Curriculum | Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

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 6100 - Professional Behaviors I

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 6101 - Professional Behaviors II

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 6405 - Professionalism in Physical Therapy

Focuses on the profession of and professionalism in physical therapy. Socialization into the profession is examined from program, state, and national perspectives. Professionalism focuses on development of ethical practice, professional interaction, regulation, documentation, cultural competence, and the physical therapist’s role as an educator.

Expand and Collapse PTH 6410 - 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 6480 - 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 6505 - 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 6510 - 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 6511 - Neuroscience

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 6513 - 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 6517 - 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 6520 - PT Exam & Eval I

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 6521 - 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 6530 - PT Interventions I

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 6531 - 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 6535 - Physiological Response Inj/Ex

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 6910 - 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 6950 - Full-time Clinical Experience

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 7102 - Professional Behaviors III

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 7103 - 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 7411 - 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 7412 - PT Administration & 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 7481 - Critical Inquiry II

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 7482 - Critical Inquiry III

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 7518 - 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 7540 - Musculoskeletal Eval & MGT

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 7541 - Multiple System Evaluation and Management

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 7545 - Neuromuscular Eval & MGT I

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 7546 - 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 7560 - Cardiopulmonary Eval & MGT

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 7565 - Integumentary Eval & Mgmt

Introduces the evaluation and management of patients/clients with integumentary disorders. Factors affecting wound repair, wound infection, infection control and burns are presented. Tests and measures to assess skin integrity and tools to manage integumentary disorders are applied.

Expand and Collapse PTH 7567 - Life Span Applications I: Pediatrics

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 7568 - Life Span 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 7573 - Psychosocial Issues in PT

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 7911 - Patient/Client Mgmt II

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 7912 - PT/Client Mgmt III

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 7913 - PT/Client Mgmt IV

Integration of program course work with clinical practice, emphasizing the continuum of care across the life span and in multiple practice settings. The patient/client management model is applied to various cases with additional emphasis on physical therapists’ roles as advocates, administrators, consultants and teachers. Readiness for clinical internship is demonstrated through competence in core knowledge, clinical skills and professionalism.

Expand and Collapse PTH 8890 - Elective in Physical Therapy

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 areas of clinical practice, research, or service learning.

Expand and Collapse PTH 8951 - Clinical Internship I

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 8952 - Clinical Internship II

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.

Expand and Collapse PTH 8953 - Clinical Internship IV

Terminal 10-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 8980 - 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 (DPT) 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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