credit Points Required

Achievement of 320 credit points or 40 credit points


Entry Requirement


School leavers must have gained a minimum grade of B in English and Mathematics and at least one of the sciences (either Biology or Chemistry) at Grade 12. Non-school leavers such as Physiotherapy Aides, Community Health Workers, Nurses and Health Extension Officers must have:

  1. At least two (2) years of prior work experience in rehabilitation

  2. At recommendation from their supervising physiotherapist

  3. Proof of having completed one of the programs listed above or the Associate Certificate in Rehabilitation run by Callan Services.

Units Offered

Year One

PY 107 Anatomy for Physiotherapy I

PY 108 Physiology for Physiotherapy

IS 117 End-User Computing and Word Processing

RS 234 Christian Ethics

PY 801 Clinical Orientation

PY 109 Anatomy for Physiotherapy II

PY 110 Basic Medical Science for Physiotherapy

PY 114 Introduction to Movement Science

PY 115 Basic Physiotherapy Skills I

PY 116 Basic Physiotherapy Skills II

 

Year Two

PY 209 Orthopaedics for Physiotherapy I

PY 210 Neurology for Physiotherapist I

PY 216 Physiotherapy in Paediatrics and Women's Health

PY 217 Cardio -Respiratory for Physiotherapist

 PY 218 Orthopaedics for Physiotherapist II

 PY 219 Neurology for Physiotherapist II

PY 802 Clinical placement 1:10 weeks duration

Year Three

PY 307 Community Based Rehabilitation

PY 308 Complex Case Managment I

PY 803 Clinical placement 2:10 weeks duration

PY 309 Complex Case Management II

PY 310 Introduction to Research

PY 313 Physiotherapy Ethics

Year Four

PY 401 Biomechanics and Kinesiology

PY 402 Electrotherapeutic Agents

PY 403 Rehabilitation 1

PY 404 Biostatics and Research Methods

PY 405 General and Health Psychology

PY 406 Rehabilitation 2

PY 407 Rehabilitation 3

PY 408 Research Project

 Program Unit Descriptions

PY 107

PY 107 Anatomy for Physiotherapy I - 8 Credit Points

In this unit students explore the basic knowledge and understanding of the structure and function of the human body, from cellular level through to the bodily systems. Students study the structure and function of cells, tissues, organs and musculoskeletal systems. Particular emphasis will be placed on description of bones, joints, muscles, nerves and arteries of upper limb and lower limb as these relate to the application of Physiotherapy.

PY 108

PY 108 Physiology for Physiotherapy - 8 Credit Points

In this unit the student explorers the knowledge and understand the basis of normal physiology of various systems of the human body with special emphasis on the functioning of the bodily systems – cardiovascular system, musculo–skeletal system, nervous system.

IS 117

IS 117 End - User Computing and Word Processing - 8 Credit Points

This unit provides an introduction to the PC including its structure and place in the home or small office environment. It seeks to develop basic computer literacy and typing skills. Included is an understanding and facility with the use of a graphical user interface. Students are also provided with skills to use an Office suite of software, email, Internet and an intranet. Word Processing is an essential skill in the home and the small office and for student assignment writing. Students are given a comprehensive introduction to the basics of text formatting using word processing software.

RS 234

RS 234 Christian Ethics - 8 Credits

Ethics is a systematic, critical study concerned with the evaluation of human conduct to help male decisions about the future. It is concerned about what is right, fair, just or good; about what we ought to do, not just what is the case or what is most acceptable or expedient. Christian ethics is the critical evaluation of human conduct from a Christian perspective. In this course, students will explore the understanding, sources and importance of ethics in everybody’s personal and professional life.

PY 801

PY 801 Clinical Orientation - 0 Credit Points

This clinical orientation is a one-week orientation in Modilon General Hospital’s Physiotherapy department and ensures that students have the aptitude for the profession of physiotherapy. Students must pass this clinical orientation in order to continue with the program. Assessment is through reflective journal and supervisor report. The unit has no credit point value.

