Entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy

College of Health Sciences

Degree DPT, Doctor of Physical Therapy

Department Chair Susan P. Barker, PhD

Students are admitted at the first year and post-baccalaureate level to the doctor of physical therapy program. A student accepted at the first year level completes 6-1/2 years of study, resulting in a bachelor's degree and a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree. During the first 3-1/2 years, the student completes the requirements for a bachelor's degree in an area of the student's choice. Students accepted into the pre-DPT program at the first year level are guaranteed progression into the graduate DPT program, as long as academic criteria are met. A student accepted at the post-baccalaureate level completes 3 years of study, resulting in a DPT degree. The graduate DPT program is eight semesters in length.

The physical therapy program at Misericordia University received full accreditation status in 2010. Graduates of the program are eligible for licensure as physical therapists in the individual United States and territories. For additional information, contact the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education at 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria VA 22314-3245; (703) 706-3245; accreditation@apta.org.


It is the mission of the physical therapy education program at Misericordia University to provide professional physical therapy education opportunities and to help meet physical therapy health care needs.

The physical therapy program is committed to providing an education program which produces competent physical therapy practitioners who are critical thinkers and educated consumers of research and which prepares graduates for productive careers in physical therapy and as advocates for, and participants in, life long learning.

As an entry-level professional post baccalaureate program, the physical therapy curriculum reflects a commitment to the complementary relationship between liberal arts and professional studies which enables graduates to adapt to and deal with constantly evolving societal and professional needs.

The physical therapy program's commitment to providing quality physical therapy education expresses the founding Sisters' values and attitudes of justice, mercy, service and hospitality.


The physical therapy education program is based on the belief that graduates of entry-level physical therapy programs should possess the clinical decision making and problem solving skills which enable them to function as reflective practitioners in the contemporary, dynamic health care system. Physical therapists need to be sensitive to the needs of a culturally diverse society as evident in their interactions with clients, families, health care colleagues and the community in which they practice.

An educational program for physical therapists should reflect the concepts of androgogy (adult education) to include problem solving, critical thinking and analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and integration of theory and evidence in practice, clinical decision making, mentoring and self-directed learning.

Physical therapists should integrate the core values of the profession in all professional activities. While capable of autonomous practice, they should have the ability and desire to remain open to input from and collaboration with other health care professionals.

A physical therapy entry-level education program prepares physical therapy generalists but provides graduates with the tools which enable them to develop specialty expertise through the application of critical thinking and problem solving skills and a holistic approach to health care.

The academic and clinical faculty and the academic and clinical education environments must reflect and foster professional values and behaviors. The academic and clinical faculty and curriculum components must be inextricably linked for the provision of a professional education program that prepares competent health care practitioners.

A diverse faculty whose members have responsibilities and activities consistent with their areas of teaching and scholarly expertise strengthens and enhances a professional education program.


The goals of the entry-level DPT program are to prepare graduates to:

  1. Be prepared to practice as physical therapist generalists capable of contemporary, reflective, competent, legal, autonomous and ethical practice.
  2. Competently utilize and contribute to evidence for the validation and advancement of the art and science of physical therapy.
  3. Apply appropriate and effective teaching methods to educate others.
  4. Effectively communicate and interact with colleagues for the benefit of optimal service to clients.
  5. Respect and respond to individual differences in interactions with clients, families, colleagues and the community.