The KU Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is an accredited 3-year full-time graduate program designed to prepare a generalist physical therapy practitioner and to foster lifelong professional development. The program begins in late May or early June and includes classroom, laboratory, research and clinical learning experiences. Students participate in 36 weeks of clinical internships at clinical affiliate sites.
As a leader in academic health sciences, the KU Medical Center provides ample opportunity for physical therapy students to interact with a large number of health care professionals as well as students from other disciplines.
Applications for this program are submitted online through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Detailed instructions on how to apply are available on the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science website. Students are admitted for the summer semester only. Applications must be received by November 1 for consideration.
- A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution is required and must be documented by submission of official transcript indicating the degree has been conferred before entering the program. Official transcripts for all courses taken from all institutions attended are also required.
Students with degrees from outside the U.S. may be subject to transcript evaluation indicating the degree is equivalent to a U.S. degree and meets the minimum cumulative grade-point average requirement.
- Applicants must possess a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for his or her bachelor's degree program. Historically, applicants accepted to this program have had a cumulative GPA significantly higher than 3.0.
- Applicants who are not native speakers of English, whether domestic or international, must demonstrate they meet the minimum English proficiency requirement.
- A background check is required during the admission process; it may affect the student's eligibility to enter the program.
- An official copy of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score, taken within 5 years of the first semester of enrollment in this program, is required and must be sent from Educational Testing Service to the Physical Therapist Centralized Application service using program code 7815. Applicants must submit scores for Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing sections of the GRE. To be a competitive applicant, recommended scores on the GRE should be within the 50th percentile on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections. The GRE scores are meaningful to the admissions committee, as these scores are highly predictive of success in graduate studies and national licensure examination.
- Prior to entering the program, applicants must have completed the prerequisite courses in basic sciences, mathematics, humanities and social sciences with a grade of "C" or higher on each and a minimum 3.0 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale. Pass/fail, credit/non-credit or satisfactory/unsatisfactory scores are not acceptable; however, CLEP, ACT and Advanced Placement credits are acceptable when officially documented on a college transcript.
- All prerequisite basic science courses must have been completed within the last ten years.
- Three references are required, one of which must be from a physical therapist. It is recommended that the other two references be from a faculty member, advisor, employer and/or other person who can objectively attest to the applicant's aptitude, experience, and character.
- Applicants are expected to possess a general understanding of health care and physical therapy based upon prior employment, observation or volunteer experiences. Although KU does not require specific hours be documented, applicants are encouraged to invest the time needed to acquire knowledge of the role of physical therapists in health care.
Applicants will be assessed based on these requirements. After an applicant has been admitted, a program may defer an applicant's admission for one year after which time the applicant must submit a new application.
Admission requirements are subject to change. Students beginning course work in the summer term of 2017 will follow the 2016-2017 academic catalog. Students entering the DPT program in the summer term of 2016 follow the 2015-2016 academic catalog. Other years’ catalogs».
Please note the following requirements related to prerequisite course work:
A single course may not be used to fulfill more than one prerequisite requirement (except a combined human anatomy/physiology class that is six semester credits or greater and includes a laboratory may be used to fulfill both the anatomy and physiology requirements).
All prerequisite course work must be taken for a grade. Classes scored as pass/fail, credit/noncredit or satisfactory/unsatisfactory are not acceptable. However CLEP, ACT and Advanced Placement credits are acceptable when officially documented on a college transcript.
All prerequisite course work must be completed before the start of the program. Preference will be given to students having completed at least 80% of the prerequisites at the time of application.
If a prerequisite course is taken more than once (even if at different universities), all instances that appear on the official transcript must be reported. The grades from the best score on each class will be used in prerequisite GPA calculations.
CHEMISTRY: two courses with laboratory.
These courses must be college level. The courses may be inorganic chemistry or they may be a combination of organic, inorganic or biochemistry. Introductory courses that cannot be used as prerequisites for more advanced courses are not acceptable.
PHYSICS: two courses with laboratory.
These courses must be college level and cover a broad background in physics, including the principles and application of mechanics, fluids, heat, thermodynamics, sound waves, electricity, magnetism, and light.
