Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree Program

In UNE’s Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program, we empower students to become compassionate PT leaders who support the wellness of patients and communities. Our PT faculty make your education transformative through hands-on experiences, community engagement and global learning opportunities, and career preparation.

Earn Your D.P.T. at Maine's Leading Health University

UNE’s Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program will prepare you to lead within an ever-evolving profession. As a D.P.T. student on UNE’s Portland, Maine campus, you’ll learn by doing — actively applying classroom learning to help patients rehabilitate from injuries, manage chronic conditions, avoid surgery, and create healthy habits.

Our skilled faculty will guide you on the best practices and cutting-edge research at the forefront of physical therapy, and mentor you on the professional and business matters related to a physical therapist practice. You’ll launch your PT career within a supportive community of people from diverse backgrounds who share your passion for helping others.

Fill out the form below to download an info sheet on UNE’s D.P.T.

 
A physical therapy student practices checking a patient's leg mobility
Title
Best Physical Therapy Programs
Source
U.S. News & World Report
Year
2020

Why UNE for Your Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree

  • You’ll be supported to succeed in your PT career. 100% of UNE D.P.T. students are employed within one year of graduation (2021 survey).
  • Experience all areas of physical therapy practice to prepare you for diverse career options.
  • Choose from local, national, and international clinical placement options.
  • Gain a global perspective of PT through travel learning on short, faculty-led experiences in Iceland, Guatemala, Italy, Ghana, Australia and on UNE's Morocco campus; or through semesters abroad in Italy and Belize.
  • Earn Honors recognition in Rural Health or Interprofessional Collaboration or participate in our Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities program.
  • Find your place within a supportive community of students and faculty from diverse backgrounds.
  • Participate in valuable service learning activities, alongside your peers.
  • UNE’s expert faculty are established PT leaders who take the time to see and mentor each student.
  • Learn how to collaborate in today’s team-based health care by training alongside UNE students who are future physicians, nurses, and other health professionals.
100%

Percentage of graduates who passed the national licensing exam

(2021-2022)
85%

Percentage of graduates who passed the national licensing exam on their first attempt

(2021-2022)
100%

Percentage of UNE D.P.T. graduates surveyed who were EMPLOYED WITHIN ONE YEAR OF GRADUATIOn

2020-2021
95%

Percentage of enrolled students who graduated from the Doctor of Physical Therapy program

2021-2022
A group of physical therapy students in the simulation lab

 Doctor of Physical Therapy Facilities

Our classrooms and labs are furnished with equipment to enable instruction in adult and pediatric neuromuscular, integumentary, cardiovascular pulmonary, and musculoskeletal systems. 

Labs take place in "skill labs," which are modeled after clinical environments, enhancing a student's ability to practice in any healthcare setting. The classrooms are equipped with computer and video technology, allowing you to use multimedia presentations to meet varying learning needs. Additional learning spaces include the Motion Analysis Lab and Interprofessional Simulation and Innovation Center. 

Harold Alfond Center for Health Sciences

The Harold Alfond Center for Health Sciences is a state-of-the-art laboratory and educational facility. This three-story building houses labs and lecture halls for our College of Osteopathic Medicine and other health professions. It places UNE at the national forefront of health and life sciences education. You use the center's Anatomy Lab during both years one and two.

Human Sensory and Motor Performance Laboratory

The Human Sensory and Motor Performance Laboratory is a three-room shared research space in Blewett Hall on UNE’s Portland Campus.

The lab is dedicated to the measurement of pain and neuromuscular performance. Each room is approximately 200 sq ft., contain treatment tables, and are situated to allow investigators to perform blinded evaluations.

Equipment available for research testing includes a Medoc TSAII Neurosensory Analyzer and pain testing algometers; a GE Logiq E diagnostic ultrasound; hand-held dynamometry; and a transcranial magnetic and direct current stimulation units.

