Doctor of Physical Therapy Courses

Each semester consists of four courses (Examination, Intervention, Biomedical Sciences and Physical Therapy Integrative Care and Practice) that become more complex as students advance through the program. The courses are integrated around case presentations (units) that last for two to three weeks. Each unit provides an example of one or more of the Practice Patterns defined by the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice of the American Physical Therapy Association.

Fall, First Year

PT 605 Introduction and Exposure to Physical Therapist Practice (4 credits)
This course will be given the first month of the fall semester and is designed to provide the student with a basic understanding of physical therapy practice as described in the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice published by the American Physical Therapy Association. The spectrum of physical therapy roles in the healthcare system is explored. A basic comprehensive approach to examination is presented, and the requisite skills are learned. Basic forms of intervention are introduced, including coordination, communication, documentation, instruction and direct intervention. Students also will be introduced to core academic areas not directly addressed in the Guide that inform physical therapy practice in order to begin the lifelong learning necessary for safe and effective practice. These areas include anatomy, biomechanical properties of tissues, principles of measurement, and behavioral and management sciences.

PT 615 Physical Therapy Examination/Evaluation Skills I (2 credits)
This course covers basic aspects of patient/client management related to examination and evaluation in the context of the specific patient cases. Examination refers to the process of obtaining a relevant patient history, as well as selecting and performing appropriate tests and measures. Evaluation refers to the process of making clinical judgments (including diagnosis and prognosis) based on the information gathered during an examination. The applied anatomy and biomechanics component of this course addresses the application of physical principles to the human body. The content addresses functional aspects of the neuromusculoskeletal system using the principles of basic Newtonian mechanics.

PT 625 Physical Therapy Intervention Skills I (4 credits)
Basic aspects of patient/client management are covered that are related to intervention in the context of the specific patient cases. Intervention includes appropriate selection and application of specific treatment procedures as well as other skilled interactions with the patient and other individuals as required. Intervention strategies are based on the results of an appropriate examination and evaluation. Several skills and intervention strategies that are central to the practice of physical therapy are covered at a basic level.

PT 645 Physical Therapy Integrative Care and Practice I (3 credits)
This course is intended to help provide an understanding of the complexities of working within the healthcare delivery system and to enhance critical thinking with an introduction to research methods and skills. Students are introduced to the theories and principles required to understand the psychological and social aspects of working with patients, clients, families and other healthcare professionals and the operation of clinical physical therapy services in a variety of settings. This course enhances students’ understanding of clinical practice and the healthcare delivery system in the United States by exploring in-depth the finance and delivery mechanisms employed and familiarizing students with the terminology used in healthcare today. Literature relevant to clinical practice is critically examined within each unit.

PT 675 Biomedical Foundation Sciences I (5 credits)
This course includes traditional biological sciences of microscopic anatomy, physiology of exercise, and neuroscience. In addition, there is a survey of various medical and surgical conditions and their underlying pathological processes. Gross anatomy objectives are included, although students are responsible for self-directed study in this topic.

Spring, First Year

PT 616 Physical Therapy Examination/Evaluation Skills II (4 credits)
This course continues to cover basic aspects of patient/client management related to examination and evaluation in the context of the specific patient cases. The anatomy of relevant regions is reviewed and is followed by a close analysis of the function of each component. The labs provide an opportunity to analyze the functional requirements of a variety of activities of daily living.

PT 626 Physical Therapy Intervention Skills II (5 credits)
This course is a continuation of basic aspects of patient/client management related to intervention in the context of the specific patient cases. Intervention includes appropriate selection and application of specific treatment procedures as well as other skilled interactions with the patient and other individuals as required.

PT 636 Exposure to Physical Therapy in a Health Care System (1 credit)
Fall (First Year), Spring (First Year)
This course is designed to expose first-year physical therapy students to current physical therapy practice in a given healthcare system. This is not designed to be a full-time clinical experience. Students will be exposed to physical therapy practice and clinical decision making in inpatient and outpatient settings. This course provides the student an opportunity for a practicing clinician to evaluate the student behavior in areas such as safety, personal and interpersonal professional demeanor, ethical and legal standards, communication, and responsibility for self-learning. Students are assigned to a clinical site four hours every other week for 10 weeks in the fall and 10 weeks in the spring of the first year. A clinical activity is assigned for each clinical week and coincides with the current academic learning unit. Assignments are completed in response to each clinical activity, and in the “off week” students meet on campus during the Tuesday afternoon time slot in small groups to complete and share assignments in a problem-based, collaborative experience.

