Curriculum & Course Descriptions

Design of the Curriculum

The University of Puget Sound Physical Therapy program embraces the concept that physical therapy embodies scientific and empirical knowledge to explain human motion disorders, and that such knowledge makes physical therapists the appropriate practitioners to develop interventions to restore motion homeostasis, or enhance adaptation to disability based on the results of systematic patient examination. Graduates will be prepared to function as independent practitioners collaborating within the health care environment.

The professional portion of the program is sequentially integrated. During the first year of academic coursework the student does intensive work in the areas of musculoskeletal anatomy and kinesiology, neurophysiology, cardiopulmonary function, and other foundations of human motor function. Building on this foundation during the second year of study, the student focuses on the theory and foundation, then the techniques of clinical practice. The second-year student applies this new knowledge treating patients in the on-site teaching clinic under close supervision by the program faculty. In the summer following the second year, the student completes an off-site clinical internship. In the fall of the third year, the student takes capstone courses that require integration and critical analysis while treating patients in the on-site teaching clinic, and completes advanced clinical electives in areas of special interest. The final two semesters of the program are made up entirely of internship experiences, which take place primarily throughout the western United States. Sequentially integrated, cumulative explorations of critical inquiry, professional writing, and professional communication including instructional methodology are woven through the program.

Student Learning Goals

Students will:

  1. Think logically, analytically and critically and employ those skills in clinical decision making related to patient/client management based on current best evidence.
  2. Perform comprehensive examinations/evaluations of individuals with physical or movement related disorders and recognize those patients who require consultation and/or referral to other health care professionals.
  3. Make appropriate clinical decisions and design patient/client management and health promotion plans based on the best evidence available.
  4. Perform interventions for patients/clients based on evidence that will result in positive outcomes.
  5. Contribute to a professional working environment by actively engaging in critical inquiry and pursuing ongoing professional education.
  6. Collaborate effectively with other health care professionals in order to optimize the care of individuals seeking physical therapy.
  7. Contribute to society by engaging in activities that promote health and prevent illness or disability.
  8. Critically review the literature pertaining to their professional practice.
  9. Demonstrate articulate oral and written communication appropriate to physical therapy practice and the dissemination of knowledge.

Course Sequence

Students must be admitted to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program before taking the following course sequence. Unless otherwise noted, each course is equivalent to one (1) unit of credit.

First Year

   
Fall Term
PT 601 (.25 unit)
PT 605
PT 625
PT 630 (.25 unit)
PT 633 (.5 unit)
Spring Term
PT 602 (.5 unit)
PT 610
PT 635 (.5 unit)
PT 640
 

Second Year

   
Fall Term
PT 641
PT 642 (.5 unit)
PT 645 (1.5 units)
PT 650 (0 units)
Spring Term
PT 643 (.5 unit)
PT 646
PT 647
PT 648 (.5 unit)
PT 651 (0 units)
Summer Term
PT 657 (0 units)

Third Year

   
Fall Term
PT 649
PT 660 (0 units)
PT 661 (.5 unit)
PT 662 (.25 unit)
PT 664 (.25 unit)
PT 677 (2 sections; .5 unit each)
Spring Term
PT 687 (0 units)
Summer Term
PT 688 (0 units)

The courses offered in the Physical Therapy program must be taken in the above-noted sequence. The program is designed for full-time enrollment only. All PT courses are only offered in the term listed.

Course Offerings

Unless otherwise noted, each course is equivalent to one (1) unit of credit.

601  Basic Physical Therapy Skills I   0.25 unit   This course exposes students to the various roles of the physical therapist and introduces the basic skills and procedures that form the foundation of the physical therapy educational program. Course content includes fundamental functional activities such as transfers, range of motion, positioning and ambulation with assistive devices. The course also introduces medical documentation, medical terminology and the fundamentals of patient and academic teaching, all of which are expanded upon in subsequent courses. Emphasis is placed on the acquisition of the motor skills and interpersonal skills necessary to perform these procedures.