Interprofessional Simulation and Innovation Center

As a D.P.T. student, you utilize our Interprofessional Simulation and Innovation Center (ISIC) to apply the knowledge you gain in the classroom to realistic clinical situations without putting actual patients at risk.

Motion Analysis Lab

The Motion Analysis Lab allows you to observe and measure human motion that cannot be observed with the naked eye, and to quantify the forces in the joints and neuromuscular and muscle systems.

The research you do in this technologically-advanced, 1500-square-foot learning space allows you to apply the theoretical knowledge you learn in the classroom to projects investigating such crucial matters to your field as better understanding the laws of sports biomechanics or the most effective approaches to ACL rehabilitation.

Tour Our Physical Therapy Facilities

The Three-Year D.P.T. Academic Experience

Our three-year program offers a rigorous curriculum that blends coursework, lab work, and three full-time clinical experiences. The coursework focuses initially on the foundational sciences, providing a base of knowledge in normal human structure and function. Next, you engage in evidence-based approaches to the physical therapy management of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities. You learn both the functional and psychosocial impacts of health conditions, relevant medical and surgical interventions, and the physical therapy tests, measures, and interventions.

The program creates an open and welcoming culture that aspires to excellence and facilitates collegial shared learning — a community where every student feels safe, empowered, and supported academically, personally, and socially.Our goal is to provide a rigorous program where you are fully invested in becoming the best professional graduate student — and ultimately the best physical therapist — you can be.

Clinical Education Dates

2023

  • CP3: 1/16/23 – 4/7/23 (Class of 2023)
  • CP2: 5/22/23 – 8/11/23 (Class of 2024)
  • CP1: 9/11/23 – 12/1/23 (Class of 2025)

2024

  • CP3: 1/15/24 – 4/5/24 (Class of 2024)
  • CP2: 5/27/24 – 8/16/24 (Class of 2025)
  • CP1: 9/16/24 – 12/6/24 (Class of 2026)

2025

  • CP3: 1/13/25 – 4/4/25 (class of 2025)
  • CP2: 5/26/25 – 8/15/25 (Class of 2026)
  • CP1: 9/15/25 – 12/5/25 (Class of 2027)
Two D P T students practice hand therapy in class
A class of physical therapy students listening to a lecture

Clinical Education in the Physical Therapy Degree Program

As part of the program, you complete three full-time clinical experiences, totaling 36 weeks. These occur during your second and third years when you choose from hundreds of clinical sites across the U.S. These sites represent the continuum of health care settings, including acute care hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient private practices, ambulatory care centers, skilled nursing facilities, school/preschool programs, and home care.

Upon finishing the program and earning your degree, you may sit for the National Physical Therapy Exam and then enter the profession.

Structure

The first clinical experience takes place in the fall semester of your second year after completing the musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary systems courses. The second clinical experience occurs in the summer of your second year, after completing the neurosensory system and pediatric courses. The third clinical experience occurs in the spring of your third year, after completing the integumentary system and immediately before graduation. Because these clinical experiences occur throughout the curriculum, they allow you to integrate classroom knowledge and the development of patient care skills. This structure also allows you to bring what you have learned in the clinic back to the classroom.

Curriculum

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) program is eight semesters in length and includes a combination of classroom coursework, laboratory coursework, and three full-time clinical practica. In addition to the 106 required credits, students are invited to take up elective coursework offered by the department and by other graduate programs within the university.

