Doctor of Physical Therapy

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Mission Statement

  The mission of the entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program at The College of St. Scholastica is committed to the education of generalist practitioners of physical therapy who are prepared to meet the health care needs of society, including rural communities and underserved populations, through practice, education, and administration. As autonomous practitioners or members of multi-disciplinary teams, program graduates are recognized as leaders in the provision of evidence based practice that is compassionate, ethical, and legal. Program graduates adapt to and implement change that benefits their community and the profession.

General Information

Students must apply for entry into the professional program through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application System (PTCAS). They must successfully complete 108 graduate credits to be awarded the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. Students who graduate from the program are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination for licensure which is required in all states to work as a physical therapist.

Accreditation

The Entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at The College of St. Scholastics is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website:http://www.capteonline.org.

Program Description

The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program follows the post-baccalaureate, 4+3 model of education. The program is divided into two parts: pre-professional and professional coursework. The pre-professional portion consists of prerequisite courses that meet the general education outcomes of the College, fulfill major requirements and the goals established by the physical therapy program. Pre-professional general education requirements provide a knowledge base in the humanistic, behavioral, biological, and natural sciences, which form a foundation for the practice of physical therapy. This prerequisite foundational coursework supports the students in the necessary development of the knowledge and skills to recognize and appreciate the diversity of individuals, communities, and cultures.

The 108 credit, 33 continuous month professional portion of the physical therapy program (first year, second year and third year) is designed to provide the students with learning opportunities that develop intellectual, affective, and psychomotor skills required for physical therapy practice. This full time day program integrates educational material into professional practice. The following five components form the profession of physical therapy and consequently the design of our entry-level program:


I. Foundational Sciences - This course work focuses on basic science information including functional anatomy, neuroscience, motor development, kinesiology/ biomechanics, pathology, pharmacology, and diagnostic imaging.
II. Tests & Measures - This component of the curriculum addresses the skills associated with examination and evaluation of the cardiopulmonary, integumentary, neuromuscular, and musculoskeletal systems. Tests and measures that evaluate wellness and normal function are learned first, progressing to knowledge acquisition related to deviations from normal for each system. An integral component of tests and measures includes critical inquiry and evidence-based practice.
III. Interventions - Fundamentals of physical agents and exercise are taught first. Then, utilizing a systems approach, the advanced course sequences are designed for students to develop purposeful and skilled abilities in the application of interventions in the physical therapy management of patients. The material in this content area is organized to support the philosophy of developing an intervention plan for the primary goal of enhancing patient functional independence. Critical inquiry and evidence-based practice are applied to examine the relationship between interventions and clinical outcomes.
IV. Professional and social responsibility - The foci of this component surround socialization into the physical therapy profession and development of an understanding of what it means to become a health care provider. Topics studied and applied in this component include professional behaviors, self analysis and reflection, ethics, teamwork, teaching/learning, communication/coordination/ documentation, administration, group dynamics, and the health care delivery system.
V. Patient management - These are the integrative courses in the curriculum following a case-study based or problem-based learning approach. Clinical decision making and reasoning are emphasized as students apply information from the four other components. Rotations to area clinics and work sites, and laboratory experiences with patients (real or simulated), serve as venues to provide hands-on application of skills, knowledge, and behavior. Comprehensive care is incorporated in patient/client plan of care development. Concept progression in these courses is based on scenarios moving from simple to complex and from single-system to multi-system involvement.

Based on the ideal that students in the program are developing professionals, our entry-level, clinical doctor of physical therapy program is designed to stimulate students to become active learners in situations where they determine what information is relevant to a given problem or situation, ask questions, seek information, and report findings. To enhance participation in the learning process, students experience a variety of teaching methods such as lecture, laboratory exercises, reading, role-playing, and clinical experiences. As students progress through the program, they are increasingly held responsible for independent learning and are expected to assume responsibility for the development of professional actions and behaviors. Thus, through exposure to and participation in a variety of teaching methods, learning styles and assessment/evaluation methods, program graduates are able to integrate knowledge and skills to deliver efficient and appropriate services to patients and clients. Utilizing such a learner-centered approach the CSS DPT program provides the foundation for autonomous practice, lifelong learning, and demonstration of behaviors, qualities and characteristics of professionalism. 

