Doctor of Physical Therapy Courses

The DPT curriculum includes enhancements in the areas of prevention and wellness; advanced medical screening for direct access; advanced training and problem solving in the areas of general medical conditions, musculoskeletal and adult rehabilitation; new materials on motor learning and human behavior; and awareness of physical therapy needs in underserved populations & associated knowledge of people and cultural differences.

The course listings and descriptions are presented by semester across the study program. This presentation further clarifies the progression of content from normal structure and function to dysfunction across courses related to the basic and clinical sciences. The course sequence across semesters allows the systematic acquisition of knowledge and skills necessary for clinical problem solving. Also, the integration of content across courses per semester is represented in this chronologic sequence

YEAR 1: SUMMER

Course Title: Health Promotion, Wellness, and Prevention: Individual level
Course Number: DPT 700
Credit Hours: 1

Course Catalog Description:
The first of two courses on the role of the physical therapist in health promotion, wellness, and prevention. The purpose of the      course is to gain an understanding of fundamental concepts of health, wellness, screening for risk, and the theoretical bases underlying behavior change. These concepts will be applied to improving health and wellness in oneself. Using him or herself as the first patient, the student will learn how to assess risk for specific conditions, generate goals to decrease risk and increase health and wellness, develop and implement a plan to achieve his or her goals, and assess the results. Class sessions will be primarily small group discussion and lecture.

Course Title: Human Anatomy
Course Number: DPT 705
Credit Hours: 4 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
Study of the structures and functions of systems of the body focusing on the nervous, musculoskeletal, circulatory and pulmonary systems. Includes human cadaver dissection.

Course Title: Fundamentals of Clinical Measurement
Course Number: DPT 710
Credit Hours: 3 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
Introduction to the physical therapist model of clinical practice with an emphasis on basic examination skills. Procedures covered include methods for determining strength and range of motion and basic cardiopulmonary assessment.

Course Title: Kinesiology and Biomechanics
Course Number: DPT 715
Credit Hours: 4 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
Introduction to biomechanical principles of human movement. Includes discussion of the mechanical principles underlying the movement of individual joints, connective tissue mechanics and the analysis of posture and gait.

Course Title: Ethics and Professionalism
Course Number: DPT 720
Credit Hours: 2 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
Introduction to ethics, laws and professionalism in physical therapist practice. This course provides the introductory information concerning physical therapists professional obligations requisite to functioning as a clinician, consultant, and administrator. The course accomplishes this goal by providing information and experience with issues of professionalism, ethics, licensure regulation, the professional association, and other health professions. Various professional relationships of the physical therapist and related responsibilities are emphasized and provide the basis for on-going consideration of ethical and legal problems. An introduction to legal and moral issues and dilemmas related to professional and health care trends occurs through readings, group activities and discussion.

Course Title: Interpersonal Communications
Course Number: DPT 725
Credit Hours: 2 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
Listening, as well as talking, are skills inherent to providing the best patient care. This course fosters the development of skills in the interpersonal and problem-solving processes.

YEAR 1: FALL

Course Title: Systems Physiology
Course Number: DPT 730
Credit Hours: 5 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
The course is designed to study the function of the human body at the molecular, cellular, tissue and systems levels, in both health and disease. The major underlying themes are: the mechanisms for promoting homeostasis; cellular processes of metabolism, membrane function and cellular signaling; the mechanisms that match supply of nutrients to tissue demands at different activity levels; the mechanisms that match the rate of excretion of waste products to their rate of production; the mechanisms that defend the body against injury and promote healing. These topics are addressed by a consideration of nervous and endocrine regulation of the cardiovascular, hematopoetic, pulmonary, renal, gastrointestinal, and musculoskeletal systems, including the control of cellular metabolism. The integrative nature of physiological responses in normal function and disease is stressed throughout.

Course Title: Neuroscience
Course Number: DPT 735
Credit Hours: 4

Course Catalog Description:
This course is designed to provide an understanding of basic scientific principles and concepts related to the structure and function of the nervous system, with specific emphasis on relating neuroscience to perception and movement. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to relate structural components of the nervous system to their function, correlate neurological examination with structural components, and correlate nervous system injury or disease with neurological deficits or dysfunction seen in clinical practice. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, as well as begin to develop the ability to use scientific literature to discuss evidence-based approaches to managing individuals with movement dysfunction.

Course Title: Introduction to Interventions
Course Number: DPT 740
Credit Hours: 3 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
Evidence-based course designed to provide students with the basic principles for determination of exercise need and the prescription of exercise programs and the determination of safe and appropriate application of physical modalities. Emphasis is placed on patients with musculoskeletal deficits including those with chronic disease and also on otherwise healthy individuals across all ages. Exercises include those to increase joint range of motion and muscle-tendon extensibility, increase muscle strength, improve aerobic capacity and improve balance. Soft tissue healing process, indications and contraindication are considered in the assessment of appropriate application of traditional and emerging modalities.

