Students learning physical therapy techniques for restoring spinal mobility.

AASU Gets Approval to Grant Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree

(December 9, 2009) Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU) is now authorized to offer selected doctoral degree programs following approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The change allows AASU to offer its Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree independently.

"This approval by SACS raises the level of the institution as a whole and will have a positive impact on the quality of the education we provide, not only through the College of Health Professions, but across all colleges and disciplines" said AASU President Linda Bleicken.

"The approval by SACS validates our ongoing ability to offer an excellent physical therapy program. This has been a very carefully planned process and represents the culmination of years of hard work," said Anne Thompson, interim head of the AASU Department of Physical Therapy.

AASU has been offering the DPT degree through a consortium with the Medical College of Georgia and North Georgia College and State University since 2006. That consortium was dissolved in July 2009. In October 2009, The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved AASU's proposal to offer the degree independently from the consortium.

Since its inception in 1994, the physical therapy program at AASU has been highly regarded. In 2001, it was recognized as a Board of Regents Program of Excellence. The program was initially accredited in 1997 by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education and has held continuous accreditation throughout its history.

Currently, AASU enrolls 20 students each year into its DPT program. The Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Sciences, also in the Department of Physical Therapy, enrolls 260 students, many of whom aspire to a career in physical therapy.

"We consider the approval by SACS to allow AASU to offer doctoral degrees as a serious responsibility," said Bleicken. "I want to thank Dr. Thompson and my predecessor, Dr. Thomas Z. Jones, who have been instrumental in accomplishing this important milestone for Armstrong Atlantic."