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. Physical therapists make a positive difference among those with mobility impairments by helping to prevent, restore or resolve dysfunctional conditions.

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.

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

Admission Criteria into the 4+3 Program

To be considered for general (4+3) admission into the DPT Program, the following admission requirements must be fulfilled:

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, cumulative GPA of 3.25 or better, and a science and pre-requisite GPA of 3.0 or better. A minimum of 100 hours of observation, which includes experience in both outpatient and inpatient physical therapy settings. It is recommended that these observations be diverse, providing each applicant with perspective on the depth and breadth of physical therapy practice across setting and across the lifespan. Three letters of reference from a: licensed PT, a professor from a course they have completed, and another non-family member who can speak to character and attributes that will make the applicant successful in graduate study and as a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

The Program’s pre-requisite courses for admission are reflective of the position of the Academic Council of the APTA (Position: Standard Prerequisite Course for Admission in Entry Level Physical Therapist Education Programs). This motion was heard before the council in October of 2012. The council supports the standardization of prerequisite requirements for the purpose of assisting program applicants in achieving required courses as they apply to multiple programs and for the purpose of assisting pre-professional institutions with program development. The list of courses recommended by the council is consistent with information presented in the PTCAS Course Prerequisites Summary; 2011- 12 Admissions Cycle, APTA, August 27 2011 and the publication by Lake, et al1. Additional rationale for the choice of these pre-requisite courses was obtained following close analysis of the pre-admission course requirements of other accredited DPT Programs. This information is available through PTCAS at

1. Lake DA, Breckenridge W, Beverly M. Admission requirements for physical therapist education programs: an uDCate. The Advisor. 2012;3:30-37.

2. Hayward, L. M., & Blackmer, B. (2010). A model for teaching and assessing core values development in Doctor Of Physical Therapy students. Journal of Physical Therapy Education, 24(3), 16-26.

3. Jaschik, Scott. Popularity of Early Admission Grows and Grows. 2017, 2018, January 30,

Transfer into the Program

Students may transfer a maximum of two graduate courses (six graduate credits) from an accredited university with a CAPTE-accredited DPT Program. Courses that are to be transferred must have been taken within 1 calendar year. The student must have earned a minimum grade of “B” in each course to receive transfer credit. An official transcript indicating the grade received and a complete course description or syllabus must be forwarded to the Coordinator of Graduate Admissions and Student Services as well as the DPT Admissions Committee for review for equivalence.

Students wishing to enter the DPT Program must apply in the usual cycle of admissions and must meet all other requirements to gain entrance into the University. Transferred credits do not count towards the cumulative grade point average at Alvernia University.

Transfer of students who are currently enrolled in a DPT Program that has failed to achieve accreditation will be considered on an individual basis. This transfer policy will ensure that there are no gaps in the education of transfer students and that the curricular framework of the Program is preserved. Exceptions to the credit transfer policy will be considered by the DPT Admissions Committee on an individual basis.

DPT Prerequisite Courses

Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II - 4 credits each with lab Biology – 3-4 credits (excluding BIO 109, BIO 203, BIO 115/116) Chemistry I and II - 4 credits each with lab Physics I and II - 4 credits each with lab Social Sciences – 6-9 credits (psychology, sociology/anthropology, humanities) Statistics - 3 credits English Composition/Writing - 3 credits Humanities/Communications - 3 credits (COM 103) OR Interpersonal Communication - 3 credits (COM 213)
  • Advanced Placement (AP) courses taken in high school, if accepted by undergraduate admissions upon entrance into the university, will be accepted as fulfilling the pre-requisites for entrance into the DPT Program. These courses must appear on the undergraduate transcript.
  • Non-science pre-requisites (statistics, social science, psychology) may be completed online. For science pre-requisites (biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy and physiology), the lecture portion of each course may be taken online, but the laboratory portion of each course must be taken in a traditional laboratory setting.

· Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II – 4 credits each with lab (4+3 and 3+3)

· Biology – 3-4 credits (4+3 and 3+3, excluding BIO 109, BIO 203, BIO 115/116)

· Chemistry I and II – 4 credits each with lab (4+3 and 3+3)

· Physics I and II – 4 credits each with lab (4+3 and 3+3)

· Social Sciences – 6-9 credits (psychology, sociology/anthropology, humanities) (4+3 and 3+3)

· Statistics – 3 credits (4+3 and 3+3)

· English Composition/Writing – 3 credits (4+3)

· All prerequisite courses must be completed within 10 years of application to the DPT Program.

· Advanced Placement (AP) courses taken in high school, if accepted by undergraduate admissions upon entrance into the university, will be accepted as fulfilling the pre-requisites for entrance into the DPT Program. These courses must appear on the undergraduate transcript.

Non-science pre-requisites, (statistics, social science, psychology) may be completed on line. For science pre-requisites (biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy and physiology) may have the lecture portions taken online but the laboratory must be taken in a traditional laboratory setting.

Admission Criteria into the Alvernia Accelerated 3+3 Program and Alvernia 4+3 Program

Accelerated 3+3 Program Admission

Decisions regarding admission into the university will be made by the Office of Admissions. Admission into the DPT accelerated (3+3) program will be available to students who meet the criteria (3.5 high school GPA). Admission into the accelerated program will be determined by the Department of Physical Therapy admissions committee in accordance with the university undergraduate admissions policies. Upon timely completion of ALL admission criteria, applicants will be offered admission into the accelerated program upon entrance into the university and upon timely completion of ALL admission criteria will be offered conditional guaranteed admission into the graduate DPT Program, as determined by the maximum number of allotted seats in the program as determined by accreditation. Students within the accelerated (3+3) format will follow a curricular plan in one of four majors with “DPT” listed as the student’s second major. The majors include Biochemistry, Biology, Healthcare Science or Psychology. It is also highly recommended that the Alvernia 3+3 students take Neuroscience (BIO 208) and Kinesiology (BIO 211).

Alvernia 4+3 Program Admission

Students who do not meet the admission criteria into the accelerated program upon entrance into the university may be offered conditional guaranteed entrance into the DPT program upon graduation as a 4+3 student upon completion of ALL criteria for admission. In addition, 4+3 students who have met ALL admission criteria prior to the completion of their junior year (with the exception of in-progress criteria that will be completed prior to admission into the DPT Program) will be offered the possibility of transitioning into the 3+3 accelerated track with admission into the graduate DPT Program in their senior year. Alvernia 4+3 applicants who desire conditional guaranteed admission into the DPT Program post graduation, or upon completion of their junior year, must meet all of the admission criteria, including the required GPA, of the 3+3 applicants (3.0 science GPA, 3.25 overall GPA, 3.0 pre-requisite GPA). Admission is also contingent upon successful completion of a formal interview with the DPT admissions committee. It is also highly recommended that the Alvernia 4+3 students take Neuroscience (BIO 208) and Kinesiology (BIO 211).

Application/Admission Timeline

Accelerated 3+3 track applicants, Alvernia 4+3 applicants desiring conditional guaranteed admission, and applicants who desire to enter the program from another university through a formal matriculation agreement, must submit their application through the physical therapy centralized application service (PTCAS) by October 1 of the year prior to matriculation. Accelerated 3+3 and 4+3 students who have met all of the criteria, must achieve the required GPA for admission into the DPT program by January 15 of their junior year to progress into the graduate DPT program. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status into the program by March 1.

Note: If the number of 3+3, Alvernia 4+3 applicants who desire conditional guaranteed admission, or applicants desiring to enter the program from another university through a matriculation agreement who meet all admission criteria exceeds the number of available seats in the program, as determined by the program’s accrediting agency, Alvernia 3+3 and 4+3 students will be given first preference followed by students entering within a matriculation agreement from another university. In such cases, Alvernia student applicants then matriculating student applicants will be rank ordered based on: 1. Science GPA, then 2. Overall GPA for final decisions related to admission.

