Upstate News

April 24, 2006
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

SUNY Upstate, Syracuse University partner to offer accelerated doctoral degree program in physical therapy

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – An agreement between SUNY Upstate Medical University and Syracuse University will enable students enrolled in SU’s exercise science program to earn an undergraduate degree and physical therapy doctoral degree in six years, instead of seven. The accelerated program will save students a year’s tuition and get them into the work force with their doctoral degree more quickly.

Under the new program, known as the 3+3 Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Syracuse University students will complete three years of study at SU and three years of study at SUNY Upstate. The first year of study at SUNY Upstate counts as the students’ fourth year of undergraduate and the first year of graduate study. Students will receive their bachelor’s degree from SU upon the completion of their first year of study at SUNY Upstate and receive their doctoral degree after completing the three-year study at SUNY Upstate.

“This was an affiliation waiting to happen,” said Laura Schweitzer, Ph.D., who serves as vice president for academic affairs at SUNY Upstate and as vice provost for academic affairs and health liaison at SU. “It’s a natural partnership, not simply because we’re neighbors, but because both institutions-through the coordination of academic programs, faculty and administrative interactions and curricular exchanges-can create outstanding and challenging educational opportunities for our students.”

Most students interested in obtaining a physical therapy doctorate are enrolled in SU’s exercise science program. “Physical therapy remains one the top career choices for our students,” said Lori Ploutz-Snyder, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the of SU’s Department of Exercise Science in the School of Education. “Our students will benefit tremendously from this affiliation with SUNY Upstate as it creates an opportunity for them to pursue an advanced degree in an economical and expedient fashion in a well-respected program.”

The agreement between the universities comes at an ideal time, said Pamela Gramet, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy in SUNY Upstate’s College of Health Professions. “It’s going to be an essential degree for anybody who is interested in a career in physical therapy, no matter where one works,” she said, noting that the American Physical Therapy Association has recommended that by 2020 all physical therapists should hold doctoral degrees.

SUNY Upstate, Gramet said, is a most appropriate place for advanced study in physical therapy. “For students seeking a doctor of physical therapy degree, the ability to do this course work at a medical school with access to other health professionals, medical research and clinical trials and excellent learning opportunities right on campus, provides an ideal setting for this course of study,” she said.

Ploutz-Snyder said that many of SU’s exercise science students are already familiar with SUNY Upstate through their involvement in the university’s clinical trials and patient exercise programs, such as those offered at the Institute for Human Performance. “This affiliation keeps the student in Central New York, where they have already developed some important relationships with local healthcare professionals,” she said.

SU is one of seven universities to have an affiliation agreement with SUNY Upstate for its accelerated doctoral program in physical therapy. Affiliations agreements for the 3+3 Doctoral Physical Therapy Program also exist at SUNY Brockport, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Oswego and LeMoyne College.

There are several ways students can gain admission to the 3+3 program:

? High school seniors can apply to SUNY Upstate’s Early Admission Program at the same time they apply to their undergraduate college choices. Decisions to admit are the sole discretion of each school’s admissions committees. If accepted by both schools, students will be guaranteed admittance into the program providing they meet all conditions of their acceptance.

? High school students accepted by the above colleges, but who do not apply to SUNY Upstate through the Early Admission Program, may apply to the 3+3 program at any time during their undergraduate career.

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