Medical University of South Carolina

Information about Physical Therapist program at Medical University of South Carolina




Medical University of South Carolina (A4, D6, F1, PU)

Last Updated by Program: 11/02/2004
Address:   Physical Therapy Education Program
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences
Medical University of South Carolina
77 President Street, Suite 323
PO Box 250700
Charleston, SC 29425-9345
Phone:   (843)792-9345
Fax:   (843)792-8060
Admissions/Student Inquiry Phone:   (843)792-3942
Financial Aid Phone:   (843)792-2536
Web Address:
Program E-mail:
Kathleen A Cegles, PT, DEd
Program Director
  Accreditor:   Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/Commission on Colleges
  Carnegie Classification:   Special Focus Institutions--Medical schools and medical centers
  Date of Initial Accreditation:   Baccalaureate degree, July 1975 Master's degree, October 1997 DPT degree, October 2004 Expansion program at Albany, October 1997 (discontinued)
  Current Accreditation Status:   Accreditation
  Next Visit   2010
  Five Year History:   Accreditation
DEGREE CONFERRED: Master of Physical Therapy (no longer admitting students) Doctor of Physical Therapy
The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE) approved the doctoral program in physical therapy October 2004, beginning with the class entering May 2005. The entry-level professional degree awarded will be a clinical Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree, which will replace MUSC’s current master’s degree level physical therapy program. MUSC’s doctorate in physical therapy educational program is the largest one of only two, entry-level doctoral programs in the state of South Carolina. In addition, the CHE also approved a transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (t-DPT) program for MUSC that will begin within the next two years, offered to MUSC graduates who currently hold master’s degrees in physical therapy. The doctoral program includes an interdisciplinary, systems and problem-oriented, curriculum. This degree is based on a post-baccalaureate educational model, which requires a bachelor’s degree prior to entry, then followed by 145 semester hours of professional course work at MUSC. The curriculum, which extends over 3 contiguous calendar years, has extensive breadth and depth in the basic sciences supporting physical therapy, the clinical sciences, practice management, and professional behaviors. The curriculum is designed to address human development and problems that occur across the lifespan. Our graduates should be capable of practicing in nearly any setting and should leave the program with long-term career goals, including a plan for specialization or advanced certification. We believe the doctoral program will enable our graduates to be more competitive for employment opportunities, as well as entering post-professional education programs. The curriculum is profoundly influenced by evidence based practice and includes a large component devoted to clinical reasoning and differential diagnosis. The curriculum is designed to develop qualities that encourage independent learning to prepare our graduates for an exciting and undoubtedly changing practice environment in the future. A number of core courses in the curriculum are taken with students in communication science disorders (CSD) and occupational therapy students. These core courses are designed to increase an understanding of other rehabilitation professionals and to promote interdisciplinary collaboration. Students progress from basic and foundational courses to courses and experiences that demand integration, application, and synthesis of this fundamental information and move to problem solving in the clinical context. The Physical Therapy Educational Program and College of Health Professions will be moving to a new, state of the art building in 2005 which will include contemporary student-friendly technology to enhance traditional educational experiences. The existing building will be developed as space for research laboratories for the College of Health Professions. Integral to a newly established collaborative research program, the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences is in the process of developing a Program for Movement, Exercise, and Rehabilitation Research to assist faculty in research, educational, and clinical endeavors, in addition to collaborative work with departments across the University and with other Institutions. Contemporary motion analysis and human physical performance laboratories will be components of the Program for Movement, Exercise, and Rehabilitation Research.
Clinical experiences are provided through an organized sequence of learning activities that include both integrated and full-time opportunities. Integrated clinical experiences are provided during each semester in the form of patient demonstrations during clinical laboratories, clinical observation in local hospitals related to current course content, and through patient observation and problem-solving. Full-time clinical experiences consist of one 2-week experience after the first year, followed by four 8-week, clinical practica at the end of the third year. Each component of clinical education is designed to provide students with an opportunity to apply the academic knowledge and skills learned. With each experience, the student is expected to demonstrate increased depth and breadth of knowledge and to function with less supervision. The students are encouraged to obtain a variety of clinical experiences. High quality clinical sites in acute care, private practice, sports medicine, rehabilitation, pediatrics, home health, and geriatrics are available. Sufficient quantities of clinical sites exist to enable students to obtain clinical exposure in their areas of interest, in addition to helping to fulfill our rural mission.
There are nine full-time and nine part-time faculty positions tied to the Physical Therapy Educational Program. Seven of the full-time faculty hold post-professional doctoral degrees, five have advanced specialty certification, and six are engaged in clinical practice. Over the past 3 years, the faculty has averaged three publications in peer-reviewed journals and have been very active in securing grant funding for the program.
MUSC has approximately 3,000 students. Each physical therapy class is composed of 60 students. A total of 1199 physical therapy students have graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina. At the present time, approximately 67% live in South Carolina, and 33% live out of state.
The cumulative GPA of the physical therapy class that entered in 2004 was 3.34. Prerequisite course work includes 3 semester hours in each: mathematics and statistics; 4 semester hours in each: human physiology (with lab) and human anatomy (with lab); 6 semester hours of English composition; 8 semester hours in each: physics (with labs) and chemistry (with labs), mammalian or vertebrate biology (with labs); 9 semester hours in humanities; 3 semester hours of social sciences; 3 semester hours each: in general psychology, child development and abnormal psychology. Computer experience is also required. Prerequisite courses must be completed prior to enrollment in the program. Applications are accepted July 1 through November 1 for early consideration, January 15 for regular consideration, and April 15 for late consideration (if slots available). Classes begin the following May. Selection is based on GRE scores, prerequisite and science grades.
The cumulative pass rate (last three years) for MUSC graduates in the previous Master of Physical Therapy program is 96%.
The per semester tuition for 2004/2005 academic year is $4,377 for in-state students and $9,160 for out-of-state students. There are a variety of College of Health Professions scholarships available specifically for full-time health professions students. These scholarships are based on academic achievement, financial need, and non-cognitive factors such as community service, college involvement, and volunteerism. Go to the College website at: for additional information about College scholarships. Financial need is established by applying for assistance with the Office of Student Financial Aid (843) 792-2536 to receive the necessary forms.
The Medical University of South Carolina is located in Charleston, a rapidly growing port city on the Atlantic coast. The resort city has an average annual temperature of 65 degrees, perfect for year-round outdoor activities that include swimming, sailing, and fishing. Resort beaches, tennis courts, and golf courses are located throughout the Charleston area. Its location and climate offer attractions to people of all ages and backgrounds. Off-campus rentals are available, at an average rent of $700-$800 per month. Most students share rental costs. Contact MUSC-Off Campus Housing at the Harper Student Center (843) 792-0394 or go to the web site at: Intercollegiate programs include football, basketball, volleyball, softball, and soccer. The campus is within close proximity to four additional major hospitals, as well as The Citadel and College of Charleston campuses. The city of Charleston is served by Charleston International Airport and has regularly scheduled Amtrak service. Many cultural and entertainment activities exist, including the city’s historical background and architecture, much of which has been preserved.