University of Vermont

2011-12 Online Catalogue

Physical Therapy (Doctor of Physical Therapy)


The doctor of physical therapy is a professional entry-level degree. The DPT program includes course work related to the science and art of physical therapy practice including the basic sciences of anatomy, exercise physiology and neuroscience, the clinical sciences of pathophysiology and pharmacology, and the clinical sciences related to management of patients across the lifespan. The curriculum also includes courses related to evidence-based practice, practice management, healthcare ethics, policy and quality improvement, and health promotion. In addition, students engage in 36 weeks of full time clinical internships in four different settings, including out-patient, acute care and rehabilitation.

The Clinical Education Program is an integral part of the curriculum, offering students opportunities to apply knowledge, skills and behaviors in the clinical setting. Clinical sites span the US and offer a wide variety of experiences. In consultation with students, the Director of Clinical Education makes the decision as to the location of clinical internships for each student. Internships are assigned based on students' educational needs and availability of clinical sites in each timeframe. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from clinical sites. Many of the clinical education facilities are not in the immediate Burlington, Vermont area. Students must be prepared to travel and secure living arrangements during those clinical internships. Internships are scheduled as indicated in the curriculum plan unless insufficient clinical sites are available; in that case, students may be required to complete internship in an alternate time period.

All students in the program are required to carry professional liability insurance and have all required health clearances prior to engaging in any clinical education experience. Students should plan their finances to include these expenses. Clinical sites may require students to have a criminal background check before starting an internship. Evidence of a Criminal Record may prevent students from being eligible for clinical placement, and/or professional licensure.

Specific Requirements

There are two routes for admission to the physical therapy program.
  1. Undergraduate-to-graduate accelerated program model (3+3): Students following this model apply to UVM as first-year undergraduate students in an approved major and indicate their interest in the DPT on the application form. These majors include:
    • Communication Sciences and Disorders in the College of Nursing & Health Sciences;
    • Biological Sciences or Nutrition & Food Sciences in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences;
    • Many majors in the College of Arts & Sciences are available to students pursuing the DPT in the 3+3 format. Careful planning with the undergraduate academic advisor and the College of Arts & Sciences Dean's Office is required, however, because some majors are not compatible.

    Timing of this path: Students following this model apply to UVM as first-year undergraduate students in an approved major and indicate their interest in the DPT on the application form. This program is highly selective and students may be admitted to the University while not being admitted to the accelerated program. Students are eligible for admission into the Doctor of Physical Therapy program upon completion of the prerequisite courses for physical therapy and the requirements for the undergraduate major by the end of their third year. Students are awarded the baccalaureate degree from UVM in their undergraduate major after the successful completion of their fourth undergraduate year, which is also their first year of graduate study in physical therapy. Students must meet specific GPA requirements each year to be eligible to continue in the 3+3 program. Those meeting the criteria in the junior year must complete the Graduate College paper application and obtain official transcripts from other institutions attended (if applicable). The deadline for submitting this paperwork is December 15th.

  2. Undergraduate to graduate program model (Post baccalaureate, 4+3): Students following this model must complete the DPT requirements and apply to the physical therapy program in their final year of undergraduate study or after completion of a baccalaureate degree at UVM or any other accredited institution. DEADLINE for this application and supporting materials is December 15th.

    Application process for this path:

    • Complete the physical therapy common application through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS), a division of the American Physical Therapy Association. Students requesting in-state status will also submit the Application for In-State Status.
    • Complete Pages 1 and 2 of the UVM Graduate Online Application form. Letters of recommendation are required for the PTCAS application only. However, the names of those PTCAS references should be included on the UVM application.
    • Complete the Graduate Record Examination. A minimum GRE score of 500 in both verbal and quantitative portions and 4.0 in the written analytical portion of the exam are preferred. The following applicants are exempt from taking GREs:
      • Applicants who have completed a prior graduate degree within the past 10 years
      • Applicants who have graduated from a UVM undergraduate program
      • Applicants from undergraduate programs with Articulation agreements with the University of Vermont

      NOTE: Applicants who do not provide GRE scores taken within 5 years of the date of application will be ineligible for graduate assistantship funding.

DPT requirements

Students applying to the physical therapy program through either route must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 or greater in their undergraduate studies. All applicants must complete the following prerequisite courses prior to entry into the DPT program with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater in all but the last two courses in the following list.

  • Two semesters of anatomy/physiology
  • Two semesters of college chemistry with labs
  • Two semesters of physics with labs
  • One semester of biology
  • One semester of psychology
  • One semester of statistics

The DPT program at UVM is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education. Individuals who graduate from an accredited program are eligible to take the examination required for licensure as a physical therapist.



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