PY 109

PY 109 Anatomy for Physiotherapy II - 8 Credit Points

In this unit students explore physiotherapy specific knowledge and understanding of the structure and function of the musculoskeletal, central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. Students learn appropriate anatomical terminology and put regional anatomy in the context of examining the way that bones, muscles, vessels and nerves fit together and act to produce movement. Students consolidate the theoretical knowledge through applying this during practical sessions in surface anatomy, where students identify superficial structures by observation, surface marking and palpation.

PY 110

PY 110 Basic Medical Science for Physiotherapy - 8 Credit Points

Basic Medical Sciences consists of pathology, microbiology and general medicine. In pathology the students grasp basic knowledge and understanding of different disease processes common to PNG and are guided in their understanding of the way that these processes impact on patient management. In microbiology students study the most common pathological organisms and the diseases caused by them. In general medicine students look at some of the diseases common to PNG, their clinical manifestation, clinical features, investigation and medical management. Students are able to demonstrate a general understanding of the diseases that physiotherapists would encounter in their practice.

PY 114

PY 114 Introduction to Movement Science - 8 Credit Points

As introduction students explore the physiotherapy profession in PNG and analyse the role and responsibilities that a physiotherapist has towards patients, peers and management. This unit supplements knowledge of anatomy and enables students to have a better understanding of the principles of biomechanics and their application in musculoskeletal function and dysfunction. Students grasp basic knowledge and understanding of the mechanics of body movements. In order to analyze these body movements, a variety of basic procedures are used. Students study appropriate terminology in order to be able to communicate and describe body movements.

PY 115

PY 115 Basic Physiotherapy Skills I - 8 Credit Points

In this unit students gain understanding in the basic knowledge and skills needed for physiotherapy assessment of patients with various disorders. They identify and demonstrate the different components that form part of a complete assessment. This process includes accumulating information from a range of sources followed by an examination of the patient. Students analyse information of assessment outcomes to determine the most appropriate treatment plan. Teaching is through lectures, practical demonstrations and exercises. Assessment is through theoretical and practical tests and exams.

PY 116

PY 116 Basic Physiotherapy Skills II - 8 Credit Points

This unit builds on the unit PY106 Basic Physiotherapy Skills I, where analyses of the assessment findings are implemented to then determine the most appropriate treatment plan. In this unit, students identify and demonstrate the different components that form part of a complete treatment. Students learn the principles, techniques and effects of exercises as a therapeutic modality in the restoration of physical function. Therefore they study a range of treatment techniques, including passive and active exercise therapy, gait training, massage, heat and cold therapy and other physiotherapeutic interventions.

PY 209

PY 209 Orthopaedics for Physiotherapists I - 10 Credit Points

This unit introduces the student to the orthopaedic and surgical conditions which commonly cause disability, for which physiotherapists are called upon to manage during their day to day work. This unit demonstrates the specific clinical examination and management of those conditions.

PY 210

PY 210 Neurology for Physiotherapists I  - 10 Credit Points

In Neurology for Physiotherapists I the students are introduced to the neurological conditions which commonly cause disability, for which physiotherapists are called upon to manage during their day to day work. This unit demonstrates the specific clinical examination and management of those conditions.

PY 216

PY 216 Physiotherapy in Paediatrics and Women’s Health - 10 Credit Points

In this unit students examine the common types of paediatric conditions, which physiotherapists are called upon to manage during their day to day work. They focus on the developmental milestones of the child and a range of assessment and treatment techniques that are needed to manage children with orthopaedic and/or neurological conditions. More general issues associated with the treatment of children are addressed, like the need for creativity and play, in both assessment and treatment. The unit demonstrates physiotherapy assessment and management in obstetrics and gynaecological conditions for pre and post natal care, relief of pain, relaxation and posture.

