Doctor of Physical Therapy

Mark Bowden, PT, PhD, Division Director

Physical Therapy (PT) is a dynamic health care profession. Practitioners are skilled in planning, organizing, and directing programs for the care of patients of all ages who are disabled by illness, by accident, or were born with a physical challenge. Physical therapists work in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, private offices, rehabilitation centers, community health centers, research centers, industry, and sports medicine clinics, and as educators and researchers in colleges and universities.

Physical therapy focuses primarily on those individuals with disturbed functions or impairment related to neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, and integumentary systems. Physical therapy also focuses on methods of evaluating the functions of these systems and on the selection and application of appropriate therapeutic procedures to maintain, improve, or restore function, and to prevent dysfunction.

Physical therapists are specialists in evaluating and treating disorders of the human body by using physical means. They are legally and ethically responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating a physical therapy program. This responsibility often includes instructing patients, clients and their families and supervising physical therapist assistants, physical therapy aides, students, and other health care workers in carrying out an intervention program or its selected parts. The physical therapist consults and works closely with the patient’s physician and other health practitioners in establishing treatment objectives that are realistic and consistent with the patient’s or client’s needs.

Physical therapists are in wide demand for their skills and experience. Currently, there are not enough physical therapist practitioners to meet the country’s needs. Additionally, the profession is filled with opportunities for growth and diversification. Upon completion of the program, students are awarded a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.


The Medical University is one of two accredited programs in the state of South Carolina and fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association.