Department of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science (PTRS)
George R. Hepburn Dynasplint Professor and Chair
Mary M. Rodgers, PT, PhD
The School of Medicine (SOM) offers an entry-level professional doctoral degree in Physical Therapy (DPT) and a PhD degree in Physical Rehabilitation Science. As an integral part of the health care delivery team, PTRS students and faculty strive to provide the best possible health care and service to their community and state. To help meet these standards, the department maintains a well-equipped service learning clinic and state-of-the-art, active research laboratories for faculty and students.
Students admitted into the entry-level DPT program have earned a bachelors degree and have completed necessary prerequisite coursework and observational experiences. The entry-level program requires continuous student enrollment for a three-year time period. Students complete their didactic coursework on the UMB SOM campus throughout the first two years of their education and then transition offsite during year three for clinical education experiences.
Clinical education is an essential part of the department’s physical therapy program. The department is affiliated with more than 275 clinical facilities locally and throughout the United States. Clinical experiences are provided in acute care, outpatient, and rehabilitation settings wherein students obtain exposure to patients/clients with diverse impairments across the lifespan. The clinical education program is divided into four internship periods totaling 36 weeks of full-time experience. During the clinical internships, students have the opportunity to integrate knowledge gained from prior courses and to expand skills in evaluation, treatment and interpersonal communication.
The PTRS faculty has research interests that are dedicated to understanding physical dysfunction and determining most effective treatment paradigms. The varied backgrounds of faculty members ensure an interdisciplinary approach in research, as well as collaborative projects with other departments. Current projects are related to the general areas of development, aging and response to exercise or electrical stimulation applied to specific clinical populations of wheelchair users, lupus, stroke and HIV disease. DPT students are encouraged to participate in research activities as hourly workers and/or as an elective experience.
The PhD in Physical Rehabilitation Science is an interdisciplinary program requiring 4 to 5 years study and research. Students come from a range of relevant backgrounds and take a minimum of 60 credits past their Bachelor’s degree. They choose an area of concentration from the following areas: Epidemiology, Neuromotor Control, Rehabilitation Biomechanics and Applied Physiology. The credits consist of 10 in rehabilitation science core, 12 in tools and measurement, 4 in an interdisciplinary seminar, 22 in a concentration or cognate area and 12 for the dissertation. Students are expected to be involved in research (including grant writing and publication) from the start of their program, and typically take their competency exams between the 2nd and 3rd years. Graduates of this program have found excellent post-doctoral positions.