Physical Therapy (DPT)
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Physical Therapy (DPT) Overview
Chatham University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program produces highly-skilled physical therapists by emphasizing critical thinking and self-directed learning using a hybrid problem-based learning approach. We graduate PTs who will meet the challenges of a dynamic healthcare environment and support scholarly activity that bridges science and clinical practice.
As we continue to adapt our program to help reduce the spread of COVID, we wish to thank our students (current and incoming) for their ongoing flexibility, positive attitude and professionalism during these trying times.
Applications must be e-submitted to PTCAS by October 1st. It is strongly recommended that applicants complete their application including submission of recommendations and transcripts by September 15th. Additional information can be found in the Admission Requirements section below.
106 (7 terms)
This full-time cohort program begins each fall and is completed in only 28 months.
Cost consists of program tuition (cost per term times number of terms) as well as any applicable University and degree-specific fees. Students are subject to tuition increases.
Licensing and Employment
The DPT program enjoys a 95% graduation rate, with 96% of graduates passing their licensure examination (93% on the first attempt) and 100% becoming employed within six months of graduation. Average over 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Explore the Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree:
Chatham University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is a 107-credit, entry-level program designed for students who want to become skilled practitioners of evidence-based physical therapy. The program requires seven terms of study, including 36 weeks of supervised clinical practice. This full-time cohort program begins each fall term.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, several requirements have been updated for the 2021-22 application cycle and are noted in the "Admission Requirements" section below.
How to Apply
Applicants to Chatham University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program must use the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Beginning in mid-June, applications may be submitted through PTCAS with all admission requirements noted below. Please note the GRE is not required, and there is no supplemental application.
Important Dates for Fall 2022 Admission
Application Deadline: October 1*
Virtual Admission Interview Date: Saturday, November 6, 2021 (by invitation only)
In order to be eligible for invite to the admission interview:
- Applicants need to have at least 60% (24 credits) of the ten prerequisites complete by August 31
- PTCAS applications must be e-submitted by October 1*
- Applications must be complete and include all other Chatham admission requirements as noted below by October 15
*It is highly recommended that you submit your application to PTCAS on or before September 15. PTCAS’s verification process occurs once an applicant e-submits the application and all official transcripts have been received. Verification involves some processing time, so it is in your best interest to submit all materials as early as possible to ensure your complete, verified application is available for us to review.
- A completed baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution prior to the beginning of classes.
- Official transcripts from all institutions attended sent directly to PTCAS.
- Overall combined GPA of 3.0 or better on a scale of 4.0 as calculated by PTCAS.
- Prerequisite GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. Additionally, grades less than a “C” are not acceptable, and prerequisite courses must have been completed no more than ten years prior to the anticipated start date of the program.
2021-22 CYCLE UPDATE: A "Pass" or “Satisfactory” grade for prerequisites will be accepted for coursework completed during the Spring 2020 semester. However, such grades do not impact GPA calculation.
- At least six of ten completed prerequisite courses by August 31 of the application year. Prerequisite courses:
- Biology with lab - two terms
- Chemistry with lab - two terms
- Physics with lab - two terms
- Physiology with lab (prefer human) - one term**
- Human Anatomy with lab - one term**
- **If taking anatomy with physiology, both anatomy & physiology I and II with labs are necessary to fulfill the anatomy and physiology requirements.
- **If taking anatomy with physiology, both anatomy & physiology I and II with labs are necessary to fulfill the anatomy and physiology requirements.
- Statistics or Research Methods – one term
- Developmental Psychology or Lifespan Development – one term
- A combination of developmental psychology courses that cover the lifespan —birth to death— are also acceptable
- Evidence of volunteer/work experience in a minimum of two different physical therapy locations OR two different physical therapy settings included in the PTCAS application. Please note verification of this experience is not required. Examples of different settings include:
- Acute Care/Hospital
- Nursing Home/Skilled Nursing Facility/Extended Care Facility
- Acute/Sub-acute Rehabilitation
- Free-standing PT Clinic/Hospital-based Clinic
- Industrial/Occupational Health
- Home Health
2021-22 CYCLE UPDATE: We understand volunteer/work experience may not be accessible due to COVID-19 and are advising affected students to develop insight into the PT profession through alternative ways: interview a PT (may be virtual) or research the field via the American Physical Therapy Association website. Students will not be required to verify their interview or research experiences.