PT 646 Physical Therapy Integrative Care and Practice II (4 credits)
This course is a continuation of working within the healthcare delivery system as a physical therapist, the psychological and social aspects of working with patients, and critical thinking. This course prepares students to assume management responsibilities appropriate to their position and stage of clinical practice.

PT 676 Biomedical Foundation Sciences II (8 credits)
This course is a continuation of the traditional biological sciences of microscopic anatomy, physiology of exercise, and neuroscience. In addition, there is a survey of various medical and surgical conditions and their underlying pathological processes. Gross anatomy objectives are included, although students are responsible for self-directed study in this topic.

Summer, Second Year

PT 717 Physical Therapy Examination/Evaluation Skills III (2 credits)
This course continues to cover basic aspects of patient/client management related to examination and evaluation in the context of the specific patient cases.

PT 727 Physical Therapy Intervention Skills III (2 credits)
This course is a continuation of basic aspects of patient/client management related to intervention in the context of the specific patient cases.

PT 747 Physical Therapy Integrative Care and Practice III (4 credits)
This course is a continuation of working within the healthcare delivery system as a physical therapist, the psychological and social aspects of working with patients, and critical thinking. This course prepares students to assume management responsibilities appropriate to their position and stage of clinical practice.

PT 777 Biomedical Foundation Sciences III (9 credits)
The course includes the traditional biological science of gross human anatomy, the physical science of biomechanics and applied anatomy, and components of patient management related to examination, evaluation, and intervention. The study of the basic structure and function of the human body is accomplished through lecture, demonstration and dissection. Gross anatomy emphasizes the extremities and trunk, although the whole body is examined. Also included is a review of embryology. The laboratory sessions are devoted primarily to handling the bony skeleton and supervised dissection. Biomechanics and applied anatomy and the clinical content highlight the function of the spine using a patient case for reference.

Fall, Second Year

PT 718 Physical Therapy Examination/Evaluation Skills IV (2 credits)
This course continues to cover basic aspects of patient/client management related to examination and evaluation in the context of the specific patient cases.

PT 728 Physical Therapy Intervention Skills IV (2 credits)
This course is a continuation of aspects of patient/client management related to intervention in the context of the specific patient cases.

PT 738 Clinical Education Experience I (8 weeks) (4 credits)
This first of two full-time clinical experiences in the curriculum is eight weeks in length and occurs after one year of academic coursework. This clinical experience is the student’s first formal full-time exposure to the practice of physical therapy. Arcadia respects that not all patient types can be available to each student during a clinical experience, but a varied caseload is encouraged. Close supervision and additional clinical teaching may be required in all areas of clinical practice. Emphasis is placed on developing good interpersonal skills with supervisors, patients, and other healthcare practitioners. The experience also focuses on oral and written communication skills, performing physical therapy examinations, evaluation, intervention planning and implementation on cardiac, pulmonary, neurological, medical/surgical and orthopedic patients, and providing basic functional training. The student should begin to appreciate the role of the physical therapist in the interdisciplinary team and the responsibilities involved in carrying a patient caseload. By the final two weeks of the clinical experience, the student should be managing approximately two-thirds of a caseload that is setting-appropriate.

PT 748 Physical Therapy Integrative Care and Practice IV (2 credits)
This course is a continuation of working within the healthcare delivery system as a physical therapist, emphasizing the psychological and social aspects of working with patients, and critical thinking. This course prepares students to assume management responsibilities appropriate to their position and stage of clinical practice.

PT 778 Biomedical Foundation Sciences IV (2 credits)
This course includes traditional biological sciences of microscopic anatomy, physiology of exercise, and neuroscience. In addition, there is a survey of various medical and surgical conditions and their underlying pathological processes.

Spring, Second Year

PT 819 Physical Therapy Examination/Evaluation Skills V (6 credits)
This course continues to cover basic aspects of patient/client management related to examination and evaluation in the context of the specific patient cases.

