May 28, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Therapy, D.P.T.

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The College of College of Health and Human Services  professional doctoral degree in Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) is designed for the student who has completed a bachelor’s degree in any major and specific prerequisite course work. The curriculum employs a systems approach, with emphasis on the musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiopulmonary, and integumentary systems. The specific responsibilities of patient screening, examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, plan of care, interventions, and outcomes assessment in physical therapy practice are related to the whole person. The curriculum integrates educational experiences in the classroom, laboratory, community, and clinical settings.

The purpose of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program is to prepare students to be entry-level physical therapists practitioners who base decisions on scientific and clinical evidence for their roles as clinicians, leaders, advocates, and teachers. Within the broadening scope and increasing autonomy of physical therapy practice, graduates of the program will be prepared to become leaders in the community, profession, and healthcare who will advocate for patients and influence health policy.

Program Objectives

At the conclusion of the DPT program, the student will be able to:

  1. Screen, examine, evaluate, and diagnose individuals with impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities related to movement, physical dysfunction, health, and wellness.
  2. Plan and implement standard and innovative interventions for individuals with impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities related to movement, physical dysfunction, health, and wellness.
  3. Determine the optimal level of improvement in function and the amount of time to reach that level for a patient with an impairment, functional limitation, or disability related to movement.
  4. Instruct individuals and groups in the prevention of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities related to movement, physical dysfunction, health, and wellness.
  5. Demonstrate social responsibility, citizenship, and advocacy, including participation in community and human service organizations and activities.
  6. Integrate scientific and clinical evidence in physical therapy practice, and contribute to the evidence for practice.
  7. In professional interactions:
    1. exhibit moral, ethical, and legal behavior;
    2. display sensitivity to individual differences and values;
    3. communicate appropriately;
    4. display effective leadership skills;
    5. display effective administrative and consultative behaviors; and
    6. effectively use contemporary technology.
  8. Demonstrate effective teaching skills that are culturally appropriate and meet the needs of the learner.


The Illinois Board of Higher Education approved the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in January of 2006. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities approved the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in January of 2007. The Physical Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, telephone 703.706.3245; email:; website:


After graduation from an accredited program, a student must pass a national examination and meet licensure requirements of the state in which they wish to practice. Additional information regarding licensure is found in the Professional Licensure or Certification  page of this catalog.

Special Admissions Requirements

Applications for admission are due by October 15. Application to the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) curriculum is made through a centralized application service of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). To apply to our program, you should access the physical therapy centralized application service (PTCAS) at where you will find the information on applying to our DPT curriculum.

Additionally, if accepted into the Doctor of Physical Therapy program, you will have to have official transcripts from all schools you have attended mailed directly to us from those schools you have attended.

In addition to meeting university admission criteria, applicants must:

  1. have a bachelor’s degree, any major, with a minimum cumulative G.P.A. of 2.8 on a 4.0 scale;
  2. achieve a minimum of 1,000 points combined on the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or 300 on the GRE revised General Test;
  3. have appropriate prerequisite course work with a minimum prerequisite G.P.A. of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The GSU equivalent course is given in parenthesis. The following courses (in semester credit-hours) or their equivalents are minimum prerequisites for entry into the D.P.T. program:
  4. participate in personal interviews conducted by the Physical Therapy Department admissions committee, if selected.

Technical Standards for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

To perform the essential functions of a physical therapist in an independent manner, accepted applicants and candidates for graduation from the Department of Physical Therapy in the College of Health and Human Services are required to certify that they understand and meet the technical standards of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program (full text available from the department office or the department website). Applicants or students who are unable to independently meet any of the technical standards must be able to direct others in the safe and effective execution of any task. Applicants or students who may not meet the technical standards should contact the Department Chair to identify what reasonable accommodations, if any, the Department of Physical Therapy could make to enable the accepted applicant or candidate to meet the standards.

Admission to Candidacy

After an approved study plan is on file in the Department of Physical Therapy Office, each student must apply for admission to candidacy. Application forms are available in the department office. Application for candidacy must be made at the beginning of the third semester in which the student is enrolled and before participation in Clinical Practicum (PHYT-7729 ). Students must have completed 38 credit-hours with a minimum G.P.A. of 3.0 to be accepted into candidacy and progress to the first clinical education experiences.

Degree Requirements

Required Courses:

B. Physical Therapy (99 Hours)

In addition to completing the required courses, students must also:

  1. satisfactorily complete all clinical internships in a variety of settings; and
  2. complete and present a graduate research project.

Total - 119 Hours

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