Jul 25, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
    
2024-2025 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog

Physical Therapy, Doctor of Physical Therapy


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Department Contact:

Program Chair: Dr. Jessica Lieb Cammarata, jcammarata@francis.edu

Program Description:

Guided by the Franciscan Goals of Higher Education, the Department of Physical Therapy educates competent, compassionate, ethical, and exemplary Doctors of Physical Therapy who embody the spirit of Saint Francis of Assisi. Through innovative, inclusive, and collaborative learning experiences, graduates become evidence-based clinicians who are lifelong learners prepared to serve in a complex healthcare environment, providing care that respects the dignity of all individuals.

Learning Objectives:

Goal 1:  Students will be prepared to enter professional practice as competent doctors of physical therapy.

Goal 2:  Students will be prepared to be ethical and compassionate practitioners of physical therapy.

Goal 3:  Students will be aware of and prepared to function in a complex health care environment.

Goal 4:  Students will  use clinical reasoning in professional practice.

Goal 5:  Students will become lifelong learners able to formulate plans for professional and personal learning.

Goal 6:  Students will use evidence-based approach to support decisions and serve the needs of consumers and society.

Goal 7:  Students will be prepared to meet the healthcare needs of patients and society through professional advocacy and service.

The accelerated direct entry Doctor of Physical Therapy 3+3 program provides three years of pre-professional study where students complete the core curriculum studies and collateral requirements followed by three years of study in the professional curriculum which includes clinical experiences. While the didactic portion of the curriculum is taught on campus, selected education experiences may occasionally require travel to local health care facilities. All clinical education coursework is full time and requires travel to clinical sites for practical experience under the supervision of a physical therapist. Clinical education sites will be available locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Freshmen applicants should have strong backgrounds in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Clinical volunteer or paid employment experience, while not required for freshmen admission, is recommended to provide students with exposure to physical therapy practice.

Students will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science or Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology after successful completion of the fourth year, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree will be awarded after successful completion of the sixth year. Progression through the curriculum is dependent upon successful completion of all courses in the sequence. The Student Progress Committee must approve any changes to the sequence outlined. Please consult the departmental handbook for detailed information about internal policies and standards. Professional courses are open to physical therapy majors only.

The program also offers graduate admission to the three-year DPT program to Saint Francis University students admitted under the 4+3 paradigm, or to eligible individuals holding an earned baccalaureate degree with the necessary prerequisite coursework based on space availability. 

Accreditation Statement:

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Saint Francis University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: www.capteonline.org.

Estimated Completion Time:

BS to DPT Accelerated Program: Typically four years of full-time study to complete the BS plus two additional years of full-time study to complete the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

DPT Only: Typically three years of full-time to complete the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Total Credits Required:

BS Health Science to DPT Accelerated Program: 133 credits minimum for the B.S. in Health Science plus 74 credits for the DPT. 

BS in Exercise Physiology Accelerated Program: 154 credits minimum for the BS in Exercise Physiology plus 74 credits for the DPT.

DPT Only: 115 credits

Progression and/or Retention Criteria:

Pre-Professional Curriculum Progression Standards

All physical therapy majors in the three-year pre-professional curriculum must meet the following academic requirements prior to the summer of the 4th year in order to have a guaranteed seat in the professional curriculum. This includes all 3+3 majors/concentrations leading to the Doctor of Physical Therapy approved by the University.

At the end of the spring semester of the junior year, the student must:

Achieve a minimum overall cumulative QPA of 3.200 and a minimum cumulative math/science GPA of 3.200. 

Achieve a minimum grade of “C” in all major and collateral requirements. (If student earns a grade below a “C” in a major or collateral course, the student may, prior to the end of the spring semester of the junior year, retake the class one time to achieve the minimum grade of “C.”)

Completion of the pre-professional curriculum much be achieved in 3 consecutive years.

Prior to the fall semester of the junior year, complete 50 hours of documented volunteer experience or paid employment in at least one physical therapy practice setting, with two settings recommended. 

A seat in the professional curriculum of the physical therapy major is not guaranteed for a student who does not meet these progression standards. Students should work closely with their advisors to review their academic progress and to make a plan to meet progression standards or select a new major if they are not meeting requirements for matriculation into the DPT program.

For 4+3 students, the students must have a 3.2 GPA both in math/science classes and overall by the end of their fourth year in order to matriculate into the professional phase classes. They must have a minimum grade of C in all major and collateral requirements as described above, and must have a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer experience or paid employment in a physical therapy practice setting.

A seat in the professional curriculum of the physical therapy program is not guaranteed for a student who does not meet these progression standards.

Any student who does not meet progression standards and does not have a guaranteed seat may apply as a graduate admission.

*The cumulative math/science GPA is based on courses taken at SFU; BIOL 111, 205, 206, CHEM 113,114, EXPH 305, PHYS 104,105, and STAT 205  (or EXPH375).

Professional Curriculum Progression Standards

All physical therapy majors in the three-year professional curriculum must meet the following academic requirements. Failure to meet any one of the progression standards will result in dismissal from the program.

Beginning with the fall semester of the 1st year, achieve a minimum GPA of 3.000 each semester of the professional curriculum.

