Briar Cliff’s DPT program receives national accreditation | Briar Cliff University

Briar Cliff’s DPT program receives national accreditation

Sioux City, Iowa — Briar Cliff University’s Department of Physical Therapy has received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

In its summary of action affirming Briar Cliff’s accredited status, CAPTE commended the program “for developing and implementing a strong, professional doctoral program in physical therapy.” In addition, CAPTE recognized the program for its well-written and comprehensive self-study report which “conveyed the nature and scope of the educational experience” according to the summary.

“The accreditation is a culmination of three years of dedicated work by our students, faculty and staff,” Dr. Patrick Cross, program director for Briar Cliff’s physical therapy program. “Our program had a very positive visit from CAPTE in November 2017, and we are very excited that CAPTE has affirmed the quality of our physical therapy program.”

Offering its first classes in the summer of 2015, Briar Cliff’s Department of Physical Therapy recently graduated its first cohort of 21 doctoral students. CAPTE accreditation allows graduates of Briar Cliff’s program to sit for the national licensure exam. Licensure is required in all states to practice as a physical therapist.

“Over the last three years, our first cohort of students has made a tremendous impact on the Siouxland region. Through their service in the Briar Cliff Clinic, which provides free care to uninsured and underinsured patients, and additional outreach efforts in the local community, our students have gained immeasurable experience and provided services to patients that may not have otherwise had access to the health care they need,” adds Cross.

Housed in Briar Cliff’s Mayfair campus, located at 4280 Sergeant Road in Sioux City, the Briar Cliff Clinic, a pro bono clinic operated by Briar Cliff’s physical therapy students, has saved patients approximately $60,000 in health care costs. In addition to the clinic, the facility offers students state-of-the-art treatment rooms, dedicated research space and a mock apartment for teaching and practicing activities of daily living.

The physical therapy program started as part of Briar Cliff’s mission to serve the community by providing higher education opportunities that would fulfill community needs.

“Our Doctor of Physical Therapy program is fulfilling a need for highly qualified health care professionals in the Siouxland community and nationwide,” says Rachelle Karstens, Interim President at Briar Cliff. “I applaud the program for its commitment to educational excellence and for making a lasting difference in the local community through service. It is a very exciting time for the program and the faculty, staff and students who are deeply committed to the field of physical therapy.”

Briar Cliff’s physical therapy program can admit up to 32 students each year. Students in the program complete 136 credit hours in 34 months, including 44 weeks of clinical education experiences and seven credits of community and clinical-based experiences with underserved populations under the mentorship of their instructors.

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; email:; website: To contact the program directly, please call 712-279-5500 or email

Tags: BCU, Physical Therapy, Academics