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 provide student-centered education that allows individuals to develop physical therapy skills and knowledge that addresses the challenges of the rapidly changing healthcare system and the expanding need for evidence-based physical therapy services. The program will work collaboratively with various stakeholders within and outside the physical therapy community to improve the quality of physical therapy care and enhance the scientific basis of professional practice.

The Georgia Southern University Doctor of Physical Therapy program strives to develop students and graduates who:

  1. provide ethical and effective physical therapy examination, evaluation and intervention for persons of all ages.
  2. use clinical reasoning, research and reflection to optimize practice.

As clinicians, our graduates will demonstrate:

  1. effective clinical documentation and communication with patients, families, and the health care team.
  2. respect and empathy for all people.
  3. motivation and skills for promoting health and wellness.
  4. effective collaboration with healthcare team members to ensure effectiveness within the healthcare delivery system.
  5. participation in professional/leadership activities within physical therapy.

Admission Standards     

Prerequisite Courses

  1. Applicants must complete the requirements for a baccalaureate degree and any additional prerequisite coursework 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. 
  2. Prospective students must have earned a grade of C or higher in all the prerequisite courses. In the event that courses are taken more than once, grades will be averaged (see below for more information about GPA calculations). Online classes are accepted for fulfillment of prerequisite courses, including lab science courses. AP courses are accepted for fulfillment of prerequisite courses, but they will not be included in GPA calculations.
  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.  Applicants must also demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills. 
  4. At least 5 of the 8 prerequisite science courses listed below must be completed at the time of application. 
    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).
  5. Two courses in the social sciences are also required. Abnormal psychology and human development are recommended to fulfill this requirement.
  6. Applicants are also encouraged to take advanced human physiology and anatomy courses such as exercise physiology, neurophysiology, advanced human physiology, kinesiology and/or biomechanics.

GPA

  1. GPA's are calculated by PTCAS during the application process. Applicants must meet the following GPA requirements in order for their application to be considered.
    1. Minimum overall GPA of 3.0
    2. Minimum physical science GPA of 3.0
  2. Please refer to PTCAS for information about how GPA's are calculated and which courses are included in the Science GPA. Any coursework completed after an application is submitted will not be considered in the GPA calculations, since it will not be verified by PTCAS.
  3. No grade of D or F will be acceptable for satisfaction of the prerequisite courses. If an applicant earns a grade of D or F in a prerequisite course, that applicant may retake that course only one time. No more than two prerequisite courses may be repeated with the goal of earning a passing grade. 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 applicable GPA.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

  1. When requesting to have GRE scores sent to Georgia Southern University Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program, the appropriate codes to be used are: 
  • school code 7813
  • department code 0619. 
  • If you use any other school code, including 5253 (the general Georgia Southern University code), your GRE score will not be added to your PTCAS application.

2. Applicants must meet the following GRE requirements in order for their application to be considered:

  • Minimum score of 146 on the verbal reasoning section
  • Minimum score of 144 on the quantitative reasoning 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.

The CASPer Test

  1. All applicants to the DPT Program at Georgia Southern University are required to take an online assessment (CASPer). Casper is an online test that assesses for non-congitive skills and interpersonal characteristics that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program, and will complement the other tools that we use for applicant screening.
  2. Please go to  www.takecasper.com to sign up for the American Professional Health Sciences test (CSP10101) and reserve a test using your PTCAS ID and a piece of gevernment-issued photo ID. You will be provided with a limited number of testing dates and times. Please note that these are the only testing dates available for your CASPer test. There will be no additional tests scheduled. Please use an email address you check regularly; there may be updates to the test schedule. 
  3. The CASPer test is comprised of 12 sections of video and written scenarios. Following each scenario, you will be required to answer a set of probing questions under a time contract. The test typically takes between 75-90 minutes to complete. Each response is graded by a different rater, giving a very robust and reliable view of personal and professional characteristics important to our program. No studying is required for CASPer, although you may want to familiarize yourself with the test structure at takeCASPer.com, and ensure you have a quiet environment to take the test. 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.

Physical Therapy Observation Hours

  1. 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. 
  2. Applicants are required to demonstrate a total of 75 hours of observation under a licensed physical therapist. Observation hours must be verified in PTCAS by a physical therapist. It is strongly recommended that these hours of observation be completed in more than one setting, with at least 10 hours in each setting. It is also recommended that applicants demonstrate additional hours beyond the required 75. 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.
  3. PT observation hours that have been completed or are planned should be included in the PTCAS application but do not need to be verified by a physical therapist in order to be submitted.

​Reference Forms

  1. Applicants are required to submit three references. One of the references must be written by a physical therapist who has observed and supervised the applicant in a clinical setting. All of the references must be included in the PTCAS application.

