DeSales Announces Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

by Tom McNamara | Apr 26, 2013

DeSales University is developing a doctor of physical therapy program. Applications are now being accepted for graduate courses to start in summer 2014.

“In a survey of regional healthcare agencies we learned that the medical community in the Lehigh Valley has matured to the point where virtually all medical services are readily available without traveling to a larger city,” said Fr. Peter Leonard, OSFS, dean of graduate education. “There was also a clear indication that there is and will continue to be a regional shortage of physical therapists.”

The DeSales doctor of physical therapy program will have two formats. The first comprises three years of graduate study for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree. At the end of three years at DeSales, the student is awarded the doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree. Pending approval from the national accrediting body for physical therapy programs—CAPTE—the charter graduate class will begin in May 2014.

The second format will be offered to freshman students beginning fall 2015 and consists of three years of undergraduate study followed by three years of graduate study. After the student earns an undergraduate degree in health sciences, he or she enters the graduate phase and with the completion of the sixth year, the student is awarded the DPT degree.

“We’re designing a curriculum that’s unique and contemporary, yet based on the ethical and moral traditions of Christian humanism for which DeSales University is well known,” said Dr. Kay Malek, director of the DeSales DPT program. “The mission of our developing DPT program is to offer the Lehigh Valley community a healthcare practitioner with exceptional skills as a movement specialist.”

The program curriculum includes a foundation in basic science, followed by clinical and physical therapy science built around the body’s physiological systems. Students will also use the University’s gross anatomy laboratory, with dissection creating a deeper foundational knowledge of the human body. Each student will participate in a research project with a faculty mentor, including a literature review, project design, data collection and data analysis. The program also has 36 weeks of clinical education experience distributed across five courses.

“Relying on solid academic preparation and evidence-based treatment plans, the physical therapists graduating from our program will strive to serve individuals in pain or with physical limitations to help them recover an optimal quality of life,” said Malek.

Every day in the United States, more than 750,000 people, from infants to senior citizens, seek the assistance of physical therapists (PTs) for the restoration, maintenance, and promotion of wellness and function. PTs provide care in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, public and private schools, sports and fitness facilities, work places, and nursing homes.

DeSales University is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist education program from Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The program will submit an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage. Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required before implementation of the professional phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in professional courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation

For more information about the DPT program at DeSales University, call 610.282.1100, ext. 1839, or visit

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Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications
610.282.1100 x1219

DeSales University
2255 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034