College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions

Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency Program

At a Glance

In partnership with Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network, the University offers a 13-month hybrid residency program in advanced orthopedic physical therapy.


In partnership with Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network, the University of Hartford offers a 13-month hybrid residency program in orthopedic physical therapy. Residents will be educated and mentored in advanced orthopedic physical therapy, scholarly activity, and clinical instruction of entry-level DPT students. The program prepares graduates to meet the requirements to test for the Specialist Certification in Orthopedics by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists (ABPTS).


Quick Facts
  • 13-month program
  • Summer start
  • Application deadline: May 1
  • Questions: Contact Brian Swanson, PT, DSc, OCS, FAAOMPT, Academic Director, Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency

About the Program

physical therapy students in lab

Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network and the University of Hartford physical therapy program are committed to the training of the next generation of physical therapy clinicians, researchers, and scholars. Training of residents in a 13-month hybrid residency model capitalizes on both institutions' highly trained clinicians, faculty, and staff.

Residents will be educated and mentored in orthopedic physical therapy, scholarly activity and participate in the clinical instruction of entry-level DPT students. The program is heavily focused on experiential learning and mentoring, supplemented with didactic education.  Mentoring is provided by board-certified physical therapy specialists and collegiate faculty in the clinic, office, and classroom settings.

Program Mission

The mission of the Hartford Healthcare Rehabilitation Network and University of Hartford Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency program is to provide clinical and academic opportunities necessary to develop advanced practitioners in the field of orthopedic physical therapy; to prepare clinicians to contribute to the profession and to improve the health and healing of the communities we serve through advanced and evidence-enhanced clinical practice, professional development, teaching, life-long learning, scholarship, and community involvement.

Program Goals:

  • Support the mission, vision, values, and goals of Hartford Healthcare and the University of Hartford.
  • Advance the profession of physical therapy, specifically the practice of orthopedic physical therapy, by facilitating the development of clinicians promoting a commitment to lifelong learning, teaching, and scholarship.
  • Recruit and retain motivated physical therapists who possess a commitment to advancing their orthopedic clinical skills, clinical reasoning skills, and leadership skills.
  • Provide mentorship and instruction in the areas of clinical care, clinical education, and scholarship.
  • Provide didactic and clinical learning environments that integrate evidenced based clinical practice.
  • Improve access for patients to highly qualified orthopedic physical therapists in the state of Connecticut
  • Prepare graduates to meet the requirements to test for the Specialist Certification in Orthopedics by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists (ABPTS).

Program Specifics

A typical week for the resident consists of approximately 40-50 hours of dedicated time, of which 65% will be devoted to clinical practice, 20% to learning activities, 10% to teaching, and 5% to scholarship.

Total program hours: 2,364.5

  • Educational hours - 473.5
  • Patient-care clinic hours - 1,696
  • Mentoring hours - 195

Clinical Practice:

  • 32-34 clinical hours per week
  • Opportunities to develop advanced clinical skills via mentored and independent clinical practice occur through the Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network.
  • Patient populations at these facilities allow for exposure to the entire lifespan and across various cultures.
  • Residents have the opportunity to experience sub-specialties including aquatic therapy, lymphedema therapy, hand therapy, women’s health, sports therapy and manual therapy.

Learning Activities:

  • Residents will participate in a Certificate Program in Advanced Orthopedic Physical Therapy at the University of Hartford (221 hrs), resident case rounds/journal club (19.5 hrs), skills labs (40 hrs), AOPT residency curriculum package (175 hrs), and MedBridge self learnings (18 hrs).
  • The certificate curriculum includes twelve (12) credits of coursework, comprised of a series of twelve (12) courses each earning one (1) academic credit. See below for the full curriculum.
  • Each course will focus on a specific body region or specialty content area; within each area coursework will focus on relevant clinical anatomy, clinical biomechanics, examination, evaluation, and intervention strategies. Courses will include a two-day weekend intensive lecture/lab session and four (4) weeks of online content, including interactive case-based discussion boards.


  • Residents will participate in teaching opportunities at the University of Hartford and Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network.
  • Potential roles include serving as a laboratory assistant in the University of Hartford entry-level DPT curriculum, guest lecture opportunities, and continuing education lectures at Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network.
  • The resident will develop foundational teaching skills and be provided consistent constructive feedback on overall performance.


  • Fundamental skills in basic laboratory and clinical scholarship may be developed at the University of Hartford, Hartford HealthCare, the Bone and Joint Motion Analysis Laboratory as well as through classroom and other specialized learning activities.

Certificate Curriculum - 12 credits

Summer 1 Credits 2024 Dates On-Campus Dates
PT 900 Foundations of Exam/Mechanisms of Manual Therapy, Exercise, and Pain Neuroscience (Online Only) 1* 7/15-8/13 NA
PT 901 Advanced Medical Screening for Orthopaedic Therapists 1 7/15-8/13 8/3
Subtotal 2
Fall Credits 2024 dates On-Campus Dates
PT 902 Advanced Clinical Practice for the Lumbar/SIJ Region 1 8/26–9/22 9/14-9/15
PT 903 Advanced Clinical Practice for the Thoracic Spine 1 9/23–10/20 10/19-10/20
PT 904 Advanced Clinical Practice for the Cervical Spine 1 10/21-11/17 11/16-11/17
PT 905 Advanced Clinical Practice for TMD 1 11/18-12/16 12/7-12/8
Subtotal 4
Spring Credits 2025 dates On-Campus Dates
PT 906 Advanced Clinical Practice for the Hip 1 tbd tbd
PT 907 Advanced Clinical Practice for the Knee 1 tbd tbd
PT 908 Advanced Clinical Practice for the Foot/Ankle 1 tbd tbd
PT 909 Advanced Clinical Practice for the Shoulder 1 tbd tbd
Subtotal 4
Summer 2 Credits 2024 dates On-Campus Dates
PT 910 Advanced Clinical Practice for the Elbow/Wrist/Hand 1 5/15-6/15 6/8-6/9
PT 911 Advanced Clinical Practice: Vestibular Rehabilitation for the Orthopaedic Therapist 1 5/29-6/30 6/22-6/23
Subtotal 2
Total Credits 12


Admission Criteria

  • Completion of an admission application through RF-PTCAS, which will include:
    • CV
    • Essay describing the reasons for applying to the Residency Program
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Application fee of $50
  • Must be a graduate of a CAPTE-accredited professional physical therapy program
  • Must hold a valid Connecticut Physical Therapy License prior to start of the program
  • Candidates will be invited for an interview with the Program Co-Directors, Program Coordinator, and selected leadership of HHCRN and the University of Hartford.
  • Selected candidates will be invited for an onsite interview which will include a practical clinical examination with a mock patient.
  • Admission deadline: May 1

Residency Program Leadership

Jonathan Sylvain, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT                                
Clinical Director - Orthopedic Residency Program                                  
Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network

Brian Swanson, PT, DSc, OCS, FAAOMPT
Academic Director - Orthopedic Residency Program
University of Hartford

Seth Hagymasi, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Program Coordinator - Orthopedic Residency Program                          
Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network