Edinburgh Napier strengthens allied health and social work provision with three new courses

Postgraduate courses in Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Physiotherapy officially launched

Date posted

5 December 2018


Edinburgh Napier has strengthened its provision of allied health and social work education with the launch of three new postgraduate courses. 

The University has announced it has enhanced its School of Health & Social Care’s offering with the addition of dedicated qualifying programmes in Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Physiotherapy. 

All three courses have been developed in collaboration with each other to help students prepare for work within the complex and rapidly evolving environment of health and social care. 

The programmes will welcome their first students from January 2019, with all three being taught from the University’s Sighthill campus. A number of collaborative modules will be shared across all three subjects, allowing students to gain a deeper understanding of the links between the roles.

Occupational Therapy

Across the two years, students will be introduced to the foundations of occupational therapy alongside acquiring critical knowledge of key issues withinKirstin James professional practice and theory. Taught subjects will include working within the context of health and social care, working with families and communities, risk enablement and complex critical decision-making, and leading innovations in health and social. 

Students will undertake four full-time, eight-week placements in the third trimester of each year amounting to more than 1000 hours of practice hours.

Edinburgh Napier’s link with occupational therapy stems back to the First World War when its Craiglockhart campus was used as a military hospital to treat officers affected by ‘shell shock’. The hospital was known for its ‘work cure’, elements of which can be traced to the development of occupational therapy as it is known today. 

The course will be led by Dr Kirstin James. Dr James was one of the first in the UK to study occupational therapy as a postgraduate. She has specific experience of people living with long-term conditions and urgent and emergency care. 


Similarly, physiotherapy students will initially gain an understanding of the foundation skills and theoretical knowledge which underpin physiotherapy practiceJane Hislop before developing skills in critical reflection and clinical reasoning. Taught subjects include working with families and communities, leading innovations in health and social care and optimising health and wellbeing through physical activity and exercise. 

Students will again benefit from four full-time, eight-week placements resulting in more than 1,000 hours of clinical practice. The course will be led by Dr Jane Hislop. Dr Hislop is an experienced clinician and academic and has previously taught at Glasgow Caledonian University and Queen Margaret Univeristy. Prior to joining Edinburgh Napier, Jane spent two years in California where she was a licensed physical therapist. 

Social Work

The social work programme will prepare students for the real world of social work within the areas ofPeter Yates children and families, criminal justice and adult social work. The legal and ethical context of social work within these areas will be explored and students will develop the key knowledge and skills required to involve people who have experienced adversity, abuse and other forms of social injustice in the assessment of their needs and in decision making around their support. 

Taught subjects will include negotiating the legal and ethical landscape of social work, research approaches within health and social care, risk, uncertainty and complex decision-making and leading innovation within health and social care. 

Students will benefit from one 17-week placement in the third trimester of each year. The course is led by Dr Peter Yates, a qualified social worker with more than ten years’ experience of child protection. He previously taught social work at the University of Edinburgh. 

Professor Tracy Humphrey, Dean of Edinburgh Napier’s School of Health & Social Care, said: “Health and social care services are transforming in response to growing demand and complexity. Most care is now delivered in multidisciplinary teams and we believe if we are going to work together, then we should be educated together. We have developed these exciting new programmes in response to these workforce needs. Our approach is unique in Scotland as much of the students’ learning will be undertaken together as well as learning about their own practice and gaining a sense of professional identity. We are building teams for the future, that will provide safe, effective and person-centred care.”

Study Allied Health & Social Work at Edinburgh Napier