Current Requirements for the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program
Students in the on-campus DPT program and Arcadia DPT Online (our hybrid option) must meet the following requirements, to obtain their degree, earning 112 credits:
- Satisfactory completion of 6 semesters of classroom work.
- Satisfactory completion 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 scheduled duration of the program 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.
About the Program
Arcadia’s entry-level program runs over approximately a two-year period. The program is now offered through two different pathways - the residential program is composed entirely of on-campus learning experiences, while the hybrid pathway is composed of a combination of online and on-campus learning experiences. The Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum is designed to create practitioners as specified in the American Physical Therapy Association Vision Statement for Physical Therapy 2020, who are doctors of physical therapy and who may be board-certified specialists.
Arcadia University is recognized as a leader in global education and provides interested students with international opportunities to study. Arcadia believes that to understand the world, students should experience it—and that can mean leaving the campus for a time. Whether it is for clinical education in England or California or a service trip to Jamaica, Arcadia’s D.P.T. students have several opportunities to experience the world as health care professionals.
Physical therapy is a healthcare profession whose practitioners evaluate, treat and instruct individuals in order to prevent or overcome the effects of disease or injury. Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including acute care hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient centers, individual homes, skilled nursing facilities and the public school system. Patients of all ages, from newborn to elderly, may be encountered. Physical therapists also work as educators, researchers and consultants. Physical therapy is an integral part of today’s changing healthcare system. Practitioners serve in a range of capacities—they may be a patient’s entry point into the health-care system as they conduct appropriate screening and examination techniques and make professional assessments. Clinical practice is based on theory and/or evidence.
Physical therapy is a profession that offers a lifetime of satisfaction in helping people to function more effectively. Each patient presents a new challenge, and the constantly changing clinical situations provide for a stimulating and exciting career.
The entry-level DPT program at Arcadia University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703- 706-3245; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit the CAPTE website.
Physical Therapy Academic Policies and Procedures
- The requirements for passing an individual course are as follows:
- Cumulative score of at least 70% on the written exam components of the course
- If a student fails to achieve a cumulative score of at least 70% on the written exams, they may be provided the opportunity to take a remediation exam. Failure to earn at least 70% on the remediation exam will result in failure of the course. Successful remediation of the written exam will result in a final course grade of “C”.
- If a student fails to achieve a cumulative score of 70% on the written exam component of more than one course in the same semester, the student will be dismissed from the program.
- Passing the course practical examination
- If a student fails a course practical exam, they may be provided the opportunity to take up to 2 remediation exams. Failure to pass the second remediation practical exam will result in failure of the course.
- Overall course grade of at least 70% (C).
- Failure to achieve an overall course grade of 70% will result in failure of the course and dismissal from the program.
- The requirements for progressing through the program are as follows:
- Achieving a grade of “C” or better in all courses. Failing a course will result in dismissal from the program.
- Maintaining a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.7. If a student’s grade point average falls below 2.7, they will be placed on academic probation for the following semester. Failure to raise their grade point average to at least 2.7 in the following semester can result in their dismissal from the program.
- Successfully passing the comprehensive practical examination at the end of the first year of the program. If a student fails the comprehensive practical exam, they may be provided the opportunity to take up to 2 remediation exams. Failure to pass the second remediation practical exam will result in dismissal from the program.
- Professionalism, as defined by the APTA, is expected of all students in activities both within and external to the program. Students failing to meet expectations for professionalism will be notified and advised by an appropriate faculty member. Serious or repeated episodes of poor performance may result in a Notice of Deficiency. The intent of this document is to ultimately improve performance by clarifying expectations and defining potential consequences, which may include dismissal from the program.
- A student must be in good standing, both academically and professionally, to progress to full-time clinical education experiences.
- Successful completion of clinical education experiences. A student who fails to meet minimum expectations during a clinical experience will receive a grade of “unsatisfactory” for the clinical education course and will be dismissed from the program. If a student performs in a manner that is unprofessional, unethical, illegal, or unsafe causing a patient’s well-being to be jeopardized, the student may be immediately removed from the clinical setting. In this case, the student will receive a grade of “unsatisfactory” for the clinical education course and will be dismissed from the program.
- Cumulative score of at least 70% on the written exam components of the course
Physical Therapy Essential Functions for Participation
Essential functions are the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective skills necessary for a student to participate in the physical therapy program and become a physical therapist. Below are the “Clinical Performance Criteria for the Physical Therapist Student” as outlined in the “Physical Therapist Clinical Performance Instrument for Students” developed by the American Physical Therapy Association.1 Students must have the physical, mental and emotional capacity, with or without reasonable accommodations, to meet all of the below criteria. These essential functions apply in the classroom, lab, community, and clinical settings as part of the physical therapy program. Independent facilities used for clinical education may or may not be willing or able to provide the same reasonable accommodations provided by the university.
