Jul 17, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Public Health/Physical Therapy, MPH/DPT

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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 (DPT) and Master of Public Health (MPH). 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 MPH-DPT 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.

The Master of Public Health (MPH) has a Community Health Concentration and is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). The MPH degree, offered through the College of Health Sciences, extends clinical practice by incorporating broader knowledge and action related to preventing disease and disability and improving individual and population-level outcomes. Public health is centered in achieving health equity and reducing disparities, including understanding and addressing the social and community context of disease, illness, disability and recovery, as well as health promotion and health research. Our MPH trains students to work effectively as public health professionals in local and global communities through a wide variety of health-related organizations.

Highlights of our program curricula includes the following:

  • Program planning and evaluation
  • Healthcare and broader public health policy
  • Epidemiology, research methods, and biostatistics
  • Public health communication for the community
  • Capstone projects that integrate practice and research
  • Internships that give students first-hand experience in public health settings
  • Domestic and international service projects and internship opportunities
  • Interprofessional education experiences
  • Four dual-degree programs: Physician Assistant; International Peace and Conflict Resolution; Physical Therapy; and Counseling.

The MPH program educates future community public health professionals to promote the health of individuals, families, communities, and the environment. This is accomplished through a program that integrates education, research and practice in a globally-minded environment. Our goal is that our students:

  • Understand community public health and develop the skills needed to succeed in a public health career.
  • Are engaged in an academic, applied environment that integrates community public health education with research and practice.
  • Recognize the connection between health status and human rights and act to improve outcomes.
  • Translate knowledge into practice through collaborative service projects and internships, both domestically and internationally with community-based organizations, health facilities, government organizations, and local health departments.
  • Employ scientific investigation to advance public health knowledge of the relationship between health and the structural environment within which individuals live and work.

Our program allows for broad interests in public health but we also encourage students to focus their coursework on a specific area of interest, choose an Internship experience that emphasizes their individualized interests, and plan a Capstone project focused in the same area. In this way, each student can develop a specialized knowledge base about public health issues related to his or her specific area of interest.

Our dual-degree programs train health professionals in the core areas of community-based public health. The application of the public health skill set added to the skills learned within the clinical and behavioral primary degree instills a public health perspective to blend and build an interdisciplinary career.


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.

Dual Degree Requirements

152 credits: 110 credits for the DPT program and 42 credits for the MPH program. Six total shared credits (3 for MPH and 3 for PT).

Summer Year 3 (6 credits)


PBH 696 (3 credits) will be counted toward PT887a (Research) (2 credits) 

PT824 Management Leadership Principles in a PT Setting (3 credits) will be counted toward MPH elective (3 credits)

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