Physical Therapy Department
A Message from Physical Therapy Department Chair Ashraf M. Elazzazi, Ph.D.
Welcome to our Physical Therapy Department page. I am proud to serve as chairperson for the Department of Physical Therapy.
I invite you to consider our program for your professional education. Faculty members who are both solid educators and experienced physical therapists, work together to prepare students to become doctors of physical therapy. We offer a blended program that incorporates traditional learning with case analysis. We create opportunities for adult learners to become knowledgeable and skilled practitioners who care for their patients and profession first and foremost. It is most rewarding to be witness to the transformation of our students as they progress through our program.
Thank you for considering Utica University.
Ashraf M. Elazzazi, Ph.D.
Department of Physical Therapy
Utica University has partnered with Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital in Schenectady to provide a unique neurologic physical therapy residency program.
This 12-month residency program focuses on advanced clinical decision-making. It prepares residents to provide the highest level of care to patients with complex neurologic conditions while working at Sunnyview, one of US News & World Report's Best Rehabilitation Hospitals.
The resident will work primarily with individuals with brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease clinical experiences in inpatient and outpatient settings.
Graduation Rate: 98.6%
Over the last two years (2021 - 2022), 98.6% of Utica University Physical Therapy graduates completed the professional program and graduated on time.
Employment Rate (6 months after licensure): 100%
Over the last two years (2021 - 2022), 100% of those who graduated from the Utica University Physical Therapy Program who sought employment in physical therapy (full-time or part-time) were employed within 1 year following graduation.
Licensure Exam Ultimate Pass Rate: 95.8%
Over the last two years (2020 and 2021), 95.8% of Utica University Physical Therapy graduates passed the National Physical Therapy Exam.
Licensure Exam First Time Pass Rate: 73.9%
Over the last two License exam cycles (2021 and 2022), 73.9% of Utica University Physical Therapy graduates passed the National Physical Therapy Exam after the first take.
(Updated March 2023)
Utica University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Studies, leading to a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree for qualified students who meet required continuation standards. Some students are accepted into the freshmen Direct Entry Program (designated HSPT or HSP4) are guaranteed entry into the professional PT program pending successful completion of requirements.
Q1.What options are available to students interested in applying to Utica University as freshmen with guaranteed continuation into the DPT program?
A. There are two options:
- The 4 + 3 program is the “regular” track (HSP4) that provides the opportunity for students to complete their baccalaureate degree prior to beginning the graduate DPT program.
- The 3 + 3 program is an “accelerated” track (HSPT) that provides the opportunity for students to earn their DPT degree from Utica University in six years while earning their baccalaureate degree along the way. This track is considered for those students having a strong background in math and science and who may have advanced placement or college credits.
Q2. When do I designate which track I plan to follow?
A. Students admitted as freshmen with guaranteed continuation into the DPT Program must designate one of the two tracks noted above by February 1st of the freshman year. Should a student find it necessary to change from the selected track, admission into the DPT program will not be guaranteed.
Q3. Are there factors I should consider when making this decision?
A. Each student differs in the ability to succeed in a chosen academic pathway. The 3 + 3 track is truly an “accelerated” track and the decision should not be made lightly. Some factors to consider when making this important decision include the following:
- Earned college credits or their equivalent
- Semester load:
Full time load for financial eligibility is 12 credits/semester. For students who aspire to complete their undergraduate requirements in three years, semester course loads will be higher (typically 16-17 credits/semester). Students may also opt to take coursework if available during the summer and winter sessions.
- Planned participation in Division III athletic competition
- Planned work or additional responsibilities during academic semesters
Q4. What if I am not able to complete my undergraduate degree requirements in three years as originally selected?
A. Not all students are able to accomplish their academic requirements as originally planned, due to a number of reasons (personal responsibilities, academic difficulty, life circumstances, etc.). If you are unable to complete the work as required within the three years in a designated 3 + 3 track, you will NOT be eligible to matriculate into the DPT as an undergraduate. The option that remains is for you to complete your bachelor’s degree and apply through PTCAS (Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service) by July that follows your junior year. You will be considered for admission along with the entire pool of applicants and if selected, would enter as a graduate student the subsequent summer. Students may be offered positions in the cohort based on space availability and qualifications. A preference may be given to Utica University students when they are competitive with other applicants. Further questions regarding the process for PTCAS are to be directed to the Office of Graduate Admissions.
Q5. What options are available for students who are not accepted as freshmen?