PY 217

PY 217 Cardio–Respiratory for Physiotherapists - 10 Credit Points

In this unit students examine the most common types of cardio respiratory conditions, which the physiotherapist will be called upon to manage during their day to day work. Students focus on a range of assessment and treatment techniques that are needed for physiotherapists to manage patients with cardio respiratory conditions. In addition, the effect of exercises on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems is studied.

PY 218

PY 218 Orthopaedics for Physiotherapists II - 10 Credit Points

In this unit students deepen their understanding of orthopaedics, by using case studies as a problem based learning (PBL) teaching strategy. Theoretical knowledge is applied to practical case study situations to consolidate knowledge and skills. This application to case studies also facilitates the linkage between theory and practice by incorporating a ‘learning through practice’ approach. Students gain skills of professional practice, including time management and other procedures involved in managing a physiotherapy service. As part of the unit students are taken to Lae to learn further on orthotics, prosthetics and the mobility aids.

PY 219

PY 219 Neurology for Physiotherapists II - 10 Credit Points

In this unit students deepen their understanding of neurology, by using case studies as a problem based learning (PBL) teaching strategy. Theoretical knowledge is applied to practical case study situations to consolidate knowledge and skills. This application to case studies also facilitates the linkage between theory and practice by incorporating a ‘learning through practice’ approach. They also learn skills of professional practice, including time management and other procedures involved in managing a physiotherapy service.

PY 802

PY 802 Clinical Placement 1:10 Weeks Duration - 20 Credit Points

Clinical placements are essential as students gradually develop the skills of an independent professional. During clinical placements students integrate and apply knowledge, skills and attitudes acquired during the theoretical phase. Student develop and practise problem-solving skills in the clinical situation. By working alongside experienced physiotherapists in both hospital and community settings, they develop the skills to respond competently to individual patient needs and to work as a member of a health care team.

PY307

PY 307 Community Based Rehabilitation - 10 Credit Points

In this unit students explore the practical issues associated with adapting rehabilitation techniques to a village setting. After establishing a thorough needs analysis and situational analysis, students identify the necessary practical adaptations towards rehabilitation of their clients in villages. Students then need to practically adapt aids and equipment to aid their work in the community.

PY 308

PY 308 Complex Case Management I - 10 Credit Points

In this unit the students focus on specific assessment and treatment techniques, which have not been offered before in the program or in which the students need greater understanding. The selection of techniques offered in this unit, is based upon the feedback which the supervisors have given after the first clinical placement. This way the students are assured to learn appropriate knowledge and skills according to the needs of the PNG clinical setting, and they can see the relationship between the teaching in the classroom and the clinical hospital setting.
to work as a member of a health care team.

PY 803

PY 803 Clinical Placement 2:10 Weeks Duration - 20 Credit Points

Clinical placements are essential as the student gradually develops the skills of an independent professional. During clinical placements students integrate and apply knowledge, skills and attitudes acquired during the theoretical phase. Students develop and practise problem-solving skills in the clinical situation. By working alongside experienced physiotherapists in both hospital and community settings, they develop the skills to respond competently to individual patient needs and to work as a member of a health care team.

PY 309

PY 309 Complex Case Management 2 - 8 Credit Points

This unit focuses on the integration, application and consolidation of knowledge and skills learnt throughout the program. Specialized workshops focus on areas which need revision based upon feedback from the supervisors during the second clinical placements or on areas of students’ interest. This unit aims to further enhance students’ knowledge and skill base, to ensure a high level of competency in the workplace. The unit is delivered in the context of self-awareness, the effects of socio-economic change, gender and cultural practices on health and health care.

PY 310

PY 310 Introduction to Research - 8 Credit Points

In this unit students address the need for physiotherapy practice to be based on evidence of its effectiveness and efficiency. Encouraged by a questioning attitude towards practice, students explore avenues for obtaining evidence on which to base decisions concerning patient management. As a practical application, students undertake the process of writing a basic research paper on a subject related to physiotherapy practice. Students are guided through the process of doing library research and extracting information. This information is then formulated into a paper, which is scientifically structured and referenced.

