uvm physical therapy

Physical therapists assist patients and clients in promoting health, preventing illness and disability, and improving function and quality of life after illness or injury.


The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Vermont is well recognized for preparing practitioner-scholars who are able to successfully translate evidence into contemporary best practice.The program includes coursework related to the science and art of physical therapy, including basic, clinical and applied sciences and concepts of practice management, health policy, and ethics and quality in health care, preparing graduates to provide patient-centered care in an evolving and complex health care environment.

Graduates earn a doctoral degree in physical therapy and practice in many different settings including outpatient practices, rehabilitation facilities, acute care hospitals, long-term care facilities, school systems and home health agencies. Many graduates obtain advanced degrees in clinical specialties, or become practice owners, clinical administrators, or academic faculty.


The UVM Doctor of Physical Therapy program's mission is to prepare graduates to lead and collaborate in the quest of promoting the health of individuals, communities and society through movement and exercise in order to optimize function, activity, and participation across environments. UVM graduates provide ethical, evidence-based, client-centered services in a culturally sensitive manner as they serve society to enhance quality of life. Graduates are decision-makers in the primary care team who have a clear understanding of the importance of lifelong learning that will support their client, patient, and professional needs. Faculty model and support student learning of these expected educational outcomes.

Our vision is to be recognized for leadership in our contribution to the creation, advancement, and dissemination of translational research while striving toward excellence to education Doctor of Physical Therapy scholars who collaborate to "transform society by optimizing movement," for the promotion of individual and population health of our communities and society.


The program combines seminars, lectures, and hands-on lab experiences that allow students to integrate clinical, theoretical, and professional concepts. Students broaden their professional preparation through 36 weeks of clinical internships interspersed throughout the curriculum. Internships are offered throughout the U.S. in a variety of specialty areas.


Upon successful completion of the program, graduates are eligible to sit for the national professional licensure examination administered through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. The Office of Professional Regulation in the Vermont Secretary of State's office governs licensure requirements for Vermont.


The Physical Therapy Program at the University of Vermont is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: (703) 706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website www.capteonline.org.

Our Faculty

Our faculty model clinical and research expertise across each of the specialty areas of physical therapy practice, while facilitating students' development as movement experts who promote health through exercise.

D.P.T. Core Faculty

Justine DeeJustine Dee, PT, M.S., OCS

Areas of Expertise: Chronic pain treatment, addressing pain and functional loss in victims of torture and trauma, low back pain, lymphedema treatment


Reuben EscorpizoReuben Escorpizo, PT, M.Sc., D.P.T.

Areas of Expertise: Understanding and examining disability in spinal cord injury, work rehabilitation, and arthritis


Nancy GellNancy Gell, PT, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Areas of Expertise: Exercise and physical activity adherence, influence of environment and technology on physical activity behavior, strategies for healthy aging


Rebecca Ouellette-MortonRebecca H. Ouellette-Morton. PT, M.S., D.P.T., Clinical Education Director

Areas of Expertise: Essential functions in physical therapy education, clinical education in physical therapy, strategies and functional outcomes for patients with chronic musculoskeletal conditions


Mathew FaillaMathew Failla, PT, Ph.D., SCS

Areas of Expertise: Sports medicine, knee injury prevention and treatment, shoulder injury prevention and treatment


Elizabeth SargentElizabeth Lee Sargent, PT, Sc.D., OCS

Areas of Expertise: Utilizing thoracic spine treatment strategies for managing upper quarter pain and dysfunction, the effect of volitional preemptive abdominal contraction on active forward reach performance, the effect of screw fixation on sacroiliac joint stiffness using vibration energy color Doppler imaging


Paula SmithPaula A. Smith, PT, M.A.S., D.P.T.

Areas of Expertise: Analysis of structured clinical education in transition to workplace, service learning to engage student learning in Geriatrics


Barbara TschoepeBarbara Ann Tschoepe, PT, D.P.T., Ph.D., Visiting Professor, Director

Areas of Expertise: Physical therapy faculty development, experiential learning in health promotion in physical therapy students, physical therapy practice and implementation of clinical practice guidelines


Michelle YargeauMichelle Yargeau, PT, D.P.T., CWS

Areas of Expertise: Wound care/pressure management, neurologic disorders and function/balance



D.P.T. Associate Faculty

  • Erin Aregentieri
  • Dr. Lauren Arms
  • Dr. Tracy Benedict
  • Tim Bissonette, PT
  • Heather Collins
  • Susan Cromwell, PT
  • Dr. Dan Farnham
  • Dr. Jennifer Green-Wilson
  • Gary Mawe
  • Dr. Victor May
  • Dr. Parminder Padget
  • Dr. Ashley Payne
  • Dr. Jon Robinson
  • Dr. Jean Silva
  • Dr. Connie van Eeghen
  • Dr. Margaret Vizzard
  • Karen Westervelt
  • Sonya Worth
  • Dr. Heather Blackburn

D.P.T. Emeriti Faculty

  • Samuel Feitelberg, PT, M.A., D.Sc., FAPTA
  • Jean Held, PT, Ed.D.
  • Sharon Henry, PT, Ph.D., ATC
  • Mary Moffroid, PT, Ph.D.
  • Leonie Nelson, PT, M.S., D.P.T.
  • Deborah O'Rourke, PT, Ph.D.
  • Nancy Zimny, PT, M.S.

