- Margaret Longacre, Ph.D., M.S.H.E., Assistant Professor and Public Health Department Chair/MPH Director
- Martha E. Eastlack, PT, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy and Director of Entry-Level Physical Therapy Admissions
About the Program
With dual degrees, students gain knowledge in two fields as they prepare for their professional careers.
Dual degree candidates must be accepted into each of the programs in order to pursue the dual degree: Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) and Master of Public Health (M.P.H.). The MPH-DPT is a joint degree consisting of both the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees. Physical therapy practice has traditionally been seen as rehabilitation or tertiary prevention. In the evolving healthcare environment, physical therapy practice is expanding into primary and secondary prevention activities as well. As physical therapists’ roles and responsibilities have increased, so have their educational horizons. The combined DPT-MPH degree will enable future physical therapists to become leaders in health promotion and health policy, and impact healthcare in innovative ways both domestically and internationally.
Students applying for admission to the dual degree program in Public Health and Physical Therapy need to meet the admission requirements for the DPT Program and write an additional three essays for the MPH Program. The MPH essay questions are listed below.
- A Doctor of Physical Therapy application, including personal statements, to be completed online at www.ptcas.org.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 minimum prerequisite courses. Courses used toward the prerequisite biological and physical science requirements should be taken through the appropriate science departments (e.g., Biology, Chemistry, 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.
- Biological Sciences—four courses (a minimum of 12 semester credits) from a biology department, which must include the following:
- 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.
- One upper-level course (300- to 400- level) of at least 3 credits with a biology focus. This course can be taken through another department, such as exercise science or kinesiology, but should preferably be taken through a biology department. Examples of courses that would fulfill this requirement are Neuroscience, Principles of Motor Control, Anatomy and Biology of Aging.
- Physical Sciences—four lab/lecture courses directed toward science majors to include the following:
- Chemistry I and II or higher (e.g., Biochemistry, Organic).
- General Physics I and II.
- Behavioral Sciences—two courses: one course in Psychology and one course from the following: Anthropology, Sociology or Psychology.
- Statistics—one course.
- 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.
- Test scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), taken within the last five years. Applicants are expected to meet the minimum required scores in all areas of the GRE: (1) Individual Verbal > 151 and Quantitative > 150, (2) Combined Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning > 303, (3) Analytical Writing > 4. NOTE: the GRE code for the D.P.T. program is 7637.
- Knowledge of the Physical Therapy 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.
- Knowledge of the Public Health profession through work or volunteer experience.
- Complete the following additional essay questions on the PTCAS application pages for the M.P.H. program. Each essay response should be at least 250 words.
Describe a challenge you faced during your academic career thus far and how you overcame the challenge, highlighting your strengths, weaknesses, and the growth you experienced during the process
Explain your reasons for pursuing an MPH degree. Please include career goals and how an MPH will contribute to achieving these goals.
Describe any work or volunteer community health-related experiences you have had, including international experiences and work with refugee or immigrant populations within the U.S.
- 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.
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 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.
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.
2020-2021 Tuition for Summer 2020 entering class: $15,547/semester (x9 semesters)
- $50/semester registration fee
- $100/semester technology fee
- $100 annual parking fee
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.
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.
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.
- Practices in a safe manner that minimizes the risk to patient, self, and others.
- Demonstrates professional behavior in all situations.
- Practices in a manner consistent with established legal and professional standards and ethical guidelines.
- Communicates in ways that are congruent with situational needs.
- Adapts delivery of physical therapy services with consideration for patients’ differences, values, preferences, and needs.
- Participates in self-assessment to improve clinical and professional performance.
- Applies current knowledge, theory, clinical judgment, and the patient’s values and perspective in patient management.
- 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.
- Performs a physical therapy patient examination using evidenced-based tests and measures.
- Evaluates data from the patient examination (history, systems review, and tests and measures) to make clinical judgments.
- Determines a diagnosis and prognosis that guides future patient management.
- Establishes a physical therapy plan of care that is safe, effective, patient-centered, and evidence-based.
- Performs physical therapy interventions in a competent manner.
- Educates others (patients, caregivers, staff, students, other health care providers, business and industry representatives, school systems) using relevant and effective teaching methods.
- Produces quality documentation in a timely manner to support the delivery of physical therapy services.
- Collects and analyzes data from selected outcome measures in a manner that supports accurate analysis of individual patient and group outcomes.
- 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.
- 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.
Dual Degree Requirements
(152 credits; 110 credits for the D.P.T. program and 42 credits for the M.P.H. program with 6 shared credits)
Year 1– MPH Program only - Summer (12 credits)
Fall Year 2 DPT Program begins (22.5 credits)
Spring Year 2 (23.5 credits)*
*Courses are pending approval
Summer Year 2 (22 credits)*
*courses pending approval
Fall Year 3 (14 credits)*
*courses pending approval
Spring Year 3 (22 credits)*
*courses pending approval
Summer Year 3 (6 credits)*
*courses pending approval
PBH 696 (3 credits) will be counted toward PT887a (Research) (2 credits)
PT787 (Experiential Learning; 1 credit) and PT846 (Health Promotion; 2 credits) will be counted toward PBH565 (Effective Communication Strategies for Public Health Impact; 3 credits)
PT824 Management Leadership Principles in a PT Setting (3 credits) will be counted toward MPH elective (3 credits)