Physical Therapy D.P.T.

Degree Requirements: 134 Credit Hours

Policies Requirements and Standards

The Physical Therapy Program at Georgia Southern University offers the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.

The DPT Program includes nine semesters of academic course work with three full-time clinical affiliations (totaling at least thirty weeks of full-time clinical practice), and numerous additional clinical experiences. Upon completion of the program, students are awarded the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.

The bachelor's degree is required for admission to the physical therapy program. Contact the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Physical Therapy Program, for further information concerning eligibility.

Consistent with the mission of the university and the goals of the College of Health Professions, the mission of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program is to educate individuals whose physical therapy skills and knowledge meet the challenges of the rapidly changing healthcare system and the expanding need for physical therapy services. The program will work collaboratively with the physical therapy community to improve the quality of physical therapy care and enhance the scientific basis of professional practice.

Specifically, the Doctor of Physical Therapy program will:

  1. Provide program graduates with the scientific knowledge and principles which practitioners need to examine, diagnose, develop prognoses, treat, document, measure outcomes, and instruct persons of all ages with movement disorders.
  2. Equip program graduates with diagnostic abilities to critically analyze a large number of factors, determine the most important of those factors, and develop a treatment plan based on that analysis.
  3. Supply graduates with the documentation and communication skills to effectively communicate their findings to the clients, the clients' families, other healthcare providers, and the agencies that reimburse the clients and/or the physical therapists for the physical therapy service.
  4. Furnish graduates with the skills to provide care in a compassionate, competent, legal, and ethical manner.
  5. Equip graduates with the skills to develop programs for the prevention of injuries and disabilities.
  6. Provide students with clinically case-centered courses with the emphasis on problem identification and problem solving. This allows students to integrate pathophysiology, evaluation methods, treatment approaches, and psychosocial principles into each case. Students are encouraged to seek new solutions to the clinical problems and propose new treatment approaches.
  7. Maintain an active learning environment that promotes independent thinking. Students learn to seek and confirm answers on their own rather than relying on faculty to provide answers. Active learning methods develop student self-reliance, an increase in self-assessment skills, and a pattern of independent learning which promotes lifelong learning and further professional development.
  8. Support a curriculum where students work with each other in small groups. Small group activities:
    1. Develop among the students a respect and understanding for the problem solving skills and clinical solutions developed by their classmates.
    2. Promote the development of teamwork and leadership skills.
  9. Provide group discussions, laboratories, and clinical practice experiences designed to foster the development of intellectual and physical competencies and strong professional values.
  10. Promote, as the central axiom in the department's educational philosophy that the primary role of the instructor is as a facilitator of learning, not as the sole source of knowledge. The department will provide a supportive environment in which students take responsibility for their own learning. The department fosters mutual respect between faculty and students, between students and their classmates, and between students and other health care professionals. The department promotes a respect and understanding for all individuals regardless of their cultural background.

