Florida Gulf Coast University appears in the ranking of the 10 Most Affordable Doctorate in Physical Therapy Online.

Florida Gulf Coast University is a public institution of higher learning located in Fort Myers and sandwiched between the Florida Everglades and the Gulf of Mexico. Opened to students in August of 1997, FGCU is Florida's 10th state university and one of the newest of the 12 within the state university system. With approximately 15,000 students enrolled annually, FGCU considers itself a small university with big university opportunities.

Florida Gulf Coast University combines academic studies and potential for interdisciplinary degree paths with practical experiences through service-learning opportunities with the local communities. In this way, students are given the unique opportunity to apply abstract concepts and higher order thinking skills in practical work settings outside of the classroom.

The vision at Florida Gulf Coast University includes providing an education firmly based in the liberal arts and sciences, particularly those involving STEM disciplines, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In addition, FGCU seeks to provide innovative and student-centered teaching and learning experiences that will produce lifelong learners and engaged citizens. With more than half of its 800 acres being preserved or restored nature, students are also encouraged to be environmentally conscious and innovative in seeking ways to promote sustainable living, regardless of their degree program.

Florida Gulf Coast University Accreditation Details

Florida Gulf Coast University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award degrees ranging in level from associate to doctoral. In addition, individual programs are accredited by the appropriate agencies overseeing their specialties and subject matter. Among these specific accreditations, the Doctor of Physical Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) offered through the American Physical Therapy Association.

Florida Gulf Coast University Application Requirements

Students seeking to attend college for the first time, usually shortly after high school, should start by submitting the application electronically and paying the $30.00 application fee. Other requirements include high school transcripts and standardized test scores for either the SAT, ACT, or both. To be considered for admission as a freshman, students should have a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 unweighted and minimum combined test scores of 1070 on the SAT or 21 on the ACT.

Students seeking to enter at the graduate level will apply directly to the Graduate School at Florida Gulf Coast University. In addition, students specifically seeking the Doctor of Physical Therapy program will complete an electronic application through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). College transcripts and GRE scores are required only after applicants are offered admission.

However, students will need to provide proof of having already achieved a baccalaureate degree and completed prerequisite courses before starting the standard Doctor of Physical Therapy program. For the Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy program, designed for professionals already working as physical therapists, students need to provide proof of either a baccalaureate or masters degree gained from a CAPTE accredited program and proof that they hold a current license to practice in the state of Florida.

Tuition and Financial Aid

In keeping with the standards and rates set by the State Board of Education, Florida Legislature, and University Board of Trustees, tuition is set based on the level of the course, undergraduate or graduate, and the in-state or out-of-state residency status of the student. Residents of Florida taking undergraduate courses pay $203.94 per credit hour, while non-residents pay $838.73 per credit hour for those same courses.

Graduate courses for Florida residents cost $373.38 per credit hour, while those same courses for non-residents cost $1,300.66 per credit hour. The online tuition for the specific Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy program costs $532.78 per credit hour. The courses involved in this program qualify as continuing education credits within the state of Florida. The transitional program consists of a total of 30 credit hours.

Financial aid is available to those students who need help in paying for college. The first step to receiving such aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, online and specifying Florida Gulf Coast University as your school of choice. FGCU participates in the usual array of financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, student loans, and work-study opportunities.

Online Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree

While the traditional Doctor of Physical Therapy degree can require as many as 115 graduate credit hours, the transitional degree program involves only 30. The total of 30 credit hours also applies specifically to students entering this program after already earning a baccalaureate degree in physical therapy. Student with a masters degree in physical therapy can be evaluated for course equivalency and may need less. In either case, students are provided with an individualized program of study that must be approved by each student's faculty advisor. All courses must be completed with a GPA of 3.0 or better, the equivalent of a "B" average, and all other graduation requirements must be met before the program is considered complete and the degree is given.

Required courses toward this degree include Intro to Medical Diagnostics, Diagnostic Testing, Professional Reading and Writing, Medical Imaging, and Spanish for Health Professionals. In addition, two courses are Capstone (Capstone I and Capstone II). Courses award from one to three credits each, for a total of 30. The entire program is provided in a distance learning format online for the convenience of the working professional who wishes to stay up to date on current developments and practices within the physical therapy subject areas. And, as already mentioned, the courses within this degree program qualify for continuing education credit in Florida.

Choosing a college or university, whether it's for a first degree or when seeking a more advanced degree, is an important decision for any prospective student. A highly populated state like Florida offers a diverse range of options within just the state university system, giving students the opportunity to choose a college and program specifically geared toward their goals and prerogatives. Florida Gulf Coast University is ideal for students seeking a smaller university setting with options of a much bigger institution and specific, individualized degree programs designed for both the on-campus and the distance learner.