PY 313

PY 313 Physiotherapy Ethics - 8 Credit Points

This unit introduces the student to the complex issue of medical ethics or bioethics in relation to research and in the context of the health worker–patient relationship. This also covers workplace ethical issues of physiotherapy professionals.

PY 401

PY 401 Biomechanics and Kinesiology - 10 Credit Points

This unit supplements the knowledge of anatomy and enables the student to have a better understanding of mechanics and reviews biomechanical principles with respect to functional human movement, dysfunction, posture, balance, therapeutic exercise prescription and equipment.  Teaching is through lectures, demonstrations and practical sessions. Assessment consists of written assignments, theory test and theory exam.

PY 402

PY 402 Electrotherapeutic Agents - 10 Credit Points

In this unit, the student will learn the principles, techniques and effects of low, medium and high frequency currents as a therapeutic modality in the restoration of physical function. Teaching is through lectures, practical demonstration, tutorials and case studies. Assessment is through theory assignments, presentations and practical assignments

PY 403

PY 403 Rehabilitation 1 - 10 Credit Points

This unit will enable the students to understand their role in the management of disability within the rehabilitation team. It also serves to integrate the knowledge of orthopaedics to rehabilitate patients with dysfunction due to pathology in musculoskeletal conditions and sports injuries.  Teaching is through lectures, practical demonstration, tutorials and case studies. Assessment is through theory assignments, case studies, presentations and practical assignments.

PY 404

PY 404 Biostatics and Research Methods - 10 Credit Points

In this, unit students address the need for Physiotherapy practice to be based on evidence of its effectiveness and efficiency. Encouraged by a questioning attitude towards practice, students explore avenues for obtaining evidence on which to base decisions concerning patient management. As a practical application, students undertake the process of writing a basic research paper on a subject related to Physiotherapy practice. Students are guided through the process of doing library research and extracting information. This information is then formulated into a paper, which is scientifically structured and referenced. Teaching is through lectures, tutorials and practical research activities. In the context of creating a basic research paper, the role of the lecturer is that of mentor. Assessment is through theory assignments, practical research activities, essay including its presentation.

PY 405

PY 405 General and Health Psychology - 10 Credit Points

In this unit the student understand the specific psychological factors and effect in physical illness and thus help them have a holistic approach in their dealings with patients during admission, treatment, rehabilitation and discharge.

PY 406

PY 406 Rehabilitation 2 - 10 Credit Points

This unit will enable the students to understand their role in the management of disability within the rehabilitation team. It also serves to integrate the knowledge of neurology to rehabilitate patients with dysfunction due to pathology in nervous system and Paediatrics. Teaching is through lectures, practical demonstration, tutorials and case studies. Assessment is through theory assignments, case studies, presentations and practical assignments.

PY 407

PY 407 Rehabilitation 3 - 10 Credit Points

This unit will enable the students to understand their role in the management of disability within the rehabilitation team. It also serves to integrate the knowledge to rehabilitate patients with dysfunction due to pathology in Cardio – respiratory among adults and paediatrics. Teaching is through lectures, practical demonstration, tutorials and case studies. Assessment is through theory assignments, case studies, presentations and practical assignments.

PY 408

PY 408 Research Project - 10 Credit Points

This topic aims to develop student’s research skills through individual project work. Students will develop a research question relevant to their field of interest in Physiotherapy, plan and conduct a research program to investigate this hypothesis taking into consideration scientific, social and legal aspects. Topics covered include; research methodology; data collection and analysis; and presentation of research findings. This unit is continuation of the PY404 Research Methods and Biostatistics. The topic emphasizes self-directed learning by enabling the student to determine the research strategy and approach.