Program Required Courses Credits
BIO 502 - Gross Anatomy 6
BIO 504 - Neuroscience 4
PTH 501 - Foundations of PT Practice 5
PTH 502 - Kinesiology 5
PTH 503 - Normal Development 2
PTH 504 - Integrated Clinical Experience: Musculoskeletal 1
PTH 506 - Psychosocial Aspects of Disability and Illness 1
PTH 507 - Introduction to Clinical Medicine 1
PTH 508 - Pathology and Medical Management – Musculoskeletal System 2
PTH 510 - PT Mgt Dis Musc/Skel System 11
PTH 514 - Scientific Inquiry 1 2
PTH 516 - Pathology and Medical Management - Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Systems 1
PTH 522 - PT Management of Patients with Disorders of the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Systems 4
PTH 524 - Clinical Education Seminar 1
PTH 525 - Practice Management I 1
PTH 601 - Clinical Practicum 1 8
PTH 602 - Scientific Inquiry 2 2
PTH 603 - Pathology and Medical Management – Neuromuscular System 3
PTH 604 - PT Management of Children with Special Health Needs 5
PTH 605 - PT Management of Adults with Disorders of the Neuromuscular System 6
PTH 607 - Clinical Practicum 2 8
PTH 610 - Comprehensive Exam I 1
PTH 695 - Scholarship I 2
PTH 700 - Practice Management II 2
PTH 701 - Pathology and Medical Management – Integumentary System 1
PTH 703 - PT Management of Patients with Disorders of the Integumentary System 4
PTH 704 - Disease Prevention and Health Promotion 3
PTH 706 - Public Policy & Physical Therapy 2
PTH 707 - Clinical Practicum 3 8
PTH 710 - Complex Case Management 1
PTH 711 - Comprehensive Exam 2 1
PTH 795 - Scholarship II 2
Total Credits Required 106

*Please note: Curriculum is subject to change.

Conferring the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree is contingent upon the successful completion of academic and clinical coursework including a total of 106 academic credits.

Academic and Technical Standards

Academic Standards

The Department of Physical Therapy, the Westbrook College of Health Professions, and the University of New England are committed to offering a quality physical therapist education program that complies with the evaluative criteria of the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. The program provides learning experiences to enable graduates to achieve the outcomes required for the practice of physical therapy. Please refer to the WCHP Graduate Program Progression Policies and Procedures (PDF) for detailed description of academic standards.

Essential Technical Standards

The essential technical standards are pre-requisites for successful completion of the D.P.T. program at the UNE. Guidelines for reasonable accommodation are discussed. Please read this document carefully to determine whether you possess the abilities and skills reflected in the technical standards below. The standards apply to program activities taking place in classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings.

Principles

  • Physical Therapy is an intellectually, physically, and psychologically demanding profession.
  • The obligation and mission of the UNE D.P.T. program is to produce effective and competent physical therapists that are best able to serve the needs of society. Therefore, all applicants, regardless of disability, will be held to the same admission standards. Once accepted, all D.P.T. degree candidates will be held to the same technical standards, with reasonable accommodations provided when necessary and appropriate.
  • Individuals with documented disabilities applying to the UNE D.P.T. program will be expected to have completed the same academic prerequisites as their non-disabled peers. No applicant is required to disclose the details of disability and no otherwise qualified individual will be denied admission to the D.P.T. program based solely upon a disabling condition.
  • Upon acceptance, the Westbrook College of Health Professions, under the law, is obligated to provide reasonable accommodations to D.P.T. candidates and students with documented disabilities who are registered with the University’s Student Access Center while completing the academic and clinical requirements for graduation from the program.
Reasonable Accommodations
  • Are provided to help minimize the impact of the student’s disability, provide equal access to the University’s programs and services while upholding the academic, clinical, and technical standards of the D.P.T. program.
  • Are provided to assist the student in learning, performing, and satisfying the fundamental standards, so long as the student provides comprehensive documentation establishing his/her disability status prior to the need for reasonable accommodation
  • Are provided only to the extent that such accommodation does not fundamentally alter the academic and/or technical standards of the Department of Physical Therapy or interfering with the rights of other students
  • Do not exempt D.P.T. candidates from completing certain tasks deemed essential
  • Do not include reliance on peers-when a candidate’s ability to function is compromised (with or without accommodation) the candidate must demonstrate alternative means and/or abilities to acquire essential information and demonstrate essential tasks without reliance upon another person to help perform that essential task.
  • Are determined by the UNE Student Access Center in consultation with D.P.T. faculty.

