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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

faculty awards

Faculty Award Winners recognized at annual Hooding Ceremony

The Arnold School is proud to announce the recipients of the 2023 Faculty Awards: James A. Keith Excellence in Teaching Award (Courtney Monroe), Faculty Research Award (Jihong Liu), and Faculty Service Award (Alicia Flach).

Exercise Science Awards

Exercise science recognizes seven students with Outstanding Student Awards

The Department of Exercise Science has selected seven students to receive the 2023 Outstanding Exercise Science Student Awards. This year’s winners were chosen for their academic achievements, community service and leadership roles.

Harrison Johnson

From the stage to the clinic. Actor pivots career to help others through physical therapy

As a student in the Department of Exercise Science's Doctor of Physical Therapy program, Harrison Johnson interned at two hospitals and served as a senior teaching assistant for clinical associate professor Erika Blanck.

ASPH logo

Exercise science faculty win Office of Provost Awards

Alicia Flach has won the Clinical Practice Teaching Award and Shana Harrington has won the USC Educational Foundation Outstanding Service Award.

Adam Bilodeau

Strength and conditioning coach earns physical therapy degree to holistically help clients

Using a holistic approach, Adam Bilodeau plans to pursue a dual role as a physical therapist and strength coach after his August graduation. In the future, he would like to open a performance facility that primarily works with athletes and other active populations.

Jacob Turner

From patient to practitioner: physical therapy graduate completes degree to serve others

Jacob Turner’s path to becoming a physical therapist has been a personal one. Diagnosed at an early age with mild spastic diplegia, the Starr, South Carolina spent more than a decade of his life in the care of physical therapists.

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