Western Carolina University Department of Physical Therapy
Department of Physical Therapy 3971 Little Savannah Rd Room 232 Cullowhee NC Room 232 United States
Phone+1 828.227.2290
Phone 2 +1 828.227.7070
CAPTE Accredited
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  • PostedThursday, May 6, 2021 at 3:10 PM
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Program Description

Below are just a few reasons why we believe WCU will be a great choice for you:  

The program resides in the state-of-the-art Health and Human Sciences Building in Cullowhee, NC and the Biltmore Instructional Site in Asheville, NC.  Faculty and students work from both locations synchronously and are connected through a high-fidelity A-V bridge.  Clinical and teaching equipment are update regularly to ensure our graduates are prepared to work in a contemporary practice environment.  Community partners with clinic spaces for interdisciplinary health services and physical therapy are on the first floor of the Health and Human Sciences Building.  In the PT clinic our students gain hands-on learning experiences including our award-winning student-run pro bono health clinic that provides physical therapy, social work and nutrition services to area un/under-insured residents.  The pro bono clinic has plans to open an Asheville location in the spring of 2021.

Beautiful Location: 
Few places in the world are more beautiful than the Great Smoky Mountains. Here, WCU offers the ideal blend of rural beauty with state-of-the-art facilities and countless recreation and fitness opportunities. 

Comparatively Low Tuition and Fees:
At WCU, you'll find a tremendous academic value: a highly competitive academic program that's on par with public and private universities across the country while providing excellent return on investment due to it's low cost. 

Quality of Instruction: 
Teaching is the primary mission of the university and our department. All classes are taught by highly qualified faculty who are committed to providing you with the best education possible. 

Small Class Sizes: 
We currently admit 48 students a year and we maintain a student-to-teacher ratio of 9:1. 

Hands-on Experience: 
Faculty commitment to active learning, spacious state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, and strong collaborative relationships within the larger community allow lots of hands-on learning experiences. 

Pass rates on National Licensing Examination: 
Our students consistently achieve pass rates above state and national averages. Our 2007-20 three year ultimate pass rates are 100% and the 2013-18 & 2020 graduating first time pass rate is 100%. Due to the standard of excellence we uphold our students to, our Doctor of Physical Therapy graduates have had a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the National Physical Therapy Exam for seven of the past eight years.

Global Health Education:
Global education is an expanding area of interest for many applicants, and is a rising priority at WCU. Each year our faculty take a group of students to rural Honduras in an international outreach effort to provide pro bono physical therapy services where no such services exist, through an international faculty-led study abroad travel course which aims to develop deeper clinical reasoning for DPT students. The citizens of Honduras have limited access to any type of health care, and physical therapy is essentially non-existent in this country. The community and clinical partnerships developed through these ISL study-abroad courses over the years have grown substantially, developing into the invitation to provide telehealth for the people of the Taulabe, Honduras community in a sustainable manner. WCU DPT students will provide telehealth physical therapy services under the supervision of a US licensed physical therapist and in collaboration with Honduran healthcare providers. Clinical experiences in MAPHealth Honduras will be scheduled, monitored, supervised and evaluated similar to the current integrated clinical experiences currently happening in MAPHealth Cullowhee/Asheville. All students will participate in this experience as part of integrated clinical education courses in each semester throughout the first two years of the curriculum.

Service Learning/Community Engagement (SLCE): 
Students are involved in community engagement and service learning as part of the regular curriculum and they also have the option of completing either a research based or SLCE project for their final Doctoral Project. 

Clinical Education: 
Our students have the opportunity to participate in four full-time clinical education experiences (total 34 weeks) at sites across the nation in addition to a variety of clinical laboratory experiences which includes participating in the student run inter-professional pro-bono clinic (MAPHealth). 

Human Movement Science Laboratory: 
Our state-of-the-art lab, provided by a grant of approximately $300,000 from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, allows the program to supplement the education of students, conduct research, and provide diagnostic clinical services to individuals in the surrounding region.

Program offers a guaranteed freshman admission pathway?
Dual Degrees
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 design of our program allows students at the Cullowhee campus and Asheville (Biltmore Park) instructional site to have a synchronous learning experience with faculty members teaching from both locations. Students receive in-person guidance for all hands-on experiences.

Admission Interviews
Program conducts interviews as part of the admissions process?
Additional information about interviews

An on-site applicant interview will be scheduled if possible for applications evaluated as competitive. If held, attendance will be mandatory. Alternatively, we will host virtual interview sessions, which will also be mandatory. Dates are TBD.  Applicants are accepted from those who receive an on-site interview.

Is a Deposit Required for Accepted Applicants?
Total cumulative deposit
Additional Information about Deposit
This nonrefundable deposit secures a seat for the applicant offered admission.
Deposit Refundable?
Due Date of First Required Deposit
Incoming Class Profile
Anticipated Size of the Next Entering Class
Size of Most Recent Entering Class
% of IN-STATE applicants accepted
% of OUT-OF-STATE (non-resident) U.S. applicants accepted
% of INTERNATIONAL (non-U.S/non-Canadian) applicants accepted
% Male
% Female 
% Hispanic 
% American Indian/Alaskan Native
% Asian
% African-American/Black (Non-Hispanic)
% Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
% White (Not of Hispanic Origin) 
% Two or More Races 
% Declining to State 
Employees500 to 3000