DPT Student stands with parents
Bellarmine University / Doctor of Physical Therapy

Doctor of Physical Therapy

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program prepares the student for licensure and practice in the field of physical therapy. Candidates for licensure must hold a post-baccalaureate degree in physical therapy from an accredited institution. Students are admitted to the professional program after completing a bachelor’s degree in a major of choice and all program prerequisites. Highly qualified Bellarmine undergraduate students may be admitted to the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program after completing all university general education requirements and the program prerequisites. Various paths to admission are described on our Admissions and Admissions Statistics page. The university awards the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree upon completion of the professional curriculum.

Physical therapists are health care professionals who provide service to individuals of all ages with physical impairments, functional limitations, disabilities or changes in physical function and health status resulting from injury, disease or other causes.

Physical therapists
  • Examine and evaluate individuals with movement related problems
  • Diagnose and manage movement dysfunction to enhance physical and functional abilities
  • Promote physical function and wellness to provide optimal quality of life as it relates to movement and health
  • Prevent the onset of symptoms and the progression of movement related problems

Treatment by physical therapists includes exercise, joint and soft tissue mobilization and manipulation, cardiovascular endurance training, neuromuscular re-education, the therapeutic application of heat, cold and electricity, and activities of daily living training.

Physical Therapists find careers in settings ranging from hospitals and rehabilitation centers to private practices, pediatric facilities, home health agencies, school systems, higher education and research institutions, fitness and wellness centers, and nursing homes.


The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Bellarmine University will be recognized for excellence in the preparation of physical therapists that are guided by professional core values for community engaged contemporary and future patient-centered practice.

Mission Statement

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program develops autonomous, patient-centered physical therapists, dedicated to service and life-long learning, with knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors that are commensurate with societal expectations for outstanding care. Program faculty mentor and teach diverse learners to practice, serve and lead with integrity, sensitivity and commitment to excellence. This is accomplished by integrating Catholic liberal arts and professional education traditions with scientific inquiry, clinical expertise, and adherence to professional core values. 


The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is an integral part of the School of Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences and Bellarmine University, the physical therapist professional community, and the local health care delivery system. We embrace our heritage of Catholic higher education excellence in undergraduate liberal arts and quality professional education programs. The program is dedicated to excellence in physical therapist education and service by providing comprehensive academic and clinical experiences for diverse and talented students. This is accomplished through

  • active faculty mentoring; 
  • instruction grounded in clinical, scientific and educational evidence;
  • learning experiences that are reflective, practical, directed, collaborative and innovative; and
  • directed and focused engagement with the community.

We are responsive to the needs and demands of contemporary physical therapy practice, which are evolving and dynamic. Our goal is to develop autonomous patient-centered practitioners of physical therapy, dedicated to service and life-long learning, with skills, attitudes and behaviors commensurate with societal expectations for outstanding care.

Student Goals

Students/graduates of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program will:

  1. demonstrate the knowledge, skills and behaviors necessary to provide excellence in physical therapy care
    1. students will demonstrate entry-level competence in knowledge and skills in clinical internships 
    2. students/graduates will perform above the national average on the national licensure examination 
    3. students/graduates will demonstrate cultural awareness in personal interactions
  2. assume the responsibilities associated with innovative and dynamic physical therapy practice, including participation in community and professional service, active involvement as a health care professional, and continued responsibilities for learning
    1. students/graduates will be actively involved in professional organizations, including the APTA, KPTA and local groups
    2. students/graduates will participate in community service
    3. students/graduates will communicate professionally and effectively with multiple constituent groups, including peers, other health care providers, and patients/clients
  3. demonstrate a thorough understanding of how to apply evidence to physical therapy practice through critical thinking and inquiry
    1. students/graduates will demonstrate understanding of the application of current evidence guiding practice to multiple constituent groups, including faculty, peers, clinical colleagues and other health care professionals

Faculty Goals

Faculty of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program will:

  1. facilitate student learning through mentoring and evidence based instructional strategies
    1. faculty will be actively involved with student advising, community partnership projects, capstone and research mentoring and international studies
    2. faculty will utilize innovative technologies that facilitate student learning
    3. faculty will participate in developmental activities to enhance student learning
  2. be engaged in scholarly activities that promote student learning, enhance clinical practice, and advocate for the individual and society
    1. faculty will demonstrate a record of scholarly accomplishments that meet university and accreditation standards for scholarship, including the demonstration of a well articulated scholarly agenda 
  3. serve as professional role models through the demonstration of professional core values in teaching, clinical, service and scholarly activities
    1. faculty will be involved in community, professional and university service activities

Program Goals

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Bellarmine University will:

  1. be responsive to physical therapy professional and community needs
    1. the program will provide professional learning opportunities for physical therapists
    2. the program will assume an active role in the university community
  2. strive to recruit outstanding students with diverse backgrounds for admission to the program
    1. the program will provide timely and accurate information to prospective students
    2. the program will increase the yield of students from the acceptance list over the wait list candidates
  3. strive to improve student retention and graduation rates
    1. the program will provide effective and timely remediation to students in academic difficulty

Transcript Review

We can provide fast feedback about your transcript(s) and pre-requisite coursework. Simply complete the form below by attaching unofficial copies of your transcript(s).

Tuition and Fees

For the most up-to-date tuition and fee information, please visit our Graduate Tuition page. 

Students also will be responsible for any course fees, professional fees, and books. Students enrolled in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program are required to complete a significant number of hours in local, regional and national clinical education sites.

Dr. Dave Pariser

The late Dr. Dave Pariser

On Monday, January 14, 2013, the Bellarmine community and physical therapy profession suddenly lost our colleague, mentor, teacher, friend and brother, Dr. Dave Pariser. Dr. Dave’s competence, guidance, humor, humility and grace will be missed by all members of the Bellarmine community and the physical therapy profession. Please hold Dr. Dave, his wife Dr. Gina Pariser, and daughters Kayla and Ada close to your heart with prayers.

For information on a memorial fund in honor of Dave, please visit the Dr. David Pariser Memorial Student Leadership Fund.

For more information on Dr. Dave Pariser, his life, and many contributions to physical therapy, please see the Statement from the American Physical Therapy Association.

Like Us on Facebook

Learn about upcoming events and about the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program by liking us on Facebook.