Curriculum | Doctor of Physical Therapy

The Physical Therapy Program is a post-baccalaureate, graduate program leading to a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. Entry into the program requires completion of a bachelor's degree and program specific prerequisites.

Program Length

The DPT program is a full-time day program of 108-credits and takes 33 months to complete.

Curriculum focus

  1. Foundational sciences - Basic science including functional anatomy, neuroscience, motor development, kinesiology/biomechanics, pathology, pharmacology and diagnostic imaging.
  2. Tests & Measures - Develops the skills associated with examination and evaluation of the cardiopulmonary, integumentary, neuromuscular and musculoskeletal systems.
  3. Interventions - Students develop purposeful and skilled abilities in the application of interventions.
  4. Professional and social responsibility - Development of an understanding of what it means to become a healthcare provider. Topics include professional behaviors, self analysis and reflection, ethics, teamwork, teaching/learning, communication/coordination/ documentation, administration, group dynamics, and the healthcare delivery system.
  5. Patient management - Rotations to area work sites and laboratory experiences with patients (real or simulated), provide hands-on application of skills, knowledge and behavior. Emphasizes clinical decision-making and reasoning.

A focus on professional development

Our curriculum is designed to expose students to a variety of teaching methods including lectures, laboratory exercises, reading, role-playing and clinical experiences. As students progress through the program, they are expected to take increasing levels of responsibility for their own education and the development of professional actions and behaviors. This provides graduates with the knowledge and skills to deliver efficient and appropriate services to patients and clients.

Course Creation Center

Expand and Collapse Required Courses

Expand and Collapse PTH 5410 - PT Administration I

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 5480 - Critical Inquiry I

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 5505 - Kinesiology/Biomechanics

Provides foundational knowledge for understanding normal human movement. Emphasis is on biomechanics, joint structure and function, and muscle activity in the human body concurrent with body regions covered in the Functional Anatomy course. The interaction between joints and movement during common activities of daily living is examined.

Expand and Collapse PTH 5510 - Functional Anatomy

An advanced, regional, musculoskeletal anatomy course that emphasizes the study of functional relationships among musculature, nervous tissue, vascular, and skeletal components for the extremities and axial skeleton. Cadaver dissection laboratory experience is used to enhance understanding of three-dimensional anatomical relationships for specific body regions.

Expand and Collapse PTH 5513 - Life Span Motor Development

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 5517 - Systems Screening & MGT I

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 5521 - PT Exam & Eval II

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 5531 - PT Interventions II

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 5901 - Internship Preparation

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 5910 - Patient/Client MGT I

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 5950 - Internship I

Provides students the opportunity to apply physical therapy skills, knowledge and theory in a clinical setting. Students are followed by the CSS Director of Clinical Education (DCE), but are directly supervised by on-site Clinical Instructors (CI). Development of professional behaviors continues as students interact daily with patients, clients, physical therapists, and other health care providers

Expand and Collapse PTH 6103 - Professional Behaviors IV

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 6411 - Physical Therapy Admin II

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 6412 - PT Administration and Advocacy

Focuses on issues related to strategic planning, marketing, and quality assurance/outcomes assessment. Continued application of legal and ethical issues related to provision of physical therapy services.

Expand and Collapse PTH 6518 - Systems Screening & Mgmt II

Second of a two course series focuses on the medical management of various musculoskeletal and neurologic diseases and conditions along with the implications for physical therapy management of those patients/clients. Medical management of pediatric diagnoses is covered relative to physical therapy and lifespan implications.

Expand and Collapse PTH 6541 - Musculoskeletal Eval & MGT II

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 6546 - Neuromuscular Eval & MGT II

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 6567 - Life Span Applications I

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 6568 - Lifespan App II: Geriatrics

Entry-level approach to providing physical therapy services to geriatric patients/clients in a variety of settings. Application of the patient/ client management model is specific to this population. Legal, legislative, and ethical issues pertinent to geriatric patients/clients are discussed.

Expand and Collapse PTH 6912 - PT/Client Mgmt II

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 7953 - Clinical Internship IV

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 7980 - Capstone

Culminating experience in professional education with focus on professional socialization, professional development, and case presentations. Preparation for the physical therapy licensure examination is emphasized.

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. 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.


Students graduating from this program are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination. Successful completion of the exam is required for 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.


The College of St. Scholastica is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

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 St., Alexandria, VA 22314; telephone: (703) 706-3245; email:; website:

Living our mission: The Benedictine values in action

The DPT program is structured philosophically around values that are shared by the physical therapy profession, the College and the College's Benedictine heritage.

  • Love of learning is reflected in the professinoal 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 though the professional values of warmth and openness.
  • 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.
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