PT School of the Week: Chapman University


Congratulations to Chapman University on being selected as the PT Pintcast School of the week. If you would like to nominate your program, fill out the form here.

Why is your program the best? Chapman University DPT program is one of the oldest programs in the West (since 1928!) and in August 2014 we opened a brand new health science campus in Irvine, CA. We have a balanced combination of a well-established program with state-of-the-art equipment and technology on our campus. We have excellent professors that are interested in a diverse range of research topics. We have small class sizes that allow us to really get to know our professors and utilize their experiences to further our learning. Our program is beginning to focus on inter-professional education by allowing us to interact with the other health professions at Chapman to learn the strength and weaknesses of each profession. We are learning to function as a healthcare team to provide the best healthcare experience to our future patients.

What’s a strong point of your program? What’s something that makes it stand out from other programs? We have some great opportunities for student research. We have many professors with a diverse range of research topics for students to explore. Chapman recently hired Dr. Choi who is a high-profile researcher in our field. He focuses on falling mechanics in geriatric populations. We also recently acquired Dr. Smith who has done significant research on low back pain and the biomechanics of elite dancers. Another professor to note is Dr. McKenzie whose research focuses on neuroplasticity, particularly as it pertains to stroke rehabilitation and focal hand dystonia as well as pedagogical research in the anatomical sciences. Students are encouraged to get involved in the research field with our professors to truly appreciate our mission of evidence based practice.

What’s cool about your program? The DPT cohorts that are further along in the program really actively seek out and try to help the incoming classes adjust to the stresses of our program. Each incoming student is matched with a ‘Panther Pal’ who is a student that is further along in the program. Our Panther Pal is a great resource that makes the transition to a DPT program much easier. Overall, all of the upper-class students really befriended us as we started at Chapman and they make our program feel like a big family!

What are the (approximate) stats, class sizes, # of faculty? 

Most of our classes are split in half with only about 25 students. We have 32 professors in our program. With a new facility, this spring we will be introducing a summer cohort along with our tradition fall cohort so there will be more students on campus. We share our facility with Pharmacy, Physician Assistant, and Speech/Communication students.

What’s the area around school like? Social scene? Recreation? We are located in sunny southern California with easy access to the ocean and the mountains for lots of outdoor adventures! We are also about 20 minutes away from Disneyland which is an excellent stress reliever.

What’s the school’s mascot? The Chapman Panthers!

If you had a PT student who was on the fence about coming to your program, whats one thing you would point out to let them know why coming there would be a good choice? The students and professors at our school truly care about every student in our program and will do everything possible to help you succeed and thrive. If you want to join a huge family of students who are all super excited about physical therapy, this is the place for you.

Best local beer: We are only about an hour and a half from San Diego which has an amazing local beer scene such as Stone Brewery, Ballast Point Brewing, and Duck Foot Brewing which is totally gluten free! Irvine doesn’t have quite as nice of a selection, however Bayhawk Ales and Barley Forge Brewing are pretty good too!

About the student who nominated Chapman University:

Lindsay Russo

[email protected]

I am a first year student at Chapman. I am originally from San Diego, CA but I have been living in Salem, OR for the last few years. I’m still narrowing down what setting I want to work in, but I either want to be in geriatrics, orthopedics, or athletics. I’ve played soccer for practically my entire life and I love to mountain bike, wake board, and hike as well.

What made her go there:

Most of my family lives in Southern California so I wanted to move somewhere closer to them. Also Southern California is pretty much constantly sunny which is a huge plus! I really loved Chapman because it was a small but well-established program. I learn better in smaller environments where I have the opportunity to really impact the program and get involved. When I visited the campus, I was concerned about being so close to Los Angeles because I am not a fan of huge cities. I was surprised by how much I liked Irvine and how safe I felt here. It is easy to get out of the city when I need to with access to many hiking and biking trails.

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