- Three letters of reference included in the PTCAS application: two professors and one licensed physical therapist OR one professor and two licensed physical therapists.
- Attendance at virtual interview.
Integrated Degree Program
Admission Review Process
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Admitted Student Profile
Students Beginning Fall 2020
|Average Overall GPA:||3.63|
|Average Prerequisite GPA:||3.64|
Students Beginning Fall 2019
|Average Overall GPA:||3.66|
|Average Prerequisite GPA:||3.62|
Students Beginning Fall 2018
|Average Overall GPA:||3.65|
|Average Writing GRE:||3.9|
PTH706: Clinical Physiology
This course provides in-depth study of normal human physiologic mechanisms with special application to exercise. Topics include: protein synthesis, cell communication, and energy metabolism; neuromusculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, renal, immune and endocrine systems; and exercise prescription, health promotion, and wellness. Students will participate in comprehensive fitness assessments during laboratory sessions.
PTH703: Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy
This course will provide in-depth preparation required to perform the examination, evaluation, and management of musculoskeletal conditions commonly encountered in physical therapy practice. The course includes the physical therapy diagnostic process, including differential diagnosis and development of evidence-based physical therapy plans of care.
PTH741: Principles of Practice I: Intro to PT Practice
This course introduces the novice professional student to the roles of the physical therapist as a professional, a communicator, and as a scholar. There is a heavy emphasis on patient-practitioner communication skills, especially during the patient interview. Fundamentals of evidence-based practice help students embrace the role of scholarly clinician.
Chatham University Doctor of Physical Therapy
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program at Chatham University prepares physical therapists who will serve as generalist practitioners. Graduates of the DPT Program must have the knowledge and skills to function in a variety of clinical settings and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. Thus, certain skills and abilities must be demonstrated in order to successfully complete both the didactic and clinical components of the curriculum with or without reasonable accommodations, regardless of disability status.
The Physical Therapy faculty have a dual responsibility for the welfare of the patients with whom students/graduates interact, and for the educational welfare of their students. The technical standards outlined below describe specific expectations for student performance in didactic and clinical environments. Inherent in these expectations is providing patient care within a time frame appropriate to the context of care. Individuals must be able to pass assessments throughout their course of study.
Students who believe they may need academic accommodations to fulfill these standards must contact the Office of Academic & Accessibility Resources (OAAR) at 412-365-1523 or email@example.com. At any time while enrolled in the DPT Program, if a student is having difficulty meeting the standards, the student must inform the Program Director at that time. After consultation, if it is deemed the student is in need of academic accommodations, they can contact the OAAR.
