An Integral Part of Our Evolving Healthcare System
Physical therapy continues as an integral part of America’s evolving healthcare system, and practitioners can have a satisfying career helping people, from newborn to elderly, function at their optimum ability. Physical therapists work to prevent or overcome the effects of disease or injury for clients in a range of vibrant environments, including acute care hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient centers, individual homes, skilled nursing facilities, public school systems, and private practice. Physical therapists also work as educators, researchers, and consultants.
Innovative Patient-Centered Curriculum
In Arcadia's innovative patient-centered curriculum, students learn to integrate and apply clinical, behavioral, and basic science knowledge. Time spent in lectures and labs is structured to nurture students’ critical thinking skills and help them absorb the full depth of knowledge for evaluating, treating, and instructing clients.
Aligned for Excellence
The Arcadia University physical therapy program adheres to the standards set by The American Physical Therapy Association. Additionally, the APTA set a vision shared by Arcadia that, by 2020: physical therapy will be provided by physical therapists who are doctors of physical therapy; that consumers will have direct access to physical therapists in all environments; that physical therapists will be practitioners of choice in clients’ health networks; and, that physical therapists and their assistants will maintain active responsibility for the health of the people they serve, as well as the growth and respect of the physical therapy profession. Arcadia’s entry-level program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.
Opportunity, Far and Wide
Arcadia University believes that to understand the world students should experience the world, and has become a recognized leader in global education, providing interested students with international opportunities to experience the world as medical professionals. Arcadia's D.P.T. students have options for clinical education across the United States, in England, or the chance to join a service project in Jamaica, Peru or Guatemala.
Prepared, Employed Graduates
With the combined classroom and experiential learning offered throughout the program, Arcadia graduates surpass the national average for passing the licensure examination on the first attempt, and have done so since the program's inception. So admired is Arcadia’s program and its licensing exam record that U.S. News and World Report ranks it 14th of 210 accredited graduate physical therapy programs, and many graduates are offered their first professional physical therapy job from the connections they made during their clinical experiences.
The Physical Therapy Department has developed a set of Essential Functions in order to achieve the goals set forth in the Physical Therapy program’s mission statement: the preparation of physical therapists to excel in evidence-based practice and become effective, compassionate practitioners. All students must have the physical and mental capacity, with or without reasonable accommodations, to independently meet all of these criteria, which apply in the classroom, lab, community, and clinical settings as part of the physical therapy program. View criteria.
Enrolled Student Profile
DPT Class — Enrolled Fall 2014
Total number of applications: 666
Total number enrolled: 60
Average Overall GPA: 3.62 (range 3.2-4.0)*
Average Prerequisite GPA: 3.55 (range: 3.2-4.0)**
Average GRE (new): 155 Verbal, 310 combined-verbal + quantitative, 4.4 Analytical Writing
* Approximately 98% of admitted students have Overall GPAs that fall within this range.
**Approximately 93% of admitted students have Prerequisite GPAs that fall within this range.
The Physical Therapy Department has developed a set of Essential Functions in order to achieve the goals set forth in the Physical Therapy program’s mission statement: the preparation of physical therapists to excel in evidence-based practice and become effective, compassionate practitioners.
Students must meet the following requirements, earning 111 credits:
A minimum of 79 weeks of classroom work.
A minimum of 34 weeks of full-time clinical study.
An overall minimum GPA of 2.70 maintained throughout the program. A grade below “C” is not acceptable toward the degree.
Continuous enrollment. If extenuating circumstances make additional time necessary, approval to continue beyond the expected 2 1/2 years must be obtained from the Department Chair and the Physical Therapy Review Committee. Students who withdraw for reasons other than academic or clinical performance may re-apply for admission. Departmental approval is necessary for re-admission.
