Short courses


Respiration Through Life, Health and Disease

  • 45 hours
  • Self-directed online course


This online course for physiotherapists explores normal development and functioning of the respiratory system in health and disease. 

This course is run by UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (GOS ICH).

Course content

You'll learn about the normal development, anatomy and physiology of the respiratory system, including their application to some key respiratory conditions in their pathophysiology and presentation. This can guide assessment, examination and differential diagnosis.

This course will not look in detail at the management of respiratory conditions, although you can apply the understanding gained from this course to the reasoning of treatment strategies.

The aim is to provide you with a sound understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of the respiratory system.

Who this course is for

You'll need to be a qualified physiotherapist, with a degree in physiotherapy at least equivalent to a lower second class Bachelor's degree in the UK.

Teaching, structure and assessment

The course is delivered entirely online. You'll need to complete individual and group activities each week. You’ll also be encouraged to use the online forums to interact with other learners.

You'll access all learning materials and communicate with tutors and other learners via Moodle, the UCL virtual learning platform.

You can take it as:

  • a standalone short course for CPD purposes (with certificate of attendance)
  • a 'taster module' that allows you to earn UCL credits towards an MSc or diploma

The taster module will be assessed by an unseen two-hour written exam.

Find out more about the difference between physiotherapy short courses and taster modules on the GOS ICH website.


The fees are:

  • £900 - short course
  • £950 - taster module

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • explain normal development and functioning of the respiratory system and apply this to the development of early respiratory disorders
  • describe the pathophysiology of commonly occurring respiratory conditions
  • differentiate between the key factors involved in major respiratory diseases
  • interpret modern ideas on lung and airway functioning
  • analyse the control of respiration, at rest and during exercise
  • understand the principles involved in maintaining adequate lung and airway function when these are threatened by disease

Course team

Professor Eleanor Main

Professor Eleanor Main

Eleanor is Professor of Physiotherapy at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, and Course Director for the Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma and MSc in Physiotherapy. She’s also Honorary Clinical Scientist at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust and on the European Respiratory Society's physiotherapy task force 'Harmonised Education in Respiratory Medicine for European Specialists (HERMES)'.

Her research interests include paediatric physiotherapy interventions and clinical outcome measures, cardiorespiratory physiotherapy (including ICU and on-call services), and cystic fibrosis (including airway clearance and exercise, bronchiectasis, gait analysis and haemophilia).

Course information last modified: 30 Nov 2022, 16:00