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 45 students are admitted each year.
Interactive learning   Internships, 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 University of Scranton transformed me into the young professional I want to be and gave my dreams life.

    Shannon Gilman
    Class of 2017

  • 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 internships in total are required during the second and third summers, plus the final semester of study.

    Click here to see the specific curriculum.


    Internships are embedded in the physical therapy curriculum and provide essential experiences for students. Students are required to complete 32 weeks in internships; this generally breaks down to four, 8-week internships. Internships are managed and arranged by the director of Clinical Education in consideration of curricular requirements, contracted internship sites and student learning objectives.

    Internship 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 begin to be of service as they are working toward their degrees.

    For example, Dr. John Sanko, associate professor, leads a yearly cultural immersion trip to the Navajo Nation. Students visit schools and hospitals in the area, sharing their knowledge. They interact with students and staff at St. Michael’s School for Children with Special Needs in Window Rock, Arizona. St. Michael’s students have conditions ranging from cerebral palsy to Down Syndrome and more, but there is no physical therapist on staff. Scranton students also visit families in their homes, which are often trailers or modest traditional structures without electricity. To learn more about service in the PT department, click here.

    Additionally, yearly service trips to Guyana led by Dr. Barbara Wagner and Guatemala led by Dr. Peter Leininger are attended by students and faculty. 

    Many students work with faculty in The University of Scranton’s Edward R. Leahy, Jr. Clinic for the Uninsured. 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 review 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.
  • Janette Scardillo PT, DPT, CBIS, Class of 2006, is an assistant professor and assistant director of Clinical Education at Thomas Jefferson University.

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 internship experience, students have learned to work directly with patients in clinical 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
Renee Hakim, PT, Ph.D., NCS
Program Director
(570) 941-7935