School of Health Sciences & Education

Physical Therapy, DPT

 

Help Patients Live to Their Fullest Potential with a Degree in Physical Therapy from Saint Francis University


Physical therapists are evidence-based health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit movement and their ability to perform functional activities in their daily lives. The profession offers diverse career opportunities in a multitude of practice settings, including hospitals and outpatient clinics, sports rehabilitation centers, schools, senior communities, and home-care practice.

 

Offered: on-campus program with direct-entry and graduate admissions paths 

guaranteed placement into the doctoral program upon completion of the defined 3+3 or 4+3 undergraduate paths at SFU
100% employment rate within one year of graduation in clinics or private practice

state-of-the-art classroom, laboratory and clinical education space through the Health Sciences Experiential Learning Commons

The SFU LEARNING EXPERIENCE

Physical Therapy the Saint Francis Way

The doctor of physical therapy program provides you with an ethical education that will strengthen the emotional and moral challenges of a caring profession. As you progress through our curriculum, you will not only learn how to provide safe and quality care to patients but also develop a strong foundation in Franciscan ethics and values.

PT students in training

The PT Student Experience 

Throughout your time at SFU, you will cultivate your Physical Therapy skills, study in a clinical setting, connect with potential employers and develop who you wish to become. Upon graduating, you will have the skills it takes to be a Doctor of Physical Therapy and practice as a professional in the field.

 

  • Sharpen your skills in the DiSepio Institute for Rural Health and Wellness 
  • Graduate students participate in our C.A.R.E.Clinic (Community Access Rehabilitation for Everyone), which aims to provide free, high-quality, patient-specific rehabilitative care to all community members who do not have reasonable access to other services. 
  • Earn a bachelor of science degree in Exercise Physiology, building a foundation of anatomy, biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics, on your way to becoming a Doctor of Physical Therapy.
  • In your first year, you’ll have the opportunity to conduct research with renowned faculty and present your findings at physical therapy conferences around the country.

 

CURRICULUM & COURSES

What You’ll Learn in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program


Our Physical Therapy program provides evidence-based undergraduate, graduate, and post-professional education to advance professional practice and development.  Your education experience is built to meet the high standards set forth by theCommission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (capteonline.org)We strive to train physical therapy educators and researchers to lead the next generation of physical therapist clinicians in exceeding these standards. 

  • Degree Paths
  • Learning Objectives
  • Accreditation
  • Credentialing
  • Undergraduate Programs

    The Undergraduate PT path at Saint Francis has multiple ways to earn entry into the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program (DPT):

    • Accelerated 3+3 option, direct entry to DPT program
    • Traditional 4+3 option, direct entry to DPT program
    Degree Path Description Major Requirements Plan of Study

     


    Accelerated 3+3

    option

     

    B.S. in Health Science leading to Doctor of Physical Therapy


     Major Requirements


    Plan of Study

     

    Accelerated 3+3

    option

     

    B.S. in Health Science with Concentration in Healthcare Management leading to Doctor of Physical Therapy

     


    Plan of Study

    Accelerated 3+3

    option

    B.S. in Exercise Physiology leading to Doctor of Physical Therapy

    Major Requirements


    Plan of Study


    Traditional 4+3

    option


    B.S. in Exercise Physiology with Pre-Allied Health Concentration
     

    Major Requirements


    Plan of study

     


     

    Graduate Programs

    Eligible students holding an earned baccalaureate degree, with the necessary prerequisite coursework may be admitted to the three-year professional curriculum based on space availability.


     

    Post-Professional Opportunities

    NEW-Physical Therapy Residency Programs

    We are pleased to continue to grow our residency programs through partnerships with the regional community. These programs provide opportunities for regional physical therapists to advance their careers in the orthopaedic, pediatric, and sports physical therapy specialty areas with a focus on evidence-based practice.

  • Upon successful completion of the doctor of physical therapy program, you will be able to: 

    • Sit for the national physical therapy licensure examination;

    • Effectively care for patients with a broad array of needs, from wellness and prevention to those with complex or debilitating medical conditions; 

    • Provide evidence-based and patient centered care; 

    • Diagnose and treat movement dysfunction for patients of all ages and backgrounds.

