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Physiotherapy, Rehabilitation & Health

Physiotherapy is a health-care discipline which focuses on individuals at all stages of the lifespan, both in health and in times of illness or injury, with the aim of optimising movement, functional ability and health.  The discipline takes a holistic approach which encompasses physical, psychological, emotional and social wellbeing in a range of diverse practice settings.  These include: adult and paediatric hospitals; primary and community care teams; rehabilitation centres; nursing and residential homes; hospices; occupational health settings; schools; health promotion programmes; sport clubs, centres and teams; and private practice. 

Physiotherapy Programmes

Given the broad range of physiotherapy education programmes developed and provided by UCD Physiotherapy at undergraduate, graduate entry, postgraduate taught and healthcare provider levels, UCD physiotherapy is a leader in the design, implementation and evaluation of education programmes for healthcare professionals nationally and internationally.


(opens in a new window)BSc Physiotherapy


Professional Master of Physiotherapy

Professional Certificates

Certificate in Cardiac Rehabilitation

Professional Certificate Spinal Studies

Study Abroad

Pre-Physical Therapy

UCD Physiotherapy students complete over 1000 hours of practice education placements, providing them with the opportunity to observe and practice in a variety of clinical settings including acute hospitals, primary care, rehabilitation & disability services. During placement students practice under the supervision of CORU registered physiotherapists.

Further information and resources.

The UCD Physiotherapy, Rehabilitation and Health research group has a well-established track record of knowledge translation with healthcare providers, through ongoing dissemination at national and international conferences, peer reviewed publications, successful research partnership with a wide range of healthcare providers at national level, and the hosting of educational outreach and targeted research seminars. Group members also have established strong links with industry, policy makers and international research groups. 

The World Congress of Physical Therapy, the international representative body for Physiotherapy/Physical Therapy identifies four core areas for practice:

  • Promotion
  • Prevention
  • Treatment/Intervention
  • Rehabilitation

These are reflected in the diverse range of research methodologies and settings of the Physiotherapy, Rehabilitation and Health hub of the School, which encompasses an interdisciplinary team of researchers spanning Physiotherapy, Psychology, Primary Care, Exercise Science, Bio-Engineering and Data Analytics. Enhancing the understanding, measurement and promotion of function, performance, wellbeing and health are at the core of our research activities, be it in primary, secondary or tertiary healthcare settings, sports workplace and other community settings.

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Obesity is one of the most visible but neglected public health challenges of the 21st century. It affects one in six adults and one in eight children across EU countries and according to World Health Organization (WHO) projections, Europe is facing a major obesity crisis by 2030, with many countries likely to see half of adults above the healthy weight limit.

In June 2021, the European Commission officially classified obesity as a chronic disease. In response, the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) published its manifesto outlining priority actions to improve the treatment and management of obesity. These actions include a call for improved education for healthcare professions (HCPs), to support more effective, evidence-based multidisciplinary care for people with obesity.

At present, the topic of obesity is given little attention as part of Health Care Professional (HCP) education/training, with the EASO calling for HCPs to help in identifying the knowledge gaps in their own community and provide solutions through education. Of the established HCP, physiotherapy is the leading non-pharmacological health profession globally, with approximately 565,000 practising physiotherapists in the EU. Given the evidence to support active, holistic lifestyle approaches to obesity and physiotherapists' expertise in this field, they are ideally positioned to play a major role in obesity prevention and management.

The PROMINENCE project - bridging the gap

A group of people standing together smiling

The PROMINENCE team pictured at the project launch at UCD, April 2024

The PROMINENCE (Promoting Obesity and Metabolic Rehabilitation INclusion in EU Entry-level Physiotherapy Curricula) project joins physiotherapy stakeholders from four EU countries - Ireland, Sweden, Finland, and Belgium - with aims to: 

  • facilitate educators to drive development and achievement of competences, 
  • create new, innovative or joint curricula or courses beyond scope, and
  • provide digital content and share sound pedagogical practices

in the area of obesity education and physiotherapy. 

PROMINENCE seeks to promote inter-connected higher education institutions (HEI) and systems by:

  • collaborating to develop and standardise obesity education in physiotherapy programmes and align with European Qualifications Framework (EQF), and 
  • sharing knowledge, skills, expertise and developing contemporary evidence-based obesity education across boundaries. 

Click (opens in a new window)here to find out more about the project.

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Obesity Stigma Education for All (OSE4ALL)

Obesity Stigma Education for All (OSE4ALL): co-design of an inter-professional e-learning resource to support destigmatisation of obesity among healthcare professionals.

Through our research we aim to contribute to improving healthcare for people with obesity by educating healthcare professionals.

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About the Programme

This is a Health Research Board of Ireland funded Applied Partnership Award (APA), awarded in 2023 for a two-year programme of research beginning March 2024 and ending February 2026.

Knowledge users and researchers together to conduct research that address a specific need within the Irish health or social care system.

This research recognises that obesity is a chronic progressive disease of enormous national and global significance. Weight stigmatisation results in significantly poorer overall treatment outcomes for people with obesity. Notably these poorer outcomes are associated with stigmatisation more so than obesity itself, highlighting the importance of tackling weight stigma and its causes amongst healthcare professionals.

The OSE4ALL programme seeks to support obesity destigmatisation in healthcare by co-designing an evidence-based e-learning resource for healthcare professionals in collaboration with people with obesity which will equip healthcare professionals, students and educators with knowledge and skills to recognise and address weight bias in healthcare and thereby improve patient care and outcomes for people living with obesity.

The OSE4ALL partnership includes people living with obesity as core partners, and senior interdisciplinary academics and clinicians from a range of backgrounds to provide an appropriate blend of expert programme management, knowledge and support to co-design an e-learning resource, and the opportunity to embed the resource in national graduate and undergraduate national curricula and continuing professional development.

This programme will develop a cost effective and easily accessible interdisciplinary e-learning resource which can equip healthcare professionals, students and educators with the necessary knowledge and skills to support effective care of people living with obesity.

It is supported by national partners, experienced interdisciplinary obesity academic researchers, clinicians, people living with obesity and educators.

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Meet the Team

Programme Management Board

  • Dr Jean O'Connell 
  • Dr Gráinne O’Donoghue 

Scientific Advisory Group / Public Patient Involvement 

  • Sarah Browne - UCD
  • Michael Crotty - GP
  • Karen Gaynor - HSE
  • Tracy Harrington - DCU
  • James Matthews - UCD
  • Deirdre O'Donnell - UCD
  • Leona Ryan - UCG
  • Fiona McGillicuddy - UCD
  • Susie Birney - ICPO


  • Sarah O'Brien - HSE
  • Donal O'Shea - HSE
  • Suzanne Seery - HSE
  • Sinead McMahon - UCD
  • Audrey Tierney - UL
  • Ita Fitzgerald - RCSI
  • Majella O'Keefe - UCC
  • Manigindan Chockalingam - UCG


(opens in a new window)https://asoi.info/

(opens in a new window)https://icpobesity.org/

(opens in a new window)https://www.hse.ie/eng/about/who/healthwellbeing/

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Contact Us

For all queries please contact:

Dr Gráinne O’Donoghue 

OSE4ALL Programme Manager    

(opens in a new window)grainne.odonoghue@ucd.ie


Dr Fiona Curran

OSE4ALL Project Manager

(opens in a new window)fiona.curran@ucd.ie

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UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science

University College Dublin Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 7777 | E: public.health@ucd.ie