In addition, D.P.T. faculty are available to work with candidates with disabilities to help identify strategies that might assist them in performing technical standards.

Candidate Declaration of abilities and skills:

  • Prior to the start of D.P.T. classes, matriculating students must indicate that they possess the abilities reflected in the technical standards described below, either with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • A D.P.T. candidate with a disability who wishes reasonable accommodation must contact the Student Access Center, Portland Campus, Lower Level, Ginn Hall, Phone: (207) 221-4418, Fax: (207) 523-1919. An offer of admission may be withdrawn or a D.P.T. candidate may be withdrawn from the program if it becomes apparent at any time (1) that he or she cannot complete the technical standards even with accommodations, (2) that the accommodations needed are not reasonable, or (3) that fulfilling the functions would create a significant risk of harm to the health or safety of the student or others.

Technical Standards: Abilities and Skills

Matriculation into the D.P.T. program assumes certain essential cognitive, emotional, and technical skills. Reflected in the standards that follow are those abilities and skills that degree candidates must possess to engage safely and competently in required learning activities. The abilities and skills are described in five domains, including observation skills; communication skills; motor skills (fine and gross); intellectual-conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities; and behavioral and social/emotional attributes.

I. Observation

Observation requires the functional use of vision, hearing, touch, and the use of common sense. Candidates must have visual perception, which includes depth and acuity. A candidate must be able to observe lectures, laboratory dissection of cadavers, and lecture and laboratory demonstrations. The candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately and obtain an appropriate medical history directly from the patient or guardian. Examples in which these observational skills are required include: observation of skin color; breathing regularity; temperature of skin; muscle tone; facial expressions; palpation of peripheral pulses, bony prominences, and ligaments; visual and tactile evaluation for areas of inflammation; and visual and tactile assessment of the presence and degree of swelling. A candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand, noting nonverbal as well as verbal signals. The candidate must have sufficient vision, hearing, and touch to detect patient/client needs in a busy clinical environment. The candidate must be able to read and interpret equipment, patient charts, and diagnostic tests. The candidate must also be able to accurately monitor dials, displays, and equipment used in treatment of patients including exercise equipment and electrical modalities.

II. Communication

Communication includes speech, language, reading, writing, and computer literacy. Students must be able to communicate effectively, sensitively, and convey a sense of compassion and empathy with patients and their families, as well as perceive non-verbal communications, and to deal effectively with cultural and ethnic diversity. Physical therapy education presents exceptional challenges in the volume and breadth of required reading and the necessity to impart information to others. Candidates must be able to communicate quickly, effectively, and efficiently in oral and written English with all members of the health care team. Candidates must be able to complete forms according to directions in a complete and timely fashion. The candidate must be able to demonstrate the ability to deliver and receive complex information in one-on-one and group settings, respond to questions from a variety of sources and respond appropriately to verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as explain complex information according to the listener’s needs and abilities, both formally and informally. A candidate must be able to complete paper and/or online forms and documentation according to directions in a timely fashion, accurately elicit information and describe a patient’s change in mood, thought, activity, and posture. Candidates must be able to demonstrate sufficient communication skills to effectively train other D.P.T. candidates, patients, family, and support personnel.

