Course Outline

SPX411 Exercise in Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation

Course Coordinator:Grace Rose ( School:School of Health - Sports and Exercise Science

2024Session 1

UniSC Sunshine Coast

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


This course is required for final year students in the Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Science SC346 and Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology SC304 to prepare for clinical practice. You will add to your knowledge of musculoskeletal conditions and learn skills in physical examination, clinical assessment, exercise management, multidisciplinary care, and referral pathways for clients in varied care settings. You will read and apply research on musculoskeletal conditions to clinical decision-making, developing skills in evidence-based practice..

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Laboratory 1 – 3 week intensive, 5 days per week. 10hrs Week 2 3 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – 3 week intensive, 5 days per week. 15hrs Week 2 3 times

Course Topics

  • Scope of practice for clinical exercise physiologists in the musculoskeletal rehabilitation setting
  • Referral pathways and the allied health framework
  • Basic imaging
  • The Arthritides
  • Joint replacement surgeries and rehabilitation
  • Lower back pain  and regional pain syndromes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Aquatic and hydrotherapy
  • The ankle, knee and hip
  • The pelvis and spine
  • The elbow, wrist and hand
  • Physical examination and assessments for musculoskeletal conditions

What level is this course?

400 Level (Graduate)

Demonstrating coherence and breadth or depth of knowledge and skills. Independent application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Meeting professional requirements and AQF descriptors for the degree. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory or developing knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally undertaken in the third or fourth full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Explain the role, skills, and scope of practice of an exercise physiologist in musculoskeletal rehabilitation, multidisciplinary care, referral, and discharge within the Australian health system. Empowered
2 Apply knowledge in treatment and management of musculoskeletal conditions within the scope of practice of an exercise physiologist. Knowledgeable
3 Apply clinical decision making in order to undertake physical examination, clinical assessment, exercise management, suitable for musculoskeletal rehabilitation practice. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
4 Identify musculoskeletal signs and symptoms, and contraindications to exercise, for musculoskeletal rehabilitation, before, during and after exercise, and take appropriate action Knowledgeable
5 Access and apply scientific research and current clinical guidelines, to clinical decision-making in musculoskeletal exercise physiology practice. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Must have completed 288 units and SPX300, SPX302 and SPX306 and be enrolled in Program SC304 or SC346


You are required to take at least one 400 level clinical placement in the current academic year.


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

It is assumed that you will build upon your knowledge of musculoskeletal health, conditions, diseases, and management gained in 3rd year courses, and your skills in clinical history taking, record keeping, and evidence-based clinical decision making gained in practicums and specific clinical skills courses.

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Limited Grading (PNP)

Pass (PU), Fail (UF). All assessment tasks are required to be passed for successful completion of the course.

Details of early feedback on progress

This intensive course will provide resources and online self-managed assessments (quizzes, clinical reasoning scenarios) to provide early feedback prior to the start of the intensive and the census date. Students will also receive peer-to-peer feedback on a mock practical exam in week 2. All lecture / workshop material and class resources will be provided on LMS prior to the start of the intensive with the expectation that students will familiarise themselves with the material and self-assessments. Informal individual feedback from the Course Coordinator can be provided.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Examination - not Centrally Scheduled Individual
50 minutes
Week 4 In Class
All 2 Examination - not Centrally Scheduled Individual
120 minutes
Week 4 In Class
All - Assessment Task 1:Practical Examination
To demonstrate competency in physical examination, musculoskeletal assessments, signs and symptom identification, and exercise recommendations, using evidence-based practice and current guidelines. This task embeds demonstrated understanding of the clinical history, physical examination and exercise prescription required for clinical decision-making with a case study analysis of a musculoskeletal client. This examination will be of two of three regions of the body (lower limb, hip/pelvis/spine/trunk; upper limb).
Product: Examination - not Centrally Scheduled
You will perform physical examinations on a “client”, played by a student or volunteer, in response to an allocated case study of a client with musculoskeletal conditions in two regions of the body (hip/pelvis/spine/trunk, upper limb and/or lower limb). The examination will be in Week 4 of Session 1, Week 3 of the intensive. Your case study will be provided to you 1 hour before the exam to enable you to prepare, in consistency with authentic clinical practice. You are required to demonstrate your competency with assessment (e.g., palpation, observation, range of motion and muscular strength), and to demonstrate clinical reasoning with your recommendations of rehabilitation exercises.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Apply clinical reasoning and critical thinking to a case study scenario.
1 2 3 4 5
Demonstrate competency in conducting physical examination i.e. observation, palpation, range of motion, muscle strength and functional assessments.
2 3 4 5
Identify signs and symptoms, and contraindications to exercise.
2 3 4 5
Apply knowledge of the condition to review and gather evidence and information from scientific literature, including peer-reviewed research and current clinical guidelines or position stands, as part of the clinical decision-making process.
2 4 5
All - Assessment Task 2:Written Examination
To demonstrate critical knowledge of Exercise Physiologist scope of practice within the Australian health care system and a multi-disciplinary care framework; musculoskeletal pathophysiologies, signs, symptoms; medication effects; common surgeries; referral pathway; and contraindications to exercise.
Product: Examination - not Centrally Scheduled
Individual written examination. The exam will be a mixture of multiple choice and short-answer questions. This exam will be run in Week 4 of Session 1, Week 3 of the intensive, in class time.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Knowledge of the causes, characteristics, tissue loading and physiological and biochemical mechanisms contributing to musculoskeletal conditions
2 4 5
Knowledge of the EP scope of practice in the Australian health care system and a multi-disciplinary framework, and medical, surgical, pharmacological and allied health treatments of a range of musculoskeletal diseases and conditions.
1 2 5
Knowledge of signs, symptoms, relevant medications and contraindications of musculoskeletal conditions before, during and after exercise, and the selection of appropriate actions during rehabilitation
2 3 4 5
Application of knowledge of the specific mechanisms of action of differing modalities of rehabilitation exercises
2 3 4 5

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Required Mark Hutchinson,Peter Brukner,Karim Khan,Ben Clarsen,Paul McCrory,Ann Cools,Kay Crossley,Jill Cook,Roald Bahr 2017 BRUKNER & KHAN'S CLINICAL SPORTS MEDICINE: INJURIES, 5th edition McGraw-Hill Education / Australia
Required Hazel Clarkson 2019 Musculoskeletal Assessment 4 LWW

Specific requirements

Goniometers, small and medium; tape measure

How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Limited Graded Course:

This course will be graded as Pass in a Limited Grade Course (PU) or Fail in a Limited Grade Course (UF) as per clause 4.1.3 and 4.1.4 of the Grades and Grade Point Average (GPA) - Academic policy.

In a course eligible to use Limited Grades, all assessment items in that course are marked on a Pass/Fail basis and all assessment tasks are required to be passed for a student to successfully complete the course. Supplementary assessment is not available in courses using Limited Grades.

Assessment: Submission penalties

You must contact your Course Coordinator and provide the required documentation if you require an extension or alternate assessment. 
Refer to the Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs – Procedures 


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Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

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Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
  • Students with a Disability

For more information, visit

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