Admission Standards     

Prerequisites

  1. Applicants must complete the requirements for a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. While any major field of study is acceptable, the degree and all prerequisite courses must be completed prior to matriculation. At least 5 of the 8 prerequisite science courses must be completed at the time of application.
  2. Applicants need to demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills.
  3. Applicants must demonstrate an understanding of the social, biological and physical sciences and mathematics so that they can comprehend and integrate physiological, pharmacological, behavioral and biomechanical principles into physical therapy practice. Minimal satisfaction of this criterion will include completion of:
    1. A one-year sequence of basic (general, inorganic) chemistry with laboratories that is designed for science or health professions majors;
    2. A one-year sequence of general physics with laboratories (both calculus or non-calculus physics are acceptable) that is for science or health professions majors and which include mechanics, electricity, magnetism and light;
    3. A one-year sequence of anatomy and physiology with laboratories (either as two combined anatomy and physiology courses or with one course in physiology and one course in anatomy) which may be lower division human anatomy and physiology courses for health professions majors or upper division vertebrate or human physiology and comparative or developmental anatomy. Applicants are also encouraged to take advanced human physiology and anatomy courses such as exercise physiology, neurophysiology, advanced human physiology, kinesiology and/or biomechanics;
    4. One general biology course with laboratory (botany, ecology, and environmental science are not acceptable substitutes).
    5. One course in statistics (at a minimum, covering measures of central tendency, probability distributions, and linear regression).
    6. Two courses in the social sciences are also required. Abnormal psychology and human development are recommended.
  4. Applicants should have an understanding of the scope of physical therapy practice. This understanding is best developed through observation of physical therapists in multiple types of clinical practice. It is strongly recommended that the applicant demonstrate a total of 75-100 hours of observation, in as many as 3 different types of settings. Setting types include but are not limited to: acute care, fitness/wellness, general adult outpatient, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient adult orthopedics/sports, pediatric inpatient, pediatric outpatient, school systems, skilled nursing facilities, and wound care. Receiving physical therapy treatment or being a caregiver for someone with a physical disability can count toward one setting for purposes of this requirement.
  5. Applicants must have no less than a 3.0 in the PTCAS science grade point average (GPA) and an overall grade point average of 3.0. No grade of D or F will be acceptable for satisfaction of the prerequisite courses. If a grade of D or F is earned in a prerequisite course, that course cannot be repeated more than one time. Only two prerequisite courses may be repeated. Applicants may repeat courses with grades of C or higher to improve their prerequisite course GPA, but repeated courses will be averaged in the calculation of the prerequisite GPA.
  6. Applicants must achieve a score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) of no less than 146 on the verbal section and 144 on the quantitative section. For students whose second language is English, a TOEFL score of at least 600 paper-based, 250 computer-based or 80 internet-web-based may be substituted for the minimal verbal GRE score. The TOEFL score is not used in calculating a final application score during review of the applications, as there is no mechanism for converting a TOEFL score into a GRE score. As a result, the applicant's application score may be lower than those of applicants who took the entire GRE. (Note that when requesting to have GRE scores sent to Georgia Southern University, the appropriate codes to be used are: school code 7813, department code 5199.)
  7. The following documents are required for admission to the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program: Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) application, college transcripts, GRE scores and three recommendation forms. One of the recommendations must be written by a physical therapist who has observed and supervised the applicant in a clinical setting. ALL application documents will be collected by PTCAS.
  8. In addition to the PTCAS fees, a supplemental application fee of $25 for Georgia residents, or $50 for out-of-state applicants, is required.
  9. All students are required to submit evidence of health insurance prior to participation in clinical experiences.
  10. Meeting the minimum criteria for application does not guarantee admission to the physical therapy program. It should be noted that the pool of applicants for the program includes many highly qualified persons, and the number of available positions is limited.

Admission Process

  1. Program applications are available through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service website (www. ptcas.org). The Graduate Studies application for Armstrong is not used.
  2. Specific application deadlines are set annually and are posted at the PTCAS (www.ptcas.org) and program (www.pt.armstrong.edu) websites.
  3. Students selected for admission must formally accept the position and submit a non-refundable deposit. Students who matriculate in the DPT Program at Armstrong will have their deposits refunded during the first week of classes.

Accreditation Status and Degrees Offered

  1. The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program 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: www.capteonline.org. The program received initial accreditation in May 1997. Present accreditation continues through December 31, 2022.

The Georgia Board of Physical Therapy Legal Requirements

  1. Graduation from an accredited professional physical therapy education program allows students to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). Passing this exam is required for licensure in any jurisdiction within the United States and its territories. In addition, the graduate must pass the Georgia state Jurisprudence exam to obtain licensure in Georgia.
  2. The Georgia Board of Physical Therapy has the authority to refuse or revoke licensure to an applicant upon a finding by the board that the applicant has been convicted of any felony, crime involving moral turpitude, or crime violating any federal or state law relating to controlled substances or dangerous drugs in the courts of this state, any other state, territory, or country or in the federal courts of the United States including but not limited to a plea of nolo contendere entered to the charge. 

