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    Harding University
  Mar 25, 2023
2021-2022 Academic Catalog 
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2021-2022 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Department of Physical Therapy

Programs of Study Faculty Website

Program Description

Harding is excited to offer the first Physical Therapy Program at a church of Christ-affiliated institution. The program is designed to meet the mission of the University to provide a quality education that will lead to an understanding and philosophy of life consistent with a service-oriented Christian worldview guided by Christian ideals.

The Department of Physical Therapy resides in the College of Allied Health and offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. The curriculum is an intensive, continuous eight-semester program comprised of 110 semester hours of coursework and an average of 1,600 hours of supervised clinical experience.

Upon the successful completion of this program, students will earn the DPT degree and will be eligible to sit for the physical therapist licensure exam.

Harding University’s Physical Therapy program is located at 1300 South Main Street, Searcy, AR 72143, about one mile from Harding’s main campus. For more information call 501-279-5990 or email

The Harding University Physical Therapy Student Handbook contains a comprehensive description of all policies and procedures that apply to students in this program.


The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Harding University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Program Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; telephone 703-706-3245; email:


The mission of the physical therapy program at Harding University is to develop individuals who are prepared to practice contemporary physical therapy from a service-oriented Christian worldview based on scientific evidence, professional ethics, and responsibility. 

The goal of the physical therapy program is to develop lifelong learners who will care for those in need, both in their professional and personal lives, while utilizing key components of the curriculum plan. These components include a strong foundation in the basic life sciences, synthesis of a body of applied scientific knowledge, adoption of a professional code of ethics, demonstration of a commitment to Christian values, and possession of the ability to communicate effectively, solve problems creatively, and to administer and evaluate treatment effectively and efficiently based on a clinical examination. In both word and deed, in action and as role models, our students will strive to lead others to Christ.

Admission Requirements

All applicants must:

  1. Submit an application through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) at Students will access this website, complete the web application, submit PTCAS application fees, send official transcripts from each university attended, and submit official GRE scores. In addition, applicants must submit three letters of reference that focus on the applicant’s character, academic, and professional abilities.
  2. Have an academic record of performance at the undergraduate level that is predictive of academic success and professional achievement as a physical therapist. The minimum total undergraduate and science GPA should be 3.0 on a 4-point scale. Written appeals of the total GPA requirement must be made to the admissions director at the time of application. See for full details.
  3. Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test within five years prior to matriculation. See website for deadline. No minimum score required. The GRE requirement is waived for those who have completed a graduate degree prior to the deadline posted on the website:
  4. Provide three letters of reference/recommendation.

PLEASE NOTE: Applications will be strengthened by evidence of the successful completion of additional coursework, such as biochemistry, child and/or abnormal psychology, or other life science, chemistry, and science courses beyond the minimum required. We recommend that applicants take additional coursework for English and mathematics because of the need for strong analytical and communication skills.

It is strongly recommended that all prerequisite coursework be completed within seven years prior to applying to the program. Current employment that actively uses that knowledge base will be taken into consideration by the admissions committee.

Prerequisite Coursework

Prerequisite courses must be completed at an institution accredited by an agency nationally recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation with an average GPA of 3.0 on a 4-point scale, with no course grade below C. Minimum requirements are listed below:

Biology (Total of 16 credit hours)
  Biology for biology majors 4 credit hours (cell biology, genetics, histology recommended)
  Anatomy & Physiology I 4 credit hours
  Anatomy & Physiology II 4 credit hours
  Upper Level Animal-Based 4 credit hours
  (Recommended, not required) Recommended; preference given to applicants who have taken upper level, animal based biology courses.
    (An upper-level (3000 or 4000) course is defined as one that is intended for biology majors.)
Chemistry (Total of 8 credit hours) Program will accept organic chemistry or biochemistry.
  General Chemistry I 4 credit hours (required)
  General Chemistry II 4 credit hours
Mathematics (Total of 6 credit hours)
  Calculus, College Algebra, Trigonometry) 3 credit hours
  Statistics (math, psychology or biostatistics) 3 credit hours
Medical Terminology - 1-2 credit hours as determined by applicant’s undergraduate institution
Physics (Total of 8 credit hours)
  General Physics I 4 credit hours
  General Physics II 4 credit hours
Psychology (Total of 6 credit hours)
  General Psychology 3 credit hours
  Abnormal or Developmental Psychology 3 credit hours

All prerequisites, including completion of degree, must be completed no later than the end of the summer term prior to matriculation.

