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My Arnold School

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.

What is the DPT program?

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is clinical doctoral program that is housed in the Arnold School's Department of Exercise Science (EXSC). The 3 1/3 year 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 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.


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.