General Program Information
Graduate School Contact:
Mary Duncan; firstname.lastname@example.org; 423-439-4302
Mary Jo Davenport, Ph.D., Graduate Coordinator
VA Building 2, Room 210
David Arnall, Ph.D., Chair
VA Building 2
(423) 439-8793; (423) 439-8077 (FAX)
David Arnall; Ute Breese; Mary Jo Davenport; Courtney Hall; Bea Owens; Geri Ann Sokell; Craig Wassinger; Duane A. Williams.
Thomas E. Kwasigroch; Ronald H. Baisden; Peter C. Panus.
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy, which is the care and services provided by or under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist, includes: 1) examining and evaluating patients with health-related conditions, impairments, functional limitations, and disability in order to determine a diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention; 2) alleviating impairments and functional limitations by designing, implementing, and modifying therapeutic interventions; 3) preventing injury, impairments, functional limitations, and disability, including promoting and maintaining fitness, health, and quality of life in all age populations; and 4) engaging in consultation, education, and research. Adopted by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Board of Directors in March 1995 (BOD 03-95-24-64).
The Department of Physical Therapy offers the Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) degree. Students may apply for entry-level (non-licensed individuals) or advanced standing (for licensed physical therapists) in the D.P.T. program. The program is designed to integrate classroom and clinical learning experiences to prepare its graduates to carry out effectively the expanding responsibilities of physical therapists as health care providers practicing in evaluative, preventive, rehabilitation and acute care settings, and in educational and research environments. Students who enter the program will have strong but diverse academic backgrounds reflecting their abilities to think independently, evaluate critically, and exercise good judgment. Additionally, students in the program should display the personal qualities of flexibility, responsibility, and sensitivity to others.
The mission of the Department of Physical Therapy is to integrate teaching, research, and service to prepare selected students as general practitioners of physical therapy; to foster faculty and student scholarship to add to the knowledge of physical therapy practice; and to provide faculty consultation and professional services to the community at large to enhance the practice and profession of physical therapy.
The academic and clinical goals of the department are to prepare physical therapy general practitioners to:
Examine/screen human structure and function, both normal and abnormal, across the lifespan, within the scope of physical therapy practice;
Integrate, bridge, and cross-match the theories, concepts, and principles of the basic and psychosocial sciences to current and future clinical practice in order to justify their evaluation and treatment management decisions;
Utilize information from the literature, from their evaluations, from other health care professionals, and from their experience, to develop efficient, safe, and cost-effective physical therapy treatment management programs;
Communicate effectively, with or without technology assistance, with patients, health care professionals, clients, family members, payers, policy makers, and the community-at-large;
Be sensitive to the health care environment in which they work in order to analyze, interpret, and respond to the major factors influencing health care;
Function in a professional manner as a member and representative of the health care team;
Have a basic understanding of administration/management skills as related to the practice/business of physical therapy;
Function as educators in the academic, clinical, and community settings as related to physical therapy; and
Be critical thinkers able to analyze old and new concepts, principles, research and clinical findings, technologies, and outcomes; to relate them to personal and professional values and standards; and to integrate and apply them to the practice of physical therapy as appropriate.
Entry Level D.P.T.
Program Admission Requirements
The physical therapy program admits students by a selective admissions process to begin matriculation in the spring semester only. All application materials must be completed and received by the School of Graduate Studies by July 1. Students are encouraged to submit applications well in advance of the July deadline to allow sufficient time for processing and review. The traditional entry student will have a continuous enrollment requirement for completion of three years of full-time study in a fixed, prescribed curriculum. Graduate-level PHYT courses may not be taken prior to admission to the physical therapy program.
Students seeking admission to the professional Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program (entry-level) must meet the requirements established by the School of Graduate Studies. They must also meet the following minimum program requirements:
- Attainment of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools or equivalent);
- Have an overall GPA of 2.70 (on a 4.0 scale) in all undergraduate coursework;
- Have a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) in the prerequisite courses;
- Completion of prerequisite courses; no grade in a prerequisite course may be less than a “C” (2.0 on a 4.0 scale);
- Submission of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores;
- Three (3) letters of recommendation with at least one from a licensed physical therapist;
- A positive evaluation after an interview with the physical therapy Admissions Committee.
Prerequisite courses for admission consideration include the following:
||3 Credit Hours
|General Biology with Lab
||8 Credit Hours
|General Chemistry with Lab
||8 Credit Hours
|General Physics with Lab
||8 Credit Hours
||3-4 Credit Hours
|*Human Physiology with Lab
||4 Credit Hours
||3-4 Credit Hours
||6 Credit Hours
*No combined topical courses will be accepted as prerequisite courses.
Observation/clinical experience hours: There is no specific number of clinical hours required, however, each applicant is expected to have thoroughly investigated the scope and profession of physical therapy. Applicants’ understanding of the profession will be considered in their interview.
All students accepted for admission into the graduate program in physical therapy must meet the following requirements prior to enrollment in clinical practicum:
- Medical terminology competency by either (a) having taken a medical terminology course prior to beginning the PT curriculum or (b) successfully completing a medical terminology competency examination before the end of the first semester;
- A physical examination verifying that the student is in good health and free from communicable disease;
- Tuberculosis screening and other immunizations required by the clinical sites;
- Current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Basic First Aid certification;
- Health/Accident insurance coverage;
- Professional student liability insurance coverage;
- The ability to perform, either unaided or with reasonable accommodation, the following essential functions for clinical practicum in physical therapy:
- Critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgment.
- Interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds.
- Communication abilities sufficient for interaction with others in verbal and written form.
- Physical abilities sufficient to move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces.
- Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to provide safe and effective physical therapy care.
- Auditory abilities sufficient to monitor and assess health needs.
- Visual ability sufficient for observation and assessment necessary in physical therapy care. Tactile ability sufficient for physical assessment and treatment.
- Physical ability to assist moving, transferring, and ambulating patients who have physical impairment or dysfunction.
Students in the Physical Therapy program must meet the retention standards as set forth for graduate students by the School of Graduate Studies and by the Promotion/Retention Committee of the Department of Physical Therapy. Grades shall be issued based on the 4.0 scale as set forth in the Graduate Catalog.
A physical therapy student will be considered deficient for any course grade less than a “C” (2.0), or when the overall grade point average per semester or for all semesters completed in the program is less than a “B” (3.0).
Traditional entry students will matriculate through a fixed, prescribed curriculum in a three-year, full-time program. Additional retention requirements include the following:
- Successful completion of a comprehensive written examination at the end of the first five (5) semesters before being allowed to proceed to semesters 6 - 9 and the clinical internships.
- Successful completion of 22 semester hours in clinical internships (semesters 6 and 7) that integrate all previous didactic and clinical coursework.
The Physical Therapy Promotion and Retention Committee will meet at a minimum at the end of each semester to determine whether each student should be promoted to the next semester, be put on probation, or be required to remediate any deficiencies before proceeding to the next semester of study. Promotion will be determined by the student’s didactic performance, clinical performance, and professional behavior.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy is a non-dissertation professional degree requiring successful completion of the designated credits, including the culminating experiences. Students will complete 84 credit-hours of major field courses and 43 credit-hours of clinical education experiences for a total of 127 credit-hours.
Doctor of Physical Therapy Entry-level Curriculum
Total Hours Required for Degree: 127 Credit Hours
The culminating experiences consist of the following:
- Successful completion of Clinical Internship III (15 credit-hours).
- Passing the case study oral presentation in the final semester. (The presentation is based on the written case study prepared for PHYT 7764 - Case Study in PT.)