Practices in a safe manner that minimizes the risk to patient, self, and others.
Demonstrates professional behavior in all situations.
Practices in a manner consistent with established legal and professional standards and ethical guidelines.
Communicates in ways that are congruent with situational needs.
Adapts delivery of physical therapy services with consideration for patients’ differences, values, preferences, and needs.
Participates in self-assessment to improve clinical and professional performance.
Applies current knowledge, theory, clinical judgment, and the patient’s values and perspective in patient management.
Determines with each patient encounter the patient’s need for further examination or consultation by a physical therapist or referral to another health care professional.
Performs a physical therapy patient examination using evidenced-based tests and measures.
Evaluates data from the patient examination (history, systems review, and tests and measures) to make clinical judgments.
Determines a diagnosis and prognosis that guides future patient management.
Establishes a physical therapy plan of care that is safe, effective, patient-centered, and evidence-based.
Performs physical therapy interventions in a competent manner.
Educates others (patients, caregivers, staff, students, other health care providers, business and industry representatives, school systems) using relevant and effective teaching methods.
Produces quality documentation in a timely manner to support the delivery of physical therapy services.
Collects and analyzes data from selected outcome measures in a manner that supports accurate analysis of individual patient and group outcomes.
Participates in the financial management (budgeting, billing and reimbursement, time, space, equipment, marketing, public relations) of the physical therapy service consistent with regulatory, legal, and facility guidelines.
Directs and supervises personnel to meet patient’s goals and expected outcomes according to legal standards and ethical guidelines.
Sample behaviors for each of the above performance criteria are available upon request.
1Physical Therapist Clinical Performance Instrument: Version 2006. American Physical Therapy Association: Alexandria, VA; 2008. Adopted 5/7/12
© 2006 American Physical Therapy Association. All rights reserved. Adapted with permission of the American Physical Therapy Association.
Students must meet the following requirements (112 credits):
A minimum of 68 weeks of classroom work. (Courses are listed below.)
A minimum of 32 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 25 months 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.
Fall (22.5 credits)
- PT 607 Intro to PT Theory & Practice 2 credits
- PT 661 Movement System Foundations I: Motion 5 credits
- PT 662 Movement System Foundations II: Force 5 credits
- PT 663 Movement System Foundations III: Energy 5 credits
- PT 664 Movement System Foundations IV: Motor Control 5 credits
- PT 658A Exposure to PT in a Health Care System I .5 credits
Spring (23.5 credits)
- PT 671 Integrated Patient Management I: Acute Musculoskeletal Injury 5 credits
- PT 672 Integrated Patient Management II: Acute Medical Conditions 5 credits
- PT 673 Integrated Patient Management III: Progressive Neurological Conditions 4 credits
- PT 691 Differential Diagnosis & Intervention – Extremity 1 4 credits
- PT 692 Differential Diagnosis & Intervention – Extremity II 5 credits
- PT 658B Exposure to PT in a Health Care System .5 credits
Summer (22 credits)
- PT 737 Clinical Simulation Experiences 3 credits
- PT 761 Movement System: Advanced Analysis & Intervention I 5 credits
- PT 774 Integrated Patient Management IV: Chronic Medical Conditions 4 credits
- PT 793 Differential Diagnosis & Intervention III: Spine I 5 credits
- PT 794 Differential Diagnosis & Intervention IV: Spine II 5 credits
Fall (14 credits)
- PT 758 Clinical Education Experience I 4 credits
- PT 775 Integrated Patient Management V: Non-progression Neurologic Conditions 5 credits
- PT 795 Differential Diagnosis & Intervention V: Pain 5 credits
Spring (22 credits)
- PT 824 Management Leadership Principles in a PT Setting 3 credits
- PT 862 Movement System: Advanced Analysis & Intervention II 5 credits
- PT 835 Enhancing Activity & Participation 5 credits
- PT 846 Health Promotion 2 credits
- PT 787 Experiential Learning 1 credit
- PT 858 Clinical Education Experience II 6 credits
Summer (6 credits)
- PT 859 Clinical Education Experience III 6 credits
- PT887: Independent Study
Students must choose one of the following 3 independent study options listed to fulfill the capstone requirement. Students may also choose an additional independent study option as an elective course.
- PT 887A Independent Study- Research 2 credits
- PT 887B Independent Study- International Pro Bono Experiences 2 credits
- PT 887C Independent Study-Clinical Case Capstone 2 credits
Each student must successfully complete 32 weeks of full-time clinical education experience (CEE) before graduation and an integrated clinical education experience equivalent to one week of clinic time. The full-time CEE 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 24-week full-time terminal CEE that could be in a variety of settings and begins after the completion of the didactic program in the spring of the second year. This experience extends through summer.
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.