Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Dr. Jaime Paz, Program Director

Program Vision

Our vision is to graduate critical thinkers who are change agents for our profession, who are lifelong learners, who demonstrate excellence in clinical practice, who are consumers and contributors to evidence based practice, who dedicate themselves to service through mentorship, community-based care, and altruistic endeavors.

Program Mission

The mission of the Physical Therapy Program is to educate students to: demonstrate requisite knowledge, clinical skills, and professional behavior consistent with the profession of physical therapy; exhibit culturally sensitive and ethically sound conduct; display critical thinking; demonstrate leadership in service; become committed lifelong learners; contribute to evidence based practice; and advance the profession of physical therapy. The mission of the Division of Physical Therapy is consistent with the mission of Walsh University, which encourages individuals to act in accordance with reason guided by the example and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Program Philosophy

The philosophy of Walsh University's Physical Therapy Program reflects an understanding that to be a practitioner of choice, our faculty and students should demonstrate professional behaviors both in the academic and clinical settings. Furthermore, our students will demonstrate an ability to become an autonomous practitioner by active reflection and implementation of best practice based on evidence. The goal of these guiding principles is to provide care and manage persons with movement dysfunction that result from a variety of health conditions across a person’s lifespan. Our graduates will be able to practice as generalist physical therapists in a variety of practices settings across the continuum of care, in both direct access and referral environments.

Program Goals

Building on a solid grounding in the liberal arts, the graduate level program focuses on the development of students emphasizing those values and characteristics that will enable the graduate to function as a competent provider of physical therapy services.

Based on the missions of Walsh University and the Physical Therapy Program, the following goals were developed to:

Goal 1: Prepare competent doctors of physical therapy for evidence based and collaborative clinical practice.

Goal 2: Develop consumers and creators of scholarship by promoting and supporting academic excellence through engagement in basic science, clinical, and translational research for dissemination of new knowledge.

Goal 3: Engage in physical therapy service partnerships that provide health care education, service/outreach, research activities, and clinical care to the general population.

Goal 4: Promote ideal ethical and professional behaviors consistent with the physical therapy profession.

Goal 5: Demonstrate excellence in innovative instructional strategies and/or communication methods.

To achieve these goals the students must demonstrate the general knowledge, skill, and mindfulness of a competent physical therapist who exhibits the Judeo-Christian values of Walsh University.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Since our outcomes are directly related to our student’s ability to demonstrate entry-level competence in physical therapy, we call our intended accomplishments “Program Student Learning Outcomes (PSLOs).” The following PSLOs have been adopted as the key learning outcomes for Walsh University Doctor of Physical Therapy students:

  1. Physical Therapy DPT graduates will demonstrate competency in patient outcome based examination, evaluation and intervention across the physical therapy scope of practice.
  2. Physical Therapy DPT graduates will demonstrate competent and comprehensive entry level critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills consistent with entry level physical therapists.
  3. Physical Therapy DPT graduates will demonstrate oral, written and interpersonal communication skills consistent with entry level physical therapists.
  4. Physical Therapy DPT graduates will demonstrate competency in service in the domains of education, participation, design and reflection.
  5. Physical Therapy DPT graduates will contribute to research procedures associated with evidence based physical therapy practice.
  6. Physical Therapy DPT graduates will demonstrate cultural sensitivity, professional behavior and ethically sound behavior.

Academic Guidelines for Doctor of Physical Therapy

Admissions Overview

There are 3 routes of admission into the Graduate Program in Physical Therapy

  1. Traditional
  2. Accelerated
  3. Direct entry

All qualified students applying to our program are required to successfully complete an interview prior to being accepted. Our program utilizes the Physical Therapy Centralized Application System (PTCAS), endorsed by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)

Traditional Entry

Traditional entry involves a 4+3 model in which the student completes an undergraduate degree prior to entry into the graduate program. Students can complete their undergraduate degree from Walsh University or other accredited institutions and submit application materials for review. Traditional entry requires the following prior to admission to the Physical Therapy Program.

