Saint Francis University

Information about Physical Therapist program at Saint Francis University




Saint Francis University (A2, D6, F1, PR)

Last Updated by Program: 10/06/2006
Address:   Department of Physical Therapy
Saint Francis University
117 Evergreen Drive
Loretto, PA 15940
Phone:   (814)472-3123
Fax:   (814)472-3140
Admissions/Student Inquiry Phone:   (886)342-5738
Financial Aid Phone:   (886)342-5738
Web Address:
Program E-mail:
Patricia I Fitzgerald, PT, PhD, MPT, CSCS
Interim Chairperson
  Accreditor:   Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  Carnegie Classification:   Master's Colleges and Universities (larger programs)
  Date of Initial Accreditation:   Master's Degree, May 2000 (no longer offered) DPT Degree, March 2004
  Current Accreditation Status:   Accreditation
  Next Visit   2015
  Five Year History:   Accreditation
DEGREE CONFERRED: Doctor of Physical Therapy
The physical therapy program provides three years of pre-professional study during which students complete the general education studies and collateral requirements, followed by three years of study in the professional curriculum (including summers), which includes clinical experiences. While the entire 6-year curriculum is taught on campus, selected educational experiences may occasionally require short-distance travel to local health care facilities. Individuals holding a baccalaureate degree with the necessary prerequisite coursework are eligible for admission to the first year of the 3-year professional curriculum based on space availability.
Students have their first 7-week clinical education experience in the summer following the completion of year 4. The second clinical education experience occurs in the first half of the spring semester in year 5. The fall semester of year 6 contains two 8-week experiences. The final 7-week clinical occurs during the end of the spring semester. Students will have experiences in both inpatient and outpatient settings. While the majority of the clinical sites are in the northeast, there are sites available in the south and west.
The program benefits from eight full-time faculty positions and a clinically diverse group of part-time adjunct faculty. Full-time faculty have over 130 years of experience in teaching and clinical practice. Approximately 50% of the full-time faculty hold post-professional doctoral degrees. Three are engaged in clinical practice. Musculoskeletal faculty feature four orthopedic certified specialists (OCS). Neurological faculty include a nationally renowned expert on spinal cord injury and a pediatric certified specialist (PCS). The faculty-to-student ratio is 1:10.
There are approximately 2,000 students enrolled at the university on a full-time basis.
Most students enroll as freshmen in this 6-year entry-level DPT professional education program. Progression from the pre-professional program to the professional curriculum is guaranteed provided the student meets the progression criteria. Upon successful completion of the fourth or senior year, students will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science; the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree will be awarded after successful completion of the sixth year. Individuals holding a baccalaureate degree with the necessary prerequisite coursework are eligible for admission to the first year of the 3-year professional curriculum based on space availability. The following prerequisite (or equivalent) coursework is required for graduate admission: 12 credits of biology (8 of which must be Anatomy and Physiology), 8 credits of chemistry with labs, 8 credits of physics with labs, 9 credits of psychology, 4 credits of exercise physiology with lab and 3 credits of statistics.
96% of the students eligible to progress through the professional curriculum graduate from the program (3-year average); 96.12% of the program graduates passed the licensure exam on their first attempt (3-year average); and 100% of those program graduates responding to surveys are employed.
The undergraduate tuition rate for the 2006-2007 academic year is $10,587 for 12-18 credits. The rate for graduate tuition is $661 per credit. Students are assessed contingent fees and lab fees. The office of financial aid works closely with students to secure adequate funding for their studies. Approximately 90% of full-time undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid and more than 80% of full-time undergraduate students receive some form of grant assistance from Saint Francis University funds. Currently, Saint Francis University offers the Stafford loan for graduate students (up to $18,500) as well as multiple alternative loans (up to cost minus other aid).
Saint Francis University, located in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania, offers a unique combination of natural beauty, personal charm, and academic preparation. Our scenic environment, complete with pine trees, fresh air, and acre upon acre of untouched woodlands, welcomes you immediately. The attractive 600-acre campus features nine residence halls, a student union, classroom and administrative buildings, an athletics center, dining hall, library and chapel. The Charles M Schwab Estate and Gardens (now Mount Assisi Friary), Lake Saint Francis and Immergrun Golf Course further complement the Saint Francis Campus, making the setting ideal not only for focused learning, but tranquil living as well. Diverse cultural opportunities are available for students and area residents alike through the University's fine arts program and the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art.