Master of Public Health/Physical Therapy
What the Program Offers You
With dual degrees, students gain knowledge in two fields as they prepare for their professional careers.
Dual degree candidates must be accepted into each of the programs in order to pursue the dual degree: Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Master of Public Health (MPH). The MPH-DPT is a joint degree consisting of both the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees. Physical therapy practice has traditionally been seen as rehabilitation or tertiary prevention. In the evolving healthcare environment, physical therapy practice is expanding into primary and secondary prevention activities as well. As physical therapists’ roles, and responsibilities have increased, so have their educational horizons. The combined MPH-DPT degree will enable future physical therapists to become leaders in health promotion and health policy, and impact healthcare in innovative ways both domestically and internationally.
The MPH degree extends clinical practice by incorporating broader knowledge and action related to preventing disease and disability, and improving individual and population-level outcomes. Public health is centered in achieving health equity and reducing disparities, including understanding and addressing the social and community context of disease, illness, disability and recovery, as well as health promotion and health research.
The Master of Public Health (MPH) has a Community Health Concentration, and is offered through the College of Health Sciences. The MPH degree extends clinical health orientation by incorporating broader knowledge and action related to preventing disease and disability and improving individual and population-level outcomes. Public Health is centered in achieving health equity and reducing disparities, including understanding and addressing the social and community context of disease, illness, disability and recovery, as well as health promotion and health research. Our MPH trains students to work effectively as public health professionals in local and global communities through a wide variety of health-related organizations.
Highlights of the Program
Highlights of our program curricula includes the following:
- Program planning and evaluation
- Healthcare and broader public health policy
- Epidemiology, research methods, and biostatistics
- Public health communication for the community
- Capstone projects that integrate practice and research
- Internships that give students first-hand experience in public health settings
- Domestic and international service projects and internship opportunities
- Interprofessional education experiences
- Four dual-degree programs: Physician Assistant; International Peace and Conflict Resolution; Physical Therapy; and Counseling.
The MPH program educates future community public health professionals to promote the health of individuals, families, communities, and the environment. This is accomplished through a program that integrates education, research, and practice in a globally-minded environment. Our goal is that our students::
- Understand community public health and develop the skills needed to succeed in a public health career.
- Are engaged in an academic, applied environment that integrates community public health education with research and practice.
- Recognize the connection between health status and human rights and act to improve outcomes.
- Translate knowledge into practice through collaborative service projects and internships, both domestically and internationally with community-based organizations, health facilities, government organizations, and local health departments.
- Employ scientific investigation to advance public health knowledge of the relationship between health and the structural environment within which individuals live and work.
Our program allows for broad interests in public health but we also encourage students to focus their coursework on a specific area of interest, choose an Internship experience that emphasizes their individualized interests, and plan a Capstone project focused in the same area. In this way, each student can develop a specialized knowledge base about public health issues related to his or her specific area of interest.
Our dual-degree programs train health professionals in the core areas of community-based public health. The application of the public health skill set added to the skills learned within the clinical and behavioral primary degree instills a public health perspective to blend and build an interdisciplinary career.
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.
Total Number of Credits
(152 credits; 110 credits for the D.P.T. program and 42 credits for the M.P.H. program. Six total shared credits (3 for MPH and 3 for PT)
Year 1 – MPH Program
Summer (12 credits total, 3 credits each)
- PBH 501 Achieving Health Equity: From Individuals to Systems
- PBH 530 History, Theories and Core Functions of Public Health
- PBH 600 Introduction to Epidemiology
- PBH 620 Introduction to Biostatistics
Fall (15 credits total, 3 credits each unless noted)
- PBH 510 Health Care Systems and Public Health Policy: An Integrated Approach to Population Health
- PBH 565 Effective Communication Strategies for Public Health Impact
- PBH 630 Program Planning and Evaluation
- PBH 640 Research Methods and Design for Health Professionals
- PBH 689.1 Public Health Internship Planning (0 credits)
- PBH 695 Capstone Research Project Seminar I
Spring (12 credits total, 3 credits each)
- PBH 560 Environmental Health: Impact of Community Health
- PBH 645 Developing Leadership and Practice Skills for Program Evaluation
- PBH 689.2 Public Health Internship
- PBH 696 Capstone Research Project Seminar II
Fall Year 2 DPT Program begins (22.5 credits)
- PT 607 Intro to PT Theory & Practice 2 credits
- PT 658A Exposure to PT in a Health Care System I .5 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
Spring Year 2 (23.5 credits)
- PT 658B Exposure to PT in a Health Care System .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
Summer Year 2 (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 Year 3 (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 Year 3 (22 credits)
- PT 787 Experiential Learning 1 credit
- PT 824 Management Leadership Principles in a PT Setting 3 credits
- PT 835 Enhancing Activity & Participation 5 credits
- PT 846 Health Promotion 2 credits
- PT 858 Clinical Education Experience II 6 credits
- PT 862 Movement System: Advanced Analysis & Intervention II 5 credits
Summer Year 3 (6 credits)
- PT 859 Clinical Education Experience III 6 credits
Students must choose one of the following in order to fulfill the DPT program's capstone requirement. An second selection may be made as an additional elective if the student desires.
- PT 887A Independent Study- Research 2 credits, elective course in year 3 summer
- PT 887B Independent Study- International Pro Bono Experiences 2 credits, elective course in summer year 3
- PT887c Independent Study-Clinical Case Capstone, 2 credits, elective course in summer year 3
Notes on Curriculum
PBH 696 (3 credits) will be counted toward PT887a (Research) (2 credits)
PT824 Management Leadership Principles in a PT Setting (3 credits) will be counted toward MPH elective (3 credits)