Course of Study
Fall (18 credits)
PT 605 Introduction and Exposure to Physical Therapist Practice (4 credits)
PT 615 Physical Therapy Examination/Evaluation Skills I (2 credits)
PT 625 Physical Therapy Intervention Skills I (4 credits)
PT 645 Physical Therapy Integrative Care and Practice I (3 credits)
PT 675 Biomedical Foundation Sciences I (5 credits)
Spring (22 credits)
PT 616 Physical Therapy Examination/Evaluation Skills II (4 credits)
PT 626 Physical Therapy Intervention Skills II (5 credits)
PT 636 Exposure to Physical Therapy in a Health Care System (1 credit)
PT 646 Physical Therapy Integrative Care and Practice II (4 credits)
PT 676 Biomedical Foundation Sciences II (8 credits)
Summer (17 credits)
PT 717 Physical Therapy Examination/Evaluation Skills III (2 credits)
PT 727 Physical Therapy Intervention Skills III (2 credits)
PT 747 Physical Therapy Integrative Care and Practice III (4 credits)
PT 777 Biomedical Foundation Sciences III (9 credits)
Fall (12 credits)
PT 718 Physical Therapy Examination/Evaluation Skills IV (2 credits)
PT 728 Physical Therapy Intervention Skills IV (2 credits)
PT 738 Clinical Education Experience I (8 weeks) (4 credits)
PT 748 Physical Therapy Integrative Care and Practice IV (2 credits)
PT 778 Biomedical Foundation Sciences IV (2 credits)
Spring (22 credits)
PT 819 Physical Therapy Examination/Evaluation Skills V (6 credits)
PT 829 Physical Therapy Intervention Skills V (6 credits)
PT 849 Physical Therapy Integrative Care and Practice V (4 credits)
PT 879 Biomedical Foundation Sciences V (6 credits)
Summer (6 credits)
PT 860 Clinical Education Experience II (3 months) (6 credits)
Fall (6 credits)
PT 870 Clinical Education Experience III (3 months) (6 credits)
Spring, ending in February (8 credits)
PT 805 Physical Therapist Practice II (4 credits)
PT 869 Independent Study (2 credits)
PT 899 Clinincal Decision Making (2 credits)
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, and a 26-week full-time clinical internship after the completion of the second academic year.
A student accepted into the Physical Therapy program is expected to abide by the regulations set forth by Arcadia University and the written policies of the Physical Therapy program. For a discussion of the general academic policies and procedures for graduate students, see Graduate Academic Policies and the Arcadia University Student Handbook. The policies of the Physical Therapy program are published in the Physical Therapy Policies and Procedures Student Handbook, revised annually.
To remain in good academic standing, students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.7 in each semester. If a student receives less than a 2.7 for a semester, the student will be placed on probation. Failure to improve the grade point average in the subsequent semester will result in dismissal from the program.
Innovative Patient-Centered Curriculum
The ultimate goal of the program is to graduate the next generation of clinicians who are solidly grounded in the fundamentals of physical therapy and competent in critical thinking and problem-solving.
Critical thinking and the use of evidence for making clinical decisions is emphasized throughout the curriculum. Relevant literature is considered in each unit with the goal being graduates who use current evidence in their practice of physical therapy. Students also write case reports based on patients they have treated in each of their clinical affiliations. The culminating event for the program is the presentation of a poster reporting the case report results or a platform presentation by those students who have participated in a research project.
The curriculum is organized into 21 patient-based units that integrate knowledge from every practice area of physical therapy. The curricular content addresses aspects of injury prevention, recovery, and rehabilitation. Students learn to apply the principles of physical therapy practice to all patient populations and conditions: from the young child to the older adult, from fractures to traumatic brain injury. Each unit is designed so that students can immediately apply the material to the patient case central to each unit, allowing them to develop their skills continuously as they advance through the program.
Doctor of Physical Therapy students embark upon an amazing journey of both personal and professional growth when they begin their clinical education. These experiences are interspersed throughout the program and are key in applying the knowledge obtained in the classroom to real patients under the direct supervision and mentoring of a licensed physical therapist in a clinical setting. In collaboration with the DCE, students are evaluated by their Clinical Instructor on their professional knowledge, skills and attitudes. Students will learn and work with physical therapist/mentors and patients/clients in:
major medical centers
community-based health centers
rehabilitation hospitals and agencies
The program includes a part-time clinical experience in the first year and 34 weeks of full-time clinical education. Arcadia has developed more than 250 clinical relationships with a wide variety of top-flight local, regional, national and international facilities. The majority of sites are in the mid-Atlantic region. Many students are offered their first jobs through the relationships they develop during these experiences.
Part-Time Clinical Experience
Students observe and assist the physical therapists in the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Mercy Health System, and the MossRehab system half days for a total of 10 visits over the first year. The experience consists of alternating weeks in the clinic with weeks of small group explorational reflection on campus. The primary purposes of this initial experience are to introduce students to physical therapist practice in both inpatient and outpatient settings, to mentor students in professional behaviors, and to integrate classroom knowledge and clinical experience.
