DPT professional degree

VCU's Department of Physical Therapy offers a three-year degree program leading to a Doctor of Physical Therapy. The DPT Program prepares students for entry into the profession by teaching them to evaluate and manage patients with physical therapy problems effectively and in accordance with ethical principles. It also provides students with strategies to continually define and meet their own educational needs in order to keep skills and knowledge current throughout their professional careers.


The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at VCU is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org.


Click on this link for verification status: CAPTE


DPT Graduation Data to:

2018 Graduation rate 92.6%
2018 Employment rate 100%
2018 Licensure Examination pass rate 100%

Satisfactory performance in the experiences provided in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program prepares the graduate to: 

  • Demonstrate professional behavior in a manner consistent with APTA Code of Ethics and APTA Core Values.
  • Adhere to legal practice standards, including all federal, state, and institutional regulations related to patient/client care and fiscal management.
  • Communicate effectively with all stakeholders, including patients/clients, family members, caregivers, practitioners, interprofessional team members, consumers, payers and policy makers.
  • Adapt delivery of physical therapy services with consideration for patients’ differences, values, preferences, and expressed needs in all professional activities.
  • Integrate basic principles of critical inquiry to evaluate, interpret and utilize professional literature in clinical practice, participate in clinical research activities, and critically analyze new concepts in the application of physical therapy practice.
  • Apply current knowledge, theory, and professional judgment, while considering the patient/client perspective, the environment and available resources.
  • Determine, with each patient encounter, the patient’s need for further examination or consultation by a physical therapist or referral to another health care professional.
  • Perform a physical therapy patient examination using evidenced-based tests and measures that are appropriate to the patient’s age, diagnosis and health status.
  • Evaluate data from the patient examination (history, systems review, and tests and measures) to determine a diagnosis, prognosis, client goals, and expected outcomes that guide future patient management.
  • Establish and manage a safe and effective physical therapy plan of care that is consistent with professional obligations, interprofessional collaborations, and administrative policies and procedures of the practice environment.
  • Perform physical therapy interventions in a competent manner to achieve patient/client goals and outcomes.
  • Educate others (patients, caregivers, staff, students, other health care providers, business and industry representatives, school systems) using relevant and effective teaching methods.
  • Produce accurate documentation that follows guidelines and specific documentation formats required by state practice acts, the practice setting, and other regulatory agencies.
  • Collect and analyze data from selected outcome measures in a manner that supports accurate analysis of individual patient and group outcomes.
  • Direct and supervise personnel to meet patient’s goals and expected outcomes according to legal standards and ethical guidelines.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning and the physical therapy profession by serving as an advocate for the profession and the healthcare needs of society.