Think critically, act professionally, serve altruistically

More than 120,000 physical therapists are licensed in the U.S., treating nearly 1 million people every day. Alvernia University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program aspires to develop “ethical leaders with moral courage,” prepared to assume a leadership role in addressing the health-related concerns society faces. Alvernia’s DPT program utilizes a state-of-the-art facility, featuring Anatomage Virtual Dissection tables, a research lab with motion analysis system, a real-time ultrasound unit, a split-belt treadmill, surface electromyography and accelerometers.


Performance-based physical therapy education, which focuses on the practical application of knowledge and the development of clinical skills ensures that graduates will be prepared to have an immediate impact on the lives of others. Numerous service-learning opportunities are provided early and often and include interprofessional educational experiences with students from other programs.


The DPT program is offered in a 4+3 year curricular format. Prospective students with an earned bachelor’s degree from Alvernia or another four-year accredited institution are welcome to apply. A 3+3 year, accelerated format is also available that allows Alvernia students who are admitted as undergraduate freshmen into one of 4 majors (BiochemistryBiologyHealthcare Science, or Psychology) to begin the professional phase of the curriculum in their senior year. Upon maintaining the required GPA and completion of all requirements, these students are eligible to compete with other accelerated students for entrance into the program, and may complete their undergraduate training and doctoral degree within 6 years.


Faculty have extensive clinical experience and continue to practice and conduct meaningful research within their varied areas of clinical specialization. Local clinical experts support the coursework by imparting their areas of specialized knowledge and skill to the students. The program’s NPTE passage rate, graduation rate and employment rate are high and meet accreditation standards.

 

Estimated Program Length3 years
Credit Hours121
Course Length13 weeks
Transfer Credits AcceptedUp to 6
Cost per Credit$1,044
Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Getting Started

Where You Can Get A Degree

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is available at the following Alvernia University campus:

Admission Requirements

Admissions Procedures

The DPT program is offered in a 4+3 year and 3+3 year curricular format. Prospective students with an earned bachelor’s degree from Alvernia or another four-year accredited institution are welcome to apply to the 4+3 year format. Transfer students are welcome to apply as well, following the policy and procedures as outlined below.


The 3+3 year format enables Alvernia students who are admitted into 1 of 4 majors (Biochemistry, Biology, Healthcare Science, or Psychology) to follow a curricular plan in that major with the intention to be admitted to the DPT program in his/her senior year, upon completion of all requirements.


Interested students should contact the Associate Director of Admissions for Graduate Education, who may refer the potential applicant to the Chairperson of the DPT Admissions Committee or Department Chair.
 

Admission Requirements

DPT Program admission requirement and the admissions procedures can be found at alvernia.edu/academics/graduate-programs/dpt-doctor-physical-therapy/dpt-admission-requirements.

Application Instructions
  • Completed application for admission through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS).
  • Official transcript(s) from each college or university attended, demonstrating the achievement of a bachelor’s degree.
  • A minimum of 100 hours of observation, which includes experience in both outpatient and inpatient physical therapy settings.
  • Three letters of reference from a licensed PT, a professor from a completed course, and another non-family member.
  • GRE scores taken within the past five years.
  • One (1) written essay.
  • Group virtual interview.
  • Bachelor’s degree with cumulative GPA of 3.25 and a science and pre-requisite GPA of 3.0, or better.
  • Successful completion of all pre-requisite courses.
Financing Your Education

There are options to assist in financing your education and making the tuition affordable. Visit our financial aid page for a detailed overview of the process, including a link to complete the FAFSA application, as well as more information about the tuition payment plan and the tuition deferment program we offer. Alvernia’s Title IV code for the FAFSA is 003233. The Office of Student Financial Services is available to help with any questions you may have. Call 610-796-8201 or email sfs@alvernia.edu.

OT/PT Pro-bono clinic
Why Choose Alvernia?
• A nationally ranked comprehensive regional university, Alvernia offers doctoral, master's, and post-baccalaureate programs to advance your career or prepare you for a new one.
• Flexible scheduling with evening classes and in-person, hybrid and online formats meet the needs of the busy adult learner.
• Programs are offered at a growing number of convenient locations in Reading, Pottsville, and Philadelphia.
• Alvernia is the ideal choice for graduate students because of a growing number of affiliation agreements with other local institutions and industry partners and dedicated advisors to help through every step of the educational journey.


