This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Advanced study in physical therapy and aging studies is available through a dual degree and certificate program co-sponsored by the Department of Physical Therapy and the Department of Gerontology in the College of Health Professions.

The program allows students to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Certificate in Aging Studies with a minimum of 134 credits rather than the 137 credits necessary if the two degrees were pursued separately. This efficiency lowers the overall cost of tuition while also reducing time to earning both degrees.

Program goals

The objectives of this dual degree and certificate program are to:

  • Prepare graduates to address the complex needs of a diverse aging population using holistic knowledge of biopsychosocial aging process
  • Provide graduates with an understanding of empirically and theoretically based components contributing to optimal aging using evidence-based, best-practice approaches
  • Prepare graduates to apply current knowledge, theory and professional judgment, while considering the perspectives of older adult clients/patients
  • Prepare graduates to develop skills in comprehensive geriatric care to promote well-being among older adults

Among the many benefits offered by participation in the dual degree and certificate program are the following:

  • Enhance D.P.T. graduates’ knowledge and skills in caring for older adults, who represent an increasing segment of PT practice
  • Increase D.P.T. graduates’ competitiveness in the job market
  •  Offer D.P.T. students an opportunity for career advancement by specializing in geriatrics

The diplomas for this dual degree and certificate program may be awarded simultaneously. Students must complete a separate graduation check out for each program.

Student learning outcomes

See the individual program pages for student learning outcomes.

Other information


The student is assigned an adviser from each program to develop a plan of study. Advisers from each program will advise students of course requirements from their respective programs.