Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Dr. Leigh Murray, Program Director

Program Vision

Our vision is to produce physical therapists who are critical thinkers and life-long learners, who demonstrate excellence in professional practice, are consumers or contributors to evidence based practice, and are leaders in service to others.

Program Mission

The mission of the Physical Therapy Program is to provide an exceptional educational environment to foster the growth and development of professional knowledge, skills and behaviors consistent with the profession of physical therapy, in accordance with reason guided by the example and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Program Philosophy

The philosophy of Walsh University’s Physical Therapy Program believes that to be a steward within today’s healthcare environment, our faculty and students will demonstrate superior professional behaviors required of reflective and collaborative healthcare practitioners. Our program will provide a cultivating environment to foster development of leadership, service, and advocacy through mentorship and altruistic endeavors.  The goal of these guiding principles is to promote the management of persons with movement dysfunction across the lifespan, within community based clinical and non-clinical settings. This will be accomplished by utilizing a variety of experiences to provide an integrative and transformational learning environment.

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 holistic doctors of physical therapy who are experts in the movement system.

Goal 2: Develop consumers and creators of evidence by providing an environment to promote application and dissemination of clinical, educational, and translational research.

Goal 3: Engage in physical therapy partnerships that provide education, service, scholarship, and clinical care to meet society's needs.

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

Goal 5: Demonstrate innovative teaching, learning and communication strategies to enhance professional performance.

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.

ACCREDITATION

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

Academic Guidelines for Doctor of Physical Therapy

Routes of Admission

In consideration of the non-discrimination policy of Walsh University, any candidate who demonstrates a history of scholastic aptitude along with professional potential will be considered for admission. There are 2 routes of admission into the graduate program in Physical Therapy. All qualified students applying to our program are required to successfully complete an interview prior to being accepted. 

1. Traditional Entry

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

Traditional Entry Requirements for Admission 

  • 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
    Our program utilizes the Physical Therapy Centralized Application System (PTCAS), endorsed by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)
  • Completion of course prerequisites with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the following:
    Biology (2 semesters, plus lab) • 8 semester hours
    Chemistry (2 semesters, plus lab) • 8 semester hours
    Physics (2 semesters, plus lab) • 8 semester hours
    Anatomy and Physiology (2 semesters) • 8 semester hours
    Psychology (2 semesters) • 6 semester hours
    Statistics (1 semester) • 3 semester hours
    Exercise Physiology (1 semester) • 3 semester hours
  • 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 (PT); one may be professional, academic or an athletic coach).  Supplemental recommendation forms can be requested from Graduate Admissions.
  • Exposure to the field of Physical Therapy and submission of observation forms documenting 30 hours of clinical observation in 2 different Physical Therapy settings, 1 inpatient and 1 outpatient (a minimum of 10 hours in each setting).  Supplemental observation forms can be requested from Graduate Admissions.
  • On-Site Interview (by invitation only)
  • TOEFL score (international students only)

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, background check and substance abuse information. 

Additional Prerequisite Course Information

An applicant may major in any undergraduate area, but must successfully complete course prerequisites with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Prerequisite courses must be a grade of C or higher to be accepted.  Prerequisites courses taken at 4 year institutions (listed for science majors) are preferred. Prerequisites should be taken within the past 7 years.

We evaluate prerequisite courses taken at other institutions through review of course syllabi. The requirements listed above represent semester credit hours. If course work was designated as quarter credit hours, conversion of quarter credits to semester credits is necessary to ensure fulfillment of requirements.  In order to convert quarter hours to semester hours, divide the quarter hours by 1.5. (Example: 4 QH/1.5 = 2.6 semester hours).

To begin the application process, review our admissions process and then refer to PTCAS.org to begin.

Please contact Mona McAuliffe, Associate Director of Graduate Admissions, regarding traditional entry and any other questions about the admissions process at 330-490-7406 or mmcauliffe@walsh.edu.

2. Early Assurance

The Early Assurance, direct freshman entry program is a 3 + 3 model, available to a limited number of graduating high school seniors who can enroll in Walsh University's Division of Mathematics and Sciences  Biology Pre-PT Early Assurance major the School of Behavioral and Health Sciences Exercise Science Pre-PT Early Assurance major. The students in either program will complete 3 years of undergraduate curriculum at Walsh University and finalize their undergraduate degree during their first year of graduate school (as part of the 3 year professional DPT program). The Early Assurance direct freshman entry program is competitive and allows for automatic acceptance into the DPT program upon completion of specified milestones during one’s matriculation as an undergraduate student within the University. The following criteria must be met prior to submitting an application to the early assurance program.

Prior to Attending Walsh University:

  • High school GPA of 3.75 or higher
  • Minimum ACT score of 28 or SAT score of 1200 (critical reading and math, not including writing)
  • Successfully complete a standardized interview with faculty members of the Physical Therapy Program.

Once at Walsh University:

  • Must be enrolled in the Biology Pre-Physical Therapy or Exercise Science Pre-Physical Therapy major
  • Must complete pre-requisites for the program with a 3.5 GPA or higher
  • Must complete a minimum of 3 academic years of undergraduate education at Walsh University
  • Must maintain an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher during their undergraduate curriculum
  • Must achieve a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score of 298 (total) or higher (verbal & quantitative)
  • Must meet the requirements of DPT admissions (with the exception of a PTCAS application) as follows:
     • 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
  • Must document 30 hours of clinical observation in 2 different Physical Therapy settings, 1 inpatient and 1 outpatient (a minimum of 10 hours in each setting)
  • Must complete 8 of 12 prerequisites to qualify for an interview
  • Must successfully complete an interview with a member of the Physical Therapy Admissions Committee prior to matriculation into the graduate program

Please contact the undergraduate admission office regarding Early Assurance at 1-800-362-9846.

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.

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.  Failure to complete the conditions of probation may result in recommendation for 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.

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 step away from the Physical Therapy Program for various reasons including a medical leave of absence.  Please refer to the Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures for more information on leaves of absences and withdrawals.  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. The advisor assists/counsels 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 the most suitable mentor 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 aims to provide support for minority students interested in pursing health professions so that they have the ability one day to provide innovative care and health delivery to underserved communities.

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 741 Pediatrics 2
PT 742 Life Span 3
PT 743 Diagnostic Imaging 1
 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 Seminar 2
 Hours11
 Total Hours111

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.