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Arnold School of Public Health

  • Students practicing physical therapy techniques

Physical Therapy

The Physical Therapy Program at the University of South Carolina offers students a unique opportunity to develop clinical physical therapy skills in an intimate learning environment. 

This dynamic program prepares you to diagnose and treat individuals of all ages that have health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move. As a physical therapist, you will diagnose and enhance physical and functional abilities; restore and promote optimal physical function; and prevent the onset and progression of limitations that may result from diseases, disorders, conditions or injuries.

Physical therapists provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings and nursing homes.

Students who complete the DPT program at the University of South Carolina have the option of applying, and if accepted, enroll in an accelerated Exercise Science Ph.D. program with a focus in one of three areas including Rehabilitation Sciences, Applied Physiology, or Health Aspects of Physical Activity.


Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree

The 3 year Clinical Doctoral program  starts in August of each year and admits a small class size that allows students an opportunity to get individualized instruction and closely interact with instructors. Students complete a research project focused on clinical practice and learn the value of evidence-based practice. Following completion of the Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT), students are eligible to sit for the national physical therapy licensure exam.

Students who complete the DPT program at the University of South Carolina have the option of applying, and if accepted, enroll in an accelerated Ph.D. degree in one of three areas including Rehabilitation Sciences [pdf], Applied Physiology, or Health Aspects of Physical Activity.

Explore the specific application deadlines and requirements.

To prepare graduates who skillfully deliver compassionate, evidence-based physical therapy care to maximize the function and health of their clients.

We strive to ensure our graduates and faculty are recognized as exceptional practitioners, researchers, and leaders in the PT community. This high degree of excellence is based upon the philosophy that physical therapy practice is dynamic and requires life-long learning including the application, evaluation, and generation of new knowledge with continued awareness of the unique needs of each individual client.

The Doctoral Physical Therapy Program at the University of South Carolina is dedicated to maintaining a culture that emphasizes life-long learning and excellence in evidence-based practice. The doctoral curriculum is sequenced to provide students with a foundation upon which clinical skills are developed and refined. Clinical experiences are designed to provide students with the opportunity to practice and advance clinical skills that are sequenced to complement didactic instruction. Graduates are encouraged to further their professional development though pursuit of advanced degrees, residencies, fellowships and employment in settings with active mentorship.


Physical Therapy News

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Four exercise science students win awards from American Kinesiology Association

 Students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in the Department of Exercise Science have been recognized as the UofSC recipients for the 2020 National Scholar Awards from the American Kinesiology Association. 

Brooks Herring

Doctoral candidate wants to take physical therapy to the next level

UofSC features Bachelor of Exercise Science alumnus and current Doctor of Physical Therapy student Brooks Herring -- a veteran who is seeking to help injured soldiers regain full strength. 

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Arnold School faculty members to serve as principal investigators on 13 projects supported by 2020 ASPIRE grants

Faculty members from across the Arnold School received funding through the Office of the Vice President for Research’s Advanced Support for Innovative Research Excellence (ASPIRE) program. 

Allison Lewis

Doctoral student awarded predoctoral fellowship from American Heart Association

After a few years as a physical therapist, Allison Lewis began looking at doctoral programs to better understand how to optimize clinical interventions and found her way to the Arnold School's Ph.D. in Exercise Science program (ranked No. 1 in the nation).  

Brooks Herring

Physical therapy student wins scholarship from National Strength and Conditioning Association Foundation

Brooks Herring, a 2018 graduate of the B.S. in Exercise Science program and a current student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program, has been awarded the 2019 Challenge Scholarship from the National Strength and Conditioning Association Foundation. 

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