Belmont University

Information about Physical Therapist program at Belmont University

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 Belmont University (A4, D6, F1, PR)

Last Updated by Program: 02/06/2007
Address:   School of Physical Therapy
Belmont University
1900 Belmont Blvd
Nashville, TN 37212-3757
Phone:   (615)460-6727
Fax:   (615)460-6729
Admissions/Student Inquiry Phone:   (615)460-6727
Financial Aid Phone:   (615)460-6403
Web Address:
Program E-mail:
John S Halle, PT, PhD, ECS
Chair and Associate Dean
  Accreditor:   Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/Commission on Colleges
  Carnegie Classification:   Master's Colleges and Universities (larger programs)
  Date of Initial Accreditation:   May 2000
  Current Accreditation Status:   Accreditation
  Next Visit   2015
  Five Year History:   Accreditation
DEGREE CONFERRED: Doctor of Physical Therapy
The School of Physical Therapy mission is to prepare physical therapists to provide excellent, compassionate care through evidence-based, autonomous practice. Graduates will be practitioners of choice in the movement sciences, prepared to assume leadership roles, engaged in lifelong learning, and actively involved in the profession and community service. Our strengths are in our exceptional faculty, state-of-the-art equipment, and outstanding facilities. The three-year professional education curriculum culminates in the Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree. The physical therapy curriculum at Belmont University has been developed to provide physical therapists with a strong foundation in basic health sciences and an understanding of the theoretical basis for physical therapy practice. The goal of this program is to prepare a generalist physical therapy practitioner with critical thinking abilities who can bridge theory and practice, and demonstrate excellence in the performance of general clinical skills. The Doctorate of Physical Therapy curriculum is 137 semester hours. The program is a “medical model approach” with the first year concentration in the basic sciences, second year concentration in clinical sciences, and the third year concentration in clinical sciences, social sciences, and clinical education. Each student is involved in a small group research activity that spans the three-year curriculum and culminates in a professional presentation of the scientific finding during the fall semester of the third year of the program. The Belmont University School of Physical Therapy program occupies the Physical Therapy Building. The facility includes three classrooms, four laboratories, a resource room, computer lab, lounge, and office space for the faculty and administrative staff. Housed within the Physical Therapy Building is one of the most comprehensive balance and fall-risk reduction laboratories in the United States, one of few fully equipped motion analysis laboratories in the Southeast, computer enhanced and virtual reality based equipment to test and train various musculoskeletal disorders, as well as research and development participation of new products for musculoskeletal rehabilitation. The University has additional classrooms and laboratory spaces in the Gordon E. Inman Center and Jack E. Massey Business Center on campus that are utilized as needed. A Letter of Agreement between Belmont University and the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine allows the physical therapy students to use the Gross Anatomy laboratory for all lab/dissection activities, and access the Annette and Irwin Eskind Biomedical Library.
The clinical education portion of the curriculum includes 39 weeks of clinical experience in the application of didactic knowledge and psychomotor skills in the clinical setting. Part-time clinical experiences, incorporated into specific clinical science courses, occur in local physical therapy clinics during semesters II, III, and IV. Four full-time clinical experiences, each eight weeks in length, occur nationwide and abroad. Providing that enough clinical sites of each type are available, students are required to complete a long-term affiliation in the following settings: 1) acute, 2) rehabilitation or sub-acute, 3) outpatient, and 4) student’s choice. Belmont University requires that students complete at least one long-term Physical Therapy Practice outside middle Tennessee to enhance their education. Clinical education expenses are the student’s responsibility; available transportation is a necessity.
Of the nine full-time teaching faculty, eight have terminal degrees. Seven of the faculty are engaged in clinical practice. Belmont University has an exceptional adjunct faculty, nine of the fifteen have terminal degrees and six are associated with the Vanderbilt School of Medicine. Dr. Halle, Professor and Associate Dean, holds an appointment with the Vanderbilt School of Medicine. The School of Physical Therapy faculty and adjunct faculty hold ten specialty certifications recognized by the APTA, including: 2 clinical electrophysiologic, 1 geriatric, 2 neurologic, 3 orthopaedic, and 2 sports specializations. Full-time faculty are currently engaged in physical therapy research and have publication credits.
The DPT program accepts an ideal class size of 32 students each August into the professional curriculum. Laboratory sessions have an average instructor to student ratio of 1:8.
Applicants may apply online or receive application materials by request or from the school website at Applicants are evaluated by an Admission Committee and are admitted on a competitive basis. Admission requirements include: a completed application form with the $50 nonrefundable application fee; a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university (degree in any field); completion of all prerequisites within ten years prior to application; minimum overall of both undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale); minimum prerequisite grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). (The prerequisite course work includes: Chemistry: 6-8 hours, two semesters with a lab in each; Physics: 6-8 hours, two semesters with a lab in each; Biology: 6-8 hours, two semesters with a lab in each; Human Anatomy and Physiology: 6-8 hours, two semesters with a lab in each; Statistics: 3 hours; Behavioral Science Courses: 9 hours); competitive scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken within the past five years. (School Code is 1058, Physical Therapy Code is 0619); demonstration of familiarity with physical therapy in the form of a minimum of 50 hours of observational, volunteer, and/or work experience in physical therapy; official transcripts for all college and university course work completed; and two recommendations from faculty, academic advisors, or employers addressing the applicant’s ability, interest, and motivation for pursuing study in physical therapy. One letter of recommendation must be from a licensed physical therapist. The Physical Therapy Program Admissions Committee will review the application to select the final group of applicants for interview and further review. These applicants will be invited to continue in the admission procedure by participating in the on-site portion of the admission process. The Physical Therapy Admissions Committee will make decisions regarding the acceptability of applicants for the physical therapy program after evaluation of all pertinent application materials.
(3-year average) 91% of admitted students graduate from the program; 90% of all graduates passed the licensure exam on the first attempt with an ultimate pass rate of 100%; and 100% of those program graduates responding to surveys are employed.
Tuition for the 2006-07 academic year is $10,575 per semester. Approximately 85% percent of students receive financial assistance and/or scholarships. Financial aid is coordinated through the Office of Student Financial Services.
The Beaman Student Life Center, located on the southern end of Belmont’s campus, includes a fitness center with strength training and cardiovascular equipment, an aerobics area for a wide variety of classes, two racquetball/squash courts, an intramural/recreational gym, a rock climbing wall, dance studio, and locker rooms. This, in conjunction with the Curb Event Center, an arena seating up to 5,000 people, available for concerts, convocations, Commencement, and major speakers, as well as the adjacent Curb Café, a restaurant and live performance venue, provide a variety of opportunities to students, families, and the local community. Graduate students live off campus in surrounding communities.