On the Cutting Edge – A
Successful Distance PhD Degree Program: A Case Study
Nof, PT, PhD1
Cheryl Hill, PT, PhD1
College of Allied Health and Nursing,
Nova Southeastern University
Citation: Nof, L., Hill, C.
On the cutting edge - A successful distance PhD
degree program: A case study.
The Internet Journal of Allied Health
Sciences and Practice. April 2005. Volume 3 Number 2.
Background and Purpose: Distance
education has witnessed steady growth in higher education since its
beginnings. During the 1990s, growth in the number of educational
programs that were time and place independent was rapid. This article
is about a unique program - a Ph.D. PT degree program-- the first and
only Ph.D. in Physical Therapy offered in distance education format in
the United States. This report discusses the design, implementation,
and experiences gained in setting a PhD program in distance format.
Model Description and Evaluation: This program is an
on-line/residency hybrid model where the majority of work is carried
out on-line using WebCT. Midway through each 5-month semester,
students come to campus for the residency component of the course. The
program includes both required and elective courses, as well as a
research dissertation. Students provide individual evaluations of each
course. Formal outcome studies will be conducted when a sufficient
number of students have graduated. Outcomes: Individual course
feedback from students has been very positive, and the graduates’ work
placements signal recognition from the professional community of the
quality of the program. Discussion and Conclusion: As the
profession moves toward the entry-level doctoral degree, this model
will enhance opportunities for physical therapists to pursue a PhD
degree, and one specific to the profession of physical therapy.
terms: Distance-education, PhD, Physical Therapy, Program
thanks to Drs. Stanley Wilson and Debra Stern for their review of the
content and assistance in the recollection of events as they occurred,
and to Dr. Neil Starr for his editorial assistance.