In order to enter the DPT program within the Alvernia accelerated (3+3) format, students must complete the following pre-admission criteria:

Achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.25, Science GPA of 3.0, pre-requisite GPA of 3.0 Achieve a minimum grade of “C” in all pre-requisite courses All DPT prerequisite courses (listed below) must be taken at a four-year accredited institution. If taken at another institution, only courses in which the student achieved a grade of "B", or higher, will be transferred. All 3+3 students must follow the guidelines for applying to the program and submit all required documents through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS), which can be accessed through the DPT Program homepage. All decisions are contingent upon the applicant’s maintaining admission criteria throughout the final semester. A minimum of 100 hours of observation, which shall include experiences in a broad range of settings that include both outpatient and inpatient physical therapy settings. Recommended settings include: skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, pediatric intervention settings, home health settings, acute or sub-acute inpatient rehabilitation settings, acute hospital settings, sports and orthopedic settings, and/or private practices. Three letters of reference that shall include one each from a: licensed PT, professor, and other non-family member. Applicants should ensure that their chosen references have knowledge of and can speak to the qualities/attributes required of a doctorally prepared health professional and to their readiness to handle the academic rigor of doctoral study.

** The licensed Physical Therapist should not be a member of the applicant’s family or a family friend.

** If more than three references are received, one from each category (a maximum of three) will be used for consideration and ranking.

GRE scores taken within the past five years, with a minimum score of 150 on Verbal and Quantitative and 3.5 on Analytical (Alvernia Code 1619) One (1) written essay (4+3 and 3+3) 500 words or less, addressing the question as stated. Content, as well as spelling and grammar, are deemed to be important for readability and consideration by faculty. The following pre-requisite courses must be completed with a final grade of “C”, or better:
Application Instructions
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

Department of Physical Therapy | 2020
Why 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

Post-BACC Program Curriculum

Fall - Semester 1
DPT 500 Gross Anatomy & Histology 5
DPT 503 Applied Physiology for Physical Therapy 5
DPT 504 Practice Management I 3
DPT 508 Physical Therapy Procedures I 4
DPT 522 Foundations of Clinical Practice 1
Total Credits 18

Spring - Semester 2
DPT 502 Kinesiology 4
DPT 509 Foundations of Clinical Exam & Evaluation 4
DPT 516 Musculoskeletal PT Practice I 3
DPT 520 Neuromuscular PT Practice I 3
DPT 528 Cardiopulmonary PT Practice I 3
DPT 512 Critical Inquiry I 1
DPT 523 Clinical Practice I 1
Total Credits 19

Summer - Semester 3
DPT 505 Practice Management II 3
DPT 513 Critical Inquiry II 3
DPT 524 Clinical Practice II 6
DPT 530 Pharmacological Management for PT Practice 2
Total Credits 14

Fall - Semester 4
DPT 616 Musculoskeletal PT Practice II 4
DPT 620 Neuromuscular PT Practice II 4
DPT 629 Cardiopulmonary PT Practice II 4
DPT 622 Clinical Practice III 2
DPT 613 Critical Inquiry III 1
Total Credits 15

Spring - Semester 5
DPT 608 Physical Therapy Procedures II 4
DPT 617 Musculoskeletal PT Practice III 4
DPT 621 Neuromuscular PT Practice III 4
DPT 631 Multiple Systems Influence within PT Practice 4
DPT 614 Critical Inquiry IV 1
Total Credits 17

Summer - Semester 6
DPT 604 Practice Management III 3
DPT 624 Clinical Practice IV 6
DPT 632 PT Practice through the Lifespan 4
DPT 713 Critical Inquiry V 1
Total Credits 14

Fall - Semester 7
DPT 710 Comprehensive Clinical Practice 4
DPT 724 Clinical Practice V (October - January) 8
DPT 806/890/805 Elective 2
DPT 700 International Service Learning Experience [1]
DPT 714 Critical Inquiry VI 2
Total Credits 16/17

Spring - Semester 8
DPT 725 Clinical Practice VI (January - April) 8
DPT 810 Comprehensive Examination 1
Total Credits 9


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:

                 o  providing PT care during classroom laboratory experiences.
                 o  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.
                 o  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.
                 o  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.

Accreditation Statements
capte logo
  • 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:; website: If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 610-568-1546 or email

    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

  • Alvernia is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Career Outlook

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.

  • 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
Learn More About the Program
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.


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