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Doctorate Degree In Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy at the University of Utah

Our program in physical therapy has been preparing students to be highly competent and compassionate professionals for over 50 years. We take pride in bringing together the most advanced educational philosophies and the most current research together with the finest faculty to create an effective and supportive learning environment. Proof of our success is the fact that we have a 99% first-time pass rate on the national licensure examination.

Program Chair and Director: Dr. Lee Dibble, PT, PhD, ATC, FAPTA

One Program, Three Options

The University of Utah Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program now offers two residential options and planning is under way to offer a Hybrid option in Summer 2023 pending CAPTE approval. Admissions, prerequisites, and application requirements for each option are identical. 

    The Hybrid Option will provide the unique opportunity for students to earn a DPT degree from the University of Utah without having to relocate. Didactic coursework will be conducted through a layered learning model which includes engaging asynchronous content, live online sessions, and two in-person immersions per semester. Immersions will take place on the Salt Lake City Campus and are required. Clinical experiences will take place in students' communities, which empowers students to learn in an intimate and innovative atmosphere while staying close to home.

    The Hybrid Option is accepting applications for students to begin in May 2023. Hybrid applicants are required to submit a PTCAS application for the Hybrid option specifically, listed under University of Utah - Hybrid Option. All other application requirements remain the same. 

    While our Salt Lake City Residential DPT degree program has been accredited for many years, the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) approval for the Hybrid Option is pending and anticipated by December 2022. 

    The Salt Lake City campus is nestled next to the Wasatch mountains and is within minutes of nearby hiking trails, ski resorts, and mountain biking trails. Salt Lake City is the birthplace of our DPT program. Students in Salt Lake City receive didactic coursework in-person via video conferencing technology with the St. George campus. 

    Applicants can apply by indicating campus choice on our PTCAS application - University of Utah - Residential Option.

    Located on the Utah Tech University (UTU) campus, St. George offers state of the art facilities, student services provided by the University of Utah and UTU, and close proximity to several National Parks. Didactic coursework is in-person conducted via video conferencing technology with the Salt Lake City campus. 

    The St. George option was approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) in May 2022. Our first cohort of St. George students began in June 2022. Applicants can apply by indicating campus choice on our PTCAS application - University of Utah - Residential Option.

    3:52 video explaining the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.

    History

    The University

    The University of Utah is the state’s oldest and largest institution of higher education and is a major research university. The U offers over 100 undergraduate and more than 90 graduate degree programs to over 31,000 students. The University of Utah is one of the state’s largest employers and is ranked as one of the top public research universities in the nation. The University of Utah is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges and was last accredited in 2018.

    The Physical Therapy Program

    The physical therapy program at the University of Utah has a long-standing tradition of excellence dating back to the admission of its first class in 1969. This makes the University of Utah program in physical therapy one of the oldest in the region. The Department of Physical Therapy is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

    The current DPT program at the University of Utah reflects the breadth, depth, and necessary rigor of the professional physical therapist education curriculum in response to the current and expected future health care environment. This health care environment includes an enhanced role and higher expectations of the physical therapist, including a commitment to evidence-based physical therapy services and patient care. These skills must be achieved by the completion of an entry-level professional program, which is the outcome expected of our students upon completion of the DPT.

    Mission

    The mission of the University of Utah is to foster student success by preparing students from diverse backgrounds for lives of impact as leaders and citizens. Further, we seek to generate and share new knowledge, discoveries, and innovations, and engage with local and global communities to promote education, health, and quality of life. 

    The DPT program mission is aligned with the University mission and includes three primary objectives:

    1. Address the health care needs for physical therapy of the community, state, and region by educating physical therapy practitioners;
    2. Investigate, discover and transmit knowledge related to physical therapy;
    3. Provide services to the academic, professional, and general communities in which the Department is involved.

    We regard physical therapy as a health care profession that has as its primary purpose the promotion of human health and function through the application of scientific principles to identify, assess, correct, prevent, or alleviate acute or prolonged human impairment, functional limitation, and disability.

     

    Vision

    The faculty believes that physical therapy education represents the initial commitment to professional service and life-long learning. Professional preparation should be based upon a liberal education in sciences and humanities which serves to develop the values necessary to function effectively and humanely in an ever-changing society.

    The professional component of the curriculum must address both current trends and future needs of society. Students must be prepared not only for a current level of practice but also be prepared to adapt to future changes throughout their career. The professional curriculum should prepare students to be confident in the multifaceted roles of clinical practitioner, teacher, researcher, consultant, administrator, and life-long learner.

    The fundamental beliefs of the faculty are reflected in the curricular content of the proposed program. They align with the University of Utah's primary mission, which includes creating an environment where the highest standards of scholarship and professional practice are observed, and where the responsibilities to students are conscientiously met.

    Values

    Collaboration Compassion Excellence Inclusivity & Belonging
    Innovation Respect Social Responsibility Wellness

    Our values inform all of the activities in our Department, including our teaching philosophy and practices and our expectations of students. 

    The Physical Therapy Profession

    Physical therapy is “the science of healing and the art of caring”. It combines a solid knowledge of human anatomy with compassionate, individualized care. Physical therapists work with individuals of all ages to improve their health and functional performance: infants with birth defects; youth athletes who want to maximize their performance; seniors with arthritis, people with MS, etc. PTs examine each individual and diagnose the movement dysfunction. Then, PTs develop a treatment plan using techniques to promote the ability to move, to reduce pain, and to restore function.

    A physical therapist needs to be patient, motivating and compassionate. PTs work with a variety of individuals—many of whom are in pain or who want to see immediate results. PTs are teachers—they need to clearly explain different techniques and exercises to patients so the patient can continue to perform at home. PTs make a positive difference in people’s lives.

    Career Earnings & Future

    Current salary information can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics - Occupational Outlook Handbook. Physical Therapy has been named as one of the nation's 150 best recession-proof jobs. Physical Therapist ranks in CNN Money's 2013 Top 100 Jobs in America, and PT is included in their 10 Booming Jobs, with the growth over the next 10 years at 30%. The Department of Workforce Services of Utah gives Physical Therapy a 5 Star Rating.

    Professional Associations for Physical Therapists

    The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is the professional organization for physical therapists. You can access career information, education options, current professional issues, employment opportunities and much more by visiting their website. You can also access information about physical therapy from the patient’s perspective by visiting the APTA consumer site, Move Forward.

    The Utah Physical Therapy Association is the state physical therapy organization. Click here to learn more about physical therapy in the state of Utah.

    Prospective Students

    General PT Information Sessions 

    The University of Utah Physical Therapy Department hosts general information sessions each month to provide information on physical therapy as a career; pre-requisites necessary for application to the program; and admission procedures. Most prospective students find their questions are answered during a session. All are welcome to attend.

    Click here to see dates and times for upcoming Information Sessions 

    You can also find information for prerequisites, application instructions, and admissions information by browsing our website.

    Pre-PT Club

    The Pre-Physical Therapy (Pre-PT) Club is a student-run organization with quasi-affiliation with the Department of Physical Therapy. Membership in the Pre-PT Club promotes camaraderie between persons interested in pursuing a career in physical therapy and provides opportunities for members to learn about the profession. The Club acts as a voice for physical therapy on campus, promotes interest in physical therapy and provides service to the community. Meetings are for members only; there is a one-time membership fee. The club is open to anyone interested in physical therapy.

    For questions, email us or visit our Facebook page.