III. Motor

The candidate must have sufficient strength, endurance, and motor skills to effectuate the coordination of both gross and fine muscular movement, equilibrium, and the integrated use of touch and vision. Sufficient physical stamina is required to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study. The candidate must be able to access and negotiate laboratories, classrooms, and workstations, attend clinical internships, and accomplish required tasks in the clinic and academic settings. The candidate must be able to perform emergency procedures such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation; safely lift, transfer, and position patients; safely assist and guard patients during gait training; safely and effectively administer exercise and examination procedures that require resistance or facilitation; perform non-surgical wound debridement, and manually adjust exercise equipment and assistive devices. Long periods of sitting, standing, and moving are required in classroom, laboratory, and clinical experiences. The candidate must demonstrate sufficient balance, coordination, and ability to accompany and detect loss of balance in patients who are walking; the ability to support and guard patients who lose their balance during walking on level surfaces, as well as on stairs and uneven terrains/ramps; sufficient freedom of movement to be able to participate in all classroom and clinical activities; and the ability to lift and carry heavy objects. Required movements may include pushing, pulling, standing, sitting for long periods of time with and without back support, twisting, kneeling, stooping, and bending. The candidate must be able to use motor skills to accurately assess changes in muscle tone, tissue and skin temperature, joint position, chest sounds and peripheral pulses, joint play, and other examination tests. The candidate must also be able to: effectively apply compression, traction, resistance, and percussion; and demonstrate sufficient fine motor skills to be able to manipulate small objects and write legibly. The candidate must be able to respond to bells and alarms related to emergencies. At all times the ability to administer care to patients in a safe manner is paramount.

IV. Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities

To effectively solve problems, the candidate must be able to: measure, calculate, reason, analyze, comprehend, integrate, and synthesize information from the clinical, natural, and social sciences in a timely fashion. For example, the candidate must be able to synthesize knowledge and integrate the relevant aspects of a patient’s history, physical examination, and laboratory data. The candidate must be able to: provide a reasoned explanation for likely therapy, recalling and retaining information in an efficient and timely manner. The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and medical literature in formulating treatment plans is essential. In addition, the candidate must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand spatial relationships of structures. The candidate must have the ability to use computers for searching, recording, storing, and retrieving information. The candidate must be able to understand theory, research literature, and principles that apply to physical therapy practice, and analyze and solve complex patient problems. The candidate must be able to utilize knowledge of natural, clinical, and social sciences to develop appropriate interventions in a clinical setting. The ability to use critical analysis to understand theory, research literature, and principles that apply to physical therapy practice and to apply inductive and deductive clinical reasoning to solve complex patient problems is necessary. The candidate must be able to effectively engage in self-assessment of performance, as well as provide objective and constructive assessments of peers and faculty. The candidate must be able to identify significant findings based upon history and physical examination and interpret laboratory and diagnostic imaging data. The candidate must utilize sufficient judgment to ensure safe encounters with peers and patients and to effectively delegate to support personnel.

V. Behavioral and Social/Emotional Attributes

The candidate must be: dependable, punctual, ethical, and reliable; maintain professional demeanor in all situations; recognize stressors and be able to seek assistance as needed. Candidates must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities. They must: exercise good judgment, promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the care of patients, and develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. The candidate must also demonstrate a commitment to learning by seeking new knowledge and understanding, formulating their own thoughts and ideas, and taking ownership of their educational advancement. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to: adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice. They must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize information effectively in the limited time demanded by a given clinical setting, while under stress, and in an environment in which other distractions may be present. The candidate must be able to abide by the APTA Code of Ethics, the Standards of Physical Therapy Practice, and the Core Values, which can be found on the American Physical Therapy Association website at www.apta.org. Candidates must also be able to establish professional and empathetic relationships with individuals across the lifespan and from various cultures. Candidates must demonstrate integrity and honesty in the academic and clinical environment, as well as be able to engage in respectful interactions with individuals from various lifestyles, cultures, races, socioeconomic classes, and abilities. They must be able to develop and maintain respectful working relationships with peers, faculty, professional colleagues, patients, family members, and the general public and to recognize the psychosocial impact of movement dysfunction and disability on clients and families. The candidate must be able to accept constructive feedback and respond with suitable action.

