Doctor of Physical Therapy

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Are you fascinated by the way the human body works? A rewarding career as a physical therapist may be for you!


Physical therapists examine, evaluate, diagnose and treat patients using physical intervention to improve or restore movement. The doctorate in physical therapy program (DPT) program is an entry-level program (first professional degree) for those who wish to become physical therapists. 

Outstanding high school graduates may apply for a guaranteed seat in the DPT program as they apply for undergraduate admission at The University of Scranton. The program is very competitive with more than 800 applications for approximately 45 seats. 

Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience

–American Physical Therapy Association

Why Physical Therapy is in Demand:

  • Employment for physical therapists is projected to grow by 34% between 2014 and 2024, much higher than the national average. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • While many physical therapists practice in general medical and surgical hospitals, the majority of physical therapists work in offices of other health practicioners, providing a wide range of career opportunities. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • With the aging of the “Baby Boomer” population, there will be increased demand for physical therapists.
  • In addition to treating traditional conditions such as heart attacks, strokes or injuries, physical therapists are increasingly needed to help manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity.

Is it for me?

Are you:

  • Motivated to help people?
  • A problem-solver?
  • Ready for a challenging and rewarding academic program and career?

Five Reasons to Choose Scranton for Doctor of Physical Therapy

Dedicated faculty and staff.    Professors are committed to each student’s success and work closely with individual students in research and clinical settings, as well as in the classroom. They also serve as mentors both during and after your studies at Scranton.
Jesuit education.    The strong commitment to be “men and women for and with others” results in a deeply caring approach to physical therapy study and practice at The University of Scranton.
Strong community.    Small class sizes foster interaction and engagement. Students are uniquely supportive of each other. For this demanding program, only 40 students are admitted each year.
Interactive learning   Clinical experiences, community-based learning and visits to PT facilities are part of every student’s educational journey. In the classroom, students are encouraged to contribute to discussions based on their own experiences and study.
New facilities.    Leahy Hall, which is the new home for our occupational therapy, physical therapy and exercise science programs, provides an advanced, modern facility with exceptional teaching, research and clinical space.

I did apply to a number of other schools, but I knew from the moment I visited that Scranton was where I wanted to go. Scranton felt like home.

Angela Stolfi, Classes of 1996, 1997, 2006
Director of Physical Therapy at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Rusk Rehabilitation

  • Preparing You For Personal & Professional Successplus or minus

    The DPT program is highly challenging, and graduates leave fully prepared to work as professional physical therapists. Scranton-educated physical therapists are knowledgeable, competent, service-oriented, self-assured, adaptable, reflective and sensitive to individual diversity.

    You’ll learn how to:

    • Communicate effectively with patients, families, coworkers and others
    • Utilize physical therapy procedures to assess a patient’s movement system and needs
    • Develop and implement plans of care
    • Complete treatment procedures to reach defined goals for patient health
    • Participate in scientific inquiry

    You may also travel to conferences to facilitate research and learning in the PT occupation.

    The wide range of clinical expertise among our faculty gives students the tools to excel in every setting, and the focus on a Jesuit, holistic approach keeps the needs of our future patients at the forefront of everything we do. I feel prepared and excited to embark on clinical internships and my future career knowing I will make my University proud.

    Elizabeth Rynar
    Class of 2020

  • What You'll Learnplus or minus


    The doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program is a three year professional graduate program with classes beginning in June and continuing year-round. Students must complete undergraduate prerequisites before acceptance into this competitive program.

    Students take approximately five classes per traditional semester. Each course covers specific areas of physical therapy. “Grand rounds” with professional physical therapists, as well as clinical seminars enable students to gain practical experience. Four clinical experiences in total are required during the second and third summers, plus the final semester of study.

    Click here to see the specific curriculum.

    Clinical Experiences

    Clinical experiences are embedded in the physical therapy curriculum and provide essential application for students. Students are required to complete 34 weeks full-time in clinicals; this generally breaks down to four, 8-week experiences. Clinical experiences are managed and arranged by the director of Clinical Education in consideration of curricular requirements, contracted clinical sites and student learning objectives.