Full-time Clinical Experiences
Full-time clinical education begins in the fall of Year 2, with an 8-week clinical education experience. Students are responsible for the additional costs of travel and housing associated with their clinical experiences. Through these weeks, students develop into professionals and can begin to deliver effective physical therapy services. Clinical assignments are made in consultation with the DCE and clinical facilities for a placement that is ideally suited to the strengths and interests of the student.
Upon completion of the second academic year, students will begin their culminating clinical experience. 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 our program and the patient-centered curriculum.
Clinical Education Abroad
Second-year D.P.T. students can take advantage of the opportunity to spend the first eight weeks of the final clinical experience in London. The application process begins in the preceding summer, and physical therapy opportunities may be sought in amputee rehabilitation and acute care settings. Expenses above and beyond the normal semester tuition exist. Interested students need to contact Susan S. Tomlinson, Director of Clinical Education, well in advance to initiate the process, as these spots are not always available. This experience is coordinated between the Physical Therapy Department and Arcadia’s The College of Global Studies.
Learning and Serving Close to Campus and Around the World
Local Experiential Learning
Arcadia University’s physical therapy students are regularly welcomed at West Oak Lane, an urban senior center day program, and The Foulkeways, a continuing care retirement community, where they work with seniors who want to stay fit. With faculty oversight and in coordination with the facilities’ fitness directors, this experiential learning augments their academic and clinical preparation for physical therapist practice. Because patient/client education is central to clinical practice, students also work in groups to design and present health and wellness educational programs to various support groups.
All D.P.T. students are required to participate in two local experiential learning programs during their first year. In the second year of the curriculum, all students participate for six weeks in the Dan Aaron Stay Fit Program for individuals who have either Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis. Students also rotate through the Mercy Clinic in West Philadelphia where physical therapy services are provided pro bono as part of a comprehensive treatment program to clients who have impairments, functional limitations or changes in function and health.
The combination of these experiences broadens students’ understanding of health, wellness, fitness, and physical therapist practice, and provides opportunities to refine their clinical skills while meeting people from different cultural backgrounds.
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Faculty members work with students to research, plan, and conduct presentations on the benefits of exercise to chronic disease support groups and clinicians in the greater Philadelphia area. Students have presented on a variety of topics, including: juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer, fibromyalgia, end-stage renal disease, and childhood fitness.
International Service Learning
An example of Arcadia’s successful efforts to prepare students for life in our global society is that of a program run by Arcadia University graduate, Jodee Fortner, ’99. Fortner lives in Arequipa, Peru, and regularly hosts teams of physical therapists, Arcadia students and volunteers who provide services and equipment for children with disabilities. The two-week project is in collaboration with Medical Ministry International, and includes educational sessions for the pediatric patient’s families and caregivers.
All Arcadia entry-level D.P.T. students have opportunities to experience the world as developing health professionals. These planned, accompanied trips vary from one to six weeks and occur after completion of the second academic year.
Additional international experiential learning sites include St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica, where Dr. Brooke Riley, Arcadia ’04, runs the local clinic that provides predominantly out-patient services and home visits to people with neuromuscular diagnosis such as stroke. Students going to Guatemala spend two weeks in Zacapa providing physical therapy services for adults and children with musculoskeletal and neuromuscular diagnoses, working with prostheses patients, and participating in evaluations and treatments for clients in adult day care, community, and home settings.
Our full-time faculty members include three nationally recognized FAPTA members, multiple textbook authors, several who hold editorial board positions of leading national journals, and officers of various APTA specialty sections. Many have received prestigious teaching awards and all have active research including eight currently funded projects from various sources including NIH, Orthopaedic section, Sports section.
All faculty are licensed medical professionals in addition to their other credentials. All have significant clinical experience from a wide variety of practice settings and patient populations. Seven members of the full-time faculty have served as directors of physical therapy services or as owners in private practice.
Facilities & Technology
Our department facilities are located in the Health Sciences Center, on our campus in Glenside, Pennsylvania. The Center consists of modern teaching labs, seminar rooms, research labs, student lounge, faculty/staff offices and a clinical practice operated by the University of Pennsylvania Health System. Lectures are held throughout the campus.
The D.P.T. curriculum includes a variety of patient simulation experiences using standardized patients or state of the art human simulators. We partner with the Penn Medicine Simulation Center to provide these opportunities.
Our department research laboratories include muscle performance testing systems, computer-driven gait analysis mats, an exercise capacity testing system, balance testing system, a three-dimensional computerized motion analysis system and electromyographic (EMG) equipment.