2006 - 2007 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Physical Therapy, Ph.D.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: April 1                                    [December 15 for international applicants]


Applications are evaluated together after the deadline has passed.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 2

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from those who can judge the applicant's capability for success in a graduate program in Physical Therapy, including university faculty, physical therapy clinicians, and/or employers.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

All applicants are required to be physical therapists and must be able to demonstrate completion of coursework from an accredited U.S. professional program in Physical Therapy or the equivalent as determined by credential analysis.  Consequently, international students must have their physical therapy educational transcripts reviewed by a credentialing agency in the United States; must complete any coursework that is lacking; and then must pass the U.S. physical therapist licensure exam prior to admission.

All applicants are also required to have a minimum of one year's experience in practice prior to admission.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

An applicant who does not hold a professional (entry-level) master's degree in Physical Therapy must have earned a bachelor's degree, a post-baccalaureate certificate, or professional doctorate in Physical Therapy.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of a baccalaureate degree at Temple University.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should be no more than one typed page in length. It should include the following elements: your interest in Temple's program; a summary of your prior clinical and other Physical Therapy experience; your current teaching and research interests; and your future career goals.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE is required. The GRE scores should be in the 50th percentile on at least two of the three test sections (Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical).

Minimum TOEFL score or range of scores needed to be accepted: 575 paper-based, 230 computer-based, or 88 internet-based.  Any student admitted with a TOEFL score below 600 on the paper-based, 250 on the computer-based, or 100 on the internet-based examination must pass an English skills course during the first semester of enrollment at Temple University.  Those having taken the paper-based or computer-based test have the additional option of testing out of the English course by taking and passing the SPEAK test at Temple.


Qualified applicants are invited to interview with three members of the graduate faculty. Phone interviews are available when travel costs are prohibitive.


A resume is required.

Advanced Standing:

Up to 36 s.h. of prior graduate coursework related to Physical Therapy may be transferred into the Ph.D. program. All courses must carry a grade of "B" or better to be transferred. The maximum number of advanced standing credits awarded is 36.

Test Waivers:

The GRE test may be waived if the applicant demonstrates evidence of successful graduate coursework in the past.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Master's: 57

Required Courses:

PT 620, 623-625, 650, 653-654, 683-685, 899, 999

Typical and atypical motor behavior and clinical decision making (15 s.h.)

University teaching (9 s.h.)

Research design and analysis (15 s.h.)

Electives (18 s.h.)

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Culminating Events:

Preliminary Examination:

The Ph.D. student is required to take qualifying examinations in three areas, one each in a clinical content area, in teaching, and in research. These examinations are designed to demonstrate that the student has the skills to analyze, reflect, and conceptualize independently. Therefore, the student and the Qualifying Examination Committee jointly agree on the requirements for the exam using pre-determined guidelines regarding basic content and format.

The examinations are scheduled by the student requesting in writing that the Ph.D. Program Director convene a Qualifying Examination Committee. The Director, in consultation with the student, identifies the faculty with the best expertise in the content area to be on each Qualifying Examination Committee.

Students may take the clinical content examination after completing a minimum of 30 credits in the Ph.D. program. Students may take the teaching examination after completing PT 683 and PT 685. The research examination may be taken after completion of all coursework.

The examinations are independently graded by the two members of the Qualifying Examination Committee as Pass with Honors, Pass, or Fail. Students who receive a failure are allowed one opportunity to rewrite the examination. Determination of the grade is based on fulfillment of the contract agreed to in writing prior to the examination.


The doctoral dissertation is original research, based on mastery of research methods, that demonstrates the student's ability to expand existing knowledge. The student will prepare a written request with a rationale for consideration and action by the Ph.D. Program Committee.

The Ph.D. Program Committee, in consultation with the student, will identify at least three graduate faculty members for the Dissertation Advisory Committee. Two of the members, including the Chair, will be from the Department of Physical Therapy.

The Dissertation Advisory Committee and at least one other graduate faculty member from outside the department make up the Dissertation Examining Committee. The Ph.D. Program Committee will select the outside member(s).

The dissertation must be successfully defended in a public oral defense as determined by the student's Dissertation Advisory Committee. The Committee will evaluate the student's ability to express verbally her/his research question, methodological approach, primary findings, and implications. The Committee will vote to pass or fail the dissertation and the defense at the conclusion of the public presentation.

Students who are preparing to defend their dissertation should confirm a time and date with their Dissertation Advisory Committee at least 15 days before the desired defense date. After the student and department have arranged the time, date, and room for the defense, the student must send the official announcement to the Graduate School at least 2 weeks before the defense. The Department will post flyers announcing the defense.

Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Dept. of Physical Therapy
3307 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19140


Department Contacts:


Cynthia Grant


Program Coordinator:


Graduate Chairperson:

Laurita M. Hack, D.P.T., M.B.A., Ph.D., FAPTA



Interim Chairperson:

Laurita M. Hack, D.P.T., M.B.A., Ph.D., FAPTA

About the Program

Physical Therapy is a healthcare profession with the purpose to promote human health and function by applying theory to identify, assess, remediate, or prevent human movement dysfunction. Physical therapists are concerned with the physical well-being of their clients and patients, and recognize the need to understand and respond to the sociocultural beliefs of the person and family receiving physical therapy services. They accept full responsibility for the patients or clients in their care and for the development of their profession.

The primary missions of the Department of Physical Therapy are to: (a) provide the opportunity for individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds to enter the physical therapy profession; (b) prepare physical therapy practitioners to meet the healthcare needs of society; (c) discover and convey knowledge related to physical therapy; and (d) provide services to the academic, professional, and public communities. To meet these missions, two graduate programs are supported by the Department of Physical Therapy: the Doctor of Philosophy and the Doctor of Physical Therapy.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location:

Health Sciences

Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

All required courses in the Department of Physical Therapy are offered evenings or on weekends. Students may complete the program on a full-time or part-time (8 credit hours or less per semester) basis.

Department Information:

Dept. of Physical Therapy
3307 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19140


Interdisciplinary Study:

The Ph.D. program participates in the interdisciplinary program in Neuroscience at Temple University. Students also are able to earn the Certificate in Gerontology offered by the Institute on Aging.


Not applicable.

Study Abroad:



Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Areas of Specialization:

The primary goal of the Ph.D. degree program is to prepare faculty for work in the field of Physical Therapy. Students with a broad range of clinical interests are welcome. Courses are offered evenings, weekends, in one-to-two-week intensives, and online so that students can maintain part-time clinical practice while engaging in doctoral studies. Required and elective coursework is offered in typical and atypical motor behavior and clinical decision making, teaching in health professional programs, and research design and analysis. Opportunities exist for a strong multidisciplinary neuroscience emphasis. Faculty use both qualitative and quantitative research strategies to pursue a broad range of basic science, clinical science, and social-behavioral science research interests.

Job Placement:

Ph.D. graduates are prepared to practice in educational and research positions in the field of Physical Therapy in a variety of clinical areas.


Licensure or eligibility for licensure to practice Physical Therapy is required.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

Non-matriculated students are encouraged to enroll in up to three Ph.D. courses, with the permission of the Director of the Ph.D. Program.

Financing Opportunities

Assistantships are available for a limited number of students based on the academic plan of the student and the current needs of the department. The position can be either a Teaching Assistantship or Research Assistantship. The duties of a Teaching Assistant lie primarily in offering teaching support for the D.P.T. program under the direction of teaching mentors. The duties of a Research Assistant are primarily assigned by the research mentor.

Updated 12.5.06