Students in the Neag School of Education’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program have achieved high levels of success on their Board Exams. For the last three groups of DPT graduates (41 total students), they’ve excelled by scoring 100% first-time pass rate on their Board Exams from the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, exceeding state and national averages.
“The DPT faculty and clinicians who contribute to this program are doing a tremendous job,” said Dr. Carl Maresh, kinesiology department chair in the Neag School. “This speaks directly to the stringent student selection criteria they employ and the day-to-day dedication they pay to these students during a demanding three-year gauntlet.”
Accomplishments of students in the DPT program include:
- A 100 percent first-time licensure exam pass rate for three consecutive years, compared to the national average of 88.95 percent over the same time-period.
- An employment rate for graduated students of 100 percent.
“This achievement is a testament to the hard work of many faculty and staff members, along with our students and alumni,” said Dean Dr. Thomas C. DeFranco. “The program has a very rich history and, through the efforts of many, has the potential to be a nationally ranked program.”
In 1952, the University of Connecticut became the first public university in the nation to establish a physical therapy degree program. The program evolved from an undergraduate program, then became a masterʼs, and in 2007 progressed to a doctorate program. Now based within the nationally ranked Neag School of Education, the DPT degree program is offered through the Department of Kinesiology.
“The physical therapy program at UConn has always been highly regarded,” said Dr. Craig Denegar, director of the DPT program. He said the program is now “poised to become a leader in the advancement of evidence-based care.”
“We are so proud of our student’s success and the faculty, students, and staff who continue to work hard to make the DPT an excellent program,” he added. “We have excellent students and faculty working together to prepare excellent clinicians, advance practice through research, and serve our communities.”
As a professional doctoral program, the curriculum is designed to ensure physical therapists receive the skills and expertise needed to practice and stay abreast of advances in physical therapy and health care which, in turn, ensures patients receive top-quality care. Through strong didactic and clinical education experiences, the DPT program also fosters each student’s individual talents through collaborative research with a team of faculty mentors.
The DPT is a three-year, post-bachelorʼs program. Applicants may earn a bachelorʼs degree in a number of different areas, but all complete the same pre-requisite coursework.
Clinical education is at the heart of the DPT program. The students participate in full-time learning experiences at healthcare facilities across the country. The Nayden Rehabilitation Clinic, operated by the Department of Kinesiology, also serves as a local training site for students, while providing care to the University and nearby communities.
Students in the DPT program also participate in public engagement projects, including providing physical therapy services for migrant farm workers through the Area Health Education Center, working with students in the STARR program to develop healthy lifestyles and maintain a support group for patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Through a variety of experiences – from classroom accomplishments to clinical and community opportunities – DPT students become successful, well-rounded individuals who are highly sought after upon graduation.