Photo by Vanessa Alvarez -- Applications for the DPT program can be done online and currently are open for the 2020 school year beginning in August.

Vanessa Alvarez

Florida Southern College introduced the new Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) with the first class beginning in the Fall of 2019. 

Capping out at about 36 students, the full-time program takes roughly two and a half years to complete. 

“The full-time curriculum was developed in order to allow our students to earn their doctoral degree in an accelerated time frame of 28 months,” Dr. Alex Siyufy, a faculty member in the program said.  “Since the majority of full-time DPT programs are 36 months, we believe this will be both challenging and rewarding for our graduates! Our DPT program has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).  This is based on our submitted curriculum and we are required to adhere to this curriculum until full accreditation is achieved.” 

Students complete 108 credit hours and participated in 36 weeks of full-time clinical practicums. In addition, individuals enrolled in the program participate in weekly volunteer work at one of the four community service options provided. 

“The locations are:  Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine (LVIM), Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE), Florida Baptist Children’s Homes partnered with One More Child, and First Steps Preschool at First United Methodist Church,” Dr. Siyufy said. “These experiences were chosen based on existing community partnerships and what we determined would provide for a beneficial service learning experience for our students.” 

The goal of the program is to provide students the knowledge and skills through their coursework and allow them to implement that in within the community. 

The DPT is one of the four new doctorate programs offered at Southern. Each faculty member holds field experience in a variety of specializations including orthopedics, neurological physical therapy and cardiopulmonary physical therapy. With this, students are provided a hands-on learning environment to prepare them to practice patient-centered, research-oriented care with their patients. 

Students interested in the DPT may come from any accredited undergraduate background, however, degrees such as Biology, Exercise Science, Health Science, Kinesiology and Sports Medicine are encouraged.  Applicants are expected to have a minimum GPA of 3.00 in both prerequisite and degree related courses with the acception of one C in a general education course. 

In addition to a resume, applicants are expected to send three letters of recommendation from a licensed physical therapist, a college level faculty member, and one other. Students are also expected to have roughly twenty five hours of experience with physical therapy either through work or volunteering. 

Application deadlines for the program take place in February of 2020. Potential prospects for the program are expected to attend an on-campus interview which takes place at the DPT building located on Florida Avenue between March and April. Finally, application status notifications are delivered within two to four weeks of the interview date. 

For more information on the program and how to apply, FSC’s DPT will host information sessions on November 16 and December 12. Sessions last roughly an hour and a half and include faculty and admissions counselors from every doctorate and graduate department at the college. In addition, further information regarding the program can be found at


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