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What will I learn?

The Department of Physical Therapy serves the people of the commonwealth of Virginia and the nation by providing educational programs related to physical therapy. The department provides an environment that encourages education through problem solving, free inquiry, professional behavior and scholarship. The department’s primary focus is to prepare individuals for general physical therapy practice. These practitioners are educated to serve as an entry point into the health care system for consumers. Post-professional programs provide quality education leading to careers in teaching and research. The department also provides assistance and services to the community and engages in research and scholarly activities related to the practice of physical therapy.

Preparation of physical therapists

VCU’s Department of Physical Therapy offers a three-year degree program leading to a Doctor of Physical Therapy. The 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.

Expected student outcomes

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 policymakers
  • 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
  • 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

Which department am I in?

College of Health Professions

Study options

Full Time (Minimum of 122 graduate credit hours)

Tuition fees
$24,741.00 (18,39,968) per year

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Start date

Expected May 2022


College of Health Professions

900 E. Leigh Street,



23298, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants for admission to VCU graduate programs must hold the academic equivalent of a U.S. baccalaureate degree from an accredited university.

For international students

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • A Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree from an accredited college or university
  • A minimum grade-point average of 2.7 (in a 4.0 system)
  • A minimum total of 45 volunteer hours in at least two physical therapy practice settings

The university minimum TOEFL score requirement is 600 (paper-based) or 80 (Internet-based); 250 on computerized exam. The university minimum IELTS score requirement is 6.5. The PTE is also accepted with a minimum score of 65. Deadline: Summer - The beginning of Oct of the year prior to intended enrollment.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


About Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University is a top 100 research university and number one public postgraduate arts school in the US.

  • VCU is one of the top 3 research universities in Virginia
  • 21% growth in sponsored awards in a 10-year period
  • 1,600 international students from 108 countries
  • 173-acre campus in downtown Richmond