Overview

The Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Therapy prepares physical therapists for leadership positions in academic and research settings. To accomplish this, students are required to complete coursework and structured experiences in “Teaching and Faculty Leadership” and “Research.”  Students develop expertise in a specific area of concentration under the guidance of their faculty mentor by developing an individual plan of study that may include both coursework and independent study and by completing their dissertation research.

Prior to admission to the PhD in Physical Therapy program, prospective students are required to identify a faculty member with research interests compatible with those of the applicant.  This faculty member must agree to mentor the potential student before the PhD Committee will make a decision to admit the applicant.  For applicants accepted to the program, the faculty member who agreed to mentor the student will serve as the Chair of the student’s Supervisory Committee.  The Supervisory Committee Chair and the student are responsible for creating an individualized plan of study for each student.  The plan of study includes mandatory coursework in: 

Preparation for Teaching and Faculty Leadership

  • PTS774 Role of Academic Faculty in PT (3 credits)
  • PTS777 Instructional Methods in Physical Therapy Education (3 credits)
  • PTS778 Teaching Practicum (3 credits)
  • PTS790 Theoretical Models in Physical Therapy (3 credits)

Preparation for Research

  • PTS795 Clinical Research Methods I (3 credits)
  • PTS796 Applied Statistics in Physical Therapy (3 credits)
  • PTS798 Research Practicum (3 credits)
  • PTS843 Measuring Health Outcomes (3 credits)
  • Two graduate level courses in statistics (6 credits)

Preparation in Individual Area of Concentration:

  • Students typically take 18 credits of coursework in this area. This may include coursework offered by the Department of Physical Therapy, coursework offered outside the Department, and Independent Study.

Qualifying Examination

Every PhD student must take a written qualifying examination at the time that the student and the Chair of the student’s Supervisory Committee deem appropriate. Students can sit for the qualifying examination when they have completed their research practicum and all courses with the exception of an elective. The student must have a 3.0 GPA for all courses taken in the PhD program. The qualifying examination includes questions in four content areas: 1) Area of Concentration, 2) Teaching and Leadership, 3) Research, 4) Dissertation Specific Content.

Dissertation

After passing the qualifying examination, students form a dissertation committee and enter candidacy.  The program requires PhD students to submit a written dissertation proposal and orally defend the proposal within 4 months of admission to candidacy.  Students are required to take a minimum of 15 Dissertation credits. The program requires students to submit at least one article from their dissertation research for publication in a peer reviewed journal prior to the final public oral defense of the dissertation.  Immediately following the public defense of the dissertation, the members of the dissertation committee excuse all non-committee members and further interrogate the candidate.  The committee then deliberates in private to determine whether the candidate has successfully defended the dissertation.  The typical time to complete a PhD in Physical Therapy is 5 years.

Curriculum Requirements

Preparation for Teaching and Faculty Leadership12
Instructional Methods in Physical Therapy Education
Teaching Practicum
Models of Physical Therapy Practice
Role of Academic Faculty in Physical Therapy
Preparation for Research18
Clinical Research Methods I
Measuring Health Outcomes
Applied Statistics in Physical Therapy
Research Practicum
Medical Biostatistics I
Biostatistics II
Applied Multivariate Statistics
Physical Therapy Courses Available for Individual Area of Concentration15
Biomechanical Basis of Human Movement
Measurement of Impairment and Function in Human Movement
Pathobiology of Human Function I
Theories of Movement Science
Motor Learning
Rehabilitation of the Amputee
Prosthetic Technology and Amputee Rehabilitation
Seminars in Orthotics and Prosthetic Rehabilitation
Independent Study in Physical Therapy
Seminars in Neuroscience
Outside Courses Available for Individual Area of Concentration
Fundamentals of Epidemiology
Health Economics for Evaluation and Policy
Health Education and Behavior
Health Policy
Qualitative Methods I
Advanced Systemic Exercise Physiology
Dissertation (Minimum of 15 credit hours required)
PTS 830Pre-candidacy Dissertation.1-6
PTS 840Post-candidacy Dissertation.1-12
Total Credit Hours60

Mission

The University of Miami, Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Therapy is designed to prepare physical therapists for leadership positions in academic and research settings.

Goals

We believe that this preparation should include:

  • Proficiency in instructional design, teaching methods, and evaluation;
  • Advanced knowledge and skill in research methods, design, implementation of analysis and communication of results; and
  • Expertise in a specified content area. 

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students from the Physical Therapy PhD Program will demonstrate their proficiency in instructional design, teaching methods and evaluation.
  • Students from the Physical Therapy PhD Program will demonstrate advanced knowledge and skill in research methods, design, data analysis and communication of results.
  • Students from the Physical Therapy PhD Program will demonstrate expertise in a specified content area.