Accreditation - Doctor of Physical Therapy Program | Briar Cliff University


Briar Cliff is accredited as a degree-granting institution by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Since 1945, the Higher Learning Commission has granted Briar Cliff University full accreditation. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was granted in 2015. On Sept. 22, 2014, the Institutional Actions Council of the Higher Learning Commission concurred with the evaluation findings and approved the institution’s request to offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program.

For more information on university accreditation and memberships, view the university's accreditation page or contact the Office of the President.

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education

The Department of Physical Therapy at Briar Cliff University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245;; website: If needing Tto contact the program/institution directly, please call 712-279-5500 or email

For more information regarding the process of accreditation, please contact the:

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
1111 North Fairfax Street

Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703-706-3245

Formal Complaints about Programs

The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) has a mechanism to consider formal complaints about physical therapy education programs (PT or PTA) that allege a program is not in compliance with one or more of CAPTE's Evaluative Criteria or has violated any of CAPTE's expectations related to academic integrity. CAPTE will consider two types of complaints: those that involve situations subject to institutional due process policies and procedures and those that involve situations not subject to due process procedures:

  • If the complainant is involved with an institution/program grievance subject to due process and procedure, CAPTE requires that the process be completed prior to initiating CAPTE's formal complaint process, unless the complaint includes an allegation that the institution/program process has not been handled in a timely manner as defined in the institution/program policy, in which case CAPTE will consider the complaint prior to completion of the grievance process. Evidence of completion of the institutional process or of the untimely handling of such must be included in the complaint materials.
  • If the complaint is related to situations that fall outside of due process policies and procedures, the complaint may be filed at any time.

CAPTE will not consider complaints that fall outside its jurisdiction/authority as expressed in the Evaluative Criteria and the academic integrity statements. When appropriate, complainants will be referred to other organizations to pursue their concern(s).

In order for CAPTE to consider a formal complaint, several conditions must be met:

  • The complaint must be specifically linked to the relevant Evaluative Criteria (PT or PTA) or to the integrity statements.
  • The complainant must have exhausted all remedies available through the institution, if appropriate.
  • The complaint must be submitted in writing, using the format prescribed by CAPTE, and must be signed by the complainant.
  • The event(s) being complained about must have occurred at least in part within three (3) years of the date the complaint is filed.

In reviewing and acting on a complaint, CAPTE cannot and does not function as an arbiter between the complaint and the institution. Should CAPTE find that a complaint has merit and that the program is out of compliance with the Evaluative Criteria or the integrity statement(s), CAPTE can only require the program to come into compliance with the Evaluative Criteria. CAPTE cannot force a program into any specific resolution of the situation that resulted in the complaint.

To obtain the materials necessary for submitting a complaint, contact the APTA Accreditation Department at 703-706-3245 or at 

CAPTE acts on formal complaints twice a year, in April and October/November. The timelines involved in the complaint process are such that complaints received between January 1 and June 30 will be considered at the October/November meeting and complaints received between July 1 and December 31 will be considered at the April meeting. 



Graduation from the Program does not guarantee the ability to pass the NPTE, nor to gain licensure in a specific state. The Program validates a student’s graduation with the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy and, when requested by a student/graduate, for a specific state licensure authority. It is a student’s/ graduate’s responsibility to complete necessary steps and paperwork to sit for the NPTE and to apply for specific state licensure.



Contact the Department of Physical Therapy.

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