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. We, the faculty, students, and staff of the Division, 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. Our classrooms, offices, and laboratories are located in Bondurant Hall in the heart of the UNC Health Affairs campus and adjacent to the superb UNC Health Sciences Library. We are located in Bondurant Hall, 321 S. Columbia Street, 3rd Floor, Suite 3000 (click here for directions).

Mission

The UNC-Chapel Hill Division of Physical Therapy is dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge in Physical Therapy within the context of Physical Therapy professional education, direct clinical services to the public, and interdisciplinary research. Our interdependent model of research, education, and clinical services prepares leaders who will improve the quality of life of individuals and their communities.

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.

History

Physical Therapy started 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. It was in July 1957 that the physical therapy education program got underway, with Dr. Moore as the director of the Division of Physical Therapy—a viable combination of education and service commitments in the hospital and School of Medicine. Dr. Moore was director of the program until 1974. Shirley Cloninger Fisher was the first graduate in Physical Therapy at Chapel Hill in1959. The initial degree was a Bachelor’s in Physical Therapy and now is the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).

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 MS program in PT and, in the early 1990s, the degree changed again from an MS in PT to an MS in Human Movement Science. This change and the need for more well-trained PT researchers was the basis of our efforts to establish the PhD program in Human Movement Science in 1999. We now have over 200 PT graduates from our master’s programs across the USA, Canada, Asia, India, and Europe. We are very fortunate that many maintain close ties with Carolina.