  • Accreditation

    The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Saint Francis University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: (703)706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call (814)472-3123 or email physicaltherapydepartment@francis.edu

     

     

              Verify Status

  • Professional Licensure/Credentialing

    Physical therapists are licensed by individual states, but only need to take one national certification exam, the National Physical Therapy Licensure Examination (NPTE).  Taking the NPTE is an important step toward receiving your physical therapist (PT) license.

     

    In addition to the NPTE exam, sitting for the jurisprudence exam may be required.  Currently, a jurisprudence exam is required in twenty-nine states for PT licensure.  You should contact your licensing authority to ensure youFSBPT have the most recent, up-to-date information.

Undergraduate PT Admissions

  • Undergraduate PT Admissions
  • Progressions Standards
  • Admissions Requirements 

     

    Accelerated 3+3 leading to Doctor of Physical Therapy

     

    • SAT (CR and M)- 1,210 or higher OR ACT composite of 25 or higher
      • High School cumulative GPA 3.5 out of 4.0
      • Students must have taken the following minimum criteria in high school: 4 years science (including biology and chemistry, physics is recommended); 4 years of math reaching at least the level of pre-calculus, calculus is recommended; 4 years of English.
    • Test-Optional
      • High School cumulative GPA 3.7 out of 4.0
      • Students must have taken the following minimum criteria in high school: 4 yrs science (including biology and chemistry, physics); 4 years of math reaching at least the level of pre-calculus, calculus is recommended; 4 years of English.

     Traditional 4+3 leading to Doctor of Physical Therapy

    • SAT (CR and M)- 1,100 or higher OR ACT composite of 24 or higher
      • High School cumulative GPA 3.0 out of 4.0
      • Students must have taken the following minimum criteria in high school: 4 yrs science (including biology and chemistry, physics is recommended); 4 years of math reaching at least the level of college algebra, calculus is recommended; 4 years of English.
    • Test-Optional
      • High School cumulative GPA 3.2 out of 4.0
      • Students must have taken the following minimum criteria in high school: 4 yrs science (including biology and chemistry, physics recommended); 4 years of math reaching at least the level of pre-calculus, calculus is recommended; 4 years of English.

    Undergraduate program leading to Doctor of Physical Therapy Program (student completes undergrad degree with DPT prerequisites)

    • SAT (CR and M) – under 1,100
      • GPA – under 3.0
      • Meets minimum criteria for admissions related to the high school curriculum requirements
    • Test-Optional
      • GPA under 3.2 out of 4.0
      • Meets minimum criteria for admissions related to the high school curriculum requirements
         

    Other

    Students who do not meet either the above criteria, but who qualify for admission to the University, working with the Department of Physical Therapy, may select a major consistent with their academic profile.

     

    Visit the Course Catalog Major Requirements and scroll to the School of Health Sciences and Education to view degree requirements.

     

  • Progression Standards

    Failure to meet the progression standards will result in dismissal from the major.

Graduate PT Admissions

  • Graduate PT Admissions
  • Progression Standard
  • Articulation Agreements
  • Prerequisite Coursework
  • Individuals holding an earned baccalaureate degree with the necessary prerequisite coursework are eligible for admission to the three-year professional curriculum based on space availability and quality of the applicant. The application deadline is January 15.

     

    Admissions Requirements

    Applicants for Graduate Admission are required to submit the following to the Department of Physical Therapy in order to be considered for admission:

    • Official transcript from each college/university attended indicating a minimum 3.200 overall QPA and an earned bachelor’s degree
    • A 3.200 minimum math/science QPA (based on the prerequisite math and science courses)
    • Completed prerequisite (or equivalent) coursework; 12 credits of biology, 8 of which must be anatomy and physiology; 8 credits of chemistry with labs; 8 credits of physics with labs; 4 credits of exercise physiology; 3 credits of statistics and 9 credits of psychology. 
    • Current semester grades upon completion (if presently enrolled)
    • Three professional recommendations (two from physical therapists).
    • Brief (300 words or less) typed response to “Describe your personal characteristics that you believe will lead you to success in the physical therapy profession.”
    • Eighty (80) hours of documented experience between two (2) different physical therapy practice settings (i.e., inpatient, outpatient, rehab, etc.).
    • All international students must send official transcripts to WES and submitted through PTCAS to have transcripts converted to the United States academic scale.

    Department Contact: Cassidy Platt, Graduate Admissions Coordinator

    cplatt@francis.edu

    814-472-2764

  • Progression Standards

    Failure to meet the progression standards will result in dismissal from the major.

