Master of Physical Therapy-North

The UBC Master of Physical Therapy Program (MPT) is the only fully distributed, entry-to-practice Physical Therapy program in British Columbia. The MPT Program offers students the opportunity to study at multiple sites.

The Master in Physical Therapy- North (MPT-N), delivered in collaboration with UNBC, allows 20 of the 140 MPT students accepted each year to complete their academic and clinical learning with a focus on northern, rural and remote communities many of which, in BC, are experiencing a shortage of Physical Therapists. One important focus of the MPT-North is to graduate Physical Therapists who are committed to enhancing rehabilitation services in northern and rural areas.

The MPT Program’s fully distributed model of learning uses technology that allows instructors and students to interact in real time at multiple locations. All MPT students complete the same curriculum at the same time, regardless of site. Distributed learning is a well-established model used by health profession programs across the country. There are significant advantages to distributed learning, such as:

• access to expertise from across the province;
• learning through both an urban and rural lens;
• smaller class sizes;
• unique placement opportunities in northern and rural regions.

The MPT program is delivered using an advanced system of high-definition videoconferencing technology. Classes may be delivered from distributed sites depending on where the instructor who is teaching the class is located. Students from all sites are able to ask instructors questions and interact with each other in real-time through video conferencing equipment. Clinical skills or classes that require group work are delivered by local faculty, instructors and Clinical Skills Assistants (CSA). Clinical Skills Assistants are usually practicing healthcare professionals within the community. This blended approach to education and training applies to all students in the program.

The MPT-N Program is taught at the UNBC campus in Prince George. Prince George is Northern BC’s largest city with an active cultural community and great opportunities for outdoor pursuits. The teaching and learning facilities at UNBC are modern and state-of-the-art spaces. These facilities feature a plinth lab and lecture theatre with videoconferencing technology, as well as breakout rooms and study space for students.

With UNBC as the clinical education hub of the MPT-North, students will experience a wide variety of clinical settings in both public and private sectors with the potential to participate in innovative projects and novel clinical experiences. Clinical learning for students takes place in communities across the province, however, for MPT-North students, there is a focus on clinical sites within the Northern Health Authority, or sites across the province that are designated as rural. Rural sites are typically small towns at a considerable distance from urban centers. The actual location of clinical learning sites will vary each year.

MPT-North Frequently Asked Questions

 Here is what a few of the students had to say about their experience in the MPT-North cohort.

Growing up surrounded by sport led me to be exposed to all sorts of sport-related occupations – sports psychologists, physiotherapists, athletic therapists, and coaches. I set a goal in middle school to become a physical therapist. Though my mind changed many times along the way, I found myself back at square one, which is right where I belong. Read more

It has been an amazing experience so far. Being from the North and gaining experience in these communities was the ideal learning situation. I am honoured to be able to perform my schooling close to home, and in the area that I plan on working post-graduation. The leads up North (David Anekwe and Robin Roots) and the clinical skills assistants have been very supportive and informative. Read more

Having worked as a Kinesiologist for the past 2.5 years, it has been a process of remembering how to be a student again. The hardest part by far has been adapting to schooling during a pandemic, but the amount of in-person sessions has helped to ease this transition. I feel that both my work and undergraduate experiences have done a tremendous job preparing me for the content of a fast-paced first year! Read more

My experience so far in the MPT-North program has been incredible. For the first time ever I experienced moving to a new city, seeing moose and deer, and riding on logging roads. Being a physical therapy student is a lot of hard work but it is a gratifying experience, and the support we have for one another in the cohort and on campus is amazing. Read more