Philosophically, the DPT program is centered on the confluence of values cherished by our Benedictine sponsors, the mission of the College, and the values of the physical therapy profession: Love of Learning is reflected in the professional values of diligence, dedication, and scientific inquiry; Respect is seen in the professional qualities of caring, communication, leadership and collaboration; Community is evident in the professional values of helping, collaborating, and welcoming diversity; Hospitality is realized through the professional values of warmth and openness; and, Stewardship is demonstrated through the process of scientific inquiry, which results in optimum use of resources to ensure that patients/clients receive the best possible care. In the first year of the PT program students grow in their knowledge of the profession, begin fundamental skill acquisition and develop professional behaviors. During the second and third years of professional education students continue to acquire knowledge and clinical application skills along with proficiency in incorporating critical inquiry and evidence-based practice skills necessary for sound clinical decision-making. The mission of the physical therapy program is to prepare individuals who can meet the health care needs of society with a special consideration for rural communities.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in physical therapy should realize that admission into the program is competitive and limited to 36 students. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in a major field of study. Application to the program is made through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application System (PTCAS). Please refer to the PTCAS CSS PT program page for current and accurate application and admissions information. (www.ptcas.org)

Admission decisions are based on evaluation of the PTCAS application file by the PT Program Admissions Committee. Preference is given to graduates of The College of St. Scholastica who are qualified for admission.

Prerequisites for Admission

Prerequisite courses for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program are based on the Standard Prerequisite Courses for Admission in Entry-level Physical Therapist Education approved by the Academic Council of the American Physical Therapy Association in October 2012. Because prerequisite courses establish the framework for the doctor of physical therapy program, all prerequisite courses must be completed at an institution of higher learning. Advanced placement courses taken in high school will not be accepted as meeting the prerequisite requirements for application to the entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Full year, full sequence of Chemistry: The PT program requires a full year, full sequence of chemistry with laboratory to prepare students for a background in biological life sciences such as anatomy, physiology, and tissue dynamics. A lower division sequence (1000 or 2000 level) provides an adequate background to prepare for life sciences. CSS course sequence: CHM 1110-1120 General Chemistry I & II. (4 credits each)

Full year, full sequence of human or vertebrate anatomy and physiology: A solid foundation in human anatomy and physiology is necessary to be a successful physical therapist. Completion of a full sequence of human anatomy and physiology is required. A laboratory component, preferably with a human cadaver or cadaver prosection, is required. CSS course sequence: BIO 2110-2120 Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II. (4 credits each) NOTE: Students are responsible for completing the prerequisite course(s) for BIO 2110-2120.

Full year, full sequence of physics: A full year, full sequence of physics with laboratory is required. Knowledge gained in this course sequence is applied in physical therapy through biomechanics and therapeutic interventions involving thermal energy, light, and electricity. Introduction to physics or a survey course in physics will not fulfill the requirements for the program. CSS course sequence: PSC 2001-2002 Physics I & II. (4 credits each) NOTE: Students are responsible for completing the prerequisite course(s) for PSC 2001-2002.

Course in statistics: A course in college-level statistics is required to allow students to integrate research evidence into their education. Application of statistics and discussion of appropriate types of statistics used with different research methodologies is highly recommended. A course offered by a psychology program best meets these requirements for our physical therapy program, however, other statistic courses at the 2000-level or above from the disciplines of math or economics may be considered. CSS course: PSY 3331 Statistics. (4 credits)

Course or courses addressing lifespan developmental psychology: This required course (or course sequence) provides background knowledge in human development across the lifespan that is utilized daily in physical therapy practice. Content in this course should address the stages of human psychological development from birth to death. A psychology based course is preferred, however a course offered from other human service related fields may be considered. General psychology does not meet this requirement. CSS course: PSY 2208 Lifespan Developmental Psychology. (4 credits)

Course in abnormal psychology: A study of theories and concepts related to variations of normal developmental psychology is required. Knowledge gained in this course provides a background for determining if and when a patient requires a referral to another healthcare provider based on psychological distress. CSS course: PSY 3423 Abnormal Psychology. (4 credits)

