Department of Physical Therapy

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The Department of Physical Therapy is committed to high quality education, promoting and generating scholarship, and engaging in local to global service. The department continues to pursue a path toward excellence in achieving our mission “educating physical therapists who provide the highest levels of professional care to diverse communities while maintaining a commitment to life-long learning."



Department of Physical Therapy Degree Programs

The Department of Physical Therapy offers the following degree programs:

▼   Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
The Department of Physical Therapy has provided quality physical therapy education for nearly 30-years with continuous accreditation. A friendly faculty that is clinically and academically strong teaches the curriculum leading to the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. As its Mission, The Department of Physical Therapy is 1)dedicated to the education of physical therapists who provide the highest levels of professional care to diverse communities while maintaining a commitment to life-long learning, and 2)committed to service and the advancement of knowledge in the profession through research and scholarly activity.

The exciting and challenging DPT program is offered in an 8-semester (32 continuous months) format, a new class entering each Fall semester. The curriculum includes a variety of professional training/educational experiences to prepare students to enter PT practice. Students benefit from significant hands-on clinical practical labs and formal lectures/discussions led by faculty with experience in each clinical practice area, clinical problem solving activities, clinical research plus 33 weeks of full-time clinical internship supervised by licensed physical therapists. The clinical internships are available in over 200 affiliated general hospitals, rehabilitation centers and various specialty practices representing a wide variety of educational opportunities for the student. While clinical sites are spread across the United States, the majority are within the Southeastern region.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of South Alabama prepares graduates for professional practice and is designed as an entry-level, first PT degree. Throughout the program, students develop necessary communication skills in addition to professional and manual skills and techniques. Strong emphasis is placed on gaining clinical reasoning/problem solving skills and the ability to practice as an independent primary care provider in any employment setting. Graduates will also have the capability of assuming responsibilities in areas of administration, consultation and research in physical therapy.

▼   Master of Sciences in Physical Therapy (MS)
The Department of Physical Therapy offers a Master of Sciences in Physical Therapy aimed at providing students with rich, robust, clinically relevant, and evidence-based learning experiences. Graduates will have a strong understanding of entry-level and advanced clinical services, will utilize evidence-based research relevant to the field, demonstrate leadership skills that impact delivery of high quality care for patients, and develop skills needed to serve as a patient educator, clinical educator, or faculty member. This program is intended to support international clinicians and academicians wishing to gain further experience with a variety of disorders and principles of rehabilitation. This program is not accredited by the Accreditation Council of Physical Therapy Education and does not lead to licensure or certification in the United States. Graduation from this program does not guarantee admission to a Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. Students enrolled in this program are not eligible for federal financial aid. Admission to the MSPT program is on a competitive basis.

The MSPT program is an in-residence program requiring 30 credit hours. The program runs August to July and is divided into three semesters (Fall, Spring and Summer).


Physical Therapy: A Hands-On Profession

A Physical Therapist (PT) is a healthcare professional who provides direct patient care to persons who have disorders of movement, mechanical, physiological and developmental impairments and functional limitations, whether caused by injury or disease, to help them achieve maximum physical function and mobility.

Physical Therapists use their minds and hands to:

  • Diagnose and manage movement dysfunction and enhance physical and functional abilities.
  • Restore, maintain, and promote optimal physical function and optimal wellness and fitness and optimal quality of life as it relates to movement and health.
  • Prevent the onset, symptoms, and progression of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities that may result from diseases, disorders, or injuries.

Physical Therapists have the necessary training to meet the total range of patient care responsibilities involved in preventing disabilities and promoting restoration  of function to the physically impaired, including musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular/pulmonary and integumentary disorders that interfere with physical function. Physical Therapists practice in hospitals and medical centers, rehabilitation centers, private practice clinics, home health settings, sports medicine facilities, colleges, universities and in various other settings. The broad options in Physical Therapy allow PTs to develop and pursue a focus of care in any specific population from children and athletes to senior citizens. Physical Therapists also work as educators, researchers, consultants and administrators.

Physical Therapy is a sought-after career with virtually unlimited opportunities. It is a profession that offers a lifetime of satisfaction while directly helping people move more efficiently and function more effectively.

Accreditation and Licensure

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The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of South Alabama is accredited by: 
Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Telephone:  (703) 706-3245

If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 251-445-9330 or email

Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) to gain licensure. Applicants are hereby informed that a history of felony conviction or moral crime, use of drugs or intoxicating liquors which affects professional competence, or narcotic law conviction will prevent physical therapy licensure. See Alabama Board of Physical Therapy website.


Membership in APTA


The Department of Physical Therapy promotes membership in the APTA, and annually participates in the APTA's Reach100 Challenge, always with 100% faculty membership, and often achieving 100% membership among students.