Universtiy of Miami Miller School of Medicine Medical School Education & Admissions

Ph.D. in Physical Therapy

The University of Miami Physical Therapy PhD Studies Program develops physical therapist students for leadership positions in academic and research settings. Along with guiding students in the development of requisite knowledge and skills, the program promotes professional socialization into the role of academic faculty. We believe preparation to teach and undertake research in a physical therapy curriculum at the university level requires excellence in three dimensions:

  1. Expertise in a specified content area
  2. Advanced knowledge and skill in research methods, design, and implementation of analysis and communication of results
  3. Proficiency in instructional design, teaching methods, and evaluation.

The successful integration of these three dimensions, each complex in its own right, provides the means for the student to develop expertise in testing, analyzing, researching, and teaching about disorders that interfere with function. Unifying these three core areas is the process of socialization to the role of a faculty member, including an awareness of academic responsibilities and sensitivity to the needs of the adult learner.

In keeping with this philosophy, students develop breadth of knowledge through completion of coursework from three basic core areas:

  • Concentration
  • Research
  • Education

They develop depth by completing elective courses with the intent to build expertise in their respective areas of concentration. The successful graduate of this program will have the requisite knowledge and skills to integrate research findings and scientific theory with clinical observations. On this basis, the graduate will be prepared to perform original research aimed at developing new knowledge to enhance the scientific basis of clinical practice and theoretical principles that will advance the profession of physical therapy. The program offers opportunities for the student to gain skill in communicating theories, concepts and research findings and to experience the roles and responsibilities of an academic faculty member. Students complete a dissertation project in which they develop and conduct a unique and significant research investigation with the guidance of a Physical Therapy faculty member in one of the three research Concentration Cores (Motor Control, Outcomes Research, Prosthetics and Amputee Rehabilititation).

Overall Goals

To effectively meet existing and emerging physical therapy needs, the priorities of this program are to inculcate scientific thinking and analysis, enhance the ability to integrate basic, applied and clinical research into physical therapy, provide professional socialization to the role of academic faculty member, and engender a commitment to the generation of scientific knowledge.

This PhD program is designed to prepare students for leadership positions in academic, research and clinical settings by helping them develop the ability to:

  • Design, present and evaluate effective instruction in multiple settings for learners with varied needs.
  • Form theoretical constructs by integrating findings from basic and applied sciences with clinical observations.
  • Perform original research aimed at developing new knowledge to enhance the scientific basis of clinical practice and theoretical principles that will advance the profession of physical therapy.
  • Communicate theories, concepts and research findings.
  • Acquire funding for research and other academic endeavors.
  • Carry out the role and responsibilities of an academic faculty member.

Visit the Department of Physical Therapy for more information