About the Program

Program Mission and Philosophy

Program Mission

The mission of the Alvernia University Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program is to pursue academic excellence in preparing the next generation of autonomous physical therapist clinicians. By challenging students to think critically, act professionally, and serve altruistically, the Program endeavors to develop graduates who are life-long learners, reflective professionals, engaged citizens, and ethical leaders with moral courage. Graduates will be prepared to assume a leadership role in the ever-changing health care environment as Doctors of Physical Therapy who are committed to clinical competence and the application and perpetuation of evidence-based knowledge.


Achievement of this mission is accomplished through the promotion of a graduate who is self-reflective, service-oriented, and highly skilled. Self-reflective professionals are committed to lifelong learning and demonstrate the capacity to thoughtfully consider their actions and creatively solve problems. Service-oriented professionals are agents of change who understand their role within the health care continuum. Such practitioners are committed to making contributions to the profession and to the communities in which they live in the context of client and societal needs. Skilled professionals exhibit clinical knowledge and competence through the application of evidence-based principles and practices. Such practitioners are dedicated to achieving optimal outcomes through exploration of innovative strategies.


Program Philosophy

Learner-Directed Education: In a model of learner-directed education, instructors are viewed as facilitators who guide students through meaningful learning experiences.  The development of competent, critically-thinking graduates prepared to impact their profession and the lives of others requires an educational process that appreciates multiple learning preferences and one in which the onus of learning is placed upon the student.


Evidence-Based Performance: The content and organization of the curriculum is performance-directed and engenders a philosophical orientation toward competence in clinical practice.  In accordance with this initiative, content emphasizes evidence-based practice and encourages the pursuit of practice-based evidence.  The knowledge base and essential skills required to enable graduates to practice competently and autonomously will serve as the preeminent criterion for inclusion in the curriculum.


Community-Conscious Engagement: Incumbent on the physical therapist professional is the ability to see beyond one’s self and serve others altruistically, generously, and without prejudice.  A myriad of deliberate and sustained experiences provide opportunities for students to develop cultural competence.  This goal is achieved by changing attitudes and patterns of thought that precede behavioral adaptations.  Viewing disability through the eyes of those whom we serve infiltrates every aspect of the curriculum and demonstration of skill in appreciating diversity is expected and required.


Doctorally Prepared Education: Graduates receive explicit instruction in the personal requirements and professional responsibilities associated with their entrance into the doctoring profession of physical therapy.  As doctors of physical therapy, graduates will appreciate their role as leaders within the health care community and be fully equipped to pursue their rightful place as autonomous professionals in the service of those in need.  As citizens of a larger community, graduates will be prepared to practice ethically, honestly, and diligently for the better good of mankind in clinical practice, academic endeavor, and scientific inquiry.  Graduates will be dedicated to embracing the art and the science of physical therapy according to the ethical principles and practice act requirements as delineated elsewhere.  Associated with professionalism is the ability to altruistically serve those in need and to provide expert care that is founded upon the current best evidence

Curriculum

Fall - Semester 1 (18 credits)

  • DPT 500: Gross Anatomy & Histology
  • DPT 503: Applied Physiology for Physical Therapy
  • DPT 504: Practice Management I
  • DPT 508: Physical Therapy Procedures I
  • DPT 522: Foundations of Clinical Practice
     

Spring - Semester 2 (19 credits)

  • DPT 502: Kinesiology
  • DPT 509: Foundations of Clinical Exam & Evaluation
  • DPT 516: Musculoskeletal PT Practice I
  • DPT 520: Neuromuscular PT Practice I
  • DPT 528: Cardiopulmonary PT Practice I
  • DPT 512: Critical Inquiry I
  • DPT 523: Clinical Practice I
     

Summer - Semester 3 (14 credits)

  • DPT 505: Practice Management II
  • DPT 513: Critical Inquiry II
  • DPT 524: Clinical Practice II
  • DPT 530: Pharmacological Management for PT Practice
     

Fall - Semester 4 (15 credits)

