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Join us at one of our upcoming virtual Graduate School Open House events on Zoom! You'll have the opportunity to learn more about Western Carolina University, understand the Graduate School application process, and meet key program representatives.
We promote the advancement of health, wellness, and rehabilitation through education, research and service. Our commitment is to provide a student-focused environment with a faculty whose primary role is to prepare compassionate, competent doctors of physical therapy who are experts in the examination and treatment of the movement system, value inter-professional collaboration, engage in outreach to address regional and international health needs, and uphold the highest professional standards across the continuum of care.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is a 33-month, full-time, entry-level program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).*
In August of each year, a 48-student cohort begins a dynamic learning process that promotes interprofessional collaboration, evidence-based practice, scholarship, and community engagement. The challenging curriculum is taught by faculty who are committed to molding students into exceptional clinicians.
The design of our program allows students at the Cullowhee campus and Biltmore Park instructional site to have a synchronous learning experience with faculty members teaching from both locations. Students receive in-person guidance for all hands-on experiences. There are 32 students at the Cullowhee location and 16 at the Biltmore Park location for each cohort.
Admission to the program is highly competitive. Students must have earned a bachelor’s degree and completed prerequisite courses with a high grade point average. Due to the standard of excellence we uphold our students to, our Doctor of Physical Therapy graduates have had a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the National Physical Therapy Exam for five of the past six years.
33-months (full-time only)
3 terminal clinical education experiences (30 weeks) with integrated clinical experiences throughout the curriculum (4 weeks total)
Classes begin in August
Graduation in May
DPT Curriculum Summary
The curriculum consists of 111 semester hours of coursework offered in eight consecutive semesters, that begins by building a strong foundation of knowledge in the movement sciences and progresses to more complex applied clinical science and reasoning. Students attend classes full-time at the College of Health & Human Sciences building or the Biltmore Park Instructional Site. Just as a physical therapists must acknowledge the whole patient—not simply a set of presenting symptoms—we honor each student and encourage his or her unique personal and professional development by implementing a variety of learning styles.
Our students are equipped to be dynamic entry-level clinicians who are prepared to practice as generalists or apply for residencies after graduation. Clinical experiences are integrated early in the curriculum and throughout the entire program to provide students clinical context and opportunities to apply their skills to authentic scenarios. We continue to expand and strengthen our robust partnerships with clinical sites to create additional opportunities for clinical education experiences. We believe the structure of our curriculum is a highlight of our program that allows for optimal student learning.