All applicants who meet the requirements will be considered for an interview regardless of their major area of study. Submission of a completed application does not guarantee an interview, selection or admission into the Physical Therapy Program.

See website for complete details on admission requirements:

International Students

The TOEFL is required of all incoming international students. Students who (1) speak English as a second language, and have (2) not previously completed an undergraduate degree from an institution within the United States accredited by an agency nationally recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation must meet a minimum score on a nationally recognized test of English language proficiency such as the TOEFL or IELTS. However, in lieu of these exam, professional programs in the health sciences may assess such students with an interview and/or a writing exam. An iBT Score of 80 with a Speaking Sub-scale 27 are the required minimum scores.

Minimum TOEFL scores acceptable for admission to the university are 550 (paper-based test), 213 (computer-based test), or 79 (internet-based test). The minimum IELTS score is 6.0. Scores must not be older than two years prior to the date of application to the university. Please note that individual programs may have more stringent minimum requirements.

An applicant who is not a citizen of the United States must follow the normal admission procedure. The applicant must also have completed all pre-physical therapy program course requirements in an American college or university. The physical therapy program admissions committee does not evaluate transcripts from outside the United States. If course work has been earned from an international (non-U.S.) institution, several steps are required to proceed. In order for the physical therapy program admissions committee to determine whether the courses taken at an international (non-U.S.) institution can be transferred for credit:

  1. International transcripts must be reviewed or evaluated by an undergraduate American institution.
  2. All of the credit accepted for transfer must appear on the transcript of an American institution.
  3. Transfer credit must be identified as courses equivalent to those in the American institution.
  4. In order to receive a transcript including the evaluation of transfer credit, the international student must be enrolled at the undergraduate American institution.

Until this procedure has been accomplished, an application for admission cannot be accepted.

Federal funded financial aid is restricted for students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Is required that the student provide documentation of financial ability to pay all expenses for the first year of study and demonstrate adequate health insurance coverage in the United States.

Other Program Requirements

Physical Therapy is an intellectually, physically, and psychologically demanding profession. In addition to the academic requirements for admission, candidates for the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree must be able to exhibit mastery of technical standards for this field by performing the essential functions in each of the following categories: observation, communication, sensory/motor, intellectual, behavioral/social, and ethical.

The abilities that a physical therapist must have to practice safely are those described in accreditation standards for the physical therapy program. Candidates for the degree must be able to meet these minimum standards for successful completion of degree requirements.

When a student is admitted to the physical therapy program, a list of the technical standards is sent with each acceptance letter. Students must respond in writing whether they can meet the standards with or without accommodations. If accommodations are requested, the student must submit documentation of disability with proposed accommodations from a certified specialist to the University’s Disability Office as well as to the program director. The University will determine and provide reasonable accommodation to qualified students with a disability to enable them to meet these technical standards. Documentation must be sent to: Harding University, Disability Support Services, Box 12268, Searcy, AR 72149-2268.

