Unique Program Attributes


Dr. Patricia Walker, Dean of the College of Education and
Health Professions, receives therapy at the Cambridge
Physical Therapy clinic from Dr. David Cameron, Clinical
Assistant Professor, after having shoulder surgery.

Problem-based Learning (PBL) Design: PBL places emphasis on the development of a reflective practitioner by teaching students to learn from and solve clinical problems. Curriculum con­tent is organized around carefully designed patient or professional practice problems that students study, discuss and research in small groups called tutorials. Students develop the ability to identify, organize and synthesize materials relevant to each case in a self-directed manner that indicates respon­sibility for one's own learning as well as the learning of the group. The tutorial group work develops reasonable inter­de­pendence among students and supports the use of peers in learning and problem solving. Prospective students should consider themselves comfortable with this highly interactive, small group-focused learning style. Clinical super­visors and employers of our graduates have acknow­ledged a clinical readiness in terms of independence in clinical decision-making, efficiency in practice and self-directedness in professional development that is important for today's practitioner.

Combining Undergraduate & Graduate Study: Sacred Heart University offers admission to students from its own undergraduate programs and to students holding undergraduate degrees from other institutions. Qualified Sacred Heart University undergraduates have the opportunity to complete an undergraduate degree and a DPT degree within 6 years. The ability to take advantage of the “3+3” option (3 years of undergraduate course work and 3 years of graduate course work) is available only to students who elect to complete their undergraduate studies with a major in Exercise SciencePsychology, or Biology. Students choosing an accelerated 3+3 option work closely with their undergraduate advisor to follow a specific sequence of study in their chosen undergraduate major

Integrated Clinical Experiences: Structured clinical activities integrated into classes dur­ing each of the first 4 academic semesters help students understand the practical application of semester content and facilitate the process of professional development.

Capstone Projects: Students complete two special projects during the program. The first “capstone” experience occurs at the end of the second year and is the culmination of the patient-based portion of the curriculum. The second “capstone” experience occurs at the end of the prac­tice-based portion of the curriculum during the third year. Each develops the students' ability to access, interpret, synthesize and apply relevant research literature to patient or practice situations - with the goal of using evidence to inform practice and understand the gaps in the professional body of knowledge.

Faculty: The PT program includes exceptional faculty with more than 100 years of aggregated teaching experience across the 14 faculty members. Program faculty are well established in the physical therapy education com­munity. Most faculty hold post-professional doctoral degrees or advanced clinical certification, including those who are nationally recognized for scholarship, service to the profession or teaching excellence. For further information about our faculty, please visit our faculty profiles page.

Motion Analysis Laboratory: The Motion Analysis Laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art advanced technology to facilitate disciplined scientific inquiry in the field of human movement science.

Physical Therapy Faculty Practice:  The practice includes two large clinics on campus and several contractual services provided in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living centers and programs for children with special needs. The practice offers opportunities for faculty to remain current in the field and engage in clinical research. Additionally, students may have the opportunity to work with faculty and staff in the clinical environment.

Community Outreach Activities: Community outreach activities include the operation of the St. Charles/Sacred Heart University Health & Wellness Center in Bridgeport, CT, in conjunction with St. Charles Catholic Church Parish.