The Northern and Rural Cohort

The Northern and Rural Cohort (NRC) of the UBC MPT program is a provincially funded initiative developed in partnership with the University of Northern British Columbia. The aim of the NRC initiative is to increase recruitment and retention of physiotherapists to northern and rural areas where there is a significant shortage of PTs.


Through an admissions process designed for students who are from northern or rural areas or who are interested in working in those areas, 20 of the 80 MPT student cohort complete four out of their six clinical placements in northern and rural communities. Following Level 1 placements, NRC complete an academic block at UNBC in Prince George using distributed education technology.

With UNBC as the clinical education hub of the NRC, northern and rural placements sites are supported through local preceptor training, increased student support, and the development of innovative clinical education models designed to increase the number of student placements, and in turn enhance rehabilitation services in northern and rural areas.

Our NRC cohort is part of our class of 80 students and receives their training at UBC. It is only when they go out on their clinical placements that they will spend the bulk of the time in Northern and Rural communities.

Health Authority regions in British Columbia

 How do we define Northern and Rural?

Northern refers to: any community within the region of the Northern Health Authority.

Rural refers to:

  • Vancouver Coastal Health: Communities north of Whistler as well as the Central Coast (e.g., Bella Coola), Sechelt and Powell River
  • Fraser Health: Hope
  • Northern Health: All locations except Prince George (however Prince George is considered “Northern,” as above)
  • Vancouver Island Health Authority: All locations north of Campbell River, as well as Port Alberni
  • Interior Health: All locations except Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton, and Kamloops
  • The Yukon is also considered Rural

Click here for more information on applying to the MPT program as part of the Northern and Rural Cohort.

If you are a Northern or Rural physiotherapist and are interested in finding out more about our placement models – or would like to take a student on placement – please contact Robin Roots, Coordinator of Clinical Education, NRC.

The Northern and Rural Cohort initiative is funded by the Government of British Columbia in partnership with: