University of Kentucky Department of Physical Therapy
900 South Limestone Physical Therapy Department, Room 214 Lexington KY 40536 United States

This page is intended for college transfer students and graduates ONLY. There is no guaranteed freshman admission pathway; high school students are encouraged to contact the UK College of Health Sciences academic advisors for guidance.

Program Description

The purpose of the Physical Therapy Program at the University of Kentucky is foremost to meet the physical therapy needs of Kentucky and contribute to global needs overall by developing competent physical therapy practitioners who are critical thinkers, educators, and professionals who value diversity and inclusivity.

The Department of Physical Therapy strives to develop patient-centered practitioners who are knowledgeable, ethical, independent and collaborative, adaptable, reflective, effective communicators, and service-oriented. This practitioner development is accomplished through a wide variety of mechanisms:

1. Educational programs, which are informed by scholarship and research, and designed to provide excellence in instruction as well as accessibility to a diverse student body. These programs include the professional DPT (Lexington and Center of Excellence in Rural Health campuses), post- professional programs (PhD Program in Rehabilitation Sciences), and continuing education courses.

2. Scholarship, research, and creative activities which contribute to the discovery and expansion of knowledge in the health sciences.

3. Service to the public (in urban and rural communities), to other professional disciplines, and to the profession.

4. Professional socialization through participation in professional activities and organizations.

The goals and objectives of the physical therapy program are an integral part of the mission of the institution. They are reflective of and consistent with those of the University and College, and are in congruence and augment those of the University.

Purpose, Philosophy, and Goals

The purpose of the Physical Therapy Program at the University of Kentucky is foremost to meet the physical therapy needs of Kentucky and contribute to global needs overall by developing competent physical therapy practitioners who are critical thinkers, educators and professionals who value diversity and inclusivity.

The curricular philosophy of the University of Kentucky's Physical Therapy Program reflects this three-fold purpose of the Program through use of a spiral pattern. The curricular components used to design and implement the course of study for the physical therapist are as follows:

1. Birth through aging, and/or through end of life

2. Basic through advanced,

3. Static through dynamic,

4. Normal through abnormal,

5. Knowledge through application,

6. Acute and chronic pathology stages,

7. Knowledge acquisition through problem solving through the expansion of knowledge,

8. Parallel practice through interprofessional and collaborative practice

Individual courses are linked through objectives that add to and refine the specific skills as the learner becomes prepared to integrate higher-level skills with previously learned concepts. This philosophy is implemented by utilizing the skills, strengths, and qualities of a diverse academic and clinical faculty. 

Curricular Goals:

1. Develop competent practitioners

The primary goal of the program is to produce knowledgeable, adaptable, patient-centered physical therapy practitioners capable of meeting the health needs of the people of Kentucky, in urban and rural areas, and beyond. To achieve this goal, the practitioner will be able to assess and manage the patient in a variety of health care settings, with an added focus on the challenges and demands of the medically underserved and those who are culturally and linguistically diverse. The expansion program at the Center of Excellence in Rural Health in Hazard, KY, was implemented in 1992 to facilitate the achievement of this goal. An additional component of this goal is to educate physical therapists to practice in an ethical, legal, safe, and caring manner.

2. Develop practitioners as critical thinkers

Students utilize the information gained early in the curriculum (e.g. basic sciences and basic clinical skills) as a foundation for the development of analytical skills. Students are challenged throughout the professional curriculum by a wide variety of problem-solving activities to analyze realistic situations and develop strategies for examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention, and outcomes analysis. As the students' theoretical base of knowledge expands, students will use problem-solving skills to gather data, identify problems, and choose among alternatives for successful outcomes. Clinical experiences interspersed throughout the professional curriculum serve to reinforce knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom and laboratory.

3. Develop practitioners as health care educators

The physical therapist is a primary provider of health care education to patients/clients and their family and caregivers, as well as to colleagues and the public. Our goal is to develop physical therapists committed to health promotion and disease and disability prevention for self, individuals, organizations and communities. Throughout the curriculum students are challenged to develop effective and efficient strategies to provide high quality education through appropriate communication with individuals and communities. From the introductory course in semester one through the final research course in semester eight, the majority of the courses have student generated instructional and/or presentation components which assist students in becoming successful educators.

4. Develop professional practitioners

Professional socialization occurs throughout the physical therapy educational experience. Students are provided the opportunity to emulate as well as assimilate the qualities inherent in professionalism. Students model most closely those practitioners with whom they interact while developing their professional skills. Academic and clinical faculty act as professional role models to reinforce the concept of life-long learning. This conceptual basis emphasizes the importance of:

1. Being an educated consumer of the scientific and professional literature, and applying this new knowledge in the provision of physical therapy services.

2. Utilizing the scientific inquiry process to conduct and disseminate research and other scholarly activities.

3. Participation in professional activities and associations, community service, and interprofessional activities.

4. Ongoing professional development through post-professional and continuing educational opportunities.

All of the above are designed to develop physical therapists who are life-long learners committed to the physical therapy profession and its advancement.

Program offers a guaranteed freshman admission pathway?
Dual Degrees
Dual-degree programs offered in conjunction with the PT degree
An opportunity to pursue a DPT/PhD has been developed.  The DPT curriculum satisfies some of the requirements for the PhD and students are able to complete the PhD in a more timely manner. This program is for students who want to pursue research as a physical therapist and expressing interest in this dual degree program will not affect the student's DPT application status.
Will the professional (entry-level) PT program offer a satellite or branch campus to applicants during the upcoming admissions cycle?
Information regarding satellite or branch campus

The UK Physical Therapy Program is divided between two campuses: our Lexington campus, with approximately 50 students per class, and our Hazard campus, consisting of approximately 18 students per class.  The Hazard campus has a stronger focus on rural health, and those eligible for this campus must either have a focus on rural health and/or come from a rural background.

Institution's Religious Affiliation
Admission Interviews
Program conducts interviews as part of the admissions process?
Is a Deposit Required for Accepted Applicants?
Total cumulative deposit
Additional Information about Deposit
The application deposit is due March 1 and is applied to tuition after starting the program.  It is non-refundable if the student decides not to attend the program.
Deposit Refundable?
Deposits collected on a rolling basis after offer of admission made?
Due Date of First Required Deposit
Total Cost of Education for In-State Students
Total Cost of Education for out of State Students
Incoming Class Profile
Anticipated Size of the Next Entering Class
Size of Most Recent Entering Class
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% of students from OUT-OF-STATE
% Male
% Female 
% Hispanic 
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% African-American/Black (Non-Hispanic)
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% Two or More Races 
% Declining to State 
Minority-Serving Institution (MSI) Status
Program housed at a Minority-Serving Institution No