602  Basic Physical Therapy Skills II   0.5 unit   This course introduces students to the practical and legal issues related to medical documentation and measurement in physical therapy using joint range of motion measurement and manual muscle testing as examples. Emphasis is placed on the acquisition of the motor skills and interpersonal skills necessary to perform these procedures.

605  Functional Anatomy and Biomechanics   An in-depth study of functional anatomy of the limbs and trunk including osteology, arthrology, myology, neurology, angiology, and kinesiology. Biomechanics with application to the analysis of human movement is included. This course is designed to provide knowledge and understanding of the neuromusculoskeletal systems as a foundation for the treatment of injury or disease via physical therapy.

610  Neuroscience and Functional Neuroanatomy   1.25 units   An intensive study of the human nervous system, including structure and function, as a foundation for understanding neurological dysfunction and rehabilitation.

625  Introduction to Critical Inquiry   This course introduces students to the concept of using research to inform clinical decision-making skills. Development of measurement and disciplined inquiry skills including emphasis on problem definition, research design, methodology, data analysis and statistical interpretation are stressed. The course also focuses on topic selection for and the process of conducting a systematic review of the literature which will be completed as part of PT 662.

630  Introduction to Professional Issues   0.25 unit   Students explore foundational understandings of what it means to be a professional in health care. Students investigate social issues such as forces that impact health care, the role of legislative and political bodies vis-a-vis health care, race and class as they impact health care and health seeking behavior, and the role of professional organizations as they impact the health professional. Students will be exposed to the PT Code of Ethics, and will have opportunities to explore their own development as a professional.

633  Principles of Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy   0.5 unit   This course provides an overview of the etiology, incidence, pathology, and medical management of common cardiac and pulmonary conditions across the lifespan.  Appropriate physical therapy examination and intervention strategies for individuals with either primary or secondary cardiac or pulmonary dysfunction are introduced both in the context of a specialized cardiac or pulmonary rehabilitation setting as well as in general physical therapy practice.

635  Ambulatory Function   0.25 unit   This course is a study of ambulation including the biomechanics of gait. Normal gait frames the course, followed by study of orthotic interventions for the adult patient. Gait characteristics of individuals with lower extremity amputation and the role of physical therapists in gait training and prosthetic management of individuals with amputation complete the course. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all first-year, first-semester courses in the Physical Therapy program.

640  Physiology, Biophysics, and Application of Physical Agents   The physiological and biophysical effects of physical agents used in physical therapy and principles of electrodiagnosis. Intensive laboratory experience for development of skill in application of physical agents and basic electrodiagnostic testing. A problem-solving approach to selection and performance of physical therapy intervention procedures based on lecture, reading, and analysis of current literature. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all first-year, first-semester courses in the Physical Therapy program.

641  Orthopedic Evaluation and Treatment I   This course is designed to provide the student with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform orthopedic musculoskeletal and neuromuscular evaluations and interventions utilizing manual therapy (to include spinal mobilizations manipulations, and lower extremity mobilizations and manipulations) and therapeutic exercise for the patient with lumbar spine, pelvis, and/or lower extremity pathology. Approximately 30 percent of class time is devoted to lecture on the basics of orthopedic management. This includes class time dealing with the theory of physical therapy assessment and treatment design. Emphasis is placed on the student’s ability to interpret findings from a systemized evaluation and to develop appropriate pathology specific procedures including manual therapy, spinal manipulation, and therapeutic exercise based on current research and literature, as well application of biomechanical theory. The basics of radiologic spine imaging, lower extremity imaging, available imaging modalities, systematic scanning, and appropriateness criteria are covered in detail within this course and integrated into aspects of patient care. Laboratory experience comprises approximately 70 percent of class time for skill development. Clinical experience in the on-site clinic and internships provides opportunities to refine those skills, as well as synthesize information gained in the classroom and lab settings.  Prerequisite: second-year status in Physical Therapy program.

642 Therapeutic Exercise I  0.5 unit  This course is designed to provide physical therapy students with