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About the Department

Letter from the Chair

IMAGE OF Erik E. Swartz

Welcome to the Department of Physical Therapy and Kinesiology

I am honored to serve as the Chair of this department, and chances are, if you are visiting our website, we share a passion for learning more about the study of human movement (i.e., kinesiology). After all, it is becoming more important than ever that our society has trained, knowledgeable and credentialed professionals with expertise in exercise science, human performance, health and well-being and prevention of, and rehabilitation from, injury, illness or disease.

This need spans across all populations and ages, which offers infinite opportunities to help others in reaching, or returning to, their full potential in leading healthy and productive lives.

UMass Lowell, like the city itself, is growing in many ways to meet the needs of our local and broader community. This growth is not only taking form in the physical enhancements that can be seen across campus and the city, but also in the form of an inspirational innovative, entrepreneurial, and altruistic mindset. These characteristics are what drew me to come be a part of what was happening here, and I am certain they will appeal to you as well.

Physical Therapy

Our department has a long and rich history that started with a focus on physical therapy education. Founded in 1976, the then named Department of Physical Therapy was the first and only public institution of higher education in Massachusetts to offer a physical therapy degree program, which still holds true today. The program has been accredited now for nearly 30 years. Graduates of our program earn a Doctorate of Physical Therapy.

The strength of our program is reflected in the success of our students: We have over a 95% graduation rate from the prior 3 years, with a 98% pass rate on the NPTE exam during that time. Thus, our students go on to enter the profession as outstanding future clinicians.

Our DPT program is comprised of highly accomplished faculty, who are both expert clinicians, excellent teachers, and scholars in the field. Areas of expertise of our Physical Therapy faculty include: sports injury epidemiology, hand therapy, neurological rehabilitation, human performance optimization, and standardized patient education, among others.

Exercise Science

While our undergraduate Exercise Science program was initially created as a pathway for students to apply for our DPT program, the Exercise Science major is a free-standing, robust, and rigorous undergraduate educational program for any student interested in pursuing a career in human movement.

Students who major in Exercise Science go on to work in a variety of exciting settings that focus on human performance, injury and illness prevention, treatment, and recovery, wellness and nutrition, and more.

What’s more, in 2019 we added a second option to the Exercise Science Major, called Exercise and Fitness Management. This program, in collaboration with the Manning School of Business, allows students to earn a Bachelor of Science degree with a special concentration in business so that they can go on into careers that blend interests in exercise with the allure of business management and leadership.

Areas of expertise of our Exercise Science faculty include: stroke rehabilitation, injury prevention in sport, fall prevention, bone health, sport related concussion, and biomechanics of human movement, among others. Learn with Purpose A UMass Lowell belief is that we live and learn with a purpose. This underscores the amazing accomplishments of our faculty and achievements of our students.

Collectively, we are passionate, eager, entrepreneurial, inquisitive, and caring. So, whether you are visiting us with interest as a student, a parent of a potential or current student, or a member of our community, I invite you to explore the rest of our website where you will find information about our educational programs, its students and faculty, and highlights from the exciting news, events and opportunities happening throughout the academic year.

All my best,

Erik Swartz
Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy and Kinesiology