    Clinical sites are located throughout the United States, but are predominately in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. The physical therapy program has fully executed contracts with more than 500 clinical sites across the United States.

    Trips to hospitals and rehabilitation centers provide additional hands-on learning. Students observe at acute care hospitals; at rehab laboratories, they work with patients who have experienced strokes, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries, or amputation of lower extremities.

    Students also interact in class with guest lecturers with expertise in vital areas — oncology, women’s health, pediatrics or prosthetics, for example.

  • Pursue Your Passion and Make a Differenceplus or minus

    Students who pursue a health profession such as physical therapy are driven by a desire to help others. Through The University of Scranton’s program, students may participate in service and cultural immersion opportunities as they are working toward their degrees.

    For example, Drs. Peter Leininger and Janette Scardillo run an annual service trip with the Hearts in Motion (HIM) organization to Guatemala in Central America. A team of DPT students and faculty provide physical therapy services to underserved people in the community. To learn more about service in the PT department, click here.

    Additionally, yearly cultural immersion trips to underserved countries (e.g. Peru, Costa Rica) led by Dr. Renee Hakim are attended by students in conjunction with other colleges/universities from across the country.

    Many students work with faculty in The University of Scranton’s Edward R. Leahy, Jr. Clinic for the Uninsured. The pro bono PT clinic is run by a team of DPT student administrators with a peer mentorship model. This University program demonstrates the Jesuit ideology and reinforces the value of service to others. The Clinic has recently expanded with an extensive addition of rehabilitation and research equipment.


Where Will a Doctorate in Physical Therapy Take Me?

In the past three years, University of Scranton DPT graduates have reported 95 to 100 percent employment (University statistics). Annual starting salaries for Scranton-educated PTs average $65,000 (2014 statistics). 

Faculty members receive rave reviews from employers who are pleased with graduates and their level of knowledge, experience and confidence.

Here are some examples of PT jobs depending on your interests:

  • Clinicians
  • Clinical administrators/supervisors
  • Faculty
  • Researchers

Leading Employers:

You’ll find Scranton graduates working for a wide range of companies and organizations. We have many of our physical therapy alumni leading prestigious institutions & departments throughout the country.  This includes Angela Stolfi at NYU Hospital.

Here are a few examples of our powerful alumni network comprising more than 750 PT graduates.

  • LTC Jason Silvernail PT, DPT, DSc, FAAOMPT, Class of 1997, is the chief of PT services at Walter Reed National Military Center.
  • Laura Prosser, Class of 2001, is a research scientist at the Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania.
  • Rachel Tromellen, Class of 2003, is an assistant professor of physical therapy at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

During my time at Scranton, I sat through classes, participated in community-based learning and met great people who would all help to prepare me for such a rewarding career.

Meghan Durney, Class of 2015
Physical Therapist, NYU Lutheran

How Scranton Gives You a Competitive Edge

Competitive Edge

Scranton physical therapy faculty members represent a broad range of disciplines, giving students the opportunity to learn from experts in specialties like geriatrics, sports medicine, anatomy, cardio pulmonary PT, women’s health, fall prevention, pediatrics and kinesiology/human movement.

Because of the extensive clinical experiences, students have learned to work directly with patients in varied settings. They have practiced in a variety of environments and under the supervision of diverse supervisors. Faculty members are committed to getting to know students individually and are able to mentor graduates as they transition into full-time professional positions.


The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at The University of Scranton is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), giving the degree additional credibility worldwide.

Take the Next Step

Get the Facts

View PDF with Program Overview
& Curriculum

For More Information

Office of Admissions
The Estate
Scranton, PA 18510
1-888-SCRANTON or (570) 941-7540

Physical Therapy
Renée M. Hakim, PT, Ph.D., NCS
Chairperson/Program Director
(570) 941-7499