USC Physical Therapy Retains No. 1 Ranking by U.S. News & World Report

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March 16, 2016

BY JOHN HOBBS MA ’14

On March 16, U.S. News & World Report released its 2017 Best Graduate Schools, and once again the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy has ranked No. 1 in physical therapy.

The rankings, based on responses to surveys sent to deans and program directors from more than 200 accredited physical therapy programs across the nation, are re-evaluated every four years. The last time the physical therapy program was ranked was in 2012, when it received an assessment score of 4.3 out of 5. A 4 stands for “strong,” while a 5 stands for “outstanding.”

The division retained its 4.3/5 score in the latest survey, but unlike 2012’s results, it is not the only physical therapy program to reach No. 1. Joining the division in a four-way tie for the top spot are the University of Delaware, the University of Pittsburgh and Washington University in St. Louis, all of which received 4.3/5.

“We are, of course, pleased to be ranked No. 1 again. Although the importance of rankings may sometimes be overstated, it is significant that our efforts to be the very best in education, research and clinical practice are recognized by our peers across the nation,” said Dr. James Gordon, associate dean of the division. “And this year we are honored to be joined at the top by three other outstanding physical therapy programs.”

Since its founding in 1943, the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy has long maintained a tradition of excellence among physical therapy programs. 

In its more than 70 years, it has been a pioneer in the physical therapy profession and a leader in both physical therapy research and education.

Among its milestones, the division was the first program to directly award a PhD degree in physical therapy in 1984. It was also one of the first programs in the nation to offer the doctor of physical therapy in 1995 as the entry-level professional degree in physical therapy. This evolution gave the profession an evidence-based, scientific foundation, helping to establish physical therapy as a trusted partner among health professionals.

All of the division’s full-time faculty members now have doctorate degrees. Eight faculty members have been selected as Worthingham Fellows of the American Physical Therapy Association, giving USC the highest concentration of individuals of any program to have received the profession’s most prestigious distinction.

The division receives more than $2 million per year from foundations and federal funding agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, to conduct cutting-edge research propelling the profession forward in ever more exciting ways.
The USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy has been consistently ranked No. 1 by the U.S. News & World Report since 2004.