Department of Physical Therapy

Compassion. Movement. Teamwork.

Physical therapy is a critical component to effective health care as movement is essential to human well-being. It is fueled by a compelling desire to make the lives of others better. 

In everything, I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." - Acts 20:35

Samford's Doctor of Physical Therapy is a three-year program with a heavy emphasis on the sciences, equipping students with the foundational knowledge needed to make evidence-based clinical decisions for their patients and their families. Working in a variety of clinical settings, Samford is committed to providing students the broadest experience possible to help them find their ultimate calling. 

Three aspects of Samford's program define the student experience:

  • Today, health care is delivered by teams of professionals from different disciplines working in collaboration. This is how you will learn at Samford, working as part of an interprofessional team. You will work in collaboration with people from different programs, from nursing to pharmacy, nutrition to kinesiology. 
  • You will learn using the most advanced technology. Lectures, labs and clinical experiences will utilize apps for education and support while providing care. You'll leave our program prepared to use current and developing technologies to work with your patients in your professional environment.
  • Service is central to everything we do. We believe that we are all called to serve, to use our skills and knowledge to make the lives of people better in communities and home and around the world.

Our mission is to help you become a life-long learner — to help you develop the knowledge, skills and experience you need to effectively answer the calling of your life. Your knowledge will be grounded in science, and your motivations powered by compassion.

Degrees

Samford University's Doctor of Physical Therapy represents the dynamic interaction of foundational and diagnostic sciences with patient-client management and services to individuals and the community. 

Doctor of Physical Therapy

This three-year program has a heavy emphasis on science and service. Students learn to work with other health care professionals, making evidence-based decisions that best serve their patients. 

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Fast-track Doctor of Physical Therapy

Samford offers a fast-track program that provides eligible students the opportunity to earn both a Bachelor of Science in exercise science and a Doctor of Physical Therapy in just six year. Students can apply for the program as incoming freshmen.

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Clinical 

There simply is no substitute for hands-on experience in your education, and as you earn your Doctor of Physical Therapy you will work with patients who suffer a variety of mobility-related problems; you’ll work in a variety of settings, from acute care to both in-patient and out-patient clinics. Throughout your rotations, you’ll study under the direct supervision of experienced, licensed physical therapists who are both skilled practitioners and committed to your education.

Birmingham is an exceptional place to hone your patient care skills. Because Birmingham is an international hub of health care, few places offer students more clinical and service opportunities. We are surrounded by some of the finest health care facilities in the world, from acute care to specialty clinics, in almost every specialty. 

Because Samford has earned an excellent reputation in both national and international health care communities, you’ll have opportunities to learn from some of the most skilled physical therapist professionals in the world. 

The D.P.T. program includes three formal clinical education assignments. The first begins in your second summer and lasts for four weeks. During this assignment you will focus on applying your first year of studies in a health care setting. During your final year, you will participate in two separate clinical assignments, each 14 weeks long. In these final assignments you will have additional opportunities to choose the type of setting you would like to train in.

In Service to Others

In addition to your clinical work, we spend considerable time in service to communities in need, both in this country and abroad. These service trips, some connected directly to missions work and other not, are a critical component of your education. One of the pillars of our program is the commitment to service that supports every program in the College of Health Sciences. We all have found our way to Samford because we see our careers as more than a job — we are called to serve others. 

Clinical Faculty

Throughout your rotations you'll study under the direct supervision of experienced, licensed physical therapists who are skilled practitioners committed to your education. Individuals interested in becoming clinical faculty should call 205-726-4437 or e-mail Dr. Lydia Thurston. If you are a current clinical faculty member, please click here.

Policy for External Comments and Complaints

* Effective April 29, 2015 Samford University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; phone: 703:706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org). Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the programs is progressing toward accreditation and may matriculate students in technical/professional courses. Candidate for Accreditation is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation.