Jul 24, 2024  
2019-20 Graduate Catalog 
2019-20 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Therapy, D.P.T.

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  • Philip McClure, PT, Ph.D., FAPTA, Professor and Chair


  • Martha E. Eastlack, PT, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Director of Entry-Level Physical Therapy Admissions
  • Brian Eckenrode, PT, D.P.T., O.C.S., Assistant Professor and Orthopaedic Residency Coordinator
  • Ann Harrington, PT, D.P.T, Ph.D, M.S.H.P., P.C.S, Assistant Professor
  • Allison J. Harris, PT, D.P.T., Assistant Professor
  • Shailesh S. Kantak, PT, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
  • Philip J. Malloy, PT, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
  • Kathleen Kline Mangione, PT, Ph.D., FAPTA Professor
  • Amy Miller, PT, D.P.T., Ed.D., Assistant Professor and Curriculum Director
  • Janet Readinger, PT, D.P.T., Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Clinical Education
  • Karen L. Sawyer, PT, D.P.T., M.A., Assistant Professor and Director of Global Engagement
  • Kshamata Shah, PT, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Director of Education for International Physical Therapists
  • Michael Tevald, PT, PhD Associate Professor and Director of Post-Professional Programs
  • Susan Styers Tomlinson, PT, D.P.T., Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Education
  • Ryan D. Zarzycki, PT, D.P.T., Ph.D., cert MDT


About the Program

Arcadia’s entry-level program runs over approximately a two-year period. The Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum is designed to create practitioners as specified in the American Physical Therapy Association Vision Statement for Physical Therapy 2020, who are doctors of physical therapy and who may be board-certified specialists.

Arcadia University is recognized as a leader in global education and provides interested students with international opportunities to study. Arcadia believes that to understand the world, students should experience it—and that can mean leaving the campus for a time. Whether it is for clinical education in England or California or a service trip to Jamaica, Arcadia’s D.P.T. students have several opportunities to experience the world as health care professionals.

The Profession

Physical therapy is a healthcare profession whose practitioners evaluate, treat and instruct individuals in order to prevent or overcome the effects of disease or injury. Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including acute care hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient centers, individual homes, skilled nursing facilities and the public school system. Patients of all ages, from newborn to elderly, may be encountered. Physical therapists also work as educators, researchers and consultants. Physical therapy is an integral part of today’s changing healthcare system. Practitioners serve in a range of capacities—they may be a patient’s entry point into the health-care system as they conduct appropriate screening and examination techniques and make professional assessments. Clinical practice is based on theory and/or evidence.

Physical therapy is a profession that offers a lifetime of satisfaction in helping people to function more effectively. Each patient presents a new challenge, and the constantly changing clinical situations provide for a stimulating and exciting career.

The entry-level DPT program at Arcadia University 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:http://www.capteonline.org.

Admission Requirements

(See separate catalog section for the Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy, T.D.P.T.  requirements.)

The following program-specific requirements must be met:

  1. A Doctor of Physical Therapy application, including personal statements, to be completed online at www.ptcas.org.
  2. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or better. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better is expected for all undergraduate- and graduate-level study.
  3. Include one official transcript from each college, university or professional school attended in your PTCAS application. Transfer credits included on a transcript must include grades earned; if not, an official transcript from the original school must be submitted. Transcripts must be sent from the issuing school in a sealed envelope and contain the appropriate signatures and seals to be considered official. Do not send transcripts directly to Arcadia.
  4. The following minimum prerequisite courses with grades of “C” or better and a cumulative GPA in these course areas of no less than “B” (3.0) is expected. When calculating the prerequisite GPA, Arcadia includes all courses in the prerequisite areas. A grade of “C–” is not acceptable for the prerequisite courses. Courses used toward the prerequisite biological and physical science requirements should be taken through the appropriate science departments (e.g. Biology, Chemistry, and Physics). All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to the start of the Physical Therapy program. One-half of the prerequisite courses, including Physiology and Statistics, must have been taken within 10 years prior to application.
    1. Biological Sciences—four courses (a minimum of 12 semester credits) from a biology department, which must include the following:
      1. Either one lab/lecture course in Human or Mammalian Physiology and one lab/lecture course in Anatomy OR a two-semester lab/lecture course sequence of Anatomy & Physiology.
      2. One upper-level course (300- to 400- level) of at least 3 credits with a biology focus. This course should preferably be taken through a biology department, but can be taken through another department, such as exercise science or kinesiology as long as the course content is primarily biology-based. Examples of courses that would fulfill this requirement are Neuroscience, Principles of Motor Control, Biology of Aging, Histology, Cell Biology, Pharmacology and Pathophysiology.
    2. Physical Sciences—four lab/lecture courses directed toward science majors to include the following:
      1. Chemistry I and II or higher (e.g., Biochemistry, Organic).
      2. General Physics I and II.
    3. Behavioral Sciences—two courses: one course in Psychology and on Anthropology, Sociology or Psychology.
    4. Statistics—one course.
  5. Three letters of recommendation, at least one from a currently practicing licensed physical therapist and one from a college professor who is able to judge the applicant’s academic qualification and readiness for rigorous work at the graduate level. This professor should have taught one of the academic courses for the applicant’s major.
  6. Test scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), taken within the last five years. Applicants are expected to meet the minimum scores in all areas of the GRE: (1) Individual Verbal ≥ 151 and Quantitative ≥ 150, (2) Combined Verbal and Quantitative ≥ 303, (3) Analytical Writing > 4. NOTE: the GRE code for the D.P.T. program is 7637.
  7. Knowledge of the profession through documented work or volunteer experiences in at least one inpatient and one outpatient setting as defined by PTCAS. These observations must be completed by November 1st of the year of application to the program. Increasingly, clinical facilities are requiring that participating students undergo various criminal background checks, child abuse clearances, and/or drug screens. Therefore, students should be prepared to participate in these screenings for this observation experience.
  8. International Applicants: Official results from the TOEFL or IELTS are required for all students for whom English is a second language, except for non-native speakers of English who hold degrees or diplomas from post-secondary institutions in English-speaking countries (e.g. the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand). A course-by-course evaluation of all transcripts by an independent evaluation service based in the United States also is required. NOTE: International students applying to the Physical Therapy program must send scores to the PTCAS code 5312.

The final decision will be made only after a full review of all application materials; as well as, professionalism and communication.

Application Deadline

All students seeking admission to the D.P.T. program must apply through the centralized application system (www.ptcas.org). Applicants are required to complete all components of their application, including essays, by the hard deadline of November 1. Applications are not reviewed until all materials are received by Arcadia. (This includes the PTCAS application, the required recommendations, and GRE scores.)

If an offer of admission is accepted, a $500 deposit must accompany the acceptance reply. This deposit is applied to the first semester’s tuition, and the deposit is non-refundable if the student fails to enter the program on the date for which they are accepted.

Following official acceptance into the program, each student must supply information about his or her health and medical history and is required to submit the results of a physical examination. Institutions participating in clinical internships require a certificate of good health before permitting students to work with patients. All students are required to have some form of medical insurance throughout the entire curriculum and must provide proof. If needed, medical insurance can be purchased through the University. Information and applications are available in the Office of Student Health Services.

Prior to beginning the program, students are required to complete specific background checks and a drug screen as directed by the department. Increasingly individual clinical sites require additional background clearances prior to participating in a clinical experience. These may include but are not limited to additional child abuse clearances, FBI background checks, fingerprinting, OIG/GSA checks, sex offender website checks, and drug screens. Failure to pass a criminal background check or other required screening may affect the student’s ability to fulfill the requirements for graduation and/or be licensed as a physical therapist.

Registration will be considered complete when the University is satisfied that the student is physically able to undertake the year’s work and results from all requirements/screens are acceptable.

Deferred Admission

Students who have secured a seat in the program and want to defer their admission for one year must submit their request to do so in writing to the Director of Physical Therapy Admissions. Deferrals will be considered on an individual basis. Once a deferral is granted, a student must submit the required deposit to reserve a seat in the class. This deposit will be credited toward tuition. A student who is granted a deferral must understand that he or she will be subject to the prevailing tuition at the time of matriculation to the program.


