Welcome to the Division of Physical Therapy

Welcome to the the Division of Physical Therapy, which has a rich history of education, research, clinical services, and the integration of all three. Our graduates and faculty have made significant contributions locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Our faculty, staff, and students are committed to this outstanding tradition and to carrying it into the 21st century. We are administratively located within the Department of Allied Health Sciences within the School of Medicine. We are located in Bondurant Hall, 321 S. Columbia Street, 3rd Floor, Suite 3000 (click here for directions).


The overarching vision of the Division of Physical Therapy is to be the nation's leading physical therapy program for integrated education, research, clinical practice, and service.


Our mission is to optimize human movement by means of education, research, and service activities that promote and improve the health, activity, and participation of people of all ages in North Carolina and throughout the world.

The Division of Physical Therapy values an organizational culture that balances team commitment and personal/professional autonomy. Faculty/student collegiality, respect for diverse contributions, interdisciplinary collaboration, open communication, entrepreneurial spirit, and excellence are all important to fostering this culture.


The study of physical therapy in Chapel Hill in April 1952, when the North Carolina Memorial Hospital opened. Dr. Margaret Moore developed the first physical therapy clinical program at the hospital, where she was chief of the department until 1954. In July 1957 Moore became the director of the Division of Physical Therapy—a viable combination of education and service commitments in the hospital and School of Medicine. Moore was director of the program until 1974. In 1959, Shirley Cloninger Fisher was the first graduate to receive a physical therapy degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. 

UNC-Chapel Hill was one of the first institutions to offer post-professional training to physical therapists. Our master’s program in physical therapy, established in 1975, offered a Master’s of Clinical Teaching (MACT) degree that focused on college teaching. As we developed a greater focus on research, we shifted to a master's program in physical therapy and, in the early 1990s, the degree changed again from a master's in physical therapy to a master's in human movement science. This change and the need for more well-trained physical therapist researchers was the basis of our efforts to establish the PhD program in Human Movement Science in 1999. We now have more than 1600 graduates from our programs across the U.S., Canada, Asia, India, and Europe. We are very fortunate that many maintain close ties with Carolina.