Physical Therapy Post-Professional Program


We are pleased that you are interested in the Graduate Program in Physical Therapy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center! This program of post-professional advanced study leads to either a Master of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT) degree, or a Doctor of Physical Therapy(ScDPT) Science degree, while allowing you to continue in your practice.

Graduate Program

The profession of physical therapy has different academic preparation for professional (entry-level) practice and for post-professional (after entry-level or advanced) practice. Generally, entry-level students receive a Master’s in Physical therapy (MPT) or Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) after completing a professional educational program. Graduates then take a national board examination, and apply for state licensure to practice as a physical therapist. Post-professional academic degrees for practicing physical therapists can be at master (MS, MA) or doctoral level. The traditional doctoral degree programs (PhD or EdD) are most appropriate for physical therapists pursuing the role of clinical/basic science research or teaching. Post-professional clinical doctorates are being offered for physical therapists. Analogous to post-professional clinical doctorate degrees such as Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and Doctor of Public health (DPH), the clinical doctorate prepares professionals for advanced clinical practice, research and teaching.

The clinical doctorate in physical therapy (ScDPT) at University of Tennessee builds upon entry-level physical therapy education, incorporates advanced practice competencies from the existing MSPT Program, and addresses the additional competencies necessary for advanced practice. The curriculum at University of Tennessee provides the clinical rigor and scholarship essential for doctoral level education.

Contact Us

Carol Counts Likens, PT, PhD
Chairman and Associate Professor
Department of Physical Therapy

The University of Tennessee
Health Science Center
930 Madison – Suite 647
Memphis, TN 38163
901-448-5888
clikens@uthsc.edu