College of Health Sciences

Department of Physical Therapy

The Department of Physical Therapy offers the following graduate programs:

Program Mission

The Mission of the Department of Physical Therapy is consistent with that of the College of Health Sciences and the University of Massachusetts Lowell in that it promotes the concepts of human health and development through:

  1. Teaching of theory and practice of physical therapy in classroom and community-based settings by preparing graduates to practice their profession with knowledge, competence, and respect for human well-being.
  2. Scholarship in the discovery, application and dissemination of knowledge in physical therapy and health.
  3. Public service in partnership with local, regional, and national organizations advancing prevention-based strategies in health.

Program Philosophy

The faculty of the Department of Physical Therapy believes that individuals have intrinsic worth and a right to optimal health and function. Function is defined as those activities identified by an individual as essential to support physical, social, and psychological well being and to create a personal sense of meaningful living. Physical therapists provide services to patients/clients with impairments, functional limitations, disabilities, or changes in physical function and health status resulting from injury, disease, or other causes. Physical therapists also can prevent the development of impairment, functional limitation, or disability by identifying disablement risk factors and by buffering the disablement process through prevention and wellness strategies.

The physical therapist is professionally educated in a program that synthesizes graduate study with undergraduate knowledge, and experiential learning. The graduate of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program is prepared to function as an ethical and competent practitioner who uses effective clinical decision making and psychomotor skills to provide services to patients/clients. The five elements of patient/client management include examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention. The graduate also is prepared to interact and practice in collaboration with a variety of health professionals, provide prevention and wellness services, consult, educate, and engage in critical inquiry. Finally, the graduate is prepared to direct and supervise physical therapy services, including support personnel. Graduates are expected to assume a leadership role in health care and to practice autonomously and cooperatively in a variety of practice settings such as: hospitals, rehabilitation centers, extended care facilities, schools, sports medicine clinics, community health and private practices, and industrial or workplace settings.

The faculty believes that students are active participants in the educational process. As potential professionals, the relationship between students and faculty is one in which there is mutual respect, understanding, and interchange of ideas. The faculty, as experienced professionals, are resource persons, mentors, and role models for the developing professional. The faculty view themselves as facilitators of the learning process. Students are expected to demonstrate commitment to learning as the basis for continued personal and professional growth, effective interpersonal and communication skills, problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and appropriate professional conduct. Effective use of time and resources, feedback, and stress management strategies are important components of the behaviors of the successful student.