To perform the essential functions of a physical therapist and succeed in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, the student must demonstrate abilities and skills including (but not limited to) those listed the five areas below:
With or without reasonable accommodations, the student must demonstrate adequate sensory skills to:
- Effectively observe demonstrations in the foundational and clinical sciences such as anatomical structures, normal and faulty movement, and performance of manual skills
- Visually assess measuring devices such as a goniometer, a tape measure, and dials and displays on equipment
- Effectively observe a patient/client accurately at a distance and close at hand, including during dynamic movement sequences
With or without reasonable accommodations, the student must demonstrate adequate communication skills to:
- Effectively speak to, hear, and observe patients to elicit information
- Recognize and respond to changes in mood, activity and posture
- Demonstrate and perceive nonverbal communication in self and others
With or without reasonable accommodations, the student must demonstrate adequate psychomotor skills to:
- Sustain the necessary physical activity level required in classroom and clinical environments (e.g., lift 50 pounds, stand for prolonged periods of time)
- Obtain information from patients by palpation, mobilization and other diagnostic maneuvers
- Aid patients and co-workers with intervention and functional activities
- Use therapeutic interventions that require force and resistance
- Adjust equipment
- Respond quickly in the event of an emergency situation to provide patient care or to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation
- Manipulate objects using one and/or both hands
With or without reasonable accommodations, the student must demonstrate adequate intellectual and cognitive skills to:
- Comprehend text, numbers, and graphs
- Analyze complex problems with attention to detail
- Comprehend three-dimensional/spatial relationships
- Comprehend, retain, assimilate, analyze, synthesize, integrate concepts and problem solve with attention to detail
- Use computers and other technology to learn and apply new content
- Utilize knowledge from multiple sources
With or without reasonable accommodations, the student must demonstrate adequate behavioral and affective skills to:
- Develop mature, sensitive, and therapeutic relationships with patients
- Endure close physical contact with other students, colleagues, and patients
- Function effectively while engaged in stressful situations
- Make sound ethical and legally correct decisions
- Adapt to changing environments and circumstances
- Display compassion, integrity and respect for others
- Self-assess in a reflective and constructive manner
- Make clinical decisions despite uncertain conditions
Disability self-identification is voluntary and confidential. Chatham University offers reasonable accommodations for qualified, eligible students with disabilities. Please contact our Disability Support Services at 412-365-1611 or visit the OAAR website for information regarding documentation guidelines.
One of the unique aspects of our physical therapy program is the emphasis on critical thinking and clinical decision making. These skills are developed as part of the problem-based learning approach within the curriculum and allow students to be very well prepared for clinical practice.
—JOE SCHREIBER, PT, Ph.D., professor, physical therapy program director
Faculty members are accomplished teachers, scholars, practitioners, and active leaders in the field.
An innovative problem-based learning (PBL) approach presents the clinical arts and science of physical therapy in an integrated manner organized around body systems.Learn More
DPT clinical experiences occur throughout the curriculum. Students participate in a total of 36 weeks of full-time clinical experiences. Affiliations with over 500 clinical facilities will give you numerous options for experiences here in Pennsylvania and across the United States.
Service to a variety of communities is encouraged, and all students participate in service learning as part of the curriculum.Learn More
Accreditation & Licensure
The doctor of physical therapy program at Chatham University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314. Telephone: 703-706-3245 and email. To contact the program directly, please call 412-365-1409 or email. Information about physical therapy licensing in each state of the U.S. can be found here.Learn More
Support a PT Student
In 2017, DPT alumni and faculty Raj Sawhney and Steve Gough created the Sawhney-Gough Clinical Excellence Scholarship. The purpose of this scholarship is to provide recognition and financial assistance to a second-year physical therapy student at Chatham University's School of Health Sciences.Give Now
News & Stories
Stay updated on recent news and stories for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.Learn More
In Touch Newsletters
Learn about DPT student and faculty accomplishments, alumni achievements, and various activities that occurred over the last academic year—in Pittsburgh, and all over the country.Learn More
Frequently Asked Questions
Want more details? Download our PDF for answers to the most frequently asked questions about Chatham's Doctor of Physical Therapy program.Download the PDF
Resources & Partnerships
Our collaborators and community—including preceptors, clinical sites, and guest speakers—are an essential (and highly appreciated!) part of the healthcare education system. Many get involved to give back to the profession, but there are a number of other benefits, too.Learn More
The GoBabyGo! club at Chatham aims to help children with mobility impairments become more mobile by modifying drivable toy cars.
Grand Rounds Presentations
For 10 years, Chatham University's Doctoral of Physical Therapy program has invited clinicians, authors, and researchers to share their expertise at our Grand Rounds presentations. Local Physical Therapists are invited to attend at no cost and receive direct access credits and continuing education credit. A variety of topics are presented using the latest evidence and offering insight into current clinical reasoning and patient care.
Making an Impact in Ecuador
For many of the School of Health Sciences students, it would be their first time treating patients in such a context—navigating different cultures, different specialties, even different words. And if that weren’t novelty enough, they’d be doing it in Ibarra, Ecuador.