Standards of Progression and Graduation

Program Progression Requirements

  1. Students must pass all courses with a B (Clinical Practicum 3 and Supervised Clinical Education 1, 2, and 3 must be passed with a satisfactory grade). If less than the required grade is earned in a PT course, that course must be repeated. Only one course can be repeated and that course can be repeated only once. A course can be repeated only when it is normally offered again in the curricular sequence. No additional courses can be taken in the physical therapy curriculum until the course deficiency is satisfied. Thus, failure to pass a course will require the student to "drop back" to the next graduating class.
  2. All graded activities within courses must be passed at the 80% level or remediated, as directed by the course instructor. A TOTAL of 4 remedial activities will be allowed in each semester in ALL COURSES combined. A student that fails more than 4 examinations in one semester will not progress through the curriculum.
  3. Failure to pass more than one course or failure to pass any course more than once will result in dismissal from the program.
  4. Students will be dismissed from the program if they violate the professional standards of physical therapy established by the Code of Ethics and Guide for Professional Conduct of the American Physical Therapy Association, or violate the rules and regulations governing the practice of physical therapy within the state of Georgia or any other jurisdiction in which the student is working.
  5. Students must be continuously enrolled in the program through the entire nine-semester sequence of courses. Medical or personal leave may be granted but will also require the student to "drop back" to the next graduating class.
  6. Students must obtain faculty permission to "drop back" for academic, medical, or personal reasons. A student may re-enroll in PT courses only if the faculty has determined that space is available for that student.
  7. Students must complete all courses in the physical therapy curriculum within five consecutive years from the date of their initial admission to the physical therapy major.
  8. Students who do not complete the program in the required period of time may apply for readmission
  9. Students must maintain malpractice/liability and health/medical insurance; up-to-date immunizations; medical tests and physical exams required by the program; and CPR/first aid certification.

Graduation Requirements

  1. Students must successfully complete all courses in the curriculum (earning a B or better in all courses; Clinical Practicum 2 and 3 and Supervised Clinical Education 1, 2, and 3 must be passed with a satisfactory grade).
  2. Students must satisfactorily complete a research project.
  3. Students must follow graduation procedures for Georgia Southern University.
  4. The Doctor of Physical Therapy program of study requires a total of 134 semester hours.

Readmission Procedures

  1. The student must complete the readmission application for the physical therapy major.
  2. The student will be required to meet admission and curriculum requirements in effect at the time of application for readmission.
  3. The student's admission will be based upon space available in the class into which the former student is seeking admission and recommendation of the department faculty.
  4. The former student, who has failed out of the program because of an inability to meet the grade requirements or has been dismissed from the physical therapy program for any reason, is not eligible to apply for readmission.

Program of Study

Required Courses:  134 Hours

Credit Hours
Core Requirements
PHTH   7101Func/Struc Aspects Movement I5
PHTH   7111Intro To Pathophysiology I2
PHTH   7131Fnd Pt Exam Eval Intrventn 16
PHTH   7161Phys Therapy Practice Issues I1
PHTH   7181Clinical Practicum I1
PHTH   7202Func/Strct Aspects Movement 26
PHTH   7212Intro Pathophysiology 22
PHTH   7232Fnd Pt Exam Eval Interventn 28
PHTH   7262Phys Ther Practice Issue 21
PHTH   7282Clinical Practicum Ii1
PHTH   7303Func/Struct Aspects Movement 34
PHTH   7313Intro Pathophysiology 32
PHTH   7333Adv Exam Eval Intervention 38
PHTH   7363Phys Ther Practice Issues 31
PHTH   7383Clinical Practicum 31
PHTH   7390Phys Ther Case Management3
PHTH   8400Critical Inquiry In Phys Ther2
PHTH   8481Supervised Clinical Educ I8
PHTH   8491Clinical Educ Synthesis I2
PHTH   8501Clinical Medicine I3
PHTH   8531Adv Exam Eval Interventn 18
PHTH   8561Implmt Life Concpts Phy Ther I2
PHTH   8602Clinical Medicine 23
PHTH   8632Adv Exam Eval & Intervention 28
PHTH   8662Implemt Of Lifespan Concepts 22
PHTH   9703Clinical Medicine 33
PHTH   9733Adv Exam Eval & Intervention 36
PHTH   9763Implemt Of Lifespan Concepts 32
PHTH   9804Clinical Medicine 41
PHTH   9834Adv Exam Eval Intervntn Iv2
PHTH   9900Leadership & Management In Pt3
PHTH   9901Physical Therapy Project I1
PHTH   9902Physical Therapy Project 21
PHTH   9903Physical Therapy Project 31
PHTH   9904Physical Therapy Project 41
PHTH   9882Supervised Clinical Educ 210
PHTH   9983Supervised Clinical Educ 310
PHTH   9992Clinical Educ Synthesis 23
Total Credit Hours134