ANATOMY: one course with laboratory.
This course may be human or mammalian, although human is preferred. A dissection laboratory is not required, but the course must contain some type of laboratory experience to be acceptable.
HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY: one course with laboratory.
This course should introduce the student to basic human physiological principles. A combined human anatomy/physiology course (with laboratory) may be used to fulfill the physiology requirement.
A two-course sequence in anatomy and physiology with lab is acceptable. If a single human anatomy/physiology course (with laboratory) is six semester credits or greater, it can fulfill both the anatomy and physiology requirements.
BIOLOGY: two courses with laboratory.
It is recommended the second biology course be an upper-level course such as microbiology. Botany is not acceptable for this requirement.
STATISTICS: one course.
This course should include the following content areas: elementary descriptive statistics on a sample of measurements, probability, binomial and normal distributions, sampling from populations, and simple problems of statistical inference. Biomedical statistics, education statistics or business statistics courses are acceptable.
PSYCHOLOGY: one course.
It is recommended students enroll in a general psychology course (that includes content in basic psychology theory and research). A second course is recommended in abnormal psychology or developmental psychology.
The following courses are not required for admission, and grades from these courses will not be included in any prerequisite GPA calculations. However, our faculty believes incoming students will benefit tremendously from having taken these courses. Therefore, we strongly recommend these courses to prospective applicants:
- One course in exercise physiology.
- Courses that involve strong writing and communication skills.
- One course in kinesiology. This course should introduce the student to the anatomical and mechanical principles of human movement.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at the University of Kansas is currently accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The program is designed to prepare a generalist physical therapy practitioner and to foster lifelong professional development. The program includes classroom, laboratory, research and clinical learning experiences.
- Degree requirements are normally completed within 3 years of admission to the program although a maximum of 8 years is allowed.
- Cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 for all KU graduate coursework.
- Successful completion of the University’s Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement prior to the semester the research practicum is completed.
- Successful completion of PTRS 750 Research in Evidence-Based Physical Therapy Practice, PTRS 860 Evidence-Based Research Practicum I, and PTRS 861 Evidence-Based Research Practicum II meets the Research Skills requirement.
- Successful completion of PTRS 817 Ethics in Health Care meets the Responsible Scholarship requirement.
- Successful completion of a minimum of 110 credit hours.
- Successful participation in 36 weeks of clinical internships as outlined in options1 and 2 below.
- Successful completion of two written comprehensive examinations. The first examination is taken in year 2 during the Summer (semester 4) and covers Semester 1-Semester 3 content. The second examination is taken in year 3 during the Spring (semester 7) and covers Semester 1-Semester 6 content. Students must pass each examination with a minimum 75% score.
- Successful completion of a research practicum. This requirement is met by completing the PTRS 860 Evidence-Based Research Practicum I and PTRS 861 Evidence-Based Research Practicum II courses.
- Enrollment in a minimum of one (1) credit hour the semester the student will graduate.