Course in medical terminology: A course in medical terminology is required to provide a foundation in the terminology used by physical therapists when examining and treating the body's systems and diseases. CSS course: HSC 2209 Medical Terminology (2 credits)

TECHNICAL STANDARDS FOR ADMISSION TO AND PROGRESSION IN THE PHYSICAL THERAPY PROGRAM

Success in the physical therapy program is dependent on a number of functions deemed essential for the practice of physical therapy. Applicants must meet these essential functions and students must continue to demonstrate compliance with these essential functions throughout the program. Students needing reasonable accommodations to meet these essential functions should notify the Chair of their request.

Essential Functions

Critical thinking, problems solving capabilities, sound judgment, emotional stability and maturity, and ability to learn and function in a wide variety of didactic and clinical settings to be able to:

  • Develop, monitor and manage individual patient/client plan of care.
  • Perform and interpret physical examinations.
  • Perform physical therapy procedures.
  • Communicate effectively in oral and written formats.
  • Direct and supervise support personnel.
  • Maintain professional demeanor.
  • Demonstrate empathy, integrity, flexibility, responsibility and effective stress management.

Critical Demands

Physical - (0-33% ' occasionally; 34-66% ' frequently; 67-100% ' continuously based on an 8 hour work day)

  • Firm grip strength - occasionally
  • Gross hand coordination - continuously
  • Fine hand coordination - continuously
  • Sit - occasionally
  • Stand - frequently
  • Walk - frequently
  • Reach - frequently
  • Stoop/squat - frequently
  • Push/pull - occasionally
  • Kneel - occasionally
  • Lift up to 50 lbs. - occasionally
  • Carry - frequently
  • Work with variety of therapeutic and adaptive devices including but not limited to wheelchairs, crutches, canes, electric stimulation, etc. - continuously
  • Vision - corrected or non-corrected.

Communication

Listen /hear 
Read English 
Speak English 
Write legibly in English 
Students in the program are required to complete a physical examination and a criminal background check annually.

Student Handbook

The Physical Therapy Department publishes a student handbook each year containing policies, procedures and general information. Students should use this handbook as a primary resource for their day-to-day activities. Changes to the handbook are either made during the summer or, if changes are made during the academic year they are published and distributed to all students prior to initiation of the changes.

Clinical Internships

Students must complete four internships while in the program. Clinical internships provide opportunities for the student to integrate and apply theory, knowledge, and skills acquired during the academic year to a variety of patient populations. In keeping with the mission and philosophy of the program, clinical internships are designed around the multiple experiences in physical therapy. Students must complete one internship in a rural setting; each remaining internship must differ in type of setting or experience. Within this affiliation framework, students have the opportunity to pursue areas of interest including but not limited to pediatrics, geriatrics, sports medicine, industrial medicine, etc. The assignments for the clinical internships are made by the Director of Clinical Education in consultation with the student. Selections are made on the basis of type and availability of setting and skills of the student.

Fees and Expenses

Due to the nature of the learning environment in the program, students are charged course fees for any course with a laboratory component. Students in the first year of the program can expect to pay approximately $750 in fees; students in the second and third year pay approximately $400 in course fees between the two years. Textbook requirements are carefully screened with texts chosen based on the utility of information. Students should anticipate paying approximately $1,550 for textbooks while in the program. Additional expenses associated with internships are the responsibility of the student. These costs are associated with travel to, between, and from clinical sites, and with housing. Travel and housing are arranged by the student.

Licensure and Registration

Students graduating from accredited programs in physical therapy are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination. Successful completion of the exam is required to attain licensure in all states. Requirements for taking the exam vary by state. Students must apply separately for the national exam and for licensing. The department will certify the student's readiness for these procedures, but is not responsible for obtaining, completing or returning the required forms.

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PTH 6100 - Professional Behaviors I - 0 cr.
First in a four course series focusing on the program's requirement of professional behaviors development as an essential component of academic and clinical success. Using multidimensional assessment and evaluation, students begin to integrate professional knowledge and behavioral skills associated with success in the profession.


PTH 6101 - Professional Behaviors II - 0 cr.
Second in a four course series focusing on the program's requirement of professional behaviors development as an essential component of academic and clinical success. Using multidimensional assessment and evaluation, students will demonstrate sufficient integration and application of professional knowledge and behavioral skills for progression to the first full-time clinical internship.


PTH 6405 - Professionalism in Physical Therapy - 2 cr.
Description coming soon.


PTH 6410 - PT Administration I - 1 cr.
First of a three course series related to the administration and management of physical therapy services. The major forms of health care delivery and reimbursement models are investigated. Billing for physical therapy interventions is covered and the interaction of ethical and legal issues is addressed.


PTH 6480 - Critical Inquiry I - 1 cr.
Introductory course provides a foundation for evidence based practice. Research methods, ethics and statistical procedures commonly used in physical therapy are reviewed and discussed. Concepts related to validity and reliability are emphasized.


PTH 6505 - Kinesiology/Biomechanics - 2 cr.
Description coming soon.


PTH 6510 - Functional Anatomy - 4 cr.
Description coming soon.


PTH 6511 - Neuroscience - 5 cr.
Studies the anatomy and physiology of the adult nervous system. Sensation, perception, cognition, and motor control are examined. Application includes analysis of normal functions as well as the effects of pathological lesions affecting the nervous system.


PTH 6513 - Life Span Motor Development - 3 cr.
Theories of motor development across the lifespan are presented in the context of physical therapy practice. Emphasis is on normal age related changes from infancy and childhood through mature adulthood and late life.


PTH 6517 - Systems Screening & MGT I - 3 cr.
The first of a two course series dealing with medical diagnoses and medical management of pathologies commonly treated by physical therapists. Principles of diagnostic imaging, laboratory testing, pharmacology, and their application in physical therapy are discussed.


PTH 6520 - PT Exam & Eval I - 4 cr.
First of a two course sequence focuses on the acquisition of fundamental examination skills in physical therapy practice. Students are introduced to the patient/client management model and learn how to perform a subjective examination and basic objective tests and measures for the musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiopulmonary, and integumentary systems. Clinical reasoning is introduced related to the diagnostic process and identification of referral situations.


PTH 6521 - PT Exam & Eval II - 4 cr.
Second course in the sequence of acquiring fundamental examination, evaluation and clinical reasoning skills. Patients/ clients with multi-system dysfunction are addressed. Environment, home, and work (job/ school/ play) assessments are incorporated into clinical reasoning.


PTH 6530 - PT Interventions I - 4 cr.
First of a two-course sequence designed to develop skilled application of interventions in the physical therapy management of patients. Students apply evaluation, diagnostic, and prognostic information to develop a plan of care for specific joint or regional applications of procedural interventions pertaining to electrotherapy, physical agents, and mechanical modalities. Competency in the application of interventions includes appropriate modification of the intervention plan based on monitoring patient response and individual patient needs and characteristics.


PTH 6531 - PT Interventions II - 4 cr.
Second course in the sequence designed to develop skilled application of exercise in the physical therapy management of patients. Students develop competency in application of evaluation, diagnostic, and prognostic information in to developing a plan of care that includes prescribing exercises, monitoring patient's response and program progression.


PTH 6535 - Physiological Response Inj/Ex - 3 cr.
A comprehensive study of the interrelated effects of exercise, injury, and healing processes on normal tissues. Included are discussions about inflammation, pain, edema, nutrition, acute and chronic exercise. Tissue dynamics of the cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and integumentary systems as they relate to physical therapy are emphasized.


PTH 6777 - Physical Therapy Topics - 0-4 cr.
Topics in Physical Therapy.


PTH 6901 - Internship Preparation - 0 cr.
Designed to prepare students for their first clinical internship experience. Included are the roles of the clinical and academic internship team members, professional communications specific to internships, and strategies for maximizing the internship experience. Procedures, requirements and assignments for pre-internship and internship processes are presented.


