Accredited PT and PTA Programs


Samuel Merritt University

A4, F1, PR
Last updated by program08/26/15
AddressDepartment of Physical Therapy
Samuel Merritt University
450 30th Street
Oakland, CA 94609-3302 United States
Phone(510) 869-6241
Program Emailddiaz@samuelmerritt.edu
Program DirectorDeborah S Diaz, PT, PhD
Associate Professor and Co-Chair
Institutional Information
AccreditorWestern Association of Schools and Colleges/Senior Colleges and Universities Commission
Carnegie ClassificationSpecial Focus Institutions--Other health professions schools
Physical Therapist Program Accreditation
Date of initial accreditation10/92
Current accrediation statusAccreditation
Next visitSpring 2017
Five-year historyAccreditation
Degree conferredDoctor of Physical Therapy
General Program Description
The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is designed so graduates excel in serving patients and clients as generalist physical therapists capable of autonomous practice in the health care system. The Program admits students in the Fall with graduation in May 33 months later. During the 34-month program students progressively build clinical reasoning skills with increasingly complex patient problems through a series of academic and clinical courses that are closely integrated in a uniquely designed curriculum. Courses that focus on clinical practice in physical therapy are closely integrated with the foundational sciences such as anatomy, kinesiology, and biomechanics. Pharmacology, imaging and patient medical management are synchronized with patient/client management courses. The timing and duration of clinical education experiences is thoughtfully placed in the curriculum to reinforce and apply content learned in classrooms and laboratories. In addition, students see community participants with neuromuscular dysfunction under faculty supervision in a functional performance program during two semesters. The Program endeavors to produce highly skilled and compassionate physical therapists to care for patients and clients in diverse communities.
Clinical Experiences
There are a total of 41 weeks of full time clinical experiences in the program. Students spend one week full-time (40 hours) in clinical experiences in local clinical facilities during three didactic semesters, starting in the second semester. There are two full-time eight-week experiences interspersed in the curriculum, one following the majority of the musculoskeletal content in the fall and the other following the majority of the neuromuscular and pediatric content in the summer. Students begin a 22-week, full-time internship in January after the last academic semester. No tuition is charged during the internship when the students transition from student physical therapists to entry level clinicians, under the mentorship of experienced clinical instructors. Clinical experiences and internships are available throughout the United States, with the highest concentration in northern California.
There are nine full-time and 73 part-time faculty. Of these, all full-time faculty members hold post-professional doctoral degrees and four are board certified clinical specialists. All part-time faculty members are practicing clinicians. Over the past three years, the faculty have 29 publications in peer-reviewed journals. The full-time faculty to student ratio is 1:11. The faculty to student ratio in clinical lab courses is 1:10 and in anatomy lab it is 1:16.
The University enrolls over 1400 students. The Department of Physical Therapy enrolls 38 students each fall into the DPT program.
The application deadline for the physical therapy program is October 1 of each year. Samuel Merritt University participates in the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Applicants must have completed their bachelor's degree and all prerequisites by the end of the Spring semester prior to enrollment in the program. Prerequisites include: 3 semester/quarter units each of general psychology, and statistics; 8 semester units or 12 quarter units each of chemistry, physics and introduction to biology (all with labs); 4 semester units or 5 quarter units each of human anatomy and human physiology both with labs . Experience in a physical therapy in-patient setting is also recommended. Minimum verbal GRE is 150, minimum quantitative GRE is 144, minimum cumulative GPA is 3.0 in last 60 semester units and minimum science GPA is 3.0. There were 565 qualified applicants for fall 2014 and 346 met the admissions requirements. Of the 346 who were qualified, the top 150 were invited for an onsite interview. Of these, 39 were admitted and matriculated in the program.
The graduation rate in 2014 was 89%. In 2014 the ultimate pass rate in the PT licensure exam was 97.3, and first time pass rate was 91.9%. In the 2013 graduating class, 69% found employment within six months of graduation. Note that employment rates rely on surveys to alumni. The response rates to this survey is typically significantly less than 100% which likely under represents the percentage of students who found employment within 6 months of graduation.
Tuition, fees and financial aid
For a student admitted the 2013/2014 academic year, the tuition is $46,262 per year for the first two years and $17.095 for the third year. Typically the tuition rate changes on an annual basis in the Fall semester. Not included in these figures is mandatory health insurance. Students may purchase insurance through Samuel Merritt University for $5167 per year. For specific information, contact the Office of Financial Aid, Samuel Merritt University, 3100 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 1110, Oakland, CA, 94609. The phone number for inquiries is (510) 869-1589. Samuel Merritt University’s loan default rate is <1%, far below the national average.
Student life
Samuel Merritt University specializes in the health sciences, offering entry-level programs at the doctoral level in podiatry, nursing and physical therapy, masters programs in occupational therapy, physician assistant and nursing, and an undergraduate nursing program. The student body is representative of the diversity of the San Francisco Bay Area. The University is located on the Alta-Bates Summit Medical Center complex near downtown Oakland. The University's metropolitan setting in the center of the diverse, temperate San Francisco Bay Area offers students a broad range of recreational and social activities. There is easy access to mountains and the ocean, in nearby regional, state and national parks. Students at the University have the opportunity to contribute to the community through volunteer service activities. The University is easily accessible on public transportation via Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).

Attention Program Directors: Corrections to program data should be entered on the CAPTE Accreditation Portal. Any questions should be directed to the Accreditation Department at Accreditation@apta.org or 1-800-999-2782 x3245.

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