UB to Offer First SUNY Doctorate in Physical Therapy

Program is one of two in New York, only 12 in the U.S.

By Lois Baker

Release Date: December 1, 2000

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo in 2001 will join an elite group of universities in the United States that offer a doctorate in physical therapy (DPT).

The UB doctoral program will be the first within the State University of New York system. There is only one other DPT program in New York State and only 12 in the nation currently, although others are pending.

"This doctoral program fits with the university's vision," said Frank Cerny, Ph.D., chair of UB's Department of Physical Therapy, Exercise and Nutrition Sciences (PTENS) in the School of Health Related Professions, through which the degree will be offered.

"It places UB in the vanguard of curriculum development in physical therapy at the highest level."

Susan Bennett, Ed.D., UB clinical associate professor of PTENS, clinical assistant professor of neurology and director of the new program, said the doctoral degree is definitely the path the physical therapy profession is taking. UB no longer will offer a bachelor's degree in physical therapy.

"Ours is an extremely rigorous and innovative curriculum, designed to prepare graduates to practice and diagnose autonomously, without referral from a physician. This type of practice is permitted in 32 states, although not in New York." Bennett said several universities have expressed interest in using UB's program as a model.

Structured as a "3 + 3" program, it will comprise three academic undergraduate years -- two of general prerequisites and one of exercise-science education -- followed by three calendar years of doctoral-level study, including 58 weeks of clinical internships in various settings. The program is accepting applications for an August 2001 startup.

Students interested in transferring into the doctoral program must have completed the equivalent of UB's 31-credit exercise-science curriculum before being considered for the three-year doctoral program.

Those interested in applying to the DPT program may call 716-829-2941, ext. 412, for more information.