PTH 6910 - Patient/Client MGT I - 2 cr.
First of a four course series designed to integrate multiple aspects of the student's professional education. Integration and application of professional skills, knowledge, and behaviors to patient/client problems through case studies, clinic rotations, and role playing is emphasized. Comprehensive management of the patient/client whose physical therapy needs require basic level skills is the focus for clinical decision-making and plan of care development.


PTH 6950 - Full-time Clinical Experience - 4 cr.
Description coming soon.


PTH 6999 - Independent Study - 1-8 cr.
Independent Study in Physical Therapy.


PTH 7102 - Professional Behaviors III - 0 cr.
Third in a four course series focusing on the program's requirement of professional behaviors development as an essential component of academic and clinical success. Using multidimensional assessment and evaluation, students integrate and apply professional knowledge and behavioral skills associated with success in the profession.


PTH 7103 - Professional Behaviors IV - 1 cr.
Final course in a four part series addressing professional behaviors and values, which are program requirements. Students complete the professional behavior portfolio to display attainment of desired professional behaviors and skills needed for readiness in clinical settings and necessary for success in the physical therapy profession. Self reflection, self analysis, and collective faculty evaluation provide mechanisms for continued professional development while enrolled in the program.


PTH 7411 - Physical Therapy Admin II - 2 cr.
Addresses organizational structure, practice settings, leadership, and cost accountability. Included are issues related to human and facility resource management. Ethical, legal, and professional issues are interwoven into the course.


PTH 7412 - PT Administration & Advocacy - 3 cr.
Description coming soon.


PTH 7481 - Critical Inquiry II - 2 cr.
Advanced application of evidence based practice through the critical review of research literature in physical therapy and related disciplines. Focus is on applying knowledge of statistics and research methodology to determine the appropriate incorporation of results into clinical practice.


PTH 7482 - Critical Inquiry III - 2 cr.
Students work in small groups to advance their knowledge of scholarly research methods and critical review under the guidance of a faculty advisor in an area of the faculty's expertise. Students participate in a scientific poster presentation and compile a final research review paper.


PTH 7518 - Systems Screening & Mgmt II - 3 cr.
Description coming soon.


PTH 7540 - Musculoskeletal Eval & MGT I - 4 cr.
Application of advanced physical therapy evaluation and interventions to patients/clients whose primary impairment or movement-limiting dysfunction is musculoskeletal in origin. Focus is on development of manual therapy techniques. Evidence-based practice and clinical decision-making are incorporated as they relate to developing, monitoring and progression of a patient's plan of care.


PTH 7541 - Musculoskeletal Eval & MGT II - 3 cr.
Focuses on management of patients whose primary impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions are due to multi-system involvement. Development of a comprehensive plan of care and application of interventions for complex patients is emphasized.


PTH 7545 - Neuromuscular Eval & MGT I - 3 cr.
A comprehensive study of the integration of physiologic theories and principles with neuromuscular rehabilitation. Current theories relating to the control of normal and impaired movement are investigated and used to provide a framework for evaluation of and intervention for individuals with disability resulting from neurologic injury or disease.


PTH 7546 - Neuromuscular Eval & MGT II - 3 cr.
Advances the study and application of patient/client management theories and skills for patients with neuromuscular system involvement. Emphasis is on evaluation and management of individuals in the areas of gait disturbance, vestibular dysfunction, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury.


PTH 7560 - Cardiopulmonary Eval & MGT - 3 cr.
A comprehensive study of the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. The patient/client management model is applied to dysfunctions specifically involving these systems across the life span and the continuum of care. Managing critically ill patients in the intensive care unit and principles of primary and secondary prevention are discussed.


PTH 7565 - Integumentary Eval & Mgmt - 3 cr.
Description coming soon.


PTH 7567 - Life Span Applications I - 3 cr.
Entry-level approach to providing physical therapy services to pediatric patients/clients in a variety of settings. The patient/client management model is applied to multiple pediatric diagnoses and conditions. Abnormal development, therapeutic play, and behavior management are covered as essential components of pediatric physical therapy. Ethical, legal, and legislative issues affecting this population are addressed.


PTH 7568 - Lifespan App II: Geriatrics - 2 cr.
Description coming soon.


