DPT Program Overview
The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program provides the required education necessary for graduates to take the professional license examination and embark on a professional career in physical therapy.
The program embodies a strong foundational background in the biological, kinesiological and behavioral sciences, incorporation of principles of logical and scientific reasoning throughout the curriculum, and the philosophy that the practice of physical therapy is empowered by the collaborative efforts of the team, ensuring a partnership of people working towards a common goal.
The DPT Degree
The DPT is the degree endorsed by the American Physical Therapy Association. The DPT graduate possesses clinical competence consistent with the preferred outcomes of evidence-based practice and is prepared for collaborative practice, capable of evaluation and treatment without the need for referral from another practitioner, but ready to work in collaboration with members of the health care team.
The DPT Curriculum
The curriculum is an eight (8)-semester plan of study, which incorporates 32 weeks of full-time clinical internship and several weeks of integrated part-time clinical experiences. The students are awarded the DPT degree after completing 113 credit hours of professional course work.
The curriculum had been established along three basic educational principles that are instilled in the philosophy and mission of the program. First, it is necessary that a strong basic science background in the biological, kinesiological, and behavioral sciences be established as the foundation upon which the curriculum is developed. Secondly, incorporation of principles underlying logical reasoning and the scientific method shall be woven throughout all aspects of the curriculum. These principles shall be implicitly stated in the faculty’s behavior as role models through their incorporation of their research and clinical practice experiences in the classroom setting. Thirdly, students will recognize that the practice of physical therapy is empowered by the collaborative efforts of the team, ensuring a partnership of people working toward a common goal. This principle is instilled in the students throughout the content of the curriculum and is exemplified by the faculty’s collaborative teaching and research efforts.
Ranking and Accreditation
The Department is ranked tenth in the nation for AAU Public Universities by U.S. News and World Report.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Florida is accredited by the The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org. UF DPT has been accredited since 1960. The next CAPTE on-site review is scheduled for 2023.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accredits the University of Florida and all of its programs.
- The program was established in 1958 to educate physical therapists at the undergraduate level.
- In 1997 the program was approved to offer the Entry-Level MPT program.
- In March 2005, the Florida Board of Governors approved the Entry-Level DPT program.
The Department maintains contracts with over 250 clinical facilities all over the US. Entry-level DPT students spend a total of 32 weeks in full-time clinical education experiences over their three-year curriculum.
The Department’s faculty is nationally known for their areas of expertise and present regularly at national and international scientific meetings. The faculty had over 65 manuscripts published in refereed journals in the past year. Several faculty members have achieved awards for teaching and research.
Cutting Edge Research
The faculty conducts research in the areas of muscle degeneration/regeneration, activity-dependent plasticity after spinal cord injury and stroke, pain management, knee stability after acute anterior cruciate ligament injury, biomechanical and neurophysiological principles related to coordination of lower limb function in persons with post-stroke hemiparesis, motor behavior problems of the elderly, respiratory conditioning post lung transplant and for ventilator-dependent persons, biopsychosocial models for prevention and treatment of disability from spine pain, and neuroplasticity of the brain and spinal cord as it influences respiratory muscles.
The Department receives external funding of over $5,000,000 per year from foundations and federal funding agencies, including NIH.
Excellent Facilities for Teaching and Research
The Department of Physical Therapy is housed in the Public Health & Health Professions, Nursing, and Pharmacy Building. The facility has state-of-the-art classrooms, conference rooms, offices, and collaborative spaces for students. In 2014, the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program obtained an additional teaching laboratory. The new lab contains state of the art audiovisual equipment to enhance the student learning experience. The space also houses the student-run Equal Access Clinic. All classroom and lab spaces are equipped with wireless capabilities for easy access to the internet anywhere.
The Department manages fourteen research laboratories on the University of Florida campus. In addition, faculty takes advantage of the resources and equipment housed in centers that are closely integrated with the program, such as the VA Brain Rehabilitation Research Center of Excellence (VA BRRC), McKnight Brain Institute, Brooks Rehabilitation, the Powell Gene Therapy Center and the Institute on Aging.