Doctor of Physical Therapy
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 full-time clinical experiences at clinical affiliate sites in the last year of the program.
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, Rehabilitation Science, and Athletic Training website. Students are only admitted one time per year and start in the summer semester. The application deadline and program start dates may vary slightly from year to year. The deadline is usually around but no earlier than November 1st. Specific dates for each admissions cycle can be found on the PTCAS program page.
- 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 and may affect the student's eligibility to enter the program.
- 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 generally 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, the program may grant a deferral of an applicant's admission for one year after which time the applicant must submit a new application unless an additional deferral is granted.
With the exception of Graduate Studies requirements, the KU Department of Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Science, and Athletic Training reserves the right to waive any documentation normally required and to accept or deny admission whenever it believes sufficient information exists to make a decision. Admission requirements are subject to change. 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 five 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 generally 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 five 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 starting full-time clinical experiences.
- 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 experiences as outlined in options 1 and 2 below.
- 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 Experience Choose either option 1 or 2 listed below. 24 Total Hours 110
- Options for completing the Clinical Experience requirement (minimum 24 credit hours),
Course List Code Title Hours Option 1 for Fulfilling Clinical Experience Requirement The student enrolls in three 12-week experiences, 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 Experience Requirement The student enrolls in four 9-week experiences, 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 or specialized clinical experience enroll in PTRS 924 Specialized Clinical Experience as an elective 1-6 credit hour course. The student enrolls in this elective course the semester they participate in the international clinical experience or specialized clinical experience. The number of credit hours for the course (1-6) are clinic specific. The total number of credit hours for the Clinical Experience requirement (24) will remain the same for those completing an international clinical experience or specialized clinical experience under the PTRS 924 Specialized Clinical Experience. However, the total number of credit 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 experience 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 or specialized clinical experience enroll in PTRS 924 Specialized Clinical Experience as an elective 1-6 credit hour course. The student enrolls in this course the semester in which they participate in the international clinical experience or specialized clinical experience. The number of credit hours for the course (1-6) are clinic-specific. The total number of credit hours for the clinical experience requirement (24) will remain the same for those completing an international clinical experience or specialized clinical experience under PTRS 924 Specialized 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 during the semester of the international clinical experience by the number of credit hours the student enrolls in for PTRS 924 Specialized Clinical Experience.
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|
|PTRS 817||2||Option 1 Clinical Experience - the student enrolls in three 12-week experiences, two in the Fall and one in the Spring.||Option 1 Clinical Experience - the student enrolls in three 12-week experiences, 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 Experience - the student enrolls in four 9-week experiences, two in the Fall and two in the Spring.||Option 2 Clinical Experience - the student enrolls in four 9-week experiences, 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 Department of Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Science, and Athletic Training offers the following dual degree programs in conjunction with the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program:
A dual DPT and Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program is available to outstanding DPT students interested in becoming physical therapists prepared for the complicated health finance and management fields with business knowledge and experience.
Students must be accepted into the DPT program in order to enter the DPT/MBA program. Interested students may apply during the second year of their DPT program to be accepted into the MBA program.
The MBA program is offered through the University of Kansas School of Business in Lawrence, Kansas, and consists of 34 credit hours of MBA coursework in the dual program. The DPT/MBA program can be completed in 4 years. Students will complete the MBA portion in one academic year, after successfully completing the first two years in the DPT curriculum. After finishing the MBA curriculum students return to the DPT curriculum to complete the final, third year. In the summer prior to the final year in the DPT curriculum, students enroll in PTRS 924 to complete an MBA project and prepare for DPT full-time clinical experiences. The DPT program requirements for graduation remain the same for students completing this dual degree program.
In order to continue participating in the MBA component in the dual program, students must remain in good academic standing in the DPT program, including a minimum 3.0 grade point average in both programs. Students will not receive their MBA degree before the DPT is awarded. Any student who does not successfully complete the DPT program will need to take the 15 credit hours of MBA coursework that were waived by virtue of being in the dual DPT/MBA program, in order to earn the MBA degree.
A dual DPT and Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) degree program prepares DPT students for management and leadership positions in health care organizations. The MHSA portion of the curriculum combines social science and business content in the context of health care. As the health care environment becomes more complex and competitive, administrative skills will be important to individuals starting careers in physical therapy.
Students must be accepted into the DPT program in order to enter the DPT/MHSA program. Current DPT students interested in the dual DPT/MHSA program must apply and be accepted into the MHSA program.
The MHSA program is offered through the Department of Population Health in the School of Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center and consists of 39 credit hours of MHSA coursework in the dual program. The DPT/MHSA program can be completed in 4 years; students will graduate with their DPT degree after 3 years and then finish the MHSA program in the next year. MHSA courses will begin in the fall semester of the second year of the DPT program. The DPT program requirements for graduation remain the same for students completing this dual degree program.
