About the Dual DPT/PhD

The Division of Physical Therapy at Emory University School of Medicine in coordination with the Applied Physiology Program and other departments at Georgia Tech offers a dual degree program that awards a doctorate in physical therapy (DPT) from the Emory School of Medicine as well as a PhD in Applied Physiology from the Georgia Tech School of Biological Sciences. Moreover, dual degree students have access to research engineers throughout Georgia Tech including the Emory-Georgia Tech joint biomedical engineering department. Stipend funding is available beginning in the 3rd year of the DPT curriculum. Years 4-6/7 are funded from the PhD advisor’s grant in the form of Graduate Research Assistantships. For students who choose to work with a Georgia Tech faculty as their research mentor, a limited number of Graduate Teaching Assistantships may also be available.

DPT/PhD Curriculum

Students enrolled in the DPT/PhD Program must fulfill the requirements established by the governing bodies of both institutions.  The Emory DPT degree is a 144-credit hour program; the Georgia Tech Applied Physiology PhD degree is a 42-credit hour program.

The didactic curriculum program for dual degree students requires at least 4 years to complete (not including the dissertation component), as follows:

  • Year 1 – Emory DPT program: 27 credit hours Clinical Theory, 16 credit hours Anatomy and physiology, 8 credit hours Motor control (9 of these hours will transfer to satisfy the GT AP-PhD Systems Physiology requirement and 6 will transfer to meet the Cohesive Minor)
  • Year 2 – Emory DPT program: 26 credit hours Clinical Theory, 2 credit hours A&P, 3 credit hours Motor control, 20 credit hours Internship.  (None of these hours are considered for transfer of credit to GT AP-PhD degree)  Interested students are expected to apply to Georgia Tech during this year.
  • Year 3 – Emory DPT program: 8 credit hours Clinical Theory, 10 credit hours Internship, 12 SCH Clinical Research, 12 credit hours Electives.  Emory DPT clinical research requirement to be fulfilled with AP-Ph.D. research rotations.
  • Year 4-6/7- GT AP-PhD program: 9 credit hours Systems Physiology, 6 credit hours Focus Area, 3 credit hours Cohesive Minor, 3 credit hours Biostatistics, 3 credit hours graduate seminar, 12 credit hours dissertation research.

Admission Requirements

Students in the DPT/PhD Program are recruited from exceptional students enrolled in the Emory DPT program. Students are encouraged to identify a research sponsor/advisor prior to applying to the PhD program. Interested students make formal application for admission to Georgia Tech during their 2nd year of the DPT.

The Emory Advantage

The Emory/Georgia Tech DPT/PhD dual degree program trains physical therapist-scientists to advance research in movement science, and improve therapies and technologies to enhance the health and function of persons with movement disorders. The DPT/PhD Program combines the advantages of intensive preparation of clinicians with rigorous interdisciplinary research training.  Students have the opportunity to learn from internationally recognized movement scientists. Studies encompass physiological systems and mechanisms that contribute to motor control and physical activity, and the restoration of motor function that has been lost or impaired as a result of injury, disease, or congenital condition.

For additional information please contact:

The DPT/PhD Graduate Program Director
Edelle [Edee] Field-Fote at 404-603-4274 or edelle_field-fote@shepherd.org