  • Articulation Agreements

     

    We have an articulation agreement with the following schools. If you are enrolled in one of these schools please contact them for details.

     

    Saint Bonaventure University

    Saint Bonaventure, New York

    https://www.sbu.edu/

     

    Our Lady of Holy Cross College

    New Orleans, Louisiana

    https://www.uhcno.edu/

     

    James Madison University

    Harrisonburg, Virginia

  • The following prerequisite (or equivalent) coursework is required:

     

    Prerequisite            Credits     Description

    General Biology (w/lab)
    4
    One course offered by a Biology Department that includes a laboratory portion.
    Anatomy & Physiology (w/lab)
    8
    A two-course sequence (with labs) addressing the structure and function of the human mammalian body studied at the cellular, tissue, and organ level of organization. Invertebrate Anatomy& Physiology is not acceptable.
    Exercise Physiology (w/lab)
    4
    The study of the normal physiological responses to, and the recovery from acute and chronic exercise stresses in the trained and untrained individual. A lab component is required.
    Chemistry (w/lab)
    8
    A two-course introductory sequence (with labs) that covers basic concepts, theories and application of chemistry.
    Physics (w/lab)
    8
    A two-course sequence (with labs) that covers fundamentals of physics, classical and modern, including mechanics, heat, light, electricity, magnetism, and modern physics.
    Statistics
    3
    A course which covers the collection, presentation, analysis and interpretation of data.
    Introductory Psychology
    3
    A foundational course which covers the major areas of study within psychology.
    Psychology
    6
    Two courses that examine specific areas of psychological theory and practice. Such courses Include: Sensation and Perception; Learning; Abnormal Psychology; Cognition; Physiological Psychology; and Developmental Psychology.

Accreditation

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Saint Francis University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100 | Alexandria, VA | 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: www.capteonline.org

 

If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call

814-472-3123 or email physicaltherapydepartment@francis.edu.

 

Saint Francis University physical therapy graduates are eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Licensure Examination. Licensure is required to practice.

 

  • Student Outcomes
  • Essential Functions of the PT Student
  • Progression Standards
  • Student Outcomes

     

    SFU First Time Pass Rate: Ultimate Pass Rate:
    Year SFU Average National Average Year SFU Average National Average
    2 Year Average 2020-2021 93% 91% 2 Year Average 2020-2021 100% 94%
    2021 90% 88.4% 2021 100% 95.4%
    2020 96% 93% 2020 96% 93%
    2019 100% 91% 2019 100% 94%
    2018 100% 92% 2018 100% 94%

     

     

    Graduation Rate:

    Class year Graduation Rate (%)
    2 Year Average 2019-2020 - 94.2%
    2020 96.3%
    2019 92.1%
    2018 86.7%


    Employment:

    100% for the 2019 and 2020 academic years. 100% placement is reported by our alumni who have completed a survey 1 year after graduation.

  • Essential Functions of the PT Student

    PDF

  • Progression Standards

    Pre-Professional Curriculum

    All physical therapy majors in the three-year pre-professional curriculum must meet the following academic requirements prior to the summer of the fourth year of study in order to have a guaranteed seat in the professional curriculum.  

    • Must maintain an overall cumulative QPA of 3.20 or higher  
      • The overall cumulative QPA will be reviewed at the end of each year of the pre-professional curriculum to assess progress towards the attainment of entrance requirements for the professional phase of the program.  
      • QPA’s are evaluated as reported by the student’s Saint Francis University transcript.  Transfer credits are accepted but not included in the QPA calculation.  
    • Must maintain a cumulative QPA of 3.20 or higher in all prerequisite courses. Grades below a  “C” are not accepted. The student may, prior to the end of the spring semester of the junior  year, retake up to two courses one time to achieve the minimum grade of “C.” 
      • Cumulative and pre-requisite QPA will be reviewed at the end of the junior year. QPA’s are evaluated as reported by the student’s transcript. 
      • QPA’s are evaluated as reported by the student’s Saint Francis University transcript.  Transfer credits are accepted but not included in the QPA calculation.  
    • Prior to the fall semester of the junior year, 80 hours of documented volunteer experience or paid employment in two different physical therapy practice settings. 
    • Completion of the pre-professional curriculum in 3 consecutive years. 

    Students who do not achieve the required progression standards at the time for matriculation into the professional program will be dismissed from the 3+3 program and transferred into the 4 +3 program. 