In order to continue in the DPT/MHSA program, students must remain in good academic standing in both the DPT and MHSA programs, including maintaining a minimum 3.0 grade point average in both programs. Students must also complete the DPT degree before the MHSA degree can be awarded. Any student who does not successfully complete the DPT program will need to take the 17 credit hours of MHSA coursework that were waived by virtue of being in the dual DPT/MHSA program, in order to earn the MHSA degree.
A dual DPT and Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science degree program is available to outstanding applicants with backgrounds in health-related sciences who wish to become physical therapists and engage in rehabilitation science research. The applicants must first be accepted into the DPT program. Students may apply to the DPT/Ph.D. program with their initial DPT application, or during the first or second year of the DPT program. The DPT program requirements for graduation remain the same for students completing this dual degree program. While in the DPT program, DPT/Ph.D. students explore available research laboratories and projects to identify a mentor and project for their Ph.D. dissertation research, to facilitate their progression through the Ph.D. program. Students complete the Ph.D. program coursework after successfully completing and graduating from the DPT program.
The KU Doctor of Physical Therapy program continually strives to develop caring physical therapists who exemplify the highest level of clinical expertise and knowledge and who are prepared to enrich the dignity and quality of the human experience by optimizing movement and maximizing functional potential. Because a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree signifies that the holder is eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination and signifies that the holder is prepared for entry into the profession of physical therapy, 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.
The following technical standards, in conjunction with the academic standards, are requirements for admission, retention, and graduation of applicants and students, respectively.
The term "candidate" refers to candidates for admission to the physical therapy program as well as current physical therapy students who are candidates for retention and graduation. The KU DPT program maintains a strong commitment to equal educational opportunities for qualified students with disabilities who apply for admission to the program or who are already enrolled. The technical standards are not intended to deter any candidate for whom reasonable accommodation will allow the fulfillment of the complete curriculum. Candidates with disabilities are encouraged to contact the Academic Accommodations Office at (913) 945‐7035 or firstname.lastname@example.org early in the application process to begin a confidential conversation about what accommodations they may need to meet these standards. This process is informed by the knowledge that students with varied types of disabilities have the ability to become successful health professionals.
1. Observation: Candidates must acquire information as presented through demonstrations and experiences in the foundational sciences. Candidates must also:
- Evaluate patients accurately and assess their relevant health, behavioral, and medical information.
- Obtain and interpret information through a comprehensive assessment of patients, correctly interpret diagnostic representations of patients' physiologic data, and accurately evaluate patients' conditions and responses.
2. Communication: Candidates must exhibit interpersonal skills to enable effective caregiving of patients/clients. Candidates must also:
- Communicate effectively, with all members of a multidisciplinary health care team, patients/clients, and those supporting patients/clients, in person and in writing.
- Clearly and accurately record information and accurately interpret verbal and nonverbal communication.
- Use computers and technology for communication as they are essential for manipulating electronic health records, assimilating information, producing documentation and interpreting data.
3. Clinical Skills: Candidates must perform physical examinations and diagnostic maneuvers. These activities require some physical mobility, coordination of both gross and fine motor neuromuscular function, balance, and equilibrium. Candidates must also:
- Provide general care and emergency treatment for patients and respond to emergency situations in a timely manner.
- Meet applicable safety standards for the environment and follow universal precaution procedures.
4. Clinical Reasoning: Candidates must effectively interpret, assimilate, and understand complex information required to function within the physical therapy curriculum. Candidates must also:
- Comprehend three‐dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.
- Effectively participate in individual, small‐group, and lecture learning modalities in the classroom, clinical, and community settings.
- Learn, participate, collaborate, and contribute as a part of a team.
- Synthesize information both in person and via remote technology.
- Interpret causal connections and make accurate, fact‐based conclusions based on available data and information.
- Formulate a hypothesis and investigate potential answers and outcomes.
- Reach appropriate and accurate conclusions.
5. Judgment: Candidates must exercise good judgment; promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients; and develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Candidates must also:
- Effectively handle and manage heavy workloads, function effectively under stress.
- Adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of the uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients.
- Self-assess behavior and performance and an understanding of the rationale and justification for their performance.
6. Behavioral and Social Attributes: Candidates are expected to exhibit professionalism, personal accountability, compassion, integrity, concern for others, and interpersonal skills. Candidates must:
- Accept and apply feedback and to respect boundaries.
- Care for all individuals in a respectful and effective manner regardless of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or any other protected status.
7. Professional Expectations: Candidates must understand, and function within, the legal and ethical aspects of the practice of physical therapy. Candidates must also:
- Maintain and display ethical and moral behaviors commensurate with the role of physical therapist in all interactions with patients, faculty, staff, students, and the public.
- Maintain interest and motivation throughout the educational processes.