Professional Outcomes

Upon completion of the University of Vermont D.P.T. program graduates will be able to:

  • Provide physical therapist services in a manner that exemplifies contemporary best practice, role models ethical and legal principles and illustrates leadership and the APTA's core values.
  • Evaluate, critique and use current best evidence in decision-making to assist in patient- and family-centered healthcare decisions.
  • Collaborate with patients, families and interprofessional colleagues to improve access to physical therapy services, to promote coordination of care, and to optimize health outcomes.
  • Apply evidence-based principles of practice management that contribute to contemporary best practice in physical therapy.
  • Advocate for patients, families, and communities to improve health outcomes and increase the overall health and well-being of our society.
  • Consult in a manner that illustrates value, ethical principles and contemporary physical therapy practice.
  • Communicate via multimodal means commensurate with needs of the individuals and the health care environment.
  • Educate patients/clients, peers, interprofessional colleagues, and the public in a manner that is culturally sensitive, matches the needs of the situation and illustrates the value of physical therapist participation in the respective situation.
  • Design a professional development plan that illustrates commitment to lifelong learning.
  • Engage in outreach, community and professional services that illustrates leadership within the profession.

Graduation, Licensure and Employment Rates

The following information has been reported to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Graduation and employment information is compiled from departmental records. Employment data reflect percent employed within six months of passing the licensure exam. The licensure pass rate is reported by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

Graduation Rate
Entry Year Four-year Graduation Rate
Three-year average

Licensed Graduate Employment Rates & Licensure Exam Pass Rates
Class Employment Rate First Time Pass Rate Ultimate Pass Rate
Three-year average



The curriculum for the program per graduation year:

Additional requirements are outlined in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Handbook. Official course descriptions are outlined in the UVM Catalogue.

Clinical Education

The curriculum includes four clinical internship courses that comprise 36 weeks of full-time clinical education experience. Students practice in a variety of settings under the supervision of clinical instructors who are licensed physical therapists. The University of Vermont contracts with over 300 clinical sites for student internships. These clinical sites are throughout the United States. Students should expect to have to travel and are responsible for travel and living expenses during the internship courses. Students are required to demonstrate adequate immunization against certain specified diseases and must obtain professional liability insurance, health clearance and CPR certification prior to enrolling in the clinical experience.

Program Goals

The D.P.T. Program goals are derived from our mission and values to:

  • Provide an educational environment in which curriculum-guiding principles are integrated with ethical and legal professional practice.
  • Offer an evidence-based curriculum that prepares graduates for contemporary best practice.
  • Admit highly qualified students who are willing to actively engage in their learning experience while supporting the mission and educational outcomes of the University, College, and D.P.T. Program.
  • Recruit students who are committed to embrace the values of this program within their future practice environments.
  • Prepare students to engage in outreach and personal life-long learning.
  • Attract and support faculty who excel in teaching, research, and service.
  • Encourage faculty to support the academic needs and professional formation of the D.P.T. students.
  • Prepare graduates to achieve desired educational outcomes of the program.
  • Develop graduates with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to succeed in a constantly changing health care environment.
  • Develop graduates who lead and collaborate in multiple roles that can positively impact clients, patients, the profession and society.
  • Inspire graduates to appreciate uniqueness and value of all individuals within diverse cultures and societies.

Graduation Requirements

A grade point average of 3.0, successful completion of all internship experiences and a comprehensive examination are required for graduation. Refer to class year curriculum sheets for credit hours required for graduation.

Admission Requirements and Tuition

Applicants must complete the prerequisite course requirements and a baccalaureate degree in any major at UVM or a regionally accredited institution. Applicants with a baccalaureate degree from institutions outside the U.S. will also be considered.

Effective July 1, 2016 students applying to the physical therapy program must have a GPA of 3.0 or greater in their undergraduate studies. All applicants must complete the following prerequisite courses with a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or greater prior to entry into the program:

  • Two semesters of anatomy/physiology
  • Two semesters of college chemistry with labs
  • Two semesters of physics with labs
  • Two semesters of biology (not botany or zoology)
  • One semester of psychology
  • One semester of statistics

Tuition and Fees

Review tuition costs for the UVM Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.

Application Process

  1. Complete the Physical Therapy Common Application through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Please submit the following application materials through the PTCAS system:

    (3) Letters of Recommendation (Include at least one academic letter of recommendation.)

    Official Transcript(s) from all U.S. and Canadian schools attended. PTCAS and the UVM DPT program accept prerequisite credits from regionally accredited institutions only. For international applicants, transcripts must be translated and evaluated by an official service and sent to the CNHS Office of Student Services.