  • B.S. or B.A. degree with an undergraduate overall GPA of 3.0 or greater from an accredited institution
    • Students who are in their senior year of completing their undergraduate degree are eligible to apply for admission
  • Application to PTCAS.org
  • Completion of course prerequisites with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the following:
  • Transcripts from all former institutions attended must be submitted
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken with scores reported (quantitative, verbal, analytical writing)
  • Three  letters of recommendation (one academic, one professional, and one may be professional, academic or an athletic coach)
  • Verification from PTCAS of a minimum of 30 observation hours in 2 settings, at least 10 hours at any one setting, inpatient and outpatient represented. The Walsh University DPT program does not accept submission of checklists with times/hours as verification of an observation.
  • On-Site Interview (by invitation only)
  • TOEFL score (international students only)

Accelerated Entry

The Accelerated program was designed to facilitate the undergraduate degree in Biology/Pre-PT in three years (3+3 program). This program offers enrollment as an incoming freshman, during the beginning of the fall semester. 

Accelerated students will need to complete the accelerated Bio-Pre-PT coursework in the first three years of the undergraduate education. Accelerated students who are accepted into the DPT program will take 20 credit hours of graduate-level, first-year science coursework during the first year of physical therapy curriculum that will apply toward the undergraduate degree major as elective course work. 

Prospective freshman applicants must meet two of the three academic criteria:

  1. High school GPA of 3.5 or higher;
  2. Minimum ACT score of 27 or SAT score of 1100 (critical reading and math, not including writing)
  3. Graduate in the top 10% of their high school class.

Students in the accelerated program must complete certain coursework in the first three years of their undergraduate program, apply to the graduate program in Physical Therapy during the junior year, and meet all of the established requirements for acceptance into the graduate program. All accelerated students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.35 or higher in order to apply to the DPT program.

Acceptance into the Walsh University DPT program requires completion of all DPT admission requirements which are outlined on the DPT program web-site: http://www.walsh.edu/doctorate-physical-therapy-admissions.

The Accelerated program is designed to facilitate the undergraduate degree in Biology/Pre-PT in three years.  The Physical Therapy program along with the Division of Mathematics and Sciences at Walsh University offers the accelerated option to a limited number of well-qualified students to finish their baccalaureate degree in biology after completing the first year of the graduate level PT education program through an application process. 

Applicants accepted into the accelerated program are provisionally accepted into the physical therapy program.  Conditions of provisional acceptance include completion of prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher; completion of all courses taken over the first six semesters and those taken during summer sessions at a 3.0 GPA or higher; and completion of all other admission requirements (except bachelor’s degree) by the time the student enrolls in the first semester of the PT education program.  Students will receive an undergraduate degree in Biology upon completion of the first year of coursework in the graduate physical therapy program once accepted into the physical therapy program. 

To apply for the program, freshman applicants must complete the following by November 1st annually:

  • Complete an accelerated degree program application form through the student's advisor or admissions office
  • Submit high school transcript including ACT/SAT scores
  • Submit 1-2 letters of recommendation
  • If needed, the freshman accelerated applicant maybe be invited for an interview with science and PT faculty members

Undergraduate Major

Students accepted into the accelerated degree option must pursue a biology degree as an undergraduate.  Students must complete the major along with all core requirements in the first three years. The final year of the undergraduate major will serve as the first year of the physical therapy major for students accepted into the accelerated program.  Students will complete 20 credit hours of graduate-level, first-year science coursework during the first year of the physical therapy curriculum that will apply toward the undergraduate degree major as elective coursework. 

Accelerated students will be able to apply to the graduate program in Physical Therapy during the fall semester of the junior year. Accelerated degree students must complete a minimum of 105 undergraduate credits prior to entering in the professional graduate level program.  (This is the equivalent of 16 - 17 credits per term for 6 terms and up to 12 credits taken over two summers.)

Direct Entry

A third option, direct entry, is available to a limited number of graduating high school seniors who will enroll in Walsh University’s Division of Mathematics and Sciences Biology Pre-PT program (and complete that degree). The direct entry is very competitive and allows an automatic acceptance upon completion of a number of milestones throughout one’s matriculation within the university. The following are required prior to submission in the direct entry program.