PTH 7573 - Psychosocial Issues in PT - 2 cr.
Relates psychological and social factors that affect patient-practitioner interactions. Concepts related to communication, cultural competency, motivation, health, response to disability, sexuality, and abuse are discussed.


PTH 7710 - Pharmacology for P.T.'s - 3 cr.
Analysis of the common classifications of pharmacologic agents and their potential effects on a physical therapy assessment and plan of care. Basic principles of pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, and drug receptors will be covered.


PTH 7715 - Diagnostic Imaging - 2 cr.
Compares and contrasts various imaging techniques, ,including basics of assessment, interpretation of reports, and formulation of referrals.


PTH 7720 - Health Policy - 3 cr.
Analysis of legal issues surrounding health care in America and the promotion of advocacy for reform.


PTH 7730 - Evidence Based Practice - 3 cr.
Applies concepts of evidence-based practice including basic concepts of research, statistics, and critical analysis of literature in a topic of interest to the learner.


PTH 7777 - Physical Therapy Topics - 0-4 cr.
Topics in Physical Therapy.


PTH 7911 - Patient/Client Mgmt II - 2 cr.
Application of the patient/client management model. Students synthesize information from previous and concurrent course work to develop a plan of care for a patient/client with single or multiple system involvement with faculty guidance. Students participate in self and peer review processes. The course provides opportunities for hands-on examination, evaluation, and intervention with patients in a clinical setting.


PTH 7912 - PT/Client Mgmt III - 2 cr.
Continued application of the patient/client management model across the life span for problems of increasing complexity. Development of professional behaviors and integration of all coursework is demonstrated through the creation and progression of plans of care in a variety of service models and therapist roles.


PTH 7913 - PT/Client Mgmt IV - 1 cr.
Description coming soon.


PTH 8725 - Differential Screening - 3 cr.
Focuses on diagnostic process and clinical reasoning skills in patient/client management. Emphasis is on the differential diagnosis process for physical therapy and indications for referral. Prerequisites of PTH 7710 Pharmacology for Physical Therapists and PTH 7715 Diagnostic Imaging


PTH 8735 - Clinical Experience - 2 cr.
Demonstration of physical therapy skills, knowledge, and behaviors/interactions with patient/clients, peers, and other professionals through a portfolio.


PTH 8825 - Differential Screening - 3 cr.
Focuses on diagnostic process and clinical reasoning skills in patient/client management. Emphasis is on the differential diagnosis process for physical therapy and indications for referral. Prerequisites of PTH 7710 Pharmacology for Physical Therapists and PTH7715 Diagnostic Imaging


PTH 8890 - Elective in Physical Therapy - 1 cr.
An independent, supervised professional experience allowing the student to explore professional related content in greater detail. The elective can include, but not be limited to administration, policy, specialty area of clinical practice, research, or service learning.


PTH 8951 - Clinical Internship II - 4 cr.
Provides a second, full time opportunity to apply professional skills, knowledge, behavior, and theory in a clinical setting. Under the direct supervision of a clinical instructor, the student applies the elements of patient/client management in a physical therapy practice. Development of professional behavior continues as students interact daily with patients/clients, physical therapists, and other members of the health care team.


PTH 8952 - Clinical Internship II - 6 cr.
The third full-time clinical experience occurs in a physical therapy practice setting different than experienced during previous internships. This internship provides further development, manipulation, and utilization of knowledge, skills and professionalism. Under the direct supervision of a clinical instructor, the student is expected to demonstrate autonomy in the management of familiar diagnoses. This internship may occur in a rural or urban setting, but at least one rural setting is required during the internship series.


PTH 8953 - Clinical Internship IV - 6 cr.
Terminal ten week, full-time clinical internship representing the culmination of all previous course work. Students gain increased experience and depth of understanding for application and integration of skills, knowledge, and professional behaviors. By the end of this internship, the student is expected to demonstrate proficiency at the entry-level in all aspects of patient/client management. This internship may occur in a rural or urban setting, but at least one rural setting is required during the internship series.


PTH 8980 - Capstone - 1 cr.
Description coming soon.