    Official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. GRE Code 7708. Minimum scores of 150 Quantitative, 150 Verbal, and 4.0 Writing are preferred.

  2. Complete the supplemental UVM Graduate College Application and submit the application fee. Please note: If applying to both the Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) and Ph.D. in Neuroscience (NGP) programs, select the DPT/NGP option on the supplemental application. Please also include Official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. GRE Code: 7708

     (NOTE: Disregard instructions to submit letters of recommendation, a transcript, and/or writing sample via the supplemental application. Application materials submitted through PTCAS need not be submitted with the supplemental application. Please upload a PDF or Microsoft Word document stating the following: "See essay on the PTCAS application.")

  3. Submit the prerequisite course completion form.

Application deadline: Extended to Dec. 1 (Please note: PTCAS takes 3-4 weeks to verify your application after it has been submitted.)

INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: PTCAS has selected World Education Services (WES) as the preferred service for evaluating foreign transcripts. To be considered for application, foreign transcripts must be submitted to this agency for review.

Matriculation Requirements

  • Completion of technical standards form
  • Submission of final transcripts, if applicable

Doctorate in Neuroscience Combined Degree Option

The Neuroscience Graduate Program at the University of Vermont is a multidisciplinary, Ph.D. granting program that emphasizes rigorous training in neuroscience-related research and prepares students for a variety of science related careers in addition to tenure-stream academic careers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the program?

The program is three years including summer semesters. There is a six-week clinical internship at the beginning of the second year and there are three ten-week clinical internships in the third year.

What about financial aid and the tuition costs for the program?

For current information about financial aid, tuition, and fees, refer to the Student Financial Services website. If you have questions about whether you are an in-state or out-of-state resident, refer to the Registrar's Residency Policy.

If you are a permanent resident of Maine or New Hampshire, you may be eligible for discounted tuition through the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE)'s RSP Tuition Break program. For more information please contact the Graduate College

Will I need a car?

Yes, you will most likely need access to a car during your clinical internships. All students should expect to have at least one clinical internship out of state. Students are responsible for travel and living expenses during their internships.

How can I find out more about the program? Do you hold information sessions?

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences Office of Student Services is able to guide you during the application process and answer any of your questions. There are also advisors and current DPT students available to speak with you about the program. The Office of Admissions offers tours, which are a great way to see the campus. You may contact them to arrange a visit. Information sessions for the DPT program are held a few times a year. More information including dates and locations can be found in the prospective graduate students section of the CNHS website. These sessions - held by a faculty member in the department - are highly recommended.

How many applicants are there annually? What is average size of the class?

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences receives a large group of very competitive applications each year. The average class size is 35 students.

Do I need to have all of the prerequisite courses completed prior to applying?

You may have no more than two prerequisite courses remaining for the spring semester when you apply. The Graduate College must be notified of final grades before classes begin.

Is there a period of time that the prerequisites are no longer acceptable towards my application?

It is highly recommended that the prerequisite courses are taken no more than ten years prior to applying to the program, although it is not a requirement.

What is the minimum prerequisite GPA? May I retake any prerequisite courses to obtain a better grade?

Students applying to the physical therapy program must have a GPA of 3.0 or greater in their undergraduate studies. All applicants must complete the prerequisite courses listed here with a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or greater prior to entry into the DPT program. The average overall GPA for students enrolled in the program is 3.5 with an average 3.5 for the prerequisite GPA. Through PTCAS, applicants identify the courses that they want to count toward the prerequisite GPA. So, if you retake a prerequisite course, you may select the course with the best grade that meets the requirement. The calculation for the GPA prerequisites is then based on the grades from the courses you identify.

Are observation hours required?

There is no requirement for observation hours for the application process, although it is favorable to have this type of experience.

Is an interview required for admission into the UVM D.P.T. program?

There is no interview requirement for the application process.

Where should I send my application materials?

Official transcripts, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation should be submitted through PTCAS. The GRE Code for the University of Vermont DPT program is 7708. Refer to the PTCAS website for more information. The UVM on-line supplemental graduate application must also be completed. Please put only the names of your references on this application and not their e-mails, as it will send them another recommendation request. In the box calling for an essay, please write: "See essay on the PTCAS application."

Can you clarify the deadline for application?

ALL application materials must be submitted to PTCAS, and the UVM Graduate College application must be completed, by the deadline. Applicants are not penalized for PTCAS business processing time.

How can I find out if PTCAS has received my transcripts (or any other materials)?

PTCAS will have the information related to the status of your transcripts, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation. If you are having any questions or difficulties with PTCAS, contact their customer service line at (617) 612-2040 or ptcasinfo@ptcas.org. UVM will notify you when applications have been received.

When will I hear whether I have been admitted to the program?

You will hear from us between the end of February and the end of March.

Contact Us

College of Nursing & Health Sciences
Office of Student Services
(802) 656-3858


Apply Now

Student Opportunities

UVM Doctor of Physical Therapy students participate in a variety of research, service, and professional development activities while involved in the graduate program.