Health Requirements: Applicants selected for admission to the program must provide evidence of good health, no communicable diseases, and required immunizations and screenings prior to matriculation on forms provided. Immunizations and screening tests required are as follows:

  • M.M.R. (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) - a series of two (2) vaccines is typically given in childhood. Documentation of immunization or a reactive titer indicating immunity is required.
  • Polio - a completed series is typically given in childhood.
  • Primary tetanus/diphtheria series - a completed series is typically given in childhood and required if you attended public schools.
  • Tdap is now required of all students to meet the tetanus requirement. CDC has removed any spacing requirements between Td and Tdap. Health care workers should receive a one-time booster of Tdap. After a documented Tdap, then a Td immunization every ten (10) years is required. Documentation must be provided verifying a Tdap or Td booster within the past ten (10) years.
  • Hepatitis B series - the series of three (3) shots to complete the immunization takes several months (up to 6 months), so it is important to start early. Documentation must be provided verifying one of the following:
    • Initiation of Hep B series (with intent to complete the series as indicated by a health care provider).
    • Completion of the Hep B series.
    • A reactive titer indicating immunity.
  • Varicella/Chicken Pox - documentation must be provided verifying ONE of the following:
    • Two (2) doses of varicella vaccine given at least 28 days apart.
    • History of varicella or herpes zoster based on physician diagnosis (written notice).
    • A reactive titer indicating immunity of disease.
  • Hepatitis A - this is a two-shot series.
  • Yellow Fever - if immunization is contraindicated, the student will need documentation from his/her health care provider.

Required Screening Tests

  • Tuberculosis - PPDs are required annually and must be maintained throughout the physical therapy program as long as patient contact is possible.

Students are required to maintain personal health insurance. Complete information is provided in the health packet provided after admission.

Computer Requirements: Proficiency in basic computer skills (word-processing, databases, internet searches and email) is expected of all entering students, as the curriculum will incorporate the use of computer technology. Additionally, all students in the program will be expected to have access to the internet.

Students are required to have their own laptop computer upon entry into the program. The minimum requirements will be listed after acceptance into the program.

Equipment Requirements: All students will be expected to purchase or have the required equipment needed to meet program requirements. The equipment list will be provided after acceptance into the program.

Liability Requirements: Each student must carry liability insurance coverage, which will be paid by the program.

Travel Requirements: Clinical experiences entail travel to clinical sites. PT students are responsible for all costs associated with off-campus clinical experiences. Transportation and food are the most common out-of-pocket expenses. Some sites will require additional living arrangements to be made, which will be the student’s responsibility.

Since portions of the program will require travel to various locations, all students are required to have access to a motor vehicle, a valid driver’s license, and auto liability insurance. Further information will be reviewed in detail at orientation and throughout the didactic year. Accepted students are required to attend all orientation sessions scheduled by the program.

Background Check Requirements: All accepted students must consent to, submit and successfully complete a criminal background check through the program-selected criminal background check vendor as a condition of continued enrollment in the Harding University Physical Therapy Program. Clinical educational sites require criminal background checks and clinical education is a required component of the Physical Therapy Program.

Failure to consent to a criminal background check or refusal to provide necessary information to conduct a background check will result in dismissal from the physical therapy program.

Some students may also be expected to submit to random drug testing required by clinical practice sites and/or the program. These additional costs would be the student’s responsibility. Criminal background checks and drug screens are common pre-employment procedures.

Application Procedure

  1. All applications are handled through Harding University physical therapy admissions. Each new class matriculates in the fall semester. The application cycle begins in the fall, one year prior to expected matriculation, and ends at the deadline for application submission as stated at Applicant interviews and candidate selection occur between October and March of each year. For more detailed information concerning the application cycle and deadlines, see the program website at

  2. The general GRE must be completed by the deadline set on the website. The official scores are to be sent directly to Harding. The institution code is 6267 and the departmental code is 0619.
  3. Upon acceptance into the program, official transcripts showing conferment of undergraduate and graduate degree(s), if applicable, must be sent to the Physical Therapy Program. These must arrive prior to the program start date.

Submission of a completed application does not guarantee selection for an interview or admission into the program.

