News & Information

Physical Therapy Doctorate Moves Forward


A physical therapy doctoral program will help Sacramento State meet the region’s health-care needs.

If all goes according to plan, Sacramento State will offer a Doctor of Physical Therapy program beginning in 2012. The California State University Board of Trustees approved having Sacramento State move forward with planning for the program.

The doctoral program is needed because the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, the only accrediting authority recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, will only grant accreditation to programs with doctorates beginning in 2015.

Offering the doctorate will also help the University better meet the health-care needs of the region.

The approval process is a complex one, says Susan McGinty, professor and director of Sacramento State’s Physical Therapy Program. A formal proposal has to go through various campus committees. After that, the proposal is sent to the Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach.

Following both internal and external review there, the proposal moves forward to the California Postsecondary Education Commission and then to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The proposal eventually goes to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

“I’m doing a lot of writing of proposals, as are our faculty,” McGinty says.

Sacramento State’s program currently offers a master’s degree for groups or cohorts consisting of 32 students. There are 96 students in the fall, with a cohort graduating every December.

The national commission has upgraded its accreditation requirements because the scope of practice in physical therapy has advanced significantly over the last 10 to 15 years, says McGinty.

Only nine of 212 programs nationally do not offer the doctorate, she adds, and Sacramento State officials have been looking forward to the day they could bring that level of instruction to their students.

“We knew it was coming and we’ve done the preparation,” McGinty says.

For more information on Sacramento State’s Physical Therapy Program, visit or call (916) 278-6426. For media assistance, call Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.