Specific Examples of Technical Skills (Essential Functions) and Abilities

Specifically, candidates must be able to:

  • Attend and participate in classes for 30 or more hours per week during each academic semester. Classes consist of a combination of lecture, discussion, laboratory, and clinical activities.
  • Use auditory, tactile, and visual senses to receive classroom instruction and to evaluate and treat patients.
  • Read, write, speak, and understand English at a level consistent with successful course completion and development of positive patient-therapist relationships.
  • Complete readings, assignments, and other activities outside of class hours.
  • Apply critical thinking processes to their work in the classroom and the clinic.
  • Exercise sound judgment in class and in the clinic.
  • Participate in clinical experiences, which typically require students to be present 40 or more hours per week on a schedule that corresponds to the operating hours of the clinic.
  • Gather decision-making pieces of information during patient assessment activities in class or in the clinical setting without the use of an intermediary (classmate, aide, etc).
  • Perform treatment activities in class or in the clinical setting by direct performance.
  • Sit for two to 10 hours at a time, stand for at least one to two hours at a time, and walk or travel for at least two hours at a time
  • Frequently lift weights less than 10 pounds and occasionally lift weights between 10 and 100 pounds.
  • Occasionally carry up to 25 pounds while walking up to 50 feet.
  • Frequently exert 75 pounds of push/pull forces up to 50 feet and occasionally exert 150 pounds of push/pull forces for this distance.
  • Frequently twist, bend and stoop.
  • Occasionally squat, crawl, reach above shoulder level, and kneel.
  • Frequently move from place to place and position to position at a speed that permits safe handling of classmates and patients.
  • Frequently stand and walk while providing support to a classmate simulating a disability or while supporting a patient with a disability.
  • Occasionally climb stairs and negotiate uneven terrain.
  • Frequently use hands repetitively with a simple grasp and frequently with a firm grasp.
  • Frequently perform tasks requiring manual dexterity skills.
  • Frequently coordinate activities with gross motor and communication skills.

*Information and design from The Essential Standards and Technical Standards documents from the Graduate Program in Physical Therapy at Central Michigan and Sacramento State, and University of Buffalo’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, as well as the generic abilities developed by the physical therapy program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

To learn more about the program visit the Academic Catalog or download the D.P.T. Student Handbook (PDF).

A student sitting in a machine that measures muscle strength as their professor shows them the results on a monitor
A doctor of physical therapy student presents their research poster at a symposium
A UNE student pushes a man on a hockey sled as part of a demonstration
A P T student practices measuring a crutch for a patient
A previous D P T student assists a patient to walk on an anti-gravity treadmill at Maine Medical Center

Accreditation

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of New England is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, VA 22305-3085; telephone: (703) 706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website:
http://www.capteonline.org; If needing to contact the UNE PT program directly, please call (207) 221-4590 or email ptdepartment@une.edu

Complaints to CAPTE

Other concerns outside the realm of due process should be directed to the D.P.T. program director or to the dean of the Westbrook College of Health Professions.

Team-Based Learning

Our Portland Campus surrounds you with faculty and students in several other health disciplines. You will participate in interprofessional learning activities with them, and come to better understand how the work you’ll do will depend on collaboration. You will learn how to collaborate in today’s team-based healthcare environment as a member of our vibrant health sciences community.

Maine is an ideal location for living and learning. If you are seeking a physical therapy school in Maine, the UNE program is unsurpassed for student outcomes and experience.

My journey in IPE has been transformative. It has taught me the immense power of collaboration and the importance of diverse perspectives in addressing complex healthcare challenges. IPE has not only enriched my educational experience but also equipped me with the skills and mindset needed to thrive in a multidisciplinary healthcare environment.” — Alexandra Kennie, Physical Therapy ’24

Physical Therapy Careers

Physical therapy is a dynamic and rewarding profession that enables you to make a difference in people’s lives. You provide services to those with impairments, functional limitations, disabilities, or changes in physical function due to injury, disease, or other causes. Drawing upon your theoretical and clinical knowledge, you help them preserve, develop, and restore optimal physical function.

As a graduate of our program, you are highly regarded in the physical therapy marketplace. Our graduates enjoy a record of virtually 100 percent employment within the first six months after receiving their degree and passing the National Physical Therapy Exam.

