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Practice Education

Practice Education integrates academic knowledge with practical knowledge, as students focus on the application of their knowledge, skills and attitudes in ‘real-life’ situations.

Students on the BSc Physiotherapy course must complete 1000 hours of supervised clinical practice, before graduating, in order to be awarded the title of Chartered Physiotherapist. Physiotherapy graduates from Trinity College Dublin are also eligible for statutory registration under CORU, which is Ireland’s multi-profession health regulator.

Garda vetting (also known as Garda Clearance) is conducted in respect of personnel working in a full-time, part-time, and voluntary or student placement capacity in a position in a registered organisation, through which they have unsupervised access to children and/or vulnerable adults.  

All physiotherapy students must submit a Garda Clearance Form to the Academic Registry Office before they are allowed to register for the BSc Physiotherapy course in first year. This form is available on the orientation website.

All students should be aware that it is their responsibility to submit a completed form to the Academic Registry Office before they commence the BSc Physiotherapy undergraduate programme.

Trinity College Dublin provides placements in various acute, chronic and rehabilitation clinical settings throughout the country.

This is to ensure that all students achieve learning outcomes with a wide range of patients, clinical locations and treatment approaches.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Practice Education Team have collaborated with clinical sites and frontline physiotherapists to ensure placements could be completed safely for the 2019 – 2020 academic year. The team continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure that, under the current public health advice, physiotherapy placements can continue into the 2020 – 2021 academic year.

Placement during a Pandemic Guidance documents have been produced to support both clinical sites and physiotherapy students adapt and remain safe on placement. These are available to all sites through the Practice Education Co-ordinator.

High standards of clinical placement can only be achieved through the continued support and co-operation of the physiotherapists working in these hospitals and clinics.

Clinical placements are spread throughout the undergraduate course as follows:

Placement Number (Pn)




6 weeks

2nd year


6 weeks

3rd year


6 weeks

3rd year


7 weeks

4th year


6 weeks

4th year

There are three ‘core’ areas of placement for physiotherapy students:

  • Musculoskeletal
  • Cardiorespiratory
  • Neurological/Elderly care

All clinical placements are assessed using the Common Assessment Form and contribute to the students final degree award.

Practice Education Placements

While on placement, each student is supported by a Practice Educator (PDF 237 kB). Practice Educator is the title given to individual physiotherapists who have agreed to assess and mentor students while they are on placement.

Further resources for Practice Educators can be accessed in the Practice Educators/Tutors Resources.

The Dublin Teaching Hospitals associated with Trinity College Dublin also employ  Practice Tutors. Practice Tutors are Senior Physiotherapists who are based primarily in practice education placement provider sites although they are also based intermittently in the relevant university as determined by educational and service needs.

The role of the student on placement is outlined in the Practice Education Handbook (Local Access - PDF 1.6 MB). Each student has a responsibility to adequately prepare for placement, and to adhere to the Rules of Professional Conduct and the European Core Standards of Physiotherapy Practice.

The Discipline of Physiotherapy in Trinity College Dublin also operates an ERASMUS exchange programme with Karolinska University in Stockholm, Sweden and is also working with oher European partners to provide ERASMUS opportunities in Malta, Spain and Germany in the fourth year of the degree course.

Placement for me was the defining experience of the Physiotherapy degree.