Mar 17, 2018  
2014-2015 Graduate Studies Catalog 
2014-2015 Graduate Studies Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Therapy, DPT

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The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is a graduate level full-time program with no option for part-time study. Qualified DPT applicants will have earned a baccalaureate degree, completed all of the required prerequisites, and met the academic and professional behavior standards set forth by the Department of Physical Therapy and The University of Scranton. The Mission of the Physical Therapy Department states: In concert with the Catholic and Jesuit mission of the University of Scranton, the Department of Physical Therapy aspires to graduate knowledgeable, service-oriented, self-assured, adaptable, reflective physical therapists who are competent and sensitive to individual diversity. The Department of Physical Therapy promotes the quest for excellence and knowledge along with a commitment for life-long learning. Graduates are expected to render independent judgments that are ethical and based on the best clinical practices and scientific evidence currently available. The Department fosters a spirit of caring for the whole person and strives to prepare its graduates for service to others.

Completion of the program requires three complete years comprised of six semesters and three summer sessions. Following completion of all prerequisites and acceptance into the DPT program, the course work begins in late May with Anatomy for PT. Core components of the program are, by and large, performed by students in area hospitals and health care facilities.  These hospitals and health care facilities all require immunizations.  The four, eight week clinical internships occur during the second and third summer sessions and the entire final semester of the program. Students will be required to submit a criminal background check and child abuse clearance prior to the first clinical internship in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Clinical internship sites are primarily located in the Middle Atlantic and Northeast regions of the United States, but the department also maintains clinical internship contracts throughout the country. Local sites require that students meet the following requirements in order to participate in clinical education experiences: physical exam within the past year, Hepatitis B series of vaccinations, 2 step PPD, current Tdap and influenza vaccinations, MMR vaccination x 2, rubella, rubeola, mumps and varicella titer, and 10 panel drug screen. These requirements are subject to change; affiliating organizations continue to develop more stringent requirements or time frames.  In addition, the affiliating organization may refuse placement of a student based on failure to meet its requirements.

All contacts with clinical sites are to be handled exclusively by the Director of Clinical Education (DCE). Interference with clinical internship assignments may jeopardize normal progression through the curriculum and may result in a delay of one year beyond anticipated graduation date.


The DPT curriculum is 111 credits and progresses from basic science courses to clinical application and addresses the practice of physical therapy in all settings throughout the lifespan. Clinical internships account for 24 credits and 32 weeks. Safety, ethics and evidence-based practice are common themes which reoccur throughout the curriculum. All DPT courses must be completed in the prescribed sequence, which can be found in the DPT student handbook and the department website. Students will receive a copy of the handbook at the beginning of the first summer session. Students who do not achieve a grade of C or better (C- is not an acceptable grade) at the first enrollment in PT 700 Anatomy for PT are dismissed from the DPT program.  For all other courses in the DPT curriculum, students who do not receive a grade of C or better (C- is not an acceptable grade) will be placed on academic probation and will not be allowed to progress through the curriculum.  Students on academic probation will be allowed to continue in the program only at the discretion of faculty, and only on a space-available basis. If allowed to continue, probationary students must wait until the following year.  They must successfully repeat the course (i.e. earn a grade of C or better) with the next cohort of DPT students in order to remove academic probation and progress through the program. If a student is placed on academic probation more than once, the student may be dismissed from the program.  Students who interrupt normal progression through the curriculum for any reason will be required to successfully retake the final written examination and all skills check-offs and practicum examinations in clinically-based courses previously completed successfully.

Admission Requirements

The Department of Physical Therapy offers multiple pathways for admission into the DPT program. Admission is competitive and limited.  Late applications will be reviewed on a space available basis. Students approved for admission will have until February 1 to confirm their intent to enroll by making a $500.00 deposit which will be applied to summer tuition.

DPT Guaranteed Admission

A select group of incoming freshman who indicate an interest in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program on their applications for admission will be offered “guaranteed admission” as they enter The University of Scranton. Guaranteed admission is based on the overall strength of the student’s application. Students who receive guaranteed admission must  complete all prerequisite courses with a grade of C or better (a C- is not an acceptable grade), carry an overall GPA of 3.20 or higher, a science GPA of 3.00 or higher (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) as calculated by the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS), and complete the required clinical observation hours as outlined below. They will be expected to confirm their intention annually and must apply to the DPT Program by November 1 of their senior year by completing a College of Graduate and Continuing Education application using PTCAS for admission.  Waiver and/or partial waiver of policy regarding acceptance into the DPT Program requires approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate and Continuing Education. Regardless of the applicant’s undergraduate academic performance, unprofessional behavior may be grounds for cancellation of guaranteed admission.