- Successful completion of the following PTRS courses:
Course List Code Title Hours Core Courses PTRS 702 Physical Therapy Documentation and Health Informatics 1 PTRS 703 Applied Anatomy 1 PTRS 704 Physical Therapy Interventions I 3 PTRS 705 Physical Therapy Interventions II 4 PTRS 710 Advanced Topics in Human Anatomy 6 PTRS 711 Applied Kinesiology and Biomechanics 4 PTRS 720 Integrated Clinical Experience I 1 PTRS 730 Integrated Clinical Experience II 1 PTRS 745 Orthopedic Physical Therapy I 6 PTRS 746 Musculoskeletal Conditions and Management 3 PTRS 750 Research in Evidence-Based Physical Therapy Practice 3 PTRS 817 Ethics in Health Care 2 PTRS 825 Exercise Physiology 3 PTRS 826 Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy 5 PTRS 828 Medical Imaging 1 PTRS 830 Integrated Clinical Experience III 2 PTRS 833 Pediatric Physical Therapy 3 PTRS 840 Integrated Clinical Experience IV 2 PTRS 845 Orthopedic Physical Therapy II 6 PTRS 846 Orthopedic Physical Therapy III 3 PTRS 852 Neurologic Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation I 6 PTRS 853 Neurologic Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation II 6 PTRS 855 Pharmacology for Physical Therapists 2 PTRS 860 Evidence-Based Research Practicum I 1 PTRS 861 Evidence-Based Research Practicum II 1 PTRS 877 Administration in Physical Therapy 2 PTRS 882 Pathophysiology and Physical Therapist Screens 6 PTRS 890 Specialties in Physical Therapy Practice 2 Clinical Internship Choose either option 1 or 2 listed below. 24 Total Hours 110
- Options for completing the Clinical Internship requirement (minimum 24 credit hours),
Course List Code Title Hours Option 1 for Fulfilling Clinical Internship Requirement The student enrolls in three 12 week internships, two in the Fall and one in the Spring. PTRS 920 Full-Time Clinical Experience I 8 PTRS 921 Full-Time Clinical Experience II 8 PTRS 922 Full-Time Clinical Experience III 8 or Option 2 for Fulfilling Clinical Internship Requirement The student enrolls in four 9 week internships, two in the Fall and two in the Spring. PTRS 920 Full-Time Clinical Experience I 6 PTRS 921 Full-Time Clinical Experience II 6 PTRS 922 Full-Time Clinical Experience III 6 PTRS 923 Full-Time Clinical Experience IV 6
Students electing to pursue an international clinical experience enroll in PTRS 924 Specialized Clinical Experience as an elective 2-6 credit hour course. The student enrolls in this elective course the semester they participate in the international clinical experience. The number of credit hours for the course (2-6) are clinic specific. The total number credit hours for the Clinical Internship requirement (24) will remain the same for those completing an international clinical experience. However, the total hours of either PTRS 920 Full-Time Clinical Experience I, PTRS 921 Full-Time Clinical Experience II or PTRS 922 Full-Time Clinical Experience III will be decreased the semester of the international clinical experience by the number of credit hours the student enrolls in for PTRS 924.
Degree requirements and course descriptions are subject to change. Any courses taken as an equivalent must be approved by the Graduate Director and the Office of Graduate Studies. In most cases, use the catalog of the year student entered the program. Other years’ catalogs».
This program is designed to prepare a generalist physical therapy practitioner and to foster lifelong professional development. It includes classroom, laboratory, research and clinical learning experiences.
Below is a typical plan of study for completing degree requirements. In year three, students may choose from two options to fulfill the clinical internship requirement; regardless of the student's choice, year three requires 32 credit hours. The first instance of year three below indicates option one, and the second instance of year three below shows option two. All students in the program will complete a total of 110 credit hours.
Students electing to pursue an international clinical experience will enroll in PTRS 924 Specialized Clinical Experience as an elective 2-6 credit hour course. The student enrolls in this course the semester in which they participate in the international clinical experience. The number of credit hours for the course (2-6) are clinic-specific. The total number credit hours for the clinical internship requirement (24) will remain the same for those enrolled in PTRS 924. However, the total hours of either PTRS 920 Full-Time Clinical Experience I, PTRS 921 Full-Time Clinical Experience II or PTRS 922 Full-Time Clinical Experience III will be decreased during the semester of the international clinical experience by the number of credit hours the student enrolls in for PTRS 924.
