Date: January 4, 2006
Contact: Eric Matanyi
Phone: (708) 534-4044
Fax: (708) 534-8399
For Immediate Release
University Park, Illinois, January 4, 2006 – Governors State University announces its first professional doctoral degree program. The Doctorate of Physical Therapy will begin during the Spring/Summer trimester of 2007. Governors State University is one of only seven colleges or universities in Illinois offering degrees in physical therapy (PT).
The program will be offered through the university’s College of Health Professions; currently the university’s fastest growing college. The doctoral program was developed in response to ongoing changes in health professions education and recommendations from the profession itself.
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the accrediting body for education programs, the Commission on Accreditation and Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), have noted that entry level PT education is moving toward the doctoral level. Dr. Russell Carter, Chair of GSU’s Physical Therapy program believes that as many as 50 to 60 percent of the nation’s PT programs are already at that level.
“Not wishing to be behind the curve, we have worked hard to bring a doctoral program to GSU,” said Carter. “Right now it’s an educational standard that is not a requirement, but rather a recommendation. At some point in the near future, we foresee that it will become an industry requirement as well.”
According to Carter, the PT field is moving towards more responsibility and autonomy. Today’s health care system requires more of its professionals and the Doctorate of Physical Therapy will help students meet those requirements.
Physical therapy education at the doctoral level differs from the master’s level in several ways. “There is a larger emphasis on differential diagnosis. Professionals will have more skill in identifying those things that aren’t necessarily within the realm of their practice,” said Carter. “For instance, a medical condition that manifests itself as a lower back pain may have nothing to do with the musculoskeletal system, but instead be caused by something internal.”
Another important aspect of the new program will involve training in imaging technology such as x-rays, MRIs, and ultrasonography. The program will also provide students with more advanced clinical practice and experience than at the master’s level.
Dr. Linda Samson, dean of the College of Health Professions is proud to have pioneered the university’s first doctoral program. “There is a sense of pride that comes with meeting the challenges and breaking down the barriers that we’ve faced,” she said. “However, we feel greater pride in being able to provide the best possible education for our students. Physical therapy graduates from the College of Health Professions will be better prepared to enter the field than ever before.”
Samson plans to develop doctoral programs for other healthcare professions in the future as the College of Health Professions continues to expand. The campus development board also plans to release funds for additional renovations of the college’s current facilities, allowing the university to compete on a national level.
Students in the doctoral program will be required to complete a total of 119 credits, as compared to the 90 credits required for the master’s program, in order to complete the necessary professional education. The prerequisites for admission will remain the same as those currently in place. The doctoral program will be taught by both current faculty and new staff members.
For more information regarding the Doctorate of Physical Program, contact David Diers at 708.235.2232.
Governors State University also offers 47 other degree programs including junior/senior level bachelor’s degrees and full master’s degrees.