Department of Physical Therapy

The front entrance to the Department of Physical Therapy in the Brenau Downtown Center.

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QUESTIONS? Contact us: Ph. 800-252-5119 ext. 6100 |

Welcome to Brenau’s developing program in Physical Therapy.

We are excited that you are visiting our program and welcome you to learn more about us. The two founding faculty of the program, Kathye  Light Ph.D., P.T., the new Chair, and Mary Thigpen PhD, PT, the Director of Clinical Education are both longstanding physical therapy clinicians and educators who embrace innovation. We are building a unique opportunity for those of you interested in pursuing your Doctorate of Physical Therapy. We plan to provide you with the most up-to-date learning environment in an interdisciplinary setting. We are focused on helping our new students become the best entry-level therapists at their highest potential. We will provide a healthy blend of didactic and practical learning throughout the curriculum.

Ultimately, we believe that your patient is your best teacher and thus we believe in the concept of a patient-centered approach to your DPT experience here.

Read more about the genesis of Brenau’s PT program in the “Turning Pro” in the Winter 2013 edition of the Brenau Window.

Vision Statement

The DPT program will develop extraordinary clinical practitioners, who will serve, lead, and inspire.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Brenau Department of Physical Therapy is to produce extraordinary physical therapy practitioners. We will provide students with learning environments and opportunities dedicated to the student’s individual development as well as the advancement of physical therapy practice. Our program is designed to accelerate and expand each student’s professional maturation through early immersion into dynamic, interdisciplinary clinical settings. Our culture will engender excellence, scholarship, altruism, integrity, interdependence and a sense of purpose in each of our students.

Tracy Wright, the assistant director of clinical education in the Physical Therapy Department at Brenau, helps Kellee Kinght, Allison Meehan and Lauren Patton identity leg and foot muscles during anatomy leg.

Tracy Wright, the assistant director of clinical education in the Physical Therapy Department at Brenau, helps Kellee Kinght, Allison Meehan and Lauren Patton identity leg and foot muscles during anatomy leg.

Program Goals

Our graduates will:

  • Be competent physical therapists who will continue to grow professionally by their lifelong acquisition and refinement of knowledge, skills, values and professional behaviors.
  • Be scholarly physical therapists with the capacity to routinely integrate the best evidence available into their practice.
  • Use sound clinical judgment to make optimal decisions for and with their clients.
  • Serve as principal members or leaders in interdisciplinary healthcare practice, health policy, and research.
  • Engage in efforts to provide their services to people in need locally, nationally, or globally.

Why Choose Brenau University?

The Faculty

  • We are part of a University that focuses on the individual student
  • Nationally and Internationally known
  • Innovative and dynamic
  • We are well represented at the local, state and national levels in our professional organizations.

Excellent Facilities

  • Classes will be held in the Downtown Center in the heart of Gainesville
  • Our program is part of a $6.7 million dollar transformation of the Downtown Center
  • State-of-the-art Human Anatomy Lab

Early Patient Experience

  • A partnership with Northeast Georgia Health System will allow early immersion of students in the clinic starting in the second semester.
  • A faculty practice will be on-site to allow student’s access to the clinic along with providing  research opportunities for students and faculty
  • We will have an on-site Life Enrichment and Wellness Center to provide student’s experience with community outreach and wellness


Graduation from a physical therapist education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA  22314; phone; is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

Brenau University is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist education program from CAPTE.  The program has submitted an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage.  Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status.  Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the professional phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in professional courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved.  Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation.

Accreditation links:
Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
American Physical Therapy Association

Contact Information:

The Department of Physical Therapy is located at:
the Brenau Downtown Center
301 Main St. SW
Gainesville, Georgia, 30501.

Melissa Tavilla
Department of Physical Therapy
Brenau University
College of Health Sciences
Office:  678-971-1832
Fax:  678-971-1834

General inquiries:, (770) 534-6299 or (800) 252-5119 | Admissions:, (770) 534-6100 or (800) 252-5119 ext. 6100