May 19, 2024  
Graduate Studies Catalog 2011-2012 
Graduate Studies Catalog 2011-2012 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Therapy, D.P.T.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Physical Therapy


The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is a graduate level program. 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 to complete. Following completion of all prerequisites and acceptance into the DPT program, the course work begins in late May with Anatomy for PT. The four eight week clinical  internships occur during the second and third summer sessions and the entire final semester of the program. 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.


The DPT curriculum is 111 credits and progresses from basic science courses to clinical application and addresses the practice of Physical Therapy in all practice 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. Students will be given the handbook at the beginning of the first summer session. Additionally, it can also be found on the department web page. The DPT program is a full-time program with no option for part-time study. Students who do not receive a grade of C or better in any PT course will be placed on academic probation and will not be allowed to progress through the curriculum. Therefore a student who receives any grade below C must wait until the following year and successfully repeat the course with the next cohort of DPT students in order to progress through the program. If a student is placed on academic probation more than once, the student may be dismissed from the program.

Admission Requirements

The Department of Physical Therapy offers multiple pathways for admission into the DPT program. Admission into the Doctor of Physical Therapy program is competitive and limited to 40 qualified applicants each year. Late applications will be reviewed on a space available basis. Students approved for admission will have 60 days from date of offer 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, carry an overall GPA of 3.2 or higher, a science GPA of 3.0 or higher (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) as calculated by the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS), and complete the required clinical observations as outlined by the Physical Therapy Department. They will be expected to confirm their intention annually and must apply by November 1 of their senior year by completing a College of Graduate and Continuing Education application using PTCAS for admission.  Final acceptance into the DPT program requires approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate and Continuing Education. Regardless of the student’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 or 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 January 31.

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 betterIn order to remain eligible for admission into the DPT program at students must repeat any prerequisite until a grade of C or better is attained.

* 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.

B. Observation Hours

Students with baccalaureate degrees from either the University of Scranton or other institutions should submit documented evidence of a minimum of 60 hours of observation time in at least two distinctly different Physical Therapy settings at the time of their application to the DPT program. Applicants should contact the Physical Therapy Department Chair or Director of Clinical Education for the appropriate form and guidelines as to the type of facilities that are appropriate to meet this requirement. (The form is available at the Department of Physical Therapy website.)

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.


Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Physical Therapy