Elon's Department of Physical Therapy Education was created in 1996, in partnership with Alamance Regional Medical Center. When Elon enrolled its first physical therapy class in 1998, the university offered a master’s degree. The Elon MPT program received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education two years later. The report included a rare commendation stating "the curricular plan is unusually well developed and graduates are singularly equipped to join the physical therapy profession."
As physical therapists began to take on more substantial roles in the direct care of patients, the profession recommended transition into doctoral-level education. In 2003, Elon debuted an innovative DPT program integrating dynamic classroom instruction with an impressive number of hands-on clinical opportunities. In 2012, the program moved to the newly renovated Gerald L. Francis Center, custom-designed for Elon’s School of Health Sciences.
The department fosters the continuing professional growth of the physical therapy faculty as a part of a community of learners in partnership with their professional colleagues at Elon, at Alamance Regional and in the wider community. The partnership with Alamance Regional provides opportunities for faculty and students to have access to patient models for learning as well as the enhancement of clinical and research opportunities. For the physical therapy faculty, the department promotes involvement and strong participation on campus committees, in campus governance and in campus activities; and promotes appropriate areas of cooperation between the physical therapy program and Elon's other academic programs.
Elon University's Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum, in partnership with Alamance Regional Medical Center, provides graduate professional physical therapy education. Solid principles of science and research are incorporated using the highest ethical standards, while looking toward the future of the profession and its role in all health care delivery systems along the continuum of care.