Department of Physical Therapy

Chair and Professor: N. Reese (PhD), 450-3611
Professor: B. Bandy (PhD), J. Fletcher (PhD)
Associate Professor: S. Forbush (PhD), K. Garrison (PhD), C. Lairamore (PhD), M. McGee (PhD), C. Yates (PhD)
Assistant Professor: L. Collier (PhD), L. Lowe (PhD), L. Van Hoose (PhD)
Senior Clinical Instructor: M. Booth (DPT), T. Maresh (DPT)
Clinical Instructor II: S. Stephens (MS)

[1] Physical Therapy: A Dynamic Health Care Profession

Physical therapists (PTs) are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTs examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and wellness programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

Physical therapists provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices.

Physical therapists:

  • Diagnose and manage movement dysfunction and enhance physical and functional abilities.
  • Restore, maintain, and promote not only optimal physical function but optimal wellness and fitness and optimal quality of life as it relates to movement and health.
  • Prevent the onset, symptoms, and progression of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities that may result from diseases, disorders, conditions, or injuries.

The median annual earnings of all physical therapists in the United States were $84,500 in 2016. Employment of physical therapists is expected to increase 28 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook.

[2] Mission

The mission of the UCA Department of Physical Therapy is to develop collaborative physical therapist practitioners, leaders, and scholars.

[3] Accreditation Status

The BS in Health Science with an emphasis in physical therapy does not require specialized accreditation. The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) curriculum is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). CAPTE may be contacted via mail, telephone, or email as follows:

Department of Accreditation
American Physical Therapy Association
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Telephone: 703/706-3245

[4] DPT Student Outcomes

Graduation rate: 95%
Employment Rate: 100% (for students passing the licensure examination)
Licensure Examination Pass Rates (2-year average): 100%

[5] Requirements for Application to the DPT Program

Students who wish to apply for admission to the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program must first complete a baccalaureate degree and specific prerequisite courses. A complete list of prerequisites for the UCA DPT program may be found in the UCA Graduate Bulletin or on the UCA Physical Therapy website Applicants for the DPT program may complete the baccalaureate degree in any field as long as all prerequisites for the program are complete by the time of matriculation and all other requirements for the DPT program are met.

[6] Bachelor of Science in Health Science, Physical Therapy Emphasis

Students who are interested in applying to the UCA Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program may elect to pursue the BS in Health Science with a physical therapy emphasis. This degree is specially designed to assist students completing prerequisite course work to obtain a baccalaureate degree in order to meet application requirements for the professional DPT program.

The purpose of the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Sciences degree with a physical therapy emphasis is to qualify graduates of the program as candidates for the DPT degree. In addition to the baccalaureate degree, students applying for the DPT program must meet specific grade point averages, have designated prerequisite courses, observe in the clinic, and take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The BS in Health Science with physical therapy emphasis does not prepare a graduate for licensure or employment as a physical therapist or a physical therapist assistant.

For more information on the professional Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, the student is referred to the UCA Graduate Bulletin or Physical Therapy website

The BS in Health Science degree with an emphasis in physical therapy requires a total of 120 semester credit hours, of which 40 credits must be upper division. Degree requirements are as follows (see individual departments for course descriptions):

[6.1] UCA Lower-Division Core (38 hours)

Complete 38 hours to meet lower-division UCA Core requirements (see the UCA Core requirements). Health Sciences – Physical Therapy Emphasis majors must include the following courses in their UCA Core selections: MATH 1390 (or higher), PSYC 1300, BIOL 1440, and CHEM 1450 or CHEM 1402.

[6.2] Health Science Core (15 hours)

BIOL 2406 Structure and Function of the Human Body I
CHEM 1451 College Chemistry II or CHEM 2450 Physiological Chemistry II
PHYS 1410 College Physics 1
PSYC 2330 Psychological Statistics

[6.3] Degree Requirements (25 hours)

BIOL 2407 Structure and Function of the Human Body II
BIOL 2420 Histology for Health Sciences
BIOL 3370 Introduction to Neuroscience
BIOL 4311 Pathophysiology or BIOL 4351 General Pharmacology
H SC 3123 Medical Terminology
PHYS 1420 College Physics 2
PSYC 3332 Research Methods
PSYC Elective

[6.4] UCA Upper-Division Core (15 hours)

The Upper-Division Core (UDC) requirements for Diversity, Communication, Critical Inquiry and Responsible Living will be fulfilled by completing a 3 hour course for each category (consult your academic advisor for courses that will fulfill each category) as well as a Capstone course.

Upper-Division Core/Diversity – 3 hours
Upper-Division Core/Communication – 3 hours
Upper-Division Core/Critical Inquiry – 3 hours
Upper-Division Core/Responsible Living – 3 hours
Upper-Division Core/Capstone: EXSS 4320 (taken senior year) – 3 hours

[6.5] Major Electives (18 hours)

Six courses (18 hours) must be taken from the following:

BIOL 4311 Pathophysiology
BIOL 4351 General Pharmacology
H ED 3305 Human Sexuality
H ED 3320 Epidemiology Research
H ED 4300 Community Health
H ED 4301 Health Education in the Medical Care Setting
H ED 4302 Health Education in the Worksite
H ED 4303 Environmental Health Problems
H ED 4310 Health Concerns of the Aging
H ED 4312 Drug Education
H ED 4343 Health Strategies for Multicultural Populations
H ED 4395 Contemporary Health Concerns – Women
H ED 4396 Contemporary Health Concerns – Men
EXSS 3331 Care and Prevention of Exercise and Sport Injuries
EXSS 3382 Mechanical Kinesiology
EXSS 4300 Exercise Physiology
MGMT 3305 Social Issues in Management
MGMT 3315 Diversity/Multicultural Communications
NUTR 3370 Advanced Nutrition
NUTR 3390 Nutrition and Metabolism
NUTR 4315 Sports Nutrition
PSYC 3325 Cognitive Psychology
PSYC 3330 Sensation & Perception
PSYC 3350 Psychology of Women
PSYC 3351 Psychology of Learning
PSYC 3360 Social Psychology
PSYC 3370 Sports Psychology
PSYC 4320 Abnormal Psychology
PSYC 4325 Physiological Psychology
SOC 3310 Racial and Ethnic Relations
SOC 3350 Marriages and Families
SOC 3361 Gender Roles
SOC 3381 Death and Dying

[6.6] Additional Courses (9 hours)

Nine hours of additional courses (free choice electives) are necessary to complete the 120 hour degree program.

[7] Honors in Physical Therapy Emphasis: Health Sciences

[Jump to Recognition of Academic Achievement for general information about Honors in the Majors.]

During their junior year, qualified students are invited to become candidates for Honors in Physical Therapy. Students must have earned at least an overall GPA of 3.7. Students identify possible mentors, and once a mentor agrees, the student and faculty mentor plan a project and assemble a faculty committee. Students are required to complete a minimum of three hours of directed study in PTHY 4383. Upon completing the written thesis, the student will give an oral presentation to which Physical Therapy faculty and students are invited. Upon successful completion of the written report and oral presentation the faculty advisor will assign a grade and the advisory committee will review the work and, if appropriate, recommend graduation with honors to the Physical Therapy faculty.

[8] Courses in Physical Therapy (PTHY)

Follow this link for PTHY course descriptions: course link.

For other course descriptions, see the Course Index.