The Department of Physical Therapy and the undergraduate BSPT program at East Carolina University was established in 1970. It began with a faculty of 3 and graduated 5 students in 1972.

In 1989, the Board of Governors granted the University permission to plan an entry-level master program in Physical Therapy. In 1995, the University and General Administration of the University of North Carolina System approved the MPT curriculum and program. The first MPT class was admitted in the spring of 1996. The MPT program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education.

In November, 2004, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors approved East Carolina University's request to establish the DPT. The first DPT class matriculated May, 2005. The DPT is a three-year, 106 semester hour program that includes 32 weeks of clinical education.

The program has a long history of a strong commitment to entry-level PT education, research, scholarship and service to the institution, community and profession. Graduates are recognized for their advanced preparation and professional abilities in musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiopulmonary and integumentary systems. The faculty are accomplished academic professionals and distinguished in their respective disciplines. All faculty have advanced degree training with doctoral degrees in fields important to Physical Therapy. They represent specialty certifications and professional concentrations in the PT disciplines of pediatrics, neurology, electrotherapy and diagnosis, prosthetics, sports medicine, orthopedics, and geriatrics. As one of the founding health professions at East Carolina University, the faculty have served the institution as leaders in the development and advancement of multiple Allied Health professional programs.