Dr. Nicola Spence

School of Health and Society

Photo of Dr. Nicola Spence

Contact Details

Allerton Room C713

Please email for an appointment.


Current positions

Programme Leader in MSc Advanced Physiotherapy


I have been a qualified physiotherapist for over 25 years and I still practice clinically to maintain my CPD and currency of my teaching. My areas of clinical practice are neurological rehabilitation and musculoskeletal physiotherapy.

 I have been an academic at Salford University for 20 years and in that time I attained my PGCE in Higher education and became a Fellow of the HEA and in 2018 I became a senior HEA fellow recognising my excellence in delivering the MSc Advanced Physiotherapy to our UK and International audience. 

I also enjoy research and following on from my undergraduate work I studied my MSc in Health Care practice and completed my dissertation in neurological outcome measurement in CVA in 2000. I later completed MRes modules to develop further my research skills and utlised this in my PhD which I studied part time over five years. My PhD was again in CVA and looked at quality of life measurement, which was successfully completed in 2010.  Since 2010 to the present day I maintain my research interest leading group projects related to outcome measurement, neurological stroke rehabilitation and Pilates for low back pain.

I annually supervise typically ten MSc students and PhD students. Past students have a good publication record in the relevant clinical journals to the topic selected and conference presentations.


Historically I have delivered sessions across health care professions to uni-professional and multi-professional groups. I frequently teach on the undergraduate physiotherapy programme across clinical skills sessions, assessment sessions for musculoskeletal joint assessments, research methods, neurology and counselling. At post graduate level I lead core modules on the MSc Advanced Physiotherapy Preparing for research in health (PRIH) I deliver the majority of this research module covering literature searching, critique, project planning, idea development, design, and analysis. I also module lead the Rehabilitation Strategies module (RS) this recently replaced the Neuroscience and neuro rehabilitation module (NSNR) within this module I  explore evolving interventions in neurology, strength training, neuroscience, clinical guidelines critique and student support. I am also module leader for the Research Project (RP) on the MSc which replaced our dissertation module in 2015. In the research project module I organise the group projects, supervision and deliver a taught research week to solve student project problems with design, statistics and literature searching.

Research Interests

I have a keen interest in systematic reviews and primary research in the area of physiotherapeutic practice evaluating clinical effectiveness. Regarding clinical effectiveness I have specific interest in neurological rehabilitation and musculoskeletal rehabilitation in exercise and its evaluation.

Qualifications and Memberships

I am a qualified physiotherapist since 1991 and an active HCPC, CSP & OCPPP member. In my experience as an academic I am a reviewer for three journals Chartered Society of Physiotherapy journal, the Journal of public health, and the Journal of Neuro-rehab and neurological repair.

In my teaching role I have a PGCE in HE from Bolton University in 1999 and I am a Higher Education Academy senior fellow. Member of Institute of Learning and teaching (ILT) since 2001. Winner of the VC teaching excellence award 2014

I have an MSc in health care practice 2000 and a PhD in Stroke and Quality of life measurement ‘Global quality of life measurement incorporating individual perspectives of stroke patients’ rehabilitation.’ 2010.