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Doctor of Physical Therapy

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Didactic/Laboratory Education

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program is designed to help students become competent physical therapists who will be able to employ critical decision-making skills and evidence-based practice for optimal patient care. The curriculum integrates didactic, laboratory and clinical components throughout the program of study. Some key aspects of the program and curriculum include:

  • Hybrid curriculum uses traditional, system-base, and problem-solving approaches with an emphasis on evidenced-based practice
  • Intentional progression from simpler concepts to more complex problems require and develop synthesis and critical thinking skills
  • Opportunities that encourage independent learning through case presentations
  • Seminar and synthesis coursework challenge students to evaluate and treat the complex patient in the ever-changing healthcare environment
  • Extensive coursework on manual therapy for the extremities and spine as well as on balance and vestibular dysfunction
  • The final didactic term of the curriculum will allow the entry-level student to develop some specialization within areas of PT practice
  • Portfolio generation enhances leadership, professionalism and altruism through participation in conferences and service-learning opportunities
  • Opportunities for graduate assistant and teaching assistant positions

The DPT program includes nine semesters over three years, including summers. View our current curriculum schedule.

Clinical Education

The philosophy of the clinical education component is to provide a broad background for entry-level practice in a variety of clinical settings, which are located in various geographic locations. These settings include acute care/inpatient hospitals, ambulatory care/outpatient, skilled nursing/extended care facilities, private practice, neurologic rehabilitation and pediatric/school settings. Currently, we have over 300 contractual agreements which can provide placement opportunities throughout the U.S. and are beginning to expand abroad with an agreement in London.

Part-Time Clinical Experience

The part-time clinical or integrated clinical experience occurs in the first year of the program in local, rural clinical facilities. These experiences, which are somewhat unique in PT curricula, give students needed practical preparation for the first full-time clinical sequence.

Full-Time Clinical Sequence

The full-time clinical experiences occur in a variety of clinical facilities across the country. These clinical experiences include:

Clinical Practicum I – 10 weeks, second segment of Fall Semester of second year

Clinical Practicum II – 12 weeks, Summer Semester of third year

Clinical Practicum III/Clinical Practicum IV – 16 weeks (or two 8-week), Spring Semester of third year

Assignment to Clinical Facility for Full-Time Practica

The Director of Clinical Education (DCE) assigns students to clinical facilities for the practica. The DCE works closely with students to meet their individual needs and desires, but also to make certain that each student has the experiences that prepare students to be capable of practicing in any setting.