Prior to Attending Walsh University

  1. High school GPA of 3.75 or higher
  2. Minimum ACT score of 28 or SAT score of 1200 (critical reading and math, not including writing)
  3. Graduate in the top 10% of their high school class. Exceptions reviewed on an independent basis (e.g., no class ranking at school).
  4. Complete an interview with a faculty member of the Physical Therapy Program.
    NOTE:This interview will occur during the winter/spring semesters prior to fall enrollment as a freshman.

Once at Walsh University:

  1. Must be enrolled in the Biology Pre-Physical Therapy major (either in the traditional or accelerated tracks)
  2. Graduate or complete accelerated undergraduate requirements with a 3.5 GPA or higher
  3. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score of 298 (total) or higher
  4. During the senior year (or junior year if also an accelerated student) in the undergraduate program, one is required to pass an additional assessment which will be comprised of:
    • A letter of recommendation from an undergraduate PT advisor
    • A letter of recommendation from a licensed Physical Therapist
    • A letter of recommendation from an undergraduate faculty member familiar with the student’s academic performance
    • Documentation of 30 hours of clinical observation in 3 different physical therapy settings (10 hours in each setting)
    • An interview with a member of the Physical Therapy Admissions Committee. This interview session will occur outside of the regular interview sessions with applicants who are not Direct Entry.

Persons meeting all prerequisites established by the Physical Therapy Program from accredited colleges, with promising scholastic standing, and with personal and professional potential, will be considered for admission.  Please contact the Graduate Admission office (330-490-7181) for additional information regarding the application and admission process.

Additional Requirements

Beyond the stated admission requirements, students matriculating in the professional entry program in physical therapy must have (with or without reasonable accommodations in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act):

  • Adequate gross and fine motor ability for safe performance of patient evaluation and treatment procedures
  • Adequate visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic senses for obtaining accurate evaluative and investigative findings
  • Ability to think critically and problem solve
  • Ability to communicate effectively (oral, nonverbal, and written)
  • Ability to organize and effectively use time
  • Adaptability to perform tasks with persons from diverse backgrounds in a variety of settings
  • The Physical Therapy Student Manual provides more details on additional requirements including physical examination, immunization and substance abuse information. 

Accreditation

The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) American Physical Therapy Association has re-affirmed our program accreditation, with commendation, in November 2015 through December 2025.

Eligibility

All students applying for the physical therapy program should be aware that prior criminal convictions could affect the student’s ability to obtain a license to practice in the State of Ohio and in other legal jurisdictions (states, districts and territories) in the United States upon graduation from the program. It is the student’s responsibility to determine whether he or she is eligible for licensure as a physical therapist in the State of Ohio.

Registration Procedures

Students fully admitted to the program are required to mail an initial registration form to the Physical Therapy Program Office for the first semester of courses. Each subsequent semester, students will register electronically through the Cavalier Center.

Academic Standards

The physical therapy program has three primary academic standards:

  1. Students must maintain a B (3.0) overall GPA throughout matriculation;
  2. Student must receive a satisfactory/pass grade in the professional experience courses; and
  3.  Students must receive a course grade of B- or higher in every class.

The physical therapy program follows the Student Retention Policy in the Program Student Manual which outlines a stepped process of formative and summative assessment geared to keep students informed of their academic standing and status in the program. As gatekeepers for the profession, the physical therapy faculty have a dual responsibility of helping facilitate student success while ensuring public safety by maintaining a standard of professional, clinical and academic competency. Students who do not meet one or more of the primary academic standards may be given a warning and/or placed on probation with remediation as deemed appropriate prior to dismissal from the program.

Appeals

The Physical Therapy Program adheres to the University guidelines for the appeal process as outlined earlier in this Graduate Catalog. In addition, specific programmatic policies that lead up to the University appeal process are outlined in the Program Student Manual.

Withdrawal

Walsh University has a policy that allows students to withdraw from individual courses. The physical therapy curriculum is lock-step; therefore, students cannot withdraw from individual courses and continue in the curriculum.  Students may need to withdraw from the physical therapy program for various reasons including a medical leave of absence.  Students wishing to return to complete the program at a later time should meet with their academic advisor or the program director to establish a plan prior to withdrawal.  Students who are dismissed from the program will not have the option to return to complete the program.