Supplemental Material

  1. All potential and enrolled students in the DPT Program must meet intellectual, physical, and social competencies in order to provide safe patient care and successfully complete the program. Applicants must review the Core Performance Standards posted on the DPT Program website (https://chp.georgiasouthern.edu/rehabilitation/graduate-programs/doctor-of-physical-therapy/core-performance-standards/). Applicants are required to review the Core Performance Standards and answer a question about this in the Supplemental Questions section of the PTCAS application.
  2. The following documents are required to apply for admission to the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program: Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) application (www.ptcas.org), official transcripts from every college and university attended, official GRE score reports, three completed references, 75 verified observation hours, and CASPer Test results. ALL application documents, with the exception of CASPer Test results, will be collected by PTCAS.
  3. Meeting the minimum criteria for application does not guarantee admission to the Doctor of 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.
  4. All accepted students are required to submit evidence of current health insurance, CPR certification, immunizations, TB test, health appraisal, and GSU liability insurance upon matriculation and prior to participation in clinical experiences. Students are also required to complete a background check and drug screening process upon matriculation and as required by clinical sites. Official final transcripts must be submitted upon matriculation.

Admission Process

  1. All applicants must also refer to the Program website information (https://chp.georgiasouthern.edu/rehabilitation/graduate-programs/doctor-of-physical-therapy/) for possible annual-cycle-specific modifications to requirements and processes.
  2. Program applications are available through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service website (www. ptcas.org). The Georgia Southern University Graduate Studies application is not used.
  3. Specific application deadlines are set annually and are posted at the PTCAS (www.ptcas.org) and program (https://chp.georgiasouthern.edu/rehabilitation/graduate-programs/doctor-of-physical-therapy/) websites. More information about the admissions timeline is also available at the program website.
  4. A half-day, in-person interview is required for admission. Interviews are scheduled by invitation only.
  5. Students selected for admission must formally accept the position and submit a non-refundable deposit. Students who matriculate in the DPT Program at Georgia Southern University 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 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. Students who do not complete the program in the required period of time may apply for readmission
  4. 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.
  5. ALL students must meet the following requirements in order to progress in the curriculum:

• Complete each course with an overall average greater than or equal to 80% and complete each assignment and examination designated by the course faculty as critical with a minimum score of 80%. If one of these critical activities is not passed with a score greater than or equal to 80%, the student must successfully complete a remedial activity.

• Demonstrate clinical safety and reasoning skills deemed adequate for entering into supervised clinical practice. Readiness is primarily but not solely assessed through observation of multiple aspects of individual student performance during previous coursework, including Physical Therapy Case Management.

• Demonstrate at least a satisfactory level of overall professional behavior. When deficiencies have been observed, the student will be notified and given time to correct these professional behavior deficits. However, repeated failure to correct deficiencies in professional behavior will result in an evaluation of the student’s overall professional behavior by the Physical Therapy faculty as a whole, which if deemed unsatisfactory, could result in dismissal from the Program.

6. Remediations

• Only one remedial activity will be allowed per critical activity, and the maximum available grade will be 80%. So, for example, if a student scores 90% on a remediation exam, that item will be entered into the grade book as 80%, because that is the maximum available.

• Each must occur within ten academic class days of the original date or due date of the critical activity. Scheduling will be negotiated between the student and faculty and will be determined based on likely student readiness for the remediation but must be completed before semester grades are due.

• Students are only allowed to remediate up to a total of 20% of the total number of critical activities for all courses combined for each cohort in a given semester. The maximum number may fluctuate from semester to semester as numbers of exams and assignments change and this maximum limit will be calculated and posted to this document at the beginning of each semester: Maximum Remediations Allowed. A student that fails more than the allowed number of examinations in one semester will not progress through the curriculum. 

• If the grade on any remedial activity is not greater than or equal to 80%, the maximum available grade for that course will be C. This puts the student on Academic Probation which has specific procedural requirements.

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 follow graduation procedures for Georgia Southern University.
  3. 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

Credit Hours
Core Requirements
Functional Anatomy of the Cardiopulmonary System
Intro to Pathophysiology 1
Basic Cardiopulmonary Patient Care
Phys Therapy Practice Issues 1
Clinical Practicum 1
Functional Anatomy of Axial and Appendicular Regions
Intro Pathophysiology 2
Basic Orthopedic Patient Care
Basic Orthopedic Patient Care Lab
Evidence-based Practice 1
Clinical Practicum 2
Functional Anatomy of the Nervous System
Intro Pathophysiology 3
Basic Neurologic and Integumentary Patient Care
Evidence-based Practice 2
Clinical Practicum 3
Phys Ther Case Management
Evidence-based Practice 3
Supervised Clinical Educ 1
Patient Care Synthesis 1
Clinical Medicine 1
Advanced Patient Care 1: Geriatrics
Implmt Life Concpts Phy Ther 1
Clinical Medicine 2
Advanced Patient Care 2: Adults
Implemt of Lifespan Concepts 2
Special Topics in Physical Therapy 1
Leadership & Management in Physical Therapy 1
Leadership and Management in Physical Therapy 2
Therapeutic Exercise 1
Therapeutic Exercise 2
Clinical Medicine 3
Advanced Patient Care 3: Pediatrics
Implemt of Lifespan Concepts 3
Clinical Medicine 4
Advanced Patient Care 4: Complex Patients
Supervised Clinical Educ 2
Supervised Clinical Educ 3
Patient Care Synthesis 2
Total Credit Hours134

Advisement

Graduate students are advised by their program. Graduate students should reach out to their graduate program director for information regarding the structures in place to facilitate advisement. For more information visit the Graduate Academic Advisement catalog page. 

Graduate students can also contact the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies for more information about their program director. 
​Phone: 912-478-COGS (2647) 
​Email: gradschool@georgiasouthern.edu