About Physical Therapy Physical therapy is a challenging profession for those interested in the fields of science and medicine and who like to work with people. As an allied health profession, it involves the evaluation and treatment of individuals with a variety of problems, such as musculoskeletal, neurological, and cardiovascular difficulties related to disability, injury, disease and aging. The therapist evaluates, plans, administers and modifies treatment incorporating the use of physical measures, functional activities, and electrotherapeutic devices for restoring function and promoting independence. Physical therapy requires knowledge in biological, physical, and behavioral sciences such as psychology, gross and applied anatomy, physiology and physics. It utilizes knowledge acquired through prerequisite foundational courses in the application of current treatment philosophies and therapeutic modalities.
Physical therapists work closely with physicians, occupational therapists, nurses, speech and language pathologists, psychologists and other members of the health care team. They practice in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, school systems, private offices and the home, and they serve patients from all age groups. Whether patients are recovering from knee surgery, neck pain, carpel tunnel syndrome or arthritis or learning to walk again after a stroke, physical therapists help them regain function by improving the ability of muscles, nerves, and joints to move efficiently and effectively.
Physical therapists also play a significant role in the prevention of injuries and movement disorders. They work as consultants in industrial settings to improve workplace design and reduce the risk of workers overusing certain muscles or developing low back pain. Physical therapists also screen athletes at all levels for potential problems and recommend preventive exercise programs. The growing emphasis on health and fitness of all Americans provides opportunities for physical therapists to consult with individuals and fitness clubs to develop workouts that are safe and effective, especially for people who already know they have a problem with their joints or back.
The Division of Physical Therapy at Florida A & M University was established in 1981, becoming the third physical therapy program in the State University System (SUS) of Florida. The first class of students was admitted to the baccalaureate program in 1982; the last baccalaureate class graduated in August 2001. Currently, all applicants for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program must have completed a bachelor's degree and have met all FAMU graduate school admission requirements prior to admission to the program. Consistent with other SUS physical therapy programs, applicants accepted into the FAMU program will be admitted as graduate students in the three-year professional curriculum.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum is built on a broad foundation of liberal arts, social sciences, and basic sciences. Therefore, applicants to the entry level doctoral program must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, and they must also be able to demonstrate by official transcript completion of the physical therapy program prerequisites. Course-work within the professional curriculum challenges students to build on their undergraduate background by incorporating a balance of foundational and clinical sciences; critical inquiry; clinical practice; and studies of society, health care delivery, and physical therapy practice. The curriculum is designed to provide students with a combination of didactic and clinical experiences necessary to perform effectively and efficiently as entry-level physical therapists, as well as to successfully prepare for the licensing process.
The physical therapy curriculum at FAMU includes opportunities for "hands-on" experiences as well as classroom instruction. Under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist, students have the opportunity to problem-solve and to apply knowledge and skills under "real world" conditions. Four full-time internships (non-paid) are scheduled throughout the program, totaling over 1200 hours. The final semester of the program consists of two concurrent eight-week internships. Practically all internships are out-of-town. The assignments are usually within the State of Florida, although the program has clinical sites throughout the United States.
Clinical centers are selected based on criteria endorsed by the American Physical Therapy Association. While students are encouraged to provide input and to take on a more active research and decision-making role in the clinical placement process, the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education has the ultimate responsibility for clinical assignments.
Prospective students should realize that, in all probability, they will have to stay at an out-of-town location for a period of time, ranging from eight to sixteen weeks. Cost of living expenses, housing and travel arrangements, etc., during clinical internships are the sole responsibility of the student. Expenses (including lodging, utilities, meals, possible airfare, local transportation/gasoline) will depend on factors such as the geographical location, the length of the affiliation, family support in the area, etc. By far, the location of affordable housing for internships presents the greatest challenge to students.
A Doctor of Physical Therapy degree (DPT) is awarded upon successful completion of the curriculum. Also, the graduate is eligible to apply for the physical therapy licensing examination.
Florida A & M University has been granted accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
Required science prerequisites include:
General Biology I and II w/ Lab (8 credits)
Anatomy and Physiology I and II w/Lab (8 credits)
General Chemistry I and II w/Lab (8 credits)
Physics I and II w/ Lab (8 credits)
Other, non-science, prerequisites include:
Human Growth and Development (Lifespan Development) (3 credits)
Psychology (3 credits)
Statistics (3 credits)
Other Admissions Requirements
- A combined score of a 1,000 on the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the Aptitude Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or
- A 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) cumulative grade point average (GPA) during the last 60 semester hours (or 90 quarter hours) of undergraduate preparation or
- Possession of a graduate degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
- In addition to the above criteria, the overall science GPA is considered in the process of admission into the Division of Physical Therapy entry-level DPT degree program.
Florida A&M University
SOAHS Division of Physical Therapy
Tallahassee, Florida 32307
The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Florida A & M University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Program Outcomes Data
3-Year Graduation Rates
3-Year Ultimate Pass Rates (Based on data from Federation State Boards of Physical Therapy)