Typical Plan of Study
|PTRS 703 (lab based course)||1||PTRS 702||1||PTRS 705 (lab based course)||4|
|PTRS 710 (lab based course)||6||PTRS 704 (lab based course)||3||PTRS 730||1|
|PTRS 828||1||PTRS 711 (lab based course)||4||PTRS 745 (lab based course)||6|
|PTRS 720||1||PTRS 746 (lab based course)||3|
|PTRS 855||2||PTRS 750||3|
|PTRS 825 (lab based course)||3||PTRS 830||2||PTRS 826 (lab based course)||5|
|PTRS 860||1||PTRS 845 (lab based course)||6||PTRS 833||3|
|PTRS 877||2||PTRS 852 (lab based course)||6||PTRS 840||2|
|Completion of first of two written comprehensive examinations.||PTRS 853||6|
|Completion of second of two written comprehensive examinations.|
|PTRS 817||2||Option 1 Clinical Internship - the student enrolls in three 12 week internships, two in the Fall and one in the Spring.||Option 1 Clinical Internship - the student enrolls in three 12 week internships, two in the Fall and one in the Spring.|
|PTRS 846 (lab based course)||3||PTRS 920||8||PTRS 922 (Enroll in this course Spring Year 3, will not start the course until March.)||8|
|PTRS 861||1||PTRS 921 (Enroll in this course Fall Year 3, the course extends through February.)||8|
|Total Hours 110|
Option 2 for Year 3
|PTRS 817||2||Option 2 Clinical Internship - the student enrolls in four 9 week internships, two in the Fall and two in the Spring.||Option 2 Clinical Internship - the student enrolls in four 9 week internships, two in the Fall and two in the Spring.|
|PTRS 846 (lab based course)||3||PTRS 920||6||PTRS 922||6|
|PTRS 861||1||PTRS 921||6||PTRS 923||6|
|Total Hours 32|
The technical standards identify the requirements for admission, retention, and graduation of applicants and students, respectively.
Because a Doctor of Physical Therapy signifies that the holder is eligible to sit for the American Physical Therapy National Examination and signifies that the holder is prepared for entry into the profession of physical therapy, it follows that graduates must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical, private, community, or school-based situations and to render a wide spectrum of physical therapy services. Therefore, the following abilities and expectations must be met by all students admitted to the program.
- Observation: The candidate must be able to learn from experiences in the basic sciences and in the clinical physical therapy laboratory that involve performing visual and tactile examination and interventions and accurately assessing substitution, compensation patterns, abnormal responses to exercise or activity.
- Communication: Communication includes not only speech but reading and writing. The candidate must be able to assimilate information from written sources (texts, journals, medical/school records, etc.). The candidate must be able to attain, comprehend, retain, and utilize new information presented in written formats as well as produce appropriate written documentation. The student must be able to communicate accurately and effectively with patients, caregivers, physicians, other health professionals, clinical facility staff, faculty and staff, peers, and the community in general. Communication includes timely response to emergency/crises situations, as well as more routine communication as situationally appropriate. Communication includes the ability to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture and perceive non-verbal communications.
- Sensorimotor: Candidates must have gross motor, fine motor and equilibrium functions reasonably required to carry out assessments (palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers) and to provide physical therapy intervention. A candidate should be able to execute motor movements required to provide therapeutic intervention (patient transfers, exercise and application of electrotherapy) and emergency treatment to patients. Quick reactions are necessary not only for safety, but for one to respond therapeutically. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
- Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative, Quantitative and Problem Solving Skills: Candidates should have cognitive abilities including measurements, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physical therapists requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the applicant should be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships to understand the spatial relationships of structures.
- Judgment: The candidate will be expected to demonstrate judgment in classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings which shows an ability to make mature, sensitive and effective decisions in the following areas: 1) relationships with supervisors, peers and patients/clients, 2) professional behavior, 3) the effectiveness of intervention and research strategies. He/she must demonstrate an understanding of the rationale and justification for his/her performance.
- Behavioral and Social Attributes: Candidates must possess the emotional health required to utilize their intellectual abilities fully, exercise good judgment, complete all responsibilities attendant to the physical therapy diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and their families. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients/clients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal communication skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the education process.
It is the student’s responsibility to notify the DPT program if there is any reason he/she cannot meet the expectations for the DPT program described above, with or without accommodations. Reasonable accommodation will be considered and may be made to qualified students who disclose a disability, so long as such accommodation does not significantly alter the essential requirements of the curriculum and the training program, or significantly affect the safety of patient care or others. Students may contact KU Office for Academic Accommodations to discuss accommodations.
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply to the program. Applicants whose response indicates that they cannot meet one or more of the expectations will be reviewed further by the KU Office for Academic Accommodations, with applicant and faculty input, to determine if any reasonable accommodations are possible to facilitate successful completion of the DPT curriculum and preparation for the national registry examination.
Learning assistance, academic performance enhancement, and psychological services at KU Medical Center are free, confidential, and available at Student Counseling and Educational Support Services.