Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center


What Is an Sc.D. Degree?

A Doctor of Science degree is a terminal academic degree awarded in recognition of a substantial and sustained contribution to scientific knowledge. It is similar to a Doctor of Philosophy in terms of telling people about your mastery of a particular field of study. The Doctor of Science is the highest academic degree awarded to disciplines in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The TTUHSC Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) in Physical Therapy is post professional terminal doctoral degree designed for the you the practicing physical therapist. There is a knowledge revolution found in physical therapy literature, advancing the boundaries of clinical science, technology, and therapeutic insight. The Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy program provides you a means to participate in this revolution by contributing to the growth and development of novel evidence-based practice as well as through refinement of current concepts and ideas that together foster innovation and effective care.


Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy

The TTUHSC Sc.D. degree is one of the most unique and thorough post-professional orthopedic physical therapy education programs in the country. It offers you a deliberate combination of foundational concepts with new paradigms to enhance patient care. Consider, unguided educational and clinical experiences can actually limit the ability of patients to receive exceptional care. Our interventions are at times inadvertently biased by previous educational and clinical experiences. These biases can be left unchecked as we are too busy or lack purposeful effort to refine skills and knowledge. The Sc.D. program will provide you with the opportunity to acknowledge and refine these past experiences. Advanced levels of information, skill, and critical thinking traits only come from a rigorous, formalized study and time that is not available in an entry level program or post-graduate continuing education. If clinicians make better decisions, patients will have improved physical, emotional, and financial health.

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A Physical Therapy Sc.D. Program Designed for Professionals

The Sc.D. Program in Physical Therapy at TTUHSC is tailored to practicing physical therapists who want to continue their post-professional education:

  • Admission is open to clinicians holding a bachelor's or master's degree in physical therapy, or a doctor of physical therapy degree.
  • The program provides an advanced clinical curriculum that includes concepts from biomechanical, tissue specific, and motor control models that relate to every physical therapy setting and patient population.
  • The hybrid curriculum is presented in a weekend course format with web-based course enhancement.
  • The program allows clinicians to develop relationships and share ideas in the areas of clinical practice, research, and
  • You are encouraged to continue with your clinical employment while enrolled. Your professional work setting is the ideal setting for applying what you learn in the program.
  • As an Sc.D. student you have the option of clinical research or clinical teaching for your clinical dissertation project.
  • The curriculum serves as a potential option for continuing education units.

The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) does not offer accreditation for post-professional programs in physical therapy, such as the Sc.D. in Physical Therapy.


 Advanced Physical Therapy Education With Professional Impact

The TTUHSC Sc.D. program in Physical Therapy develops professional leaders, mentors, educators, and clinical researchers.

  • Since its inception in 2001, over 45% of our program graduates have gained full-time faculty positions in entry-level physical therapy education programs.
  • Over 30% have developed into post-professional educators outside the formal academic setting. These individuals continue to work in clinical settings while serving as educators to other clinicians through workshops or continuing education courses.
  • Several program graduates are serving in an academic leadership capacity and many have transitioned into clinical director or clinical owner positions.

For TTUHSC School of Health Professions to offer online courses in a state other than Texas, TTUHSC must first comply with that state's requirements. These requirements differ from state to state, with requirements being more rigorous and expensive in some states than others. TTUHSC SHP is currently working to gain authorization to offer online courses in all states. Please check your state’s individual requirements before enrolling in any online courses.

A doctor of Science in Physical Therapy Instructor performs an exercise on a patient

Careers With a Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy Degree

The Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy degree is a career gateway into professional leadership, mentoring, teaching and research opportunities. The Sc.D. program’s broad clinical emphasis encourages physical therapists from every setting to acknowledge and refine past experiences and concepts that lead to innovation and improved patient care. These reflections will also prepare you to transition into mentoring roles to colleagues as well as leadership roles in professional, clinical and academic settings. 

The Sc.D. is a degree with practical career impact:

  • The program provides the toolsets necessary for clinical and academic teaching and collaborative research that advance the physical therapy profession.
  • The advanced critical knowledge and critical reasoning gained in the program allow practitioners to thrive in the rapidly evolving practice setting with competency and expertise.
  • The program opens options for post-professional residency and fellowship director opportunities.

The Sc.D. in Physical Therapy Degree Curriculum

The program is a hybrid of on-campus coursework and online learning. As an Sc.D. student, you’ll attend classes on long weekends, participating in both lecture and laboratory experiences. Your coursework is enhanced with additional web-based curriculum components including reading assignments, interactive sessions, website links, and case studies. As part of the Sc.D. Program, you will complete a clinical dissertation focused on clinical teaching or research.

Individual classes include:

  • Advanced Clinical Practice for the Hip Complex.
  • Advanced Clinical Practice for Acute Lumbosacral Pain.
  • Orthopedic Physical Therapy Screening.
  • Neuroscience of Pain.
  • Updates in Orthopaedics Surgical Management.

Successful completion of the program culminates in the Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy (Sc.D.) degree.

Learn more about the curriculum, research and clinical experiences.

"The TTUHSC Sc.D. in Physical Therapy has made me a better clinician, guided me through the process of conducting a successful research dissertation, and exposed me to teaching theory and curriculum design. The faculty are excellent instructors who all have clinical, teaching, and research experience. I am now empowered to join a DPT faculty and continue my clinical practice with expertise second to none."

John Hoops, PT, COMT

 TTUHSC Sc.D. student Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy

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Academic Classroom Building, Lubbock Campus

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Program Information, Admission, Application, Request a Tour

School of Health Professions Office of Admissions and Student Affairs

T: (806) 743-3220 


Brad Allen, Program Director
Brad Allen, ScD
Program Director