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The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program prepares individuals for entry into the profession of physical therapy. Physical therapists diagnose and manage movement dysfunction and enhance physical and functional abilities throughout the continuum of care. They practice autonomously in a variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, long-term care facilities and nursing homes, community and home health agencies, and corporate sites. Graduates of the physical therapy program are also prepared to provide prevention and wellness services, to conduct basic and clinical research, and to assume a leadership role in health care.
The fully accredited program requires a baccalaureate degree for admission and a three-year full-time commitment, including each summer. Matriculation begins the summer immediately subsequent to acceptance. The curriculum includes 95 credits of coursework and 34 weeks of clinical education experience. It provides a comprehensive foundation in the art and science of physical therapy. Methods of instruction include classroom lecture and discussion, small group/problem-based learning, and skill development during laboratory and clinical experiences. Emphasis is placed on the development of clinical decision-making and critical inquiry skills across the curriculum.
The clinical education program consists of three extended clinical education experiences, of 10, 12, and 12 weeks duration respectively, for a total of 34 weeks. Students experience a variety of practice settings, including acute care, sub-acute rehabilitation, outpatient orthopedic, as well as other more specialized settings, e.g. pediatric, geriatric, sports medicine, women's health, and home care.
More information on the program mission, philosophy and objectives (pdf)
Kyle Coffey credits the strength of the UMass Lowell faculty for preparing him with the critical-thinking skills needed to pass his board exam the first time around.