May 20, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Therapy, D.P.T. (Advanced Standing D.P.T. Admission and Program Requirements)

General Program Information

Allison Bourassa, D.P.T., Graduate Coordinator
VA Building 2, Room 216
Box 70624
(423) 439-8275

Michelle Lee, Ph.D., M.S., Department Chair
100 Hutchenson Hall 
Box 70260
(423) 439-7524

Faculty: Kara Boynewicz; James Boone; Michael Bourassa, Courtney Hall; Bea Owens; Duane A. Williams.

Support Faculty: Eric Beaumont; Thomas E. Kwasigroch; Alan Meade; Danny Smith.

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 advance the practice of physical therapy through the provision of high quality professional physical therapy education, research and service to the community, taking advantage of the unique opportunities and responsibilities provided by our location in within an Academic Health Science Center in a rural setting.

The academic and clinical goals of the department are to prepare physical therapy general practitioners to:

  1. Examine/screen human structure and function, both normal and abnormal, across the lifespan, within the scope of physical therapy practice;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. Communicate effectively, with or without technology assistance, with patients, health care professionals, clients, family members, payers, policy makers, and the community-at-large;
  5. 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;
  6. Function in a professional manner as a member and representative of the health care team;
  7. Have a basic understanding of administration/management skills as related to the practice/business of physical therapy;
  8. Function as educators in the academic, clinical, and community settings as related to physical therapy; and
  9. 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.

Advanced Standing D.P.T.

Program Admission Requirements

Students who aspire to advanced standing in the professional Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program must meet the requirements for admission as established by the School of Graduate Studies. They must also meet the following program requirements:

  1. Graduation from a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accredited physical therapy program;
  2. Must have an active state physical therapy license with no current sanctions;
  3. Submission of the Physical Therapy Department Application Form for Advanced Standing;
  4. Three (3) letters of recommendation (one from current or most recent supervisor, two from licensed physical therapists);
  5. Submission of Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores if the GPA in previous coursework for the physical therapy degree is less than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Retention Requirements

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 and 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).

A student with advanced standing may progress through the curriculum on a full- or part-time basis as desired. A student with advanced standing must be continuously enrolled in the D.P.T. program unless the student receives approval for a break in enrollment from the Physical Therapy Promotion and Retention Committee. A student with advanced standing must also maintain a current state physical therapy license and be eligible for licensure in Tennessee.

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 didactic performance, clinical performance, and professional behavior.

Degree Requirements

The Doctor of Physical Therapy is a non-dissertation degree requiring successful completion of the designated credits, including the culminating experiences. Course requirements for advanced standing students will be evaluated on an individual basis, according to the level and amount of their prior coursework. The faculty will determine the advanced standing student’s individual program of study. Students admitted with advanced standing who have documentation of six hundred (600) hours of direct patient clinical practice experience within two (2)-years prior to enrollment in the D.P.T. program may opt to take nine (9) credits of advanced coursework in lieu of nine (9) credits of the Clinical Internship III.

The culminating experiences consist of the following:

  1. Successful completion of  PHYT 7976 - Internship III (6-15 credits) .
  2. Passing the case study oral presentation in the final semester. (The presentation is based on the written case study prepared for PHYT 7764 - Scientific Writing in Physical Therapy )

Physical Therapy, D.P.T. Advanced Standing Degree Requirements

ETSU B.S.P.T. Graduate - Advanced Standing 33-42 credits
ETSU M.P.T. Graduate - Advanced Standing 22-31 credits
Graduates not from ETSU - Advanced Standing 22-42 credits


Graduates not from ETSU with advanced standing Course Requirements: 22-42 credits

Graduates of physical therapy programs other than East Tennessee State University’s who are admitted with advanced standing will take the following courses at a minimum:

*Additional coursework required will be determined on an individual basis following a review of previous coursework.