Global Opportunities for Physical Therapy Students

UNE strives to empower students to become global citizens, and in our Physical Therapy program, you’ll have unique, fascinating opportunities to travel internationally and gain a wider perspective of PT. This might be on UNE's Morocco campus or on short-term, faculty-led experiences in Egpyt, Iceland, and more.

Egypt

PTH 799: PHYSICAL THERAPY IN EGYPT

In this fall course, you will learn about Egyptian culture including history, government, economics, customs, and religion. The trip itself will be for two weeks in early January. You will spend roughly 5 days in Assiut (a city of 400,000 approximately 5h south of Cairo) at Assiut University. Assiut University is home to 75,000 undergraduate and nearly 20,000 graduate students as well as two hospitals. Physical therapists in Egypt work predominately with patients who have musculoskeletal impairments. You will  engage with physical therapists and patients in the hospital and private PT clinics, as well as attend orthopaedic rounds and observe surgeries. Bookending the trip will be visits to historic and cultural sites such as pyramids, tombs, temples, museums, and of course, the Nile River.

Apply for Egypt, Physical Therapy

Guatemala

PTH 699: REHABILITATION IN GUATEMALA

This course is open to first and second year PT students. In this spring course, you will spend one week in Guatemala assisting in running a sports camp and PT clinic for children with disabilities at Transitions Foundation in Antigua, Guatemala. In addition you will visit programs serving people with physical disabilities and discussing disability issues with local healthcare providers. An overnight trip to Lake Atitlan and other cultural experiences will be included. Preparatory class meetings will include assigned readings, discussions, and planning.

Guatemala, Physical Therapy Sample Itinerary (PDF)

Apply for Guatemala, Physical Therapy

Iceland and/or Ireland

PTH 799: CULTURAL COMPETENCY TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

This summer course will provide you with knowledge regarding cultural competency and sensitivity through classroom learning and clinical observations in Ireland and/or Iceland. You will begin on campus in Portland by researching and examining some of the differences between the U.S. and Ireland/Iceland in the areas of PT education, health care, and culture. You will then travel to either Ireland or Iceland or both. The Ireland travel component will run for 7 days in mid-August and include clinical visits and meetings with PT leaders. You will also travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Immediately after, the Iceland component will run for 8 days in late August. You will visit the University of Iceland and attend a classroom learning activity, a PT clinic, ÖSSUR Motion Lab, and other clinical and cultural sites as available.

Italy

PTH 799: PT AND REHABILITATION IN ITALY

You will spend two weeks in Italy visiting unique programs serving people with physical disabilities and discussing disability issues with Italian health professionals, clients, and students. Cultural experiences will be included in all aspects of the course. Preparatory class meetings will include assigned readings, discussions, and planning.

Italy, Physical Therapy Sample Itinerary (PDF)

Apply for Italy, Physical Therapy

Morocco

PTH 725: DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICAL THERAPY CULTURAL COMPETENCY EXPERIENCE

This spring semester course will provide you with knowledge regarding cultural competency and sensitivity through classroom learning and learning experiences within the community in Tangier, Morocco. You will begin on campus in Portland by researching and examining some of the differences between the U.S. and Morocco in the areas of public health, health care, and culture. As the course progresses, you will study cultural competence beyond the classroom and into the world around us. You will travel to the University of New England campus in Tangier, Morocco, in mid-May in order to further experience the different cultures and engage in learning activities that will provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate cultural sensitivity with a variety of populations and in a variety of settings.

Morocco, Physical Therapy Sample Itinerary (PDF)

Apply for Morocco, Physical Therapy

Spain

PHP 405: GLOBAL HEALTH

Summer 2023

This Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) provides you with a Spanish language and cultural immersion experience, as well as two courses at the University of Granada. Through lectures and experiential learning, you will examine the Spanish healthcare system within the European and U.S. context and reflect upon the changing healthcare landscape in the U.S. and abroad.

