Dual Doctor of Physical Therapy/Doctor of Philosophy

Program Description

The Emory/Georgia Tech DPT/PhD Program combines the advantages of rigorous preparation of physical therapist clinicians in the Emory University Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program with interdisciplinary research training in applied physiology and engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Biological Sciences . Students spend their first three years in clinical DPT training program, then complete Georgia Tech's research PhD training program. Students must meet the requirements for each degree, but substantial synergy between the curricula allows both degrees to be completed within 6­-7 years, as compared with 7­-9 years if completed separately.

Emory DPT

The outstanding academic and clinical preparation offered by the Emory DPT Program has consistently ranked it among the Top 10 programs in the country. The program of study is 35 months in length commencing in June and ending three years later in May. During the first two semesters, students study the normal structure and function of the human body and principles of movement science across the life span. Beginning the third semester, study of pathophysiology and disease processes is integrated with clinical problem solving in concurrent courses.

Georgia Tech PhD

Independent research is the heart of a science doctorate. Research in the Applied Physiology at Georgia Tech is organized around the physiology of movement: motor planning and control, the mechanics of movement, and the physiological responses to activity. A strong, yet flexible curriculum provides students with the fundamental knowledge and skills they need to be successful, independent professionals. Our students participate in a core curriculum that provides an integrated understanding of physiology and a base of quantitative tools and research processes. We are committed to helping students develop the tools they need to communicate their specialized knowledge to a naive audience. Students get experience in all aspects of teaching, from developing content to delivering lectures through our teaching practicum.

Training program

Emory DPT degree – 144 credit hours

  • Year 1
    • 27 credits Emory Clinical Theory
    • 16 credits Emory Anatomy and Physiology (9 transfer as GT Systems Physiology)
    • 8 credits Emory Motor Control (6 transfer as GT Cohesive Minor)
  • Year 2
    • 26 credits Emory Clinical Theory
    • 2 credits Emory Anatomy and Physiology
    • 3 credits Emory Motor Control (3 transfer as GT Cohesive Minor)
    • 20 credits Emory Clinical Internship
  • Year 3
    • 10 credits Emory Clinical Internship
    • 8 credits Emory Clinical Theory
    • 12 credits Emory Clinical Research (satisfied by research rotations with GT faculty)
    • 3 credits GT Focus Area (6 transfer as Emory Electives)
    • 3 credits GT Cell Physiology (3 transfer as Emory Electives)
    • 3 credits GT Biostatistics (3 transfer as Emory Electives)
    • 4 credits GT Research Seminar

GT-AP PhD degree – 42 credit hours

Program Administration

Students in the dual DPT/PhD program are recruited from the cohort that matriculates in the Emory DPT program. Interested students will make formal application for admission to Georgia Tech during their second year of DPT education. Students are encouraged to identify a research sponsor/adviser early in this process.

Administration of the separate degrees is handled independently by the Emory Division of Physical Therapy and the Georgia Tech School of Biological Sciences.

For additional information about the program, and to arrange for an on-site visit please contact the DPT/PhD Graduate Program Director:
Edelle [Edee] Field-Fote, PT, PhD

Research Training Opportunities

The following faculty members offer training opportunities for students enrolled in the DPT/PhD Dual Degree Program in their laboratories at Emory University, Georgia Tech, or Shepherd Center. Please visit the faculty webpages for additional information about the research interests of these faculty and to learn more about their ongoing research activities.

Faculty at Emory University School of Medicine

Michael Borich, PT, PhD
Cathrin Buetefisch, MD, PhD
Trisha Kesar, PT, PhD
Manning J. Sabatier, PhD, CSCS
Lena Ting, PhD
Randy D. Trumbower, PT, PhD

Faculty at Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Biological Sciences

Edward Balog, PhD
Young-Hui Chang, PhD
Timothy C. Cope, PhD
Young C. Jang, PhD
Geza Kogler, PhD
Mindy Millard-Stafford, PhD
T. Richard Nichols, PhD
Boris I. Prilutsky, PhD
Minoru Shinohara, PhD
Stephen Sprigle, PhD
Lewis A. Wheaton, PhD

Faculty at Shepherd Center’s Crawford Research Institute

Edelle Field-Fote, PT, PhD