West Virginia University

Information about Physical Therapist program at West Virginia University



West Virginia University (D6, F1, PU)

Last Updated by Program: 01/13/2005
Address:   Division of Physical Therapy
Department of Human Performance & Applied Exercise Science
School of Medicine
West Virginia University
PO Box 9226
Morgantown, WV 26506-9226
Phone:   (304)293-3610
Fax:   (304)293-7105
Admissions/Student Inquiry Phone:   (304)293-3611
Financial Aid Phone:   (304)293-5242
Web Address:   http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/som/pt
Program E-mail:   mmandich@hsc.wvu.edu
MaryBeth Mandich, PT, PhD
Professor and Chairperson
  Accreditor:   Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  Carnegie Classification:   Research Universities (high research activity)
  Date of Initial Accreditation:   Bachelor's degree, August 1972 (no longer offered); Master's degree, April 1997 (no longer admitting students); DPT degree, September 2002
  Current Accreditation Status:   Accreditation
  Next Visit   2011
  Five Year History:   Accreditation
DEGREE CONFERRED: Master of Physical Therapy; Doctor of Physical Therapy
The WVU Physical Therapy Program was established in 1970 under the auspices of the School of Medicine to help meet the need for physical therapists in West Virginia. The program began offering an entry level master’s (MPT) degree in Fall, 1997, with the last MPT graduates scheduled for August 2007. Beginning fall, 2005 the professional education program will culminate in the entry level doctoral (DPT) degree, with first graduates anticipated in May 2008. The change to the DPT will include a requirement for a baccalaureate degree prior to admission. The DPT degree uses a traditional curricular model which is supplemented by a clinical problem solving and evidence based curricular track. This affords students the stability of an established traditional mode of education supplemented by contemporary curricular methods in order to develop a thoughtful, evidence based approach to physical therapy practice. The program in physical therapy at WVU has been a national leader in participating in such innovative programs as the Rural Health Education Partnership, a state funded program designed to expose all health professions students to practice in rural West Virginia.
In the DPT degree, there is one part-time clinical observation experience lasting 15 weeks and three full-time clinical education experiences, lasting 4 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks respectively, for a total of 32 weeks full-time clinical education, The physical therapy education program at WVU views clinical education as an essential part of the education program. The program is affiliated with more than 200 facilities that provide a variety of education experiences. Students are required to obtain clinical education experience in core areas of acute/hospital based; outpatient and rehabilitation. Other clinical experiences available include specialized areas such as women’s health, wound care, pediatrics and sports medicine. All students participate in a 12-week rural health rotation associated with the RHEP program. This rotation occurs between the 2nd and 3rd professional years and is associated with multi-disciplinary group learning sessions and community based service projects. Clinical education facilities are located within West Virginia and surrounding states; however, there are some facilities across the country. Students are responsible for all expenses related to clinical education, such as travel, housing, meals, tuition, clothing, health insurance, books, personal and incidental expenses.
The diversity of faculty experience and qualifications is viewed as a strength of the program. There are eight full-time faculty, five of whom hold terminal doctoral degrees and two remaining who are doctoral candidates. The fields in which the faculty hold post-professional degrees include anatomy, education, public health, statistics, exercise science and psychology/neurobiology . Two additional faculty hold joint appointments. One faculty member is a nationally known expert in muscle physiology and the other faculty member is an epidemiologist who oversees orthopedic outcomes research. Faculty also hold advanced clinical specializations including orthopedics, hand therapy, and cardiopulmonary. Faculty turnover is limited and about half the faculty have taught at WVU for over 10 years.
More than 22,500 students are enrolled at West Virginia University (WVU). Approximately 90% of the members of the class are West Virginia residents. A limited number of transfers and/or nonresidents may be considered for admission. There are currently 91 students enrolled in the degree program and the anticipated acceptance is at 30 students per year.
Admission to the physical therapy education program is competitive. Preference is given to West Virginia residents or non-residents who have ties to the state, such as attending WVU for their undergraduate degree; however, non-residents without ties are eligible for consideration. In order to apply to the WVU Physical Therapy Program, applicants must have a baccalaureate degree in any field, with exercise science or biology recommended, and must have the following pre-requisite courses: 8 hours of biology with lab, 8 hours of chemistry with lab, 8 hours of physics with lab, 3 hours of general and 3 hours of life-span developmental psychology, 3 hours of introductory statistics, 3 hours of human anatomy and 3 hours of human physiology taken in the past 2 years. A medical terminology course of 1 hour or equivalent is also required. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative and pre-requisite science GPA of 3.0 and have taken the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), including the Writing Assessment. Applicants must have a minimum grade of C in all pre-requisite courses and must have completed a minimum of 60 hours of clinical volunteer or work experience in a physical therapy setting. At least two types of clinical experiences are required. Over the past three years, the number of applications for the program range from 44 to 60, with acceptance of qualified applicants at approximately 75%.
Program outcomes over the past three years are as follows: graduation rate of 87%; 100% of graduates have passed the licensing exam; 100% of students seeking employment are employed. Clinical performance of students in their final clinical experience in 2004 averaged 9.6 out of 10, as judged by their clinical instructors and strengths of the program cited in surveys by graduates and employers include professional behavior, orthopedic physical therapy and ethics. Employers state WVU graduates perform at a level equal to or above graduates from other education programs on all areas surveyed.
The estimated annual tuition and fees for 2005/2006 are $7200.00 for residents and $21,628 for non-residents. Most graduate students live on the Health Sciences campus and share apartments with other professional students. An average apartment cost per student is $300/month. Books and supplies are about $1,100 per year. The WVU physical therapy program participates in a mandatory computer purchase program, which is a fee to students of approximately $500 per semester for six semesters.
West Virginia University, founded in 1867, is located in Morgantown, West Virginia, a city of nearly 29,000 residents near West Virginia's northern border. Through 13 colleges and schools, WVU offers 170 bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and professional degree programs. The comprehensive Health Sciences Center consists of four schools: Pharmacy, Nursing, Dentistry and Medicine. Within the School of Medicine, there are a number of Professional Programs, one of which is the Physical Therapy Program. The Carnegie Institute for the Advancement of Teaching has placed WVU in the Doctoral Research Extensive Classification - the only West Virginia institution in this designation and one of only 151 in the United States. As West Virginia's major research and development center and only comprehensive doctoral-granting institution, WVU faculty conducted over $137 million in sponsored contracts and grants last year. WVU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and dozens of specialized academic accrediting agencies. The Physical Therapy program has been continuously accredited by the Commission For Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education programs or CAPTE since 1972. WVU has two main campuses: the downtown campus and the Evansdale campus. The Health Sciences Center is located on the Evansdale campus, where most professional students choose to reside. Some of the notable parts of the WVU student experience include a new student recreation center, opened in 2001; Big East Division I college athletics including football and basketball; a large intramural athletic program and many arts events, including student productions and national touring companies. Located in "Mountaineer Country," Morgantown is a recreational haven year-round. Recreational activities nearby include snow skiing, mountain biking and whitewater rafting. Morgantown, West Virginia’s fifth largest city was recently rated the No. 1 Small City in America and the Best Small City in the East. Morgantown is within easy traveling distance of Washington, DC, to the east, Pittsburgh, PA, to the north, and is easy to reach from Cleveland and Columbus, OH.