Jun 09, 2023  
Graduate Studies Catalog 2017-2018 
Graduate Studies Catalog 2017-2018 [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.  The four, eight week clinical internships occur during the second and third summer sessions and the entire final semester of the 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. All contacts with clinical sites are to be handled exclusively by the PT Department. 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.

Clearances and Immunizations

Students will be required to submit a criminal background check, FBI fingerprint clearance and child abuse clearance prior to the first clinical internship in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. All 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. All students must be immunized in order to complete the DPT curriculum.  Clinical site 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.


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.

Academic Progress

  • A DPT student who earns less than a C (a C- is not acceptable) in a DPT course will be dismissed from the program. The student may reapply to the program for the subsequent year, but there is no guarantee of readmission.
  • A DPT student whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.00 will be placed on academic probation.
  • A DPT student must earn a 3.00 cumulative GPA or higher in order to enroll in internships. A DPT student who does not earn a 3.00 cumulative GPA prior to an internship semester will be dismissed from the program. The student may reapply to the program, but there is no guarantee of readmission.
  • 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 have completed 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, and a science GPA of 3.00 or higher (Anatomy & Physiology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics) as calculated by the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS), and complete the required clinical observation hours as outlined below by the date of the application through PTCAS. They will be expected to confirm their intention annually and must apply to the DPT Program by September 15 of their senior year by completing the application using PTCAS for admission.  No updates/corrections to GPA will be considered after December 31 of their senior year.  Waiver and/or partial waiver of policy regarding acceptance into the DPT Program requires approval of the Dean of the Panuska College of Professional Studies. Regardless of the applicant’s undergraduate academic performance, unprofessional behavior may be grounds for cancellation of guaranteed admission.

Regular Admission

Students who completed the baccalaureate degree at The University of Scranton but were not guaranteed admission into the DPT and students who complete their baccalaureate degree at another institution may seek regular admission into the DPT program by completing and submitting an application for admission using PTCAS.  These students will be held to the same standards as those in the previous category. Admission 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, such as pre-calculus or calculus): 1 course, 3 credits minimum

*NOTE: Science and mathematics prerequisite courses must be taken at the University of Scranton if the undergraduate degree is earned at the University of Scranton. Exceptions may be approved in special cases but the courses must be taken at another four-year college with the approval of the department chair of the respective department.

B. Observation Hours

Applicants 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.

Essential functions required of all Physical Therapy students:

These are the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor skills deemed essential to complete the DPT Program at the University of Scranton and to perform as a generalist physical therapist in a competent and safe manner. For continued progression and completion of the physical therapy curriculum, a student must be able to possess or perform the identified essential functions with or without reasonable accommodation.

If a student needs assistance to demonstrate the following skills and abilities, it is the responsibility of the student to request reasonable accommodation through the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE). The University and the Physical Therapy Department will provide reasonable accommodation as long as it does not fundamentally alter the nature of the program offered.

A. Cognitive/Critical Thinking Skills

The student must be able to (with or without accommodations):

  1. Master relevant content in all coursework at a level deemed appropriate by the PT profession.
  2. Receive, remember, analyze, interpret, evaluate, and synthesize information from multiple sources, in a timely fashion.
  3. Attend to multiple tasks throughout the day of scheduled classes and clinical internships.
  4. Organize and prioritize information in the academic setting and possess critical thinking abilities sufficient for making sound judgments in the classroom and clinical settings.
  5. Organize and prioritize information to make safe, appropriate, and timely decisions regarding patients for the purpose of further examination, intervention, or referral.
  6. Problem solve, recognize deviations from a norm, formulate evaluations, and derive clinical judgments from information collected, in a timely fashion.
  7. Observe and accurately interpret patient responses and adjust examination and/or intervention(s) as indicated by the patient response, in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings.

B. Psychomotor Skills

The student must be able to (with or without accommodations):

1. Possess adequate strength, dexterity, balance, and sensation to accurately carry out physical activities including:

a. variety of patient examinations and interventions including (but not limited to): palpation, auscultation, joint mobilizations, patient transfers, ambulation training.

b. safely guard patients with limited mobility or unsafe balance responses.

c. provide safe, reliable, efficient emergency care

2. Maintain the stamina to perform satisfactorily in clinical physical therapy settings throughout four internships which involve a minimum of 8 weeks of full time (40 hours/week) patient care that occur during predetermined dates.

3. Competently perform and/or supervise cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

4. Physically ensure the safety of themselves and patients at all times.

C. Affective/ Emotional Skills

The student must possess/demonstrate the following affective skills (with or withoutaccommodations):

  1. Appropriate affective behaviors and mental attitudes to avoid jeopardizing the emotional, mental, and behavioral safety of any individual with whom one interacts in the academic or clinical setting.
  2. Act in compliance with the ethical standards outlined by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
  3. Exhibit personal attributes of accountability, altruism, compassion/caring, excellence, integrity, professional duty, and social responsibility as well as cultural competence as outlined by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Core Values.
  4. Demonstrate the emotional health and mental stability necessary to fully apply and use their intellectual abilities in all aspects of the physical therapy curriculum.
  5. Interact with others in a respectful and responsible manner during all interactions, academic and clinical, remembering that one represents the name of the University of Scranton.
  6. Acknowledge and respect individual values and opinions to foster professional working relationships with colleagues, peers, and patients/clients.

D. Communication

The student must be able to (with or without accommodations):

  1. Communicate verbally and nonverbally in an effective and sensitive manner, at acompetency level that allows one to safely carry out the essential functions of physicaltherapy care.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to see, speak, hear, read, write effectively in appropriate language, and utilize technology effectively.
  3. Communicate effectively with instructors, fellow students, patients andfamily/caregivers, physicians, and other members of the healthcare team verbally, nonverbally, and in written formats.

DPT Curriculum

Third Year

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