Students who completed the baccalaureate degree at The University of Scranton and were not guaranteed admission into the DPT or students who complete their baccalaureate degree at another institution may seek regular admission into the DPT program by completing and submitting a College of Graduate and Continuing Education application for admission using PTCAS.  These students will be held to the same standards as those in the previous category and will be limited by the available space in the program for a particular year. The application deadline is February 1.

Undergraduate Majors for the DPT

There is no undergraduate major in Physical Therapy. Students may select from a variety of undergraduate majors as long as they successfully complete all the prerequisites and meet the minimum grading and GPA standards. Majors such as exercise science, and other sciences generally meet the prerequisites. Regardless of major, students, with the help of their academic advisors, will need to plan carefully the selection of general education core requirements and electives in order to meet the prerequisites in a way that does not significantly add to their credit load.


A. Prerequisite Courses must be completed with a grade of C or better (a C- is not an acceptable grade).  In order to remain eligible for admission into the DPT program students must repeat any deficient prerequisite course until a grade of C or better is attained.  To be eligible for admission to the DPT program, applicants must have an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.20 or higher, and a science GPA of 3.00 or higher (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) as calculated by the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS).

* Biology with labs: (General Biology or Human Anatomy/Physiology) 2 courses, 8 credits minimum
* General Chemistry with labs: 2 courses, 8 credits minimum
* General Physics with labs: 2 courses, 8 credits minimum
* Mammalian/Human Physiology: 1 course, 3 credits minimum
General Psychology: 1 course, 3 credits minimum
Advanced Psychology (Childhood, Adolescence, Aging or Abnormal Psychology): 1 course, 3 credits minimum
Statistics: 1 course, 3 credits minimum
Mathematics (at the level of Trigonometry or higher): 1 course, 3 credits minimum

*Must be taken at The University of Scranton unless the undergraduate degree was earned at another institution.

B. Observation Hours

Applicants with baccalaureate degrees from either the University of Scranton or other institutions must submit documentation and verification of 60 hours of physical therapy patient contact experience by the time the application to the DPT program is submitted.  All experiences must be supervised by a licensed physical therapist.  Experiences must be in at least two distinctly different settings and must be a minimum of 20 hours each.  Documentation and verification must be submitted through the PTCAS application process.

C. Students will be required to complete a Criminal Background Check, Child Abuse clearance and/or the FBI Fingerprint clearance prior to internships; and other clearances as requested by specific clinical sites.

Essential functions required of all Physical Therapy students:

  1. Utilize effective and appropriate verbal, nonverbal, and written communication with patients, families, health care workers, and others.
  2. Complete appropriate physical therapy procedures used to assess the function of the movement system in a timely manner. These include, but are not limited to, the assessment of cognitive/mental status, vital signs, pulmonary function, wound status, strength endurance, segmental length, girth and volume, sensation, strength, tone, reflexes, movement patterns, coordination, balance, developmental stage, soft tissue, joint motion/play, pain, cranial and peripheral nerve function, posture, gait, functional abilities and assistive device fit/use.
  3. Determine the physical therapy needs of any patient with perceived or potential movement dysfunction.
  4. Develop and document a plan of care for all types of patients requiring physical therapy services.
  5. Recognize the psychosocial impact of dysfunction and disability and integrate the needs of the patient and family into the plan of care.
  6. Complete treatment procedures that are appropriate to the patient’s status and desired goals in a timely manner. These include, but are not limited to, exercise, developmental activities, balance training, gait training, transfer training, functional training, coordination training, positioning techniques, self-care activities, therapeutic modalities, and CPR.
  7. Apply “Standard Precautions”.
  8. Participate in the process of scientific inquiry.
  9. Apply teaching/learning theories and methods in varied health care and community environments.
  10. Complete (with reasonable accommodations as needed) consultative activities in professional and lay communities.
  11. Obtain and maintain certification in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Community First Aid and Safety.
  12. Participate in all laboratory experiences, which includes serving as patient-demonstrator, for fellow students and instructors.


DPT Curriculum

Third Year

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