Course Title: Growth Process through the Lifespan
Course Number: DPT 745
Credit Hours: 4 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
The interactions of perceptual-motor, cognitive and psychosocial influences on the developing human and the processes of individual and family reactions to the stresses of aging, health changes, death and dying. Integrated practical/clinical experiences in well-baby, child day care and elder care/residential settings.

Course Title: The Teaching and Learning Process in Physical Therapy
Course Number: DPT 750
Credit Hours: 2 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
Much of physical therapy involves teaching – teaching the patient, family members, other health care professionals, insurance providers. This course develops skills in the teaching-learning and problem-solving processes.

YEAR 1: SPRING

Course Title: General Medical Conditions
Course Number: DPT 755
Credit Hours: 12 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
Evidence-based physical therapist examination, diagnosis, and management of patients with cardiac, pulmonary, wound, cancer, and metabolic conditions. Content integrates pathophysiology and medical management of patients. Includes congruent, weekly patient oriented experiences and culminates in a two week, full-time clinical education experience.

Course Title: Medical Genetics in Physical Therapy
Course Number: DPT 760
Credit Hours: 3 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
The course will elucidate the process of cell division, gamete production and sexual reproduction in males and females. Further study will explore the relationship of molecular and cellular genetics, transmission genetics and population genetics. The student will gain an understanding of the role of genes and chromosomes in determining structure and function in health. Risk assessment will be addressed for inherited and somatic genetic diseases including the interaction of genetic and environmental factors in contributing to multifactorial diseases, such as carcinogenesis. These concepts will be considered in the context of the lifespan of an individual, inheritance through pedigree analysis, and populations. Clinical applications for screening, genetic testing and gene therapy will be considered.

Course Title: Evidence-Based Practice
Course Number: DPT 765
Credit Hours: 2 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
The purpose of the course is to gain competence in critical analysis of the research literature through the use of fundamental concepts of the inquiry process. This course provides the foundation for 1) evidence-based physical therapy practice and clinical reasoning used in General Medicine, Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, Adult Neurorehabilitation, Pediatric Rehabilitation, and Internship I, II, and III and 2) student research projects in Clinical Research.

YEAR 2: SUMMER

Course Title: Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation
Course Number: DPT 800
Credit Hours: 10 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
Evidence-based physical therapist examination, diagnosis, and management specific to adult and pediatric patients with musculoskeletal conditions. Content integrates pathophysiology, medical management, and physical therapy assessment and treatment, including manual therapies. Incorporates congruent, weekly patient oriented experiences and culminates in a two week, full-time clinical education experience.

Course Title: Principles of Motor Learning
Course number: DPT 805
Credit Hours: 3

Course Catalog Description:
This course will provide the student with a theoretical basis and historical overview of motor learning and its application to motor skill acquisition. Since teaching acquisition or re-acquisition of motor skills is a foundation for physical therapy interventions, this course will provide students with core knowledge and a theoretical framework upon which to build therapeutic interventions. The course will include the basic tenets of: the relation of task, individual, and environment and motor skill acquisition, practice schedules, and the role of feedback. Materials will focus on cognitive and motor aspects of skill acquisition.

YEAR 2: FALL

Course Title: Adult Neurorehabilitation
Course Number: DPT 810
Credit Hours: 7 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
Examination, diagnosis, and management of the adult patient with neurological conditions. Content integrates pathophysiology, medical management, and physical therapy assessment and treatment. Students will learn examination techniques and validated outcome measures to evaluate disability, impairment, and functional deficits and to measure the outcomes of treatment. Students will develop interventions based upon available evidence and the principles of motor learning. Includes congruent, weekly patient-oriented experiences and culminates in a two week, full-time clinical education experience.

Course Title: Pediatric Rehabilitation
Course Number: DPT 815
Credit Hours: 4

Course Catalog Description:
This course will provide the student with foundation knowledge of primary and secondary conditions which result in activity limitations and disability across childhood. The roles of other medical professionals on the pediatric rehabilitation team will be presented including the physician and surgeon. Students will use pediatric specific examination techniques, standardized methods of testing and valid outcome measures to evaluate functional motor skills, coordination, other physical therapy problems, and to measure the outcomes of treatment. Students will develop intervention plans based upon available evidence and apply principles of motor learning during functional training. Physical therapy management of the child will be addressed in the context of the child’s interests, diagnosis, prognosis, age, environment of care and the child’s family

Course Title: Health Service and Management
Course Number: DPT 820
Credit Hours: 3 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
This course is the second course in the health services management series and builds on learning in the previous course that focused on professionalism; ethical/legal guidelines and standards for practice; and professional roles, responsibilities and obligations. Specifically, this course focuses on the factors affecting the client’s entry into and progression through the healthcare system, including the effect of current financial, legal and regulatory policies that affect the client, the client/professional relationship, and the practice of physical therapy. This course will also instill an entrepreneurial mindset and prepare the student for participation in administrative activities. The course will provide a glimpse of primary business disciplines including market research and strategy, marketing, finance, operations, and management.