A. Students interested in this option are advised to review the admission requirements including prerequisite courses. The only option for a student who was not accepted as a freshman is to complete the bachelor’s degree and required admission prerequisites and apply through PTCAS by January 15 of the senior year. These applicants will be considered for admission along with the pool of post-baccalaureate candidates. Information on this process can be found on the PTCAS web site at www.ptcas.org. Students may be offered positions in the cohort based on space availability and qualifications. Your continuous enrollment as a Utica University student will be given additional consideration, when competitive with other applicants. Further questions regarding the process for PTCAS are to be directed to the Office of Graduate Admissions.
Students work with their faculty advisors to complete the prerequisite coursework and core requirements for the Health Studies degree and admission requirements for continuation into the DPT program. Student progress, cumulative GPA and prerequisite work are reviewed each semester.
Q6. What is required to maintain my status as a Health Studies student designated for continuation into the DPT program?
A. In order to maintain one's status as a Health Studies Physical Therapy Track (HSPT or HSP4), you must have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 (beginning Fall 2017), earned a grade of B or better in each required science course (BIO 101 & 102, CHE 211 & 263, PHY 151 & 152); and a grade of C or better in each required major related course.
Q7. What happens if I do not meet continuation requirements as stated above?
A. Should a student fail to meet these requirements, their major coding will change to Health Studies (HS) with no guarantee of acceptance into the graduate DPT program. The student is welcome to re-apply at a later date if all admission requirements have been met.
Q8. When would I apply at a later date if I am no longer guaranteed acceptance into the DPT program?
A. Students who do not meet requirements as undergraduates have the option of applying through PTCAS beginning July that follows your junior year. These applicants will be considered for admission along with the pool of post-baccalaureate candidates. Information on this process can be found on the admissions requirements page.
Q9. Am I permitted to retake any prerequisite coursework?
A. Students who fail to earn a grade of B or better in a required science course may repeat that course to earn a satisfactory grade. However, a student may repeat no more than two science courses and any science course may be repeated only once.
Q10. Can I take prerequisite courses at another institution?
A. In order to consider courses from another institution once a student is matriculated at Utica University, the student should first speak with their faculty advisor and discuss the process for approval to study at another institution. If you wish to take a course at another institution that you have not previously taken at Utica University since matriculating, you must first complete the “Permission to Study at Another Institution” form and gain approval.
Note: an exception to this rule relate to all science courses (BIO 101 & 102, CHE 211 & 263, PHY 151 & 152). Those courses must be taken at Utica University.
If a student wishes to retake a course previously completed at Utica University, the faculty advisor should first be consulted. To determine the impact a retake will have on a student’s academic profile, the following points can be considered:
- If a student’s overall GPA is greater than 3.2, a student may be allowed to take the course at another institution if permission is granted. The student must complete the “Permission to Study at Another Institution” and secure all signatures (advisor, dean & registrar) before enrolling in a course. If you retake a course previously taken for credit at Utica University, you must submit the official transcript to the Registrar at Utica University. Although the new grade will not impact your official GPA, the department will accept the grade as meeting program requirements if a B or better has been earned.
- If a student’s overall GPA is below a 3.2, a student is advised to retake the course at Utica University in order to impact the cumulative GPA.
Q11. Do Advance Placement credits taken in high school count toward prerequisites at Utica University?
A. AP credits in science courses count towards meeting prerequisites at Utica University if they have been accepted by the Registrar for the required courses and are equivalent in credit/content. Scores of 4 or 5 in AP science courses are required for consideration. General Biology does not satisfy course requirements for Human Anatomy and Physiology.
Matriculating into the DPT program
During the semester in which a student will graduate with their undergraduate degree, a form signifying change in status to graduate student will be completed. This form should be completed during the spring of the senior year.
Q12. When am I considered a graduate student?
A. Students are considered graduate students ONCE they have satisfied all degree requirements for the undergraduate degree in Health Studies - Physical Therapy track which includes both total number of credits (120) and specific course requirements.
Q13. What are the implications of being a graduate student?
A. Once they move to graduate status, students are no longer eligible for undergraduate financial aid. Students are advised to speak with their Student Financial Services counselor early in their academic careers for individual guidance.
Program Specific Requirements
Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) - Campus-based Program
Utica University participates in the centralized Application process for PT (PTCAS). To apply, please go to their website at www.ptcas.org.
Note: All program applicants must read the DPT information guide thoroughly before applying:
Applicants to the graduate physical therapy program (DPT) program must have:
- Bachelor’s degree with a “B” average (3.2 or higher) from an accredited institution.
- Two personal recommendations (one from a currently practicing physical therapist and one from an academic professor).
- For non-native speakers of English, a minimum TOEFL score of 550 on the paper-based examination; a minimum TOEFL score of 213 on the computer-based examination; 79 on the internet-based examination (minimum of 25 on the speaking portion required).
