Mar. 16, 2020

PT program recognized in the top quartile of programs nationwide 


UNLV’s graduate physical therapy program, in the School of Integrated Health Sciences, has been recognized in the top 25 percent of the nation’s best programs by U.S. News and World Reports. 

The 2021 Best Graduate Schools  lists UNLV’s program as 57 out of 239, up from 79 in 2016 and 121 in 2012. The rankings are published every four years and are based on feedback from hundreds of experts – department chairs, program directors, and faculty at accredited physical therapy programs or schools.  According to U.S. News, the methodology compared 239 graduate physical therapy programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. 

“We are very proud of this ranking as it reflects a culture of excellence in our department that fosters scholarly productivity, innovations in teaching, professional involvement, and community engagement,” said Dr. Merrill Landers, department chair. “While we are proud of the trajectory of improvement for our program, the faculty are not content with our current ranking and are committed to continuous improvement and innovation  – signatures of a culture of excellence,” he added.  

Each year, the highly competitive program, which has a 100 percent pass rate for its board exams, receives hundreds of applicants from across the nation for its 48-student cohort. 

Ronald T. Brown, dean of the School of Integrated Health Sciences, said the robust program has continued to improve its reputation annually. “Under Dr. Lander’s leadership, our faculty and graduate students are actively engaged in exciting research, clinical rotations in health care settings, and serving members of our community. Our PT program prepares professionals who are making a real difference in their communities today and tomorrow.”

UNLV physical therapy faculty and students are engaged in real world service-learning experiences while delivering free care to the Southern Nevada community.  For example, student service-learning groups provide free balance assessments and training for older adults in Clark County who are at high risk for falls. As part of an evidence-based program, faculty and students also provide free care in English and Spanish-languages for people with low-back pain and who lack health insurance at clinics associated with Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada.  

Dr. Landers noted these valuable experiential learning opportunities bring to life the university’s goal of improving the health and wellness of the communities it serves.