UAMS Receives Approval to Offer Physical Therapy Degree

By Nate Hinkel

The approval means UAMS can move forward in the process to create the doctoral program, which will be in its College of Health Professions. The program, which must become accredited before it can accept students, plans to admit students in 2015.

“There’s a great need in west and northwest Arkansas for physical therapists, and we are committed to addressing this through having this program on our regional campus,” said UAMS Provost Jeanne Heard, M.D., Ph.D.

A needs assessment done in 2011 showed there were 300 openings for physical therapists across the state, and by 2016 there will be 800 unfilled positions, Heard said. That’s more than can be filled by the three existing physical therapy education programs at other universities in the state.

Douglas Murphy, Ph.D., dean of the College of Health Professions, said the UAMS program will begin with 26 students and plans to add 26 a year for the three-year program to earn a doctor of physical therapy (D.P.T.).

“We are eager to be able to add this program that will create great opportunities to fill physical therapy vacancies in northwest Arkansas and across the state,” Murphy said.

The Higher Education Coordinating Board, meeting in Harrison, voted to approve the program for the UAMS Northwest campus. The program will be funded by philanthropic gifts, student tuition, grants and clinical revenue.

For more information about the program, call the College of Health Professions at 501-686-5730.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.