A Health Care Education Campus in Portland, Maine

UNE D.P.T. students study on the Portland Campus for the Health Sciences, a quintessential New England quad that has been welcoming students for more than a century. Lined with lush trees and brick buildings, the campus sits in a quiet neighborhood just a short drive from the downtown waterfront. Portland, named “America’s Most Livable City” by Forbes and “Foodiest Small Town in America” by Bon Appetit, is about 100 miles from downtown Boston.

Take a Virtual Tour of our Portland Campus

Frequently Asked Questions: Physical Therapy Degree

How do you become a physical therapist?

If you want to become a physical therapist, you should be interested in anatomy and physiology. In physical therapy school at the Portland, Maine campus of UNE, you learn by doing. That means that in addition to your studies, you will help patients rehabilitate from injuries, manage chronic conditions, avoid surgery or create healthy habits. You will learn about research on the forefront of physical therapy, as well as managing professional and business issues related to a physical therapist practice.

The entry level degree to become a physical therapist is the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree (D.P.T.), which is a clinical doctorate. Having a bachelor’s degree in biology, exercise science, kinesiology, or related field helps set the foundations for PT school.

What’s the best physical therapy school for me?

Choosing the best physical therapy school for you is a matter of weighing academic quality as well as social fit and long-term value. At UNE in Portland, Maine you will be taught by faculty with a long, successful history in the field of physical therapy. 85% of our graduates pass the national licensing exam on the very first attempt, and 100% are employed within one year of graduation.

At UNE, our physical therapy degree is best for people who are looking to form a tight bond with their peers and work with students in other fields through our state-of-the-art facilities. The Portland campus houses all the graduate health sciences programs. This interprofessional learning will set you up for success when speaking to peers in other fields. Our student to faculty ratio is kept low, so you’re able to form a close relationship with your professors, and them with you.

Studying abroad can also be an important part of your physical therapy degree. At the University of New England, we believe strongly in the benefits of an international experience for physical therapy students. UNE has both short-term and longer-term physical therapy-related opportunities abroad.

At UNE, our physical therapy students are passionate about their studies. But what better place to unwind than Portland, Maine? In addition to the outdoor activities, food, arts, beer, and very cool vibe, Portland provides a rich variety of settings for UNE students to learn and become involved in service and social activities.

What are physical therapy school requirements?

The first basic requirement for physical therapy school is a bachelor’s degree.

The UNE physical therapy degree program accepts students with a variety of undergraduate degrees including exercise science, kinesiology, biology, psychology, philosophy, dance, and others. As long as you complete the prerequisites, any undergraduate major is fine.

Some physical therapy schools may require that you have a specific bachelor’s degree. Depending on your degree and the requirements of your selected physical therapy school, you may need to complete postgraduate coursework that satisfies the prerequisites.

How much do physical therapists make?

Salaries for physical therapists vary widely based on type of practice, practice setting, years of experience, and where you live. The average annual salary for physical therapists nationally is about $98,000 with top-paying metros reaching salary averages of about $130,000. The American Physical Therapy Association carries out a Workforce Data Report every few years.

UNE D.P.T. graduates are employed all over the country in a wide variety of practice settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, home care, schools and outpatient clinics. There is a high demand for physical therapists in every state, and Maine itself has a high concentration of physical therapy jobs.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

What’s the difference between PT and OT?

Physical therapy and occupational therapy work together frequently, and these disciplines have similarities as well as important distinctions. Physical therapists (PTs) focus on improving the patient's ability to move their body. They help individuals to maximize mobility, manage pain and chronic conditions, avoid surgery, and prescription medications, and improve overall physical function and fitness. An occupational therapist (OT) is ultimately concerned with how a client accesses and participates in activities that hold meaning within day-to-day functioning. OTs work with clients to modify their approach to activities, to better support their engagement, and participation in the things they want to do.

As a student in UNE’s D.P.T. degree program in Portland, Maine, you have the opportunity to collaborate with our occupational therapy faculty and students in classroom, clinical, and even global settings. UNE is one of a handful of private universities with a comprehensive health education mission that encourages interprofessional learning opportunities.