Information on this page is for Australian residents

0.5 years part time
Delivery mode: 
Face to Face

Applications for this course are not being taken at this time


The Graduate Certificate in Exercise Prescription for Manual Therapy is aimed at practising health professionals in the field of manual therapy who wish to extend their skills in the area of exercise prescription.

There is a growing body of research evidence indicating that manual therapy for musculoskeletal conditions is most effective when combined with the prescription of exercises, both for purposes of rehabilitation and injury prevention.

Graduates will be equipped with the skills, knowledge and attributes to prescribe exercises to patients (including elite athletes) after musculoskeletal injury, illness, surgery or as a preventative measure.

Many practitioners of manual therapy have little training in exercise prescription, because it has not been a part of many pre-professional training courses until recent years.

The course has been designed to cover those areas of exercise prescription most relevant to manual therapists, including:

  • underlying exercise physiology principles
  • the rehabilitation of common musculo-skeletal conditions
  • an introduction to rehabilitation of the orthopaedic surgery patient,
  • preventative exercise for all age groups, but especially the older patients who form an increasing part of manual therapists' workload.

Flexible delivery mode

The course will be delivered online apart from four burst mode residentials to teach practical skills and a face to face introduction to studying at VU and using the library. This will allow you to study the course while still practising full time, and allow interstate applicants to complete the course while continuing to work.

You will be able to apply this knowledge to the assessment of your own patients for suitability and safety of exercise programs, and to the development of patient-specific programmes.

Highlights of the flexible delivery of this course include:

  • studying theory components online, through a combination of data presentations, video podcasts and online readings using the VU Collaborate platform
  • taking advantage of the student engagement tools such as online forums set up to facilitate discussion of topics, and the conduct of assessments
  • participate in practical units in burst-mode workshops held over weekends at VU City Flinders Street Campus to allow practitioners to attend without significantly impacting on their practice
  • scheduling of two sessions in the first semester, and the other two in the second semester. The practical units will be assessed by a practical/viva exam. All other units will be assessed via clinic-based assignments.


Third party payers such as Work Cover and TAC are increasingly demanding that manual therapists incorporate exercise prescription into their patient management plans.

The course will improve the ability of practitioners to provide evidence-based and personally tailored exercise programmes for their patients, which will meet the needs both of patients and third party providers.

It is anticipated that this qualification will improve employment prospects for graduates in a competitive market, and will also act as a lead-in to potential further study and/or research into this field for those who wish to pursue this pathway.

Course structure

To attain the Graduate Certificate in Exercise Prescription for Manual Therapy, students will be required to complete 48 credit points of Core Studies units.

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Contextualise their clinical skills and knowledge of the biomedical sciences to the application of exercise for rehabilitation and injury management;  
  2. Design and implement patient-centred, evidence-informed exercise rehabilitation programs for common acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions;  
  3. Critically review the physiological and pathological concepts related to exercise and injury, and theories relating to various types of exercise;  
  4. Critique the current evidence for exercises and interventions appropriate for common musculoskeletal conditions;  
  5. Elucidate patient preferences for exercise rehabilitation interventions and design programs accordingly; and  
  6. Advocate exercise prescription as part of the scope of practice of manual therapy to a range of audiences including patients, other health professionals and third party providers.  

What's a unit?

A unit or 'subject' is the actual class you'll attend in the process of completing a course.

Most courses have a mixture of compulsory 'core' units that you need to take, and optional \'elective\' units that you can choose to take based on your area of interest, expertise or experience.


Each unit is worth a set amount of study credits based on the amount of time you study. Generally, 1 credit is equal to 1 hour of study per week.

Fees & scholarships

The amount you pay for your course depends on whether you’re a Commonwealth supported student or full-fee paying.

If you enrol in a:

To calculate the total cost of your course:

  1. Select which units you’d like to study.
  2. Look up the individual unit costs in the higher education unit of study fees list.
  3. Add up the relevant amounts.

Scholarships & assistance

Apply for a scholarship to help with your study costs.

We can help with fee assistance and advice.

Admission & pathways

Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee you entry into this course.

Some courses receive more applications than the number of places available. In this situation we will also assess your education, work and other relevant experience.

If you do not meet the minimum requirements you may be eligible for one of our special admission programs. We also encourage you to explore our study pathways to help you reach your goal.

  • TAFE: Therapists who have completed a relevant cognate TAFE award (e.g. Advanced Diploma in Rehabilitation Therapy/Myotherapy) and have a minimum of five years of relevant clinical practice are eligible for admission.
  • Bachelor/Honours degree: AQF7 level qualification or equivalent in a manual therapy discipline such as osteopathy, chiropractic, physiotherapy or myotherapy and currently working in clinical practice.
  • Mature: All applicants will be mature age as this is a post-professional qualification

There are many ways you can start your education journey at VU. Pathways offer an easy transition between courses at different levels, so that you can start with a certificate and progress right through to postgraduate study.

Find out more about pathways and credits.

If you have completed study with another university or institution and believe you are eligible to receive credit for skills and past study, you can apply for advanced standing.

Applications for advanced standing can be made after a discussion with your course coordinator or academic adviser.

How to apply

Applications for this course are not being taken at this time.

Browse our other courses or send us an enquiry to be notified of updates relating to this course.

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