PT 829 Physical Therapy Intervention Skills V (6 credits)
This course is a continuation of basic aspects of patient/client management related to intervention in the context of the specific patient cases.

PT 849 Physical Therapy Integrative Care and Practice V (4 credits)
This course is a continuation of working within the healthcare delivery system as a physical therapist, the psychological and social aspects of working with patients, and critical thinking. This course prepares students to assume management responsibilities appropriate to their position and stage of clinical practice.

PT 879 Biomedical Foundation Sciences V (6 credits)
This course includes traditional biological sciences of microscopic anatomy, physiology of exercise, and neuroscience. In addition, there is a survey of various medical and surgical conditions and their underlying pathological processes.

Summer, Third Year

PT 860 Clinical Education Experience II (3 months) (6 credits)
This is part one of the six-month internship and is three months in length. It encompasses two years of didactic information and experience gained in the first clinical setting. Since students are encouraged during the program to complete clinical work in both inpatient and outpatient settings, this experience is probably different from the previous experience.

Fall, Third Year

PT 870 Clinical Education III (6 credits, 3 months)
This is Part 2 of the 6-month internship and will most likely occur within the same health system as Part 1, however it may include a different continuum of care or patient diagnosis.

Spring, Third Year

PT 805 Physical Therapist Practice II (4 credits)
This course begins early in the curriculum and culminates during the final week of the curriculum. The course final serves to integrate content and focus on professional behavior, the physical therapy science related to examination, evaluation, and intervention, and gaps in our current knowledge. It encompasses both experiential learning opportunities and traditional didactic experiences.

PT 869 a, b, c, d Independent Study (2 credits)
This elective course is offered beginning in year one of the entry-level curriculum with a final grade given in the spring semester of the third year. The course is designed to offer students the opportunity to explore one of four opportunities: a) research, b) international experiential learning, c) education, or d) administration. The course provides the student with an opportunity to delve more deeply into the subject matter of a wide range of professional topics. The purpose of this course is to provide the entry-level physical therapy student with an in-depth experience while working with an experienced mentor. Regardless of the area selected, critical thinking is emphasized. The process of identifying a relevant physical therapy problem requires the definition of the relevant question, an outline of the knowledge or skills that must be mastered to address the problem, and acquisition of information or data that informs decision making. In order for a topic to qualify for course credit, the topic requires practice and guidance by a mentor and knowledge and skills that go beyond the scope of the entry-level content.

PT 899 Clinical Decision Making (2 credits)
This course is designed to help students determine the role of clinical databases and relevant literature in clinical decision making. The content for this course is introduced in the semester preceding the final clinical education experience. Data, without patient or clinic identifiers, is collected from a sequential series of patients during the final clinical education experience and collated with the work of other students. Students compare the plan of care, i.e., examination, evaluation, prognosis, and intervention, and clinical outcomes for data collected to the aggregated student data and to current literature and discuss differences. Students not enrolled in PT 869a, c, or d will orally present the collated data, results, and reflection.

Clinical Experience

Each student must successfully complete 34 weeks of full-time clinical experience before graduation and a part-time experience equivalent to one week of clinic time. The full-time clinical experience consists of eight weeks in an inpatient or outpatient setting in the second fall of the program after completion of the first didactic year. Upon completion of the second academic year, students begin their culminating clinical experience, referred to as an internship. This final clinical assignment, which lasts for 26 weeks, is a hybrid between traditional clinical education and the residency model of clinical training that is rich in mentoring and structured learning experiences to facilitate accelerated learning. Clinics affiliated with this program are among a select group with strong relationships to Arcadia’s program and the patient-centered curriculum. These facilities are primarily in southeastern Pennsylvania and offer a wide variety of experiences designed to foster clinical decision-making skills necessary for physical therapists in today’s healthcare environment.

Additional Requirements

Increasingly, clinical sites have additional requirements including but not limited to criminal background checks, child abuse clearances, and drug screens. It is likely that a student will be required to submit to these tests and may be financially responsible for these in order to fulfill the clinical education portion of the curriculum. An applicant with a felony or misdemeanor conviction or a student who does not pass a required screening may not be able to fulfill requirements for graduation and/or be licensed as a physical therapist.

Students are responsible for the additional costs of travel and housing associated with all their clinical experiences.

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