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dptDoctor of Physical Therapy

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree is a professional doctorate. The transition from the Master of Physical Therapy degree to a professional doctorate was made to better prepare physical therapists for practice in an evolving health care environment. The physical therapist's expertise in movement and movement dysfunction is unique in health care. The educational needs of physical therapists have increased as their societal and health care roles and responsibilities have grown to that of an independent practitioner.



DPT Curriculum at Emory

Students in the Division of Physical Therapy at Emory earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. The program of study is thirty-five months in length commencing in June and ending three years later in May. For all degree programs, the majority of credits required for graduation must be earned in the School of Medicine at Emory University. During the first two semesters, students study the normal structure and function of the human body and principles of movement science across the life span. Beginning the third semester, study of pathophysiology and disease processes is integrated with clinical problem solving in concurrent courses. Following General Medical Conditions (Spring semester, year-1), Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation (Summer, year-2) and Adult Neurorehabilitation and Pediatric Rehabilitation (Fall, year-2), students go into the clinic for 2 weeks to observe and participate in the care of clients demonstrating symptoms and conditions studied in the classroom. Before students are awarded their degrees, they must successfully complete 30 weeks of full time clinical internship at sites which represent the diverse environments in which physical therapists practice. Three full-time internships, each 10 weeks long, occur in the second and third years. Emory students choose from selected clinical education sites in the metropolitan Atlanta area and greater Georgia, as well as outstanding facilities around the nation. During the last year of study, students return to Emory to complete a research project, and choose from advanced elective courses in areas of individual interest. After graduation, all physical therapists must take a state licensure examination. Graduation from an accredited physical therapy program is required to take state licensure examinations in physical therapy.

course descriptions

Physical Therapy at Emory

StudentsThe Division of Physical Therapy at Emory is ranked among the top graduate programs in physical therapy in the United States. At Emory, physical therapy students benefit from the resources of a university with a national reputation in medicine and movement sciences, while they enjoy personal attention in classes with a maximum size of 65 to 70 students. They represent all geographic regions of the United States, and their diverse life experiences and academic excellence are a great asset to the program. The greatest strength of the Emory program is the commitment of its faculty to a pioneering problem solving curriculum and the growth of each student.

Philosophy of the Program

The faculty of the Division of Physical Therapy are committed to creating an educational environment which allows our students to play an active role in their own learning. Through the use of problem-solving strategies, students develop a strong foundation in the basic and clinical sciences pertaining to movement. With these skills, the students proceed to develop the clinical competencies and professional values for physical therapy practice. The core competencies for physical therapy practice emphasized by the Emory curriculum are: interpersonal communications; teaching and learning processes; evaluation and treatment of clients; research; administration; and consultation. With experience, Emory graduates will become the caring leaders and innovators required for the optimal delivery of health care services to a changing community.

Physical Therapy Faculty

The faculty bring diverse academic and clinical expertise to the program while sharing a common commitment to excellence in education, research, and clinical services. In the basic sciences, members of the faculty pursue scholarship in the disciplines of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, immunology and neuroscience. In the clinical science courses, physical therapy procedures are taught by faculty members with board certification in their areas of practice. Through teamwork and communication, the faculty can provide coherent and unique educational experiences for each student, encompassing modern clinical procedures based on sound scientific principles. Committed to advancing the practice of physical therapy through research, the faculty guide the students through a rigorous research project and prepare them to be active members of the professional community.


Scientific Inquiry at Emory

The critical thinking and process skills of scientific inquiry are applied to clinical problem solving throughout the curriculum at Emory. Formal instruction in the fundamental concepts of the inquiry process and the critical analysis of reports of research begins early in the program and continues to graduation. Each student works with a group of three or four classmates and a faculty advisor to develop a research proposal, collect and analyze data, and report results in a journal article format. Scientific poster presentations of student research projects are a focal point of graduation week. Emory students have published the results of their student research projects in respected scientific journals and have presented their work at regional, national, and international scientific meetings.


studens in labPreparation for study at Emory

Applicants are evaluated on the basis of:
probable academic success in the program; experience and knowledge of physical therapy; and, personal attributes such as good judgment, empathy, maturity, reliability, emotional stability, and effective interaction with people.

Experience in physical therapy

Successful applicants will demonstrate knowledge of the multiple roles of physical therapists in health care and a commitment to physical therapy as a profession. All potential applicants should observe physical therapists at work in different settings and maintain a record of these experiences. The variety of clinical settings observed, the total time the student has spent with physical therapists, and the number of hours of experience are used to evaluate experience in physical therapy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Emory University   School of Medicine
Contact Us: Division of Physical Therapy
1462 Clifton Rd N.E. Suite 312
Atlanta GA 30322
Phone: (404) 712-5660 (General Info)
Phone: (404) 727-4002 (Admissions)
Email: PT Admissions
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