About the Department of Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Prosthetics and Orthotics

The Department of Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Prosthetics and Orthotics is helping to optimise the health workforce, transform practice and enhance health and wellbeing for all.

Our education programs equip graduates with the competencies to register and work as physiotherapists, podiatrists, prosthetists and orthotists in our entry-to-practice degrees, and to extend these professional skills in our advanced clinical practice courses.

Our students learn from academics who are also experienced clinicians and researchers. They gain real world experience from professionals in the classroom and on clinical placement, where their knowledge is put into practice in one of our partner health settings.

The result: Our graduates make an impact in the communities they serve by improving health outcomes, promoting access to high quality healthcare, or undertaking research that achieves best practice and informs policy decisions.

Many of our graduates return to study with us to further their clinical practice. Our postgraduate research degrees and continuing professional development programs give health professionals the opportunity to upskill, reskill, advance into leadership roles, or pursue research.

Photo of Professor Jodie McClelland

We have teaching teams that deliver a fantastic student experience, a strong research program that’s internationally recognised, and our Higher Degree by Research students have an impressive track record.

Professor Jodie McClelland
Head, Department of Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Prosthetics and Orthotics

Future health professionals

Whether you are wanting to become a physiotherapist, podiatrist, prosthetist or orthotist, or are wanting to expand your clinical skills in musculoskeletal or sports physiotherapy, a La Trobe degree is the gateway to a rewarding career.

Our entry-to-practice courses equip graduates with the competencies and skills for safe and effective entry-level practice, and registration with the relevant accreditation body.

Our postgraduate courses offer extended learning in advanced clinical skills.

In all our courses, our academic staff bring the real world with them to the classroom. Many work in clinical practice and are internationally recognised for their clinical expertise.

This knowledge is augmented by our outstanding clinical placement program, where students work under the guidance of experienced professionals in hospitals, community clinics, private practices and sporting clubs, in Australia and internationally.

Find out more about our courses, our distinctive student experience and our facilities.

Transforming health and wellbeing

The Department of Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Prosthetics and Orthotics is comprised of a strong team of researchers, many of whom are experts in their field.

Our research is considered well above world standard by the Australian Research Council’s Excellence in Research for Australia.

We design and evaluate the effectiveness of clinical interventions. We also explore new and innovative ways to improve health outcomes, engage communities in activities that promote health and wellbeing, and develop effective teaching methods for the allied health professions.

Our research benefits a broad range of people including those with neurological conditions, disability, amputation, musculoskeletal or sporting injuries.

For those returning to further study, we have the experts that will help you to excel in research. Our Department has over 80 postgraduate students who undertake clinical research that promotes healthy living across the lifespan.

They are supervised by outstanding researchers and are mentored to publish their work in high quality journals. Many of our students are embedded in our prestigious research centres or work with collaborators in Australia and abroad.

Our research supports La Trobe’s research themes: Sustainable food and agriculture; Resilient environments and communities; Healthy people, families and communities; Understanding and preventing disease; and Social change and equity.

Our research is grouped into our three discipline areas:

Our researchers are working to improve the health and wellbeing of people with diverse needs including those with musculoskeletal conditions, sports injuries and neurological conditions.

Our researchers are working to improve the health and wellbeing of people living with conditions of the foot and ankle. Research spans epidemiology, prevention and management of foot conditions associated with chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis and diabetes, and sports injuries of the lower limb.

Our researchers aid decision-making and improve quality of life for those who use prostheses and orthotics. They have engaged end-users in research design to produce outcomes that are clinically-relevant, evidence-based and translated into practice.

Find out more about how our world class facilities lead to world class discoveries.

Research centres

Our staff play key roles in the Centre for Research Excellence in Aphasia Recovery and Rehabilitation; the La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre; and the Living with Disability Research Centre.

The Centre for Research Excellence in Aphasia Recovery and Rehabilitation is a National Health and Medical Research Council-funded centre that aims to transform the health and wellbeing of people with aphasia and their families. The Centre’s research program champions enhanced, cost-effective and sustainable interdisciplinary aphasia rehabilitation and community service.

Find out more about the Centre.

The La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre is a world-leading, collaborative centre for sport and exercise medicine research. The Centre’s research impacts on policy, clinical practice, activity participation, and health and wellbeing, in Australia and internationally. It translates research findings to key stakeholders including the international research community, health practitioners and the general public.

Find out more about the Centre.

The Living with Disability Research Centre conducts research to help improve practices, programs and policies that support the social inclusion of people with cognitive disabilities. The Centre’s research program focuses on building a robust evidence base for the disability sector, and the broader community, to address the complex and multifaceted problems facing people with cognitive disability, their families and carers.

Find out more about the Centre.

Academic and Research Collaborative in Health

Several of our academic staff are also members of La Trobe’s Academic and Research Collaborative in Health, which brings together academics, clinicians, consumers, healthcare professionals, health and social care agencies and policy makers skilled in the translation of interdisciplinary research.

The Academic and Research Collaborative in Health aims to improve the patient experience, patient outcomes, healthcare quality and safety, and to achieve best practice in service provision. Partners include Alfred Health, Austin Health, Eastern Health, Healthscope, Mercy Health, Northern Health, the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Women’s.

Find out more about the Collaborative.

Meet the Department's Leadership, and read our Statement of Strategic Intent.