Clinical Doctorate of Physical Therapy

Welcome from the Chairman of Physical Therapy

On behalf of the faculty and staff of the Grand Valley State University Department of Physical Therapy, I want to welcome you to our home page. We are grateful for your interest in our Program. In today’s health care environment, physical therapists are well positioned to offer key rehabilitation and wellness services that make a meaningful difference in the lives of our clients. At GVSU we challenge our students to make a difference in the practice and profession of physical therapy.

Located in the heart of the Grand Rapids, Michigan medical community, our Program is well situated to offer students experiences and challenges that will prepare them to be leaders in the profession. Our graduates are prepared for clinical practice across the lifespan and a full spectrum of clinical and community settings. In addition, our graduates are prepared to manage patients with musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiopulmonary and/or integumentary disorders. Relevant clinical opportunities from across the nation complement our students’ experiences and broaden their vision for what they can achieve.

Every year students graduating from our Program comment on the remarkable relationships they developed with members of our faculty during their tenure at the university. This is a hallmark of our program. Moreover, they feel highly prepared to practice, conduct research, and work collaboratively in an interdisciplinary health care arena. They also tell us that the excellent examples set forth by our accomplished academic, clinical, and adjunct faculty enhance their abilities. Among the comments most often received for why our students chose Grand Valley State University’s DPT Program are:

o   Faculty credentials, which include 12 with doctoral degrees: PhD, EdD, DHS, JD and DScPT; and 11 with clinical specialization in orthopedics, sports, neurology, pediatrics, geriatrics, and manual therapy

o   A student: faculty ratio in our laboratories of no more than 10:1

o   An outstanding cohort of Adjunct Faculty, from the community, who provide a remarkable array of clinical experience

o   Collaborative research opportunities for all students and the potential for publication of that research

o   4 advanced electives (sports PT, spinal manual therapy, neurologic PT and pediatric PT)

o   38 weeks of full-time clinical experiences in 5 different settings.

o   The opportunity to volunteer and coordinate Pro-Bono Clinics in the local community

o   State of the art research facilities and instrumentation

o   4 major hospitals close-by to provide educational experiences and opportunities for clinical research

o   100% ultimate pass-rate on National Physical Therapy Licensure Examination for the past three years


Our Program’s commitment to the future of the profession is evidenced by our faculty’s dedication to providing our students with the opportunity to conduct collaborative research on timely and meaningful issues. Students become engaged in investigating a variety of questions through research projects, systematic reviews of the literature and case reports.

We encourage your inquiries related to our program and look forward to connecting with you via phone or email. We also invite you to schedule a visit to our campus and meet with a member of our faculty. Please feel free to contact us through the College of Health Professions’ Graduate Office at or 616-331-5700. 



Dan Vaughn, PT, PhD

Chair, Department of Physical Therapy

Grand Valley State University

Page last modified January 28, 2015