Beginning with the fall semester of the 1st year, achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.000 during the professional curriculum.

Earn a minimum grade of “C” or better in every professional curriculum course.

Achieve a grade of “Pass” on all courses in the professional curriculum graded as “Pass/Fail.”

Achieve competency on all course practical examinations as per department policy.

Successfully complete each clinical education experience/ course and achieve a grade of “Pass” in each course (per Department policy).

Adhere to the University Statement of Student Conduct and all Essential Functions as defined in the Physical Therapy Program Student Handbook.

Technical Standards or Essential Functions:

Essential functions are the activities that a student physical therapist must be able to perform in partial fulfillment of the requirements for successful completion of the professional curriculum. Every student must be able to perform these essential functions, with or without reasonable accommodations, while practicing safely, ethically, and in a legal manner. Descriptions of essential functions can be found in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Student Handbook.

Admission Pathways:

Undergraduate Admission: Qualified applicants are admitted into the accelerated 3+3 DPT program or traditional 4+3 DPT program as freshmen. Students who successfully complete curriculum requirements and meet program progression standards will be awarded the Bachelor of Science in Health Science or Exercise Physiology degree after the fourth year. Students who maintain progression standards and successfully complete the sixth year of the curriculum will be awarded the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.

Graduate Admission: Individuals holding an earned baccalaureate degree with the necessary prerequisite coursework may be admitted to the DPT professional curriculum based on space availability. Students who maintain progression standards and successfully complete the three-year professional curriculum will be awarded the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. 

Application Deadlines:

Undergraduate Priority Application Deadline: October 15

Graduate Application Deadline: January 15

Admission Requirements:

Undergraduate Admission

Requirements for admission to the direct entry accelerated 3+3 BS to DPT program include:

  • SAT score of 1210 or higher in critical reading and math or an ACT composite score of 25 or higher
  • GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 with 16 academic units to include the following:
  • 4 units of science including biology and chemistry; physics recommended but not required; 4 units of math, reaching at least the level of pre-calculus; calculus recommended but not required; 4 units of English; 4 units of academic electives.
  • Or SAT/ACT optional with a 3.7 GPA on a 4.0 scale with the 16 academic units listed above.

Graduate Admission

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program participates in the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service. To learn more about the PTCAS application process, visit http://www.ptcas.org. Admission personnel, financial aid officers, and faculty members are available for advising throughout the admissions process.

Competitive applications must have the following:

  • Official transcript from each college/university attended indicating a minimum 3.200 overall GPA and an earned bachelor’s degree
  • A 3.200 minimum math/science GPA (based on the prerequisite math and science courses)
  • The below list of prerequisite (or equivalent) coursework is required: 12 credits of biology, 8 of which must be anatomy and physiology; 8 credits of chemistry with labs; 8 credits of physics with labs; 3 credits of statistics; 3 credits of psychology.
  • Current semester grades upon completion (if presently enrolled)
  • Three professional recommendations (at least one from a physical therapist)
  • Brief (300 words or less) typed response to “Describe your personal characteristics that you believe will lead you to success in the physical therapy profession.”
  • Fifty (50) hours of documented experience in at least one physical therapy practice settings (i.e., inpatient, outpatient, rehab, etc.), with two or more recommended.

The following prerequisite (or equivalent) coursework is required:

  • General Biology (w/lab): 4 credits. One course offered by a Biology Department that includes a laboratory portion.
  • Anatomy and Physiology (w/lab): 8 credits. A two-course sequence (with labs) addressing the structure and function of the human mammalian body studies at the cellular, tissue, and organ level of organization. Invertebrate Anatomy and Physiology is not acceptable.
  • Chemistry (w/lab): 8 credits. A two-course introductory sequence (with labs) that covers basic concepts, theories and application of chemistry.
  • Physics (w/lab): A two-course sequence (with labs) that covers fundamentals of physics, classical and modern, including mechanics, heat, light, electricity, magnetism, and modern physics.
  • Statistics: 3 credits. A course which covers the collection, presentation, analysis and interpretation of data.
  • Introductory Psychology: 3 credits. A foundational course which covers the major areas of study within psychology.
  • Psychology: 3 credits. One course should examine specific areas of psychological theory and practice. Such courses include: Sensation and Perception; Learning; Abnormal Psychology; Cognition; Physiological Psychology; and Developmental Psychology.

Graduation Requirements:

A candidate for graduation with the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Complete all requirements for an approved program of study;
  • Complete the minimum number of credits as specified in this publication;
  • Achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.000 or better
  • Submit a completed Application for Degree form at least one semester prior to graduation date; and
  • Satisfy financial obligations to the University.

Professional Licensure and/or Certification:

Graduates of the DPT program are eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Licensure Examination. Licensure is required to practice.

 

See Physical Therapy, B.S. Health Science 3+3 to DPT   for courses required for the BS in Health Science degree; see Exercise Physiology, B. S. leading to Doctor of Physical Therapy (3+3 PTEX)  for courses required in the BS in Exercise Physiology Degree.

Courses Required for the DPT for SFU students who earned a B.S. in Health Science degree:


Courses Required for graduate students entering SFU for the DPT only:


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