  • DPT 616: Musculoskeletal PT Practice II
  • DPT 620: Neuromuscular PT Practice II
  • DPT 629: Cardiopulmonary PT Practice II
  • DPT 622: Clinical Practice III
  • DPT 613: Critical Inquiry III
     

Spring - Semester 5 (17 credits)

  • DPT 608: Physical Therapy Procedures II
  • DPT 617: Musculoskeletal PT Practice III
  • DPT 621: Neuromuscular PT Practice III
  • DPT 631: Multiple Systems Influence within PT Practice
  • DPT 614: Critical Inquiry IV
     

Summer - Semester 6 (14 credits)

  • DPT 604: Practice Management III
  • DPT 624: Clinical Practice IV
  • DPT 632: PT Practice through the Lifespan
  • DPT 713: Critical Inquiry V
     

Fall - Semester 7 (16/17 credits)

  • DPT 710: Comprehensive Clinical Practice
  • DPT 724: Clinical Practice V (October - January)
  • DPT 806/890/805: Elective
  • DPT 700: International Service Learning Experience
  • DPT 714: Critical Inquiry VI
     

Spring - Semester 8 (9 credits)

  • DPT 725: Clinical Practice VI (January - April)
  • DPT 810: Comprehensive Examination


Total Program Credits: 121

Experiential Learning Opportunities
  • Opportunities for interprofessional educational experiences with students from other programs — including occupational therapy, nursing, athletic training and medical imaging — provides students with an appreciation for the unique contribution of each discipline within the healthcare team.
  • Active community engagement and service learning through various initiatives in the nearby city of Reading enables students to appreciate their role within the community and their responsibility to use their skills in the service of others.
  • DPT students are required to participate in 36 weeks of full-time clinical experiences (internships). These experiences provide context for learning and develop students who demonstrate evidence-based clinical performance.
  • Students participate in real-world learning experiences featured in the program’s “clinic without walls” model, providing physical therapy care under the direction of licensed physical therapists for community members in a variety of formats. Such experiences include:
     

               ✢  providing PT care during classroom laboratory experiences.
               ✢  providing wellness-related services through collaboration between the DPT Program and other organizations such as Reading Housing Authority, Tower Health (Rise and Shine and Rock Steady Boxing), Walk with Ease and Matter of Balance.
               ✢  providing PT care at the DPT student-managed Health & Wellness Center at Liggett Avenue, which is located at the Berks Community Health Center (BCHC) in the Oakbrook section of Reading.
               ✢  community/university service and advocacy events like the BCHC Community Health Fair, Legislative Advocacy Day in Harrisburg, and Interprofessional education experiences with nursing and athletic Training.

Career Outlook

After earning your Doctor of Physical Therapy, you can pursue a variety of careers, including:

  • Orthopedic outpatient clinics
  • Acute care hospital-based facilities
  • Acute and sub-acute rehabilitation hospitals
  • Sports medicine centers
  • Research institutions
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Pediatric facilities
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Transitional care units
  • School-based facilities
  • Home health care


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 17 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage in 2021 was $95,620.

CAPTE

  • The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Alvernia University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Avenue, Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 610-568-1546 or email christopher.wise@alvernia.edu.

    For more information regarding the process of accreditation, please contact the:

    Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
    3030 Potomac Avenue, Suite 100
    Alexandria, VA 22305-3085
    Phone: 703-706-3245
    Email: accreditation@apta.org

Learn More About DPT
Alvernia's DPT Program is a clinical post-graduate doctoral degree that is 3 years in length and the required credential for preparing graduates to make significant contributions to the profession.
Alvernia University DPT Graduate Aron Rodriguez
Lone wolf finds his pack at AU
Aron Rodriguez DPT ’22 overcame his initial reluctance to leave New York City for Alvernia. A good thing, too: Stepping out of his comfort zone and thriving as a Golden Wolf helped Rodriguez realize his dream of working as a physical therapist in his home state.
Alvernia's Pro-Bono Clinic
The Alvernia Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy departments provide therapy services to the Reading community through a Pro-bono Clinic offered on Alvernia's campus.

 

Get To Know Your Faculty

For more information about Alvernia’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program contact the Graduate Admissions Office at 610-796-5187 or gradandadult@alvernia.edu. Or reach out directly to program director Dr. Christopher Wise at christopher.wise@alvernia.edu.