Jul 12, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Therapy, DPT

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  • Phil McClure, PT, PhD, FAPTA, Professor and Chair
  • Michael A. Tevald, PT, PhD, Director of Entry-level Programs
  • Brian Eckenrode, PT, DPT, PhD, Hybrid Pathway Director

About the Program

Arcadia’s entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is 26 months in duration. The program is now offered through two different pathways - the residential program is composed entirely of on-campus learning experiences, while the hybrid pathway is composed of a combination of online and on-campus learning experiences. The Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum is designed to create practitioners who can fulfill the American Physical Therapy Association’s vision of “transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience”.

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 DPT 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.

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 DPT Student Handbook, revised annually, and address specifics regarding performance benchmarks that must be met in order to progress through the program.

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 to a 2.7 in the subsequent semester may result in dismissal from the program.

Successful completion of all clinical experiences is required in order to fulfill program requirements. 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 a student is dismissed or withdraws from the program, they may apply for provisional readmission. A decision to grant provisional readmission is made by the department chair in consultation with the student’s advisor and relevant faculty members. A student who is provisionally readmitted must still apply for full readmission into the program when appropriate. Decisions on full readmission into the program and required remedial work are made by the Physical Therapy Review Committee.

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 (110 credits)

Students must meet the following requirements:

  1. A minimum of 63 weeks of classroom work. (Courses are listed below.)
  2. A minimum of 32 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 26 months 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.
  5. Successful completion of all graduation requirements, including completion of the capstone project, as specified in the Student Handbook.

First Year

Second Year

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