Program Information

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapists provide clients across the lifespan with services at the preventive, acute, and rehabilitative stages directed toward achieving increased functional independence and decreased functional impairment. Physical therapists interact and practice in collaboration with a variety of health professionals. They educate and inform others about the services they offer and their effective and cost-efficient delivery.

Physical therapists are required to be licensed by the states in which they practice. Physical therapy provides excellent employment potential. The field continues to show growth in clinical responsibilities and in new areas of clinical practice. Some examples of settings where physical therapists are employed include: acute care hospitals, rehabilitation settings, private offices, sports medicine clinics, athletic teams, school systems, centers for persons with disabilities, geriatric settings, home health care, industry, research centers, and universities. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) offers a good look at the future of the profession.

students and faculty in lab


The Department of Physical Therapy offers students an integrated curriculum that features a variety of clinical rotations that are scheduled at intervals throughout the students’ three years of study in the program. Classroom preparation is closely followed by relevant clinical experiences across the domains of physical therapists’ practice. This allows students an opportunity to apply what was just presented in class. These clinical experiences are offered across the country (even internationally) and provide students with a chance to see the practice of physical therapy applied across state and regional boundaries, in a variety of settings.

The GVSU Department of Physical Therapy features 15 full-time faculty members. A doctoral degree is held by 13 of those faculty members and 11 hold advanced clinical practice certifications. The level of academic experience of our faculty, averaging over 17 years, complements the breadth of clinical expertise that this group offers its students. Every member of the faculty is still involved in some level of clinical practice.

Admissions Process

Professional Curriculum

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program requires the completion of 119 credits in the professional curriculum over three years.

Student and faculty