- An academic history that includes the courses listed below. All courses should have been taken through the appropriate departments, e.g. Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology. All prerequisite courses must have been completed prior to the start of the Physical Therapy Program. All science courses must have been taken within 10 years prior to applying. Students must earn grades of “B-” or better in the following science courses:
a. Biological Sciences: two courses (anatomy/ physiology course with laboratory would meet this requirement).
b. Upper Level Science: one upper level course (300–400) of at least 3 credits with a biology focus. This course can be taken through another department such as Exercise Science or Kinesiology but preferably should be taken through the biology department. Examples of courses that would fulfill the requirement are: Neuroscience, Principles of Motor Control, and Biology of Aging.
c. Physical Sciences: four courses, two courses in general chemistry with laboratory (equivalent to 8 semesters hours) and two courses in physics with laboratory (equivalent to 8 semester hours).Important Note:
Prerequisite courses equivalent to the following Utica University courses (Check Utica's Course Catalog):
BIO 101/L and BIO 102/L
CHE 211/L and CHE 212/L or CHE 263/L
PHY 151/L and PHY 152/L
Note: Prerequisite science courses can only be repeated once in order to get a grade of B- or better. Applicants must have an overall Science GPA of 3.0 or higher as configured in the PTCAS application.
- Students must earn grades of "C" or better in the following:
a. Psychology: three courses, one being general or introductory psychology.
e. Statistics: : one course. (Content should include descriptive statistics, differences between two means, correlation, and beginning concepts of analysis of variance.)
Note for Canadian Applicants: All Canadian applicants to Utica University need to review and understand the requirements of the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators regarding credentialing in Canada for “internationally educated applicants.” Please go to www.alliancept.org for more information.
- Plan of Prerequisite Completion Form
- Completed Essential Functions Statement
Transitional Program in Physical Therapy (tDPT ) - Online Program
Applicants to the tDPT program (who are living in the US and licensed or license-eligible as physical therapists) must have:
- Transcript from a physical therapist degree program
- Professional portfolio
- Current US state professional license (or proof of eligibility to sit for licensure in the US)
- Two written recommendations
- Brief essay articulating goals for ppDPT study
Applicants to the tDPT program (who are living in the US OR outside of the US and who are NOT YET licensed or license-eligible as physical therapists) must have:
- A comprehensive credential evaluation from the Foreign Credentialing Committee on Physical Therapy (FCCPT) noting that their entry-level physical therapy education is “substantially equivalent to the first professional degree in physical therapy in the United States. The first professional degree in the United States is the master’s degree or higher.”
NOTE: The Utica University tDPT curriculum does not provide the education that offers a path for US licensure as a physical therapist and/or a Visa to practice physical therapy in the US.
- Professional portfolio
- Current license from country of origin (if living outside of the US)
- Two written recommendations
- Brief essay articulating goals for ppDPT study
- English language proficiency tests such as TOEFL or IELTS if English is not your first language -- UC requires a TOEFL score of 550 written, 213 computer-based, 79 internet-based and IELTS of 6.0.
Graduates are eligible for the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and licensure in all states. Students may take the NPTE only after all program requirements are met. The Utica University Entry Level DPT Program is designed to meet educational requirements intended to prepare students to pursue professional licensure that is required in the U.S. for employment and to practice in the field of Physical Therapy. However, additional requirements for licensure or certification beyond these educational requirements and the NPTE may vary in each state. These additional requirements may include jurisprudence assessment, criminal background check, professional liability insurance or other non-educational requirements. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the requirements in the state in which they intend to seek licensure.
The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) provides some great resources for such requirements that can be reviewed using this link "Licensure Reference Guide" or visiting www.fsbpt.org. Additionally, FSBPT also maintains a list of licensing boards' contact information. However, this list does not include American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, or Guam.
Any student, faculty, staff or any individual, group or organization, outside of the realm of due process, may provide feedback or file a complaint about the Utica University physical therapy program. Included in this group are complaints from prospective students, clinical education sites, employers of graduates, and the general public.
To provide feedback or file a complaint you may contact:
Professor Ashraf Elazzazi
Chair, Department of Physical Therapy
1600 Burrstone Rd.
Utica, NY 13502
Dean Ahmed Radwan
Dean, School of Health Professions and Education
1600 Burrstone Rd.
Utica, NY 13502
Any person may submit a complaint about the program to Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). CAPTE will investigate and take action on any complaint that alleges a violation of CAPTE’s accreditation Standards and Required Elements or CAPTE’s expectations related to program integrity.
Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100,
Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085
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