Application Review and Selection for Interview

Applications will be reviewed by a committee tasked with looking for traits of a competitive applicant who will then be invited for an interview. These traits include, but are not limited to, the applicant who:

  1. Has all application documents postmarked on or before the stated deadlines. We will begin the interview process before the application deadline, and student positions will be offered before the application deadline. A specified number of positions will be kept open until after all applications have been reviewed.
  2. Meets or exceeds the minimum requirements.
  3. Provides explanation for GPAs that fall below stated criteria.
  4. Has sought out adequate hours of shadowing/direct observation patient contact hours to demonstrate knowledge of and commitment to this career path. 
  5. Has strong letters of reference. 

In addition, graduates of Harding University or its sister schools will be given preference. Competitive applicants will be invited to attend a personal interview that affords the faculty an opportunity to further review the applicant’s credentials. Applicants are expected to demonstrate maturity, personal initiative, an understanding of the physical therapist’s role, and excellent communication skills. This meeting also enables the applicants to become acquainted with the program’s facilities, faculty/staff and/or students.

Scoring of competitive applicants at the time of the interview will be based on an objective tool that awards points in many different areas. These areas include all of those mentioned above, plus communication skills, maturity level, and ability to answer questions asked during the interview process.

Selection and notification for admission
The number of applicants recommended for acceptance will be determined annually by the Physical Therapy Program faculty.

After interviews are completed, interviewees will be informed about their status via regular U.S. mail. Based upon a review of the applications and interviews, the Admissions Committee may recommend one of the following:

  1. Acceptance: Individuals who have not completed all prerequisites or who have not yet graduated will have contingencies added to their acceptance, pending verification of successful completion of the required coursework and/or graduation. Formal letters of acceptance (with contingencies listed) will be mailed to all selected candidates.
  2. Admission Alternates: At the end of the interview cycle, some applicants who are not offered immediate student positions will be ranked as alternates and will be notified of their admission status on or before the program start date. Applicants not admitted from the alternate list must reapply if they wish to be considered in subsequent years. At the end of the interview cycle, all applicants who have not been accepted and are not ranked as alternates will be notified that they are no longer being considered for a student position.
  3. Non-Acceptance: Applicants wishing to be considered in a subsequent year must reapply and must satisfy all admission requirements for that year.

All program decisions are final. Questions may be directed to 501-279-5990 or email

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Financial aid information can be obtained at or by calling 501-279-4958. Students who are accepted into the program will be assigned a financial aid counselor after acceptance.

Program Requirements

In order to complete the Physical Therapy Program, a student must register for and pass each course set forth in the program’s curriculum outline. Normal program progression is sequential enrollment in all program classes each semester, beginning in Fall I and successfully meeting all course and program objectives each semester.

In addition to the University requirements regarding good academic standing at the graduate level, to remain in good academic standing in the Physical Therapy Program, a student must maintain the following:

  1. A current and cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 during the didactic phase.
  2. A grade of C or higher in all of the didactic phase courses.
  3. A passing grade for each clinical rotation.
  4. A total cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for graduation.
  5. Satisfactory evidence of good interpersonal relations and professional conduct.
  6. Adherence to Harding University’s Code of Conduct.

Students satisfactorily meeting all the requirements of the didactic phase courses, including any required remediation, will be promoted to the clinical phase. Students satisfactorily meeting all the requirements of the clinical phase will be recommended for graduation and to receive the degree of Doctor of Physical Therapy.


Department Chair/Program Director: Kevin Ramey, Ph.D.


Michael McGalliard, Sc.D.
     Dean of the College of Allied Health and Associate Provost of Health Sciences

Associate Professors:

Anita Killins, D.P.T., Ph.D.
Ruth Ann Mathis, Ph.D.
     Director of Clinical Education
Brian Odom, Ph.D., CWS
Kevin Ramey, Ph.D.
     Department Chair/Program Director
Cody Sipe, Ph.D.
       Director of Clinical Research
Douglas Steele D.H.S., D.P.T.
Inna V. Swann, D.P.T., Ph.D.

 Assistant Professors:

Don Wilcox, M.S.
David Smith, M.S.P.T.


    Doctor of Physical Therapy