    A student dismissed from the Physical Therapy major should contact the Office of Advising and Retention to select another major. A seat in the professional curriculum of the physical therapy major is not guaranteed for a student who does not meet these progression standards.

    Any student dismissed from the physical therapy major may apply for readmission according to the Physical Therapy Department Internal Transfer Policy or as a graduate admission.

    *The cumulative math/science QPA is based on courses taken at SFU; BIOL 111, 205, 206, CHEM 113, 114, EXPH 305, PHYS 104,105, STAT 205.

     

    Professional Curriculum


    All physical therapy majors in the three-year professional curriculum must meet the following academic requirements. Failure to meet the progression standards will result in dismissal from the major.

    • Achieve a minimum QPA of 3.000 each semester of the professional curriculum.
    • No more than one grade below “B” per semester.
    • No more than three grades below “B” permitted in the professional curriculum.
    • A minimum grade of “C” in any major course.
    • Achieve competency on all lab exams as per department policy.
    • Pass all clinical education courses.
    • Perform essential functions, with or without reasonable accommodations, while practicing safely, ethically, and in a legal manner.
    • Meet professional behaviors standards.
    • Prior to advancing to the next semester the requirements for the Professional Development Portfolio must be satisfactorily completed.

Experienced PT faculty who love to teach

Our committed, dynamic, and diverse faculty offers personalized attention to students that assist them in acquiring the knowledge, skills, and professional demeanor of a caring and compassionate health care provider.   The full-time faculty consists of three doctorly prepared individuals and four who are completing terminal doctoral degrees.  The faculty includes one pediatric, two neurology, two geriatric, two orthopedic, and one sports certified specialists.  The full-time faculty is complemented by the work of several adjunct faculty.

 

Interim Department Chair: Dr. Jessica Cammarata, jcammarata@francis.edu

814-472-3851

Career Outlook in Physical Therapy

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that the employment of Physical Therapists will grow 21% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. Additionally, Physical Therapists will be needed to treat people with mobility issues from injury, surgery, or chronic conditions. 

 

 Salary Potential: $91,010 (2020 Median pay)

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Physical Therapy and Saint Francis University

  • What are the progression standards in the pre-professional and professional curriculum?

    All physical therapy majors in the three-year pre-professional curriculum must meet the following academic requirements in order to have a guaranteed seat in the professional curriculum. Failure to meet the progression standards will result in dismissal from the major. This includes all majors/concentrations leading to the Doctor of Physical Therapy approved by the University.

     

    1. Before the beginning of the sophomore year the student must achieve a minimum overall cumulative QPA of 2.750 and a minimum cumulative math/science QPA of 2.750. Failure to achieve these QPAs will result in Department Academic Warning. *
    2. Before the beginning of the junior year the student must achieve a minimum overall cumulative QPA of 3.000 and a minimum cumulative math/science QPA of 3.000. Failure to achieve these QPAs will result in dismissal from the major. *
    3. At the end of the spring semester of the junior year, the student must achieve a minimum overall cumulative QPA of 3.200 and a minimum cumulative math/science QPA of 3.200. Failure to achieve these QPAs will result in dismissal from the major. *
    4. Prior to the fall semester of the junior year, 80 hours of documented volunteer experience or paid employment in two different physical therapy practice settings.
    5. A minimum grade of“C” in all major and collateral requirements.
      • If student earns a grade below a “C” in a major or collateral course, the student may, prior to the end of the spring semester of the junior year, retake the class one time to achieve the minimum grade of “C.”
    6. Completion of the pre-professional curriculum in 3 consecutive years.

     

    A student dismissed from the Physical Therapy major should contact the Office of Advising and Retention to select another major. A seat in the professional curriculum of the physical therapy major is not guaranteed for a student who does not meet these progression standards.

     

    Any student dismissed from the physical therapy major may apply for readmission according to the Physical Therapy Department Internal Transfer Policy or as a graduate admission.

     

    *The cumulative math/science QPA is based on courses taken at SFU; BIOL 111, 205, 206, CHEM 113, 114, EXPH 305, PHYS 104,105, STAT 205.

     

     

    • Do I need to re-apply to enter the Physical Therapy Graduate Program as a 3+3 student?

      No. you’ll have guaranteed placement into the doctor program if you complete your undergrad here at Saint Francis in good standing and meet admission requirements.