Course Title: Exploration of Human behavior
Course Number: DPT 825
Credit Hours: 2

Course Catalog Description:
A tendency to underestimate the incidence of behavioral and cognitive problems can have a negative effect on treatment outcome and the return of the patient to normal activities. Therapists need to be able to recognize these behaviors, recognize how we react to the behaviors in our clients, measure these behaviors, and assess the effect of these behaviors on treatment planning and outcome. The course will cover behavioral and cognitive problems and the psycho-social-cultural aspects of disability. Class sessions will be primarily small group discussion and lecture.

YEAR 2: SPRING

Course Title: Internship I
Course Number: DPT 830
Credit Hours: 10 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
The first of three, full-time supervised clinical experiences in a variety of clinical settings. Each student completes a 10 week, full-time experience in an acute care facility, in a rehabilitation facility and in a community setting.

Course Title: Administration and Consultation in Healthcare
Course Number: DPT 835
Credit Hours: 2 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
Practical experience in planning, implementing, and evaluating an administration/ consultation project in a clinical setting. Concurrent with full-time, clinical experiences.

Course Title: Internship II
Course Number: DPT 840
Credit Hours: 10 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
Continuation of full-time supervised clinical experience. This course is the second, ten week experience.

YEAR 3: SUMMER

Course Title: Internship III
Course Number: DPT 900
Credit Hours: 10 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
Continuation of full-time supervised clinical experience. This course is the third, ten week experience.

Course Title: Current Practices in Physical Therapy Care
Course Number: DPT 905
Credit Hours: 2

Course Catalog Description:
This course requires that the student to perform two in-depth analyses of initial evaluation and treatment plan of a patient treated by the student. The goal is to enhance the students’ ability to monitor their ability to base treatment on quantifiable outcome measures, identified patient problems, and goals. In addition, students are expected to analyze the evidence justifying the use of evaluation and treatment procedures as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the clinical template used. Concurrent with full-time, clinical experiences.

YEAR 3: FALL

Course Title: Advanced Medical Screening: Preparation for Direct Access
Course Number: DPT 910
Credit Hours: 3 credit hours
Contact Hours: 33 hours lecture; 25 hours lab

Course Catalog Description:
Identification of problems that may require consultation with or referral to another practitioner based on history, systems review, and clinical evaluation; identification of problems that are outside the scope of physical therapy practice, and enhancing the ability to efficiently communicating examination/evaluation findings to other healthcare practitioners. The student will be able to integrate medical screening concepts to prepare the student for autonomous practice in a collaborative healthcare model. Upon completion of the course; students will be able to apply comprehensive medical screening to patients with complex medical problems with neurological, cardiovascular, and orthopedic dysfunction observed in clinical practice.

Course Title: Clinical Research I
Course Number: DPT 915
Credit Hours: 6 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
Application of the scientific principles in a research setting. This course sequence is designed to provide the student with the opportunity to actively apply the principles and concepts learned in Evidence-Based Practice to a contemporary research issue. Emphasis is placed on practical application of research principles and the scientific process. Students participate in a group project under the direct guidance of a faculty member actively involved in research activity. Project topics vary depending on the research programs of the faculty. Students will be involved in various aspects of the research process, as appropriate for a given project, such as proposal development, subject recruitment, data collection, data reduction, statistical analysis, interpretation of the results and dissemination to the scientific community.

Course Titles: Electivesabove
Course Number: DPT 950 and
Credit Hours: 6 credit hours

YEAR 3: SPRING

Course Title: Health Promotion, Wellness, and Prevention: Community level
Course Number: DPT 920
Credit Hours: 3 credit hours
Contact Hours: 35 hours lecture; 30 hours lab

Course Catalog Description:
The second of two courses on the topics of health promotion, wellness, and prevention. The purpose of the course is to apply the fundamental concepts of health, wellness, and prevention learned in HP, W & P: individual level to improve the health and wellness in specific communities. Students will learn to assess the needs of a community, develop, and assess health promotion, wellness, or prevention programs targeting adults at risk for disease development or injury, as well as targeting populations with special needs.

Course Title: Clinical Research II
Course Number: DPT 925
Credit Hours: 6 credit hours

Course Catalog Description:
The second of two research courses. The purpose of the course is to answer an original question related to physical therapy practice through the application of the scientific inquiry process. Students will work in small groups with a faculty mentor to collect and analyze data. All students will participate in presenting their project at the Graduate DPT Research Day traditionally held in May prior to graduation.

Course Titles: Electives
Course Number: DPT 950 and above
Credit Hours: 6 credit hours

Click here to view Electives.