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 Department of Physical Therapy.

We are excited that you are visiting our program and welcome you to learn more about us. Kathye  Light Ph.D., P.T., the new Chair, and Mary Thigpen PhD, PT, 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, your patient is your best teacher, thus we believe in the concept of a patient-centered approach to your DPT experience.

Read more about the genesis of Brenau University’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, Brenau University’s Director of Clinical Education, Physical Therapy Department helps Kellee Knight, Allison Meehan and Lauren Patton identify leg and foot muscles during anatomy lab.

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

  • Focused on the individual student
  • Highly-respected nationally and internationally
  • Innovative and dynamic
  • Fully represented at the local, state and national levels in  professional organizations.

Excellent Facilities

  • Classes will be held in the newly-renovated Downtown Center in the heart of Gainesville
  • The DPT 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 the nearby 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 students access to the clinic along with providing  research opportunities for students and faculty
  • An on-site Life Enrichment and Wellness experience with community outreach and wellness


Effective November 12, 2014, Brenau University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA  22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email:  Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates that the program may matriculate students in technical/professional courses and that the program is progressing toward accreditation.  Candidate for Accreditation is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation.

Accreditation links:

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education

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