Academic/Research Advising

Upon entry into the physical therapy program, each student is assigned an academic advisor. This advisor is to assist/counsel the student as needed to help ensure success in the program. Students are highly encouraged to meet regularly with their advisor to facilitate communication and progression in the curriculum. When a research advisor is assigned, that advisor may be different from the academic advisor to provide the student with a research advisor most suitable for the chosen topic or design. If at any time there is a need for a change in an academic or research advisor, the student and current advisor will present their request to the Program Director.

Student Membership in Professional Organizations

Students are encouraged to join the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the national professional organization for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. The APTA sets the standards for the physical therapy profession; students are exposed to many APTA documents and publications during their physical therapy education. The APTA has a student category for membership. The American Academy of Physical Therapy (AAPT) is also a national organization for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. The AAPT’s mission pertains to recruitment and mentoring of minority and disadvantaged students for careers in physical therapy and toward improving health care for minority and other disadvantaged individuals.

Curriculum and Degree

The Walsh University Physical Therapy curriculum is an intensive three-year program, eight semesters including summers, leading to a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. Course work builds upon a foundation of basic sciences and problem solving skills. Students gain knowledge and develop skills in teaching and scientific inquiry as well as physical therapy patient diagnosis and intervention. Students are required to perform original research and present their work prior to graduation.

Plan of Study Grid
Semester IHours
PT 503
Human Anatomy 1
or Human Anatomy
6
PT 503L
Human Anatomy: Lab 1
or Human Anatomy: Lab
0
PT 511
Foundations of Clin Science 1
or Foundations of Clin Science
4
PT 5151A
Biomechanics I 1
or Biomechanics I
2
PT 701 Professional Issues I 1
 Hours13
Semester II
PT 504
Foundations of Neuroscience 1
or Foundations of Neuroscience
4
PT 506
Foundations of Pharmacology 1
or Foundations of Pharmacology
2
PT 5151B
Biomechanics II 1
or Biomechanics II
2
PT 608 Found of Clinical Exercise 4
PT 612 PT Mgmt of Mus-Skel Impair I 3
PT 702 Professional Issues II 1
 Hours16
Semester III
PT 605 Motor Learning/Motor Control 3
PT 613 PT Mgmt of Mus-Skel Impair II 5
PT 614 PT Mgmt of Mus-Skel Impair III 5
PT 710 Health Care Business Mgmt I 2
 Hours15
Semester IV
PT 703 Professional Experience I 4
PT 720 Research Methodology I 3
PT 730 PT Mgmt of Neuro-Mus Impair I 6
 Hours13
Semester V
PT 704 Professional Experience II 4
PT 721 Research Methodology II 2
PT 731 PT Mgmt of Neuro-Mus Impair II 6
PT 734 PT Mgmt Cardio/Respir Impair I 4
 Hours16
Semester VI
PT 711 Health Care Business Mgmt II 2
PT 735 PT Mgmt Cardio/Respir ImpairII 5
PT 742 Life Span 3
PT 74006 Special Topics: Diag Img 1
PT 74001 Special Topics: Pediatrics 2
 Hours13
Semester VII
PT 705 Professional Experience III 5
PT 712 Community Health in PT 3
PT 722 Research Methodology III 1
PT 732 PT Mgmt Multi System Impairmnt 4
PT 740 Special Topics 2 1
 Hours14
Semester VIII
PT 706 Professional Experience IV 6
PT 713 Service Project 1
PT 723 Research Methodology IV 2
PT 736 Capstone Sem:Clin Decis Making 2
 Hours11
 Total Hours111
1

 500 level courses to be selected by accelerated students only.

2

 Special Topics selections vary and are dependent on student requests.

Categories of Matriculated Students (Graduate Students Accepted by Physical Therapy Program)

  • Matriculated Student
    This category applies to any graduate student who has met all admission requirements for the degree and is enrolled in the program.

Doctoral Research Project

Students in the physical therapy program perform original research projects during their program of study and present that original work prior to graduation. Four research courses are provided to prepare students for their research. Each student group will be assigned a research advisor at the time of determination of the group’s research topic.