The doctor of physical therapy program is three years in length (30 months of study). It is designed to prepare competent clinicians for contemporary practice. The program was established with firm beliefs that individual and cultural differences bring important variety to perspectives on health, illness and disability.
Outcomes of health interventions are influenced by the behavior of practitioners as well as patients, families and significant others. The contemporary clinician utilizes this knowledge to enhance the autonomy of the consumer, reach realistic functional goals, and demonstrate respect for the individual.
Progressive and Humanistic Adult Education Principles
The program educational methods are based on adult education principles, which are both progressive and humanistic. The curriculum espouses beliefs in the learner as a self-directed adult ready to initiate learning and assume responsibility for learning. The faculty guides these learning experiences and provides opportunities for a variety of experiential, interactive and self-directed learning experiences.
Students provide an integral part of the learning adventure by establishing patterns for lifelong acquisition and integration of new knowledge. Students in physical therapy are expected to be highly motivated and committed to the profession.
Three-year Full-time Program
Widener offers a three-year full-time program leading to the clinical Doctor of Physical Therapy degree (DPT).
The DPT is the preferred degree in physical therapy education, according to the American Physical Therapy Association.
Widener was one of the first 10 programs in the country to offer this degree, now over half of all programs offer the DPT. Widener's program is in keeping with Vision 2020 of the American Physical Therapy Association:
By 2020, physical therapy will be provided by physical therapists who are doctors of physical therapy, recognized by consumers and other health care professionals as practitioners of choice to whom consumers have direct access for the diagnosis of, interventions for, and prevention of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities related to movement, function, and health.
Widener's program was granted its initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education in May of 1996 and re-accredited in 2006. We have offered the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree since 2000.