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Students getting hands on qualifications

Want to be a physiotherapist? You might need to wait in line to get the qualifications.

As 85,000 students across the ACT and NSW receive their main round university offers online from 9pm Wednesday, a lucky 60 have scored a place in one of the ACT's most popular degrees: physiotherapy.

Convenor of the new Bachelor of Physiotherapy at the University of Canberra, Dr Jennie Scarvell, demonstrates techniques with masters student, Kirsty Bernau while 2013 student, Alexandra Long watches on.

Convenor of the new Bachelor of Physiotherapy at the University of Canberra, Dr Jennie Scarvell, demonstrates techniques with masters student, Kirsty Bernau while 2013 student, Alexandra Long watches on. Photo: Rohan Thomson

The University of Canberra will introduce the bachelor's degree this year following strong demand for places in the master program and requests from students for an undergraduate program.

But with just under 60 places available, the UC was overwhelmed by 200 applications and the entry cut-off has jumped from 88 to 93 as a result.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Nick Klomp said the UC's focus on running courses that responded to student demand allowed it to attract some of the best year 12 achievers across the ACT.

One student who has been accepted into physiotherapy had an ATAR of 99.5 and could have chosen any course in any university across the country.

For 20-year-old Alexandra Long, who has also scored a place and has an ATAR of 98.15, the four-year degree will allow her to combine her interest in health science with a practical and “hands-on” qualification.

According to course convener Dr Jennie Scarvell, every masters graduate receives a job offer – usually six months before they complete the course.

"We can't seem to meet the demand for physios ... All our graduates are usually employed by May when they don't graduate until September,” she said.

Final year masters student Kirsty Bernau already has a position in a private physiotherapy practice confirmed when she completes her degree later this year.

Ms Long said it was reassuring to know demand for her skills would be high once she graduated.

Other new courses to begin at the UC this year include a Bachelor of Pharmacy, Bachelor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Bachelor of Gender and Diversity.

Courses receiving the most offers include education, nursing, psychology, architecture, sport coaching, design and arts.

UC will make around 1600 main round offers, which is on par with last year. But when all rounds are finished it expects overall growth in enrolments to reach 4.7 per cent.

The Universities Admissions Centre reports this year's main round is smaller than last, but said this was probably the result of universities competitively increasing their early offers.

While main round offers are down by 3184 on last year, total offers so far are up by about to 72,089, compared with 70,186 last year. Late round offers are still to be made.

UAC attributed the numbers to “many universities ... still looking to grow in the wake of the removal of student caps, and some have made those additional offers in the early offer rounds before main round”.

ANU made 249 offers in the December round, 936 offers in the early January round and will make 1667 offers in the main round - just one more than last year.

It is expecting overall growth to be capped at 3 per cent this year after late offers are made.

The ANU's new courses include a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics, which attracted 53 first preference applications. The vertical degrees that combine bachelor and masters degrees in condensed form have attracted more than 150 preferences with 65 places offered so far.

There was a 30 per cent increase in first preference applications for the Bachelor of Philosophy in Science as well as the Bachelor of International Relations/Bachelor of Law double degree.

Cut-offs remain the same at 80 for a Bachelor of Arts or Science, 96 for Law and 99 for the Bachelor of Philosophy in Science and the Bachelor of Engineering (Research and Development).

Main round offers as well as details of course vacancies for the late round are available here.

To be included in the late round, applications must be submitted to UAC by Friday, January 18.

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