Tuition and fees for students entering Fall 2019:

  • $15,660 per semester (x 7 semesters).
  • $100/semester technology fee
  • $50/semester registration fee
  • $100 annual parking fee
  • $85 PT kit (tools for physical therapy practice)

Additional Expenses (estimated)

  • Books and supplies:
    • Year one: $1,000
    • Year two: $500
    • Year three: $500
  • Room and Board: Off-campus, varies
  • Travel for clinical and experiential learning: varies
  • Health insurance: varies
  • Medical clearances: varies
  • Screens/checks upon entry: approximately $150

Students are responsible for the additional costs of travel and housing associated with all their clinical experiences and should plan accordingly.

Students will be responsible for expenses associated with various criminal background checks, child abuse clearances and/or drug screens; physical examinations including required titers; and medical insurance. There may be requirements during the program in addition to the ones upon entry to the program.

Financial Aid

Financial Aid is available to assist qualified students in covering tuition and related expenses, as well as living costs. Upon review for admission, students are automatically considered for merit scholarships and graduate assistantships based on their academic records upon applying for admission to the program.  Graduate students who have been accepted into a degree program and are enrolled for at least 6 credits per semester are eligible to apply for financial aid. Please visit www.arcadia.edu/finaid for information regarding available aid options and visit www.arcadia.edu/gradfinaidapply to complete required forms online.  Request a list of financial aid sources directly from the American Physical Therapy Association, 1111 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314-9902 or go to the APTA website at www.apta.org.

Federal Loans

Graduate students are eligible to borrow through the Federal Direct Stafford Loan and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan programs provided they are taking at least 6 credits per semester (in the summer, 6 credits over all summer sessions combined satisfies this requirement). For more information, visit www.arcadia.edu/finaid.

Physical Therapy Academic Policies and Procedures

A student accepted into the Physical Therapy program is expected to abide by the regulations set forth by Arcadia University and the written policies of the Physical Therapy program. For a discussion of the general academic policies and procedures for graduate students, see the Academic Policies section in this catalog and the Student Handbook. The policies of the Physical Therapy program are published in the Physical Therapy Policies and Procedures Student Handbook, revised annually.

To remain in good academic standing, students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.7 in each semester. If a student receives less than a 2.7 for a semester, the student will be placed on probation. Failure to improve the grade point average in the subsequent semester will result in dismissal from the program.

Students are expected to achieve a passing grade in each unit.  Failure in more than one (1) unit in a semester will result in dismissal from the program. Also, if a student fails to pass a Unit practical exam three times, the student will receive an “F” for the Unit grade. If the student fails to pass two Unit practical exams within one semester, the student will be dismissed from the program. Failure to achieve a passing grade in a course will require a remedial examination. Failure to pass the remedial examination will result in dismissal from the program. A comprehensive practical examination is provided at the end of the first year of the program. If the student fails the comprehensive practical examination three times, the student will be dismissed from the program. If the student fails to meet minimum performance expectations in a clinical experience, the student will receive a grade of Unsatisfactory for the clinical education course and be dismissed from the program. If a student at any time during the course of an experience is performing in an unsafe manner causing a patient’s well-being to be jeopardized, or behaves in an unprofessional, unethical, or illegal manner, the student will be immediately removed from the clinical setting. The student then will receive a grade of Unsatisfactory for the clinical education course.

If the student is dismissed from the program for reasons noted above, he or she must submit a letter to the Dean of the College of Health Sciences, with a copy to the Chair of the Physical Therapy Department, requesting permission to repeat the course or to progress in the program. Permission to continue following unsatisfactory performance is determined by the Physical Therapy Review Committee. If the student is allowed to continue in the program, the Committee will establish an appropriate plan for remediation. If the student withdraws from the program for reasons other than those given above and wants to re-enter, the student must apply for re-acceptance to the Physical Therapy Review Committee and receive permission.

Physical Therapy Essential Functions for Participation

Essential functions are the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective skills necessary for a student to participate in the physical therapy program and become a physical therapist. Below are the “Clinical Performance Criteria for the Physical Therapist Student” as outlined in the “Physical Therapist Clinical Performance Instrument for Students” developed by the American Physical Therapy Association.1 Students must have the physical, mental and emotional capacity, with or without reasonable accommodations, to meet all of the below criteria. These essential functions apply in the classroom, lab, community, and clinical settings as part of the physical therapy program. Independent facilities used for clinical education may or may not be willing or able to provide the same reasonable accommodations provided by the university.

  1. Practices in a safe manner that minimizes the risk to patient, self, and others.
  2. Demonstrates professional behavior in all situations.
  3. Practices in a manner consistent with established legal and professional standards and ethical guidelines.
  4. Communicates in ways that are congruent with situational needs.
  5. Adapts delivery of physical therapy services with consideration for patients’ differences, values, preferences, and needs.
  6. Participates in self-assessment to improve clinical and professional performance.
  7. Applies current knowledge, theory, clinical judgment, and the patient’s values and perspective in patient management.
  8. Determines with each patient encounter the patient’s need for further examination or consultation by a physical therapist or referral to another health care professional.
  9. Performs a physical therapy patient examination using evidenced-based tests and measures.
  10. Evaluates data from the patient examination (history, systems review, and tests and measures) to make clinical judgments.
  11. Determines a diagnosis and prognosis that guides future patient management.
  12. Establishes a physical therapy plan of care that is safe, effective, patient-centered, and evidence-based.
  13. Performs physical therapy interventions in a competent manner.
  14. Educates others (patients, caregivers, staff, students, other health care providers, business and industry representatives, school systems) using relevant and effective teaching methods.
  15. Produces quality documentation in a timely manner to support the delivery of physical therapy services.
  16. Collects and analyzes data from selected outcome measures in a manner that supports accurate analysis of individual patient and group outcomes.
  17. Participates in the financial management (budgeting, billing and reimbursement, time, space, equipment, marketing, public relations) of the physical therapy service consistent with regulatory, legal, and facility guidelines.
  18. Directs and supervises personnel to meet patient’s goals and expected outcomes according to legal standards and ethical guidelines.

Sample behaviors for each of the above performance criteria are available upon request.

1Physical Therapist Clinical Performance Instrument: Version 2006. American Physical Therapy Association: Alexandria, VA; 2008. Adopted 5/7/12

© 2006 American Physical Therapy Association. All rights reserved. Adapted with permission of the American Physical Therapy Association.

Degree Requirements (111 credits)

Students must meet the following requirements:

  1. A minimum of 79 weeks of classroom work. (Courses are listed below.)
  2. A minimum of 34 weeks of full-time clinical study.
  3. An overall minimum GPA of 2.70 maintained throughout the program. A grade below “C” is not acceptable toward the degree.
  4. Continuous enrollment. If extenuating circumstances make additional time necessary, approval to continue beyond the expected 2 1/2 years must be obtained from the Department Chair and the Physical Therapy Review Committee. Students who withdraw for reasons other than academic or clinical performance may re-apply for admission. Departmental approval is necessary for re-admission.

First Year

Second Year

Third Year

Fall (6 credits)

Spring, ending in February (8 credits)

Clinical Experience

Each student must successfully complete 34 weeks of full-time clinical experience before graduation and an integrated clinical education experience equivalent to one week of clinic time. The full-time clinical experience consists of eight weeks in an inpatient or outpatient setting in the second fall of the program after completion of the first didactic year. Upon completion of the second academic year, students begin their culminating clinical experience, referred to as the terminal clinical education experience. This final clinical assignment, which lasts for 26 weeks, is a hybrid between traditional clinical education and the residency model of clinical training that is rich in mentoring and structured learning experiences to facilitate accelerated learning. Clinics affiliated with this program are among a select group with strong relationships to Arcadia’s program and the patient-centered curriculum. These facilities are primarily in southeastern Pennsylvania and offer a wide variety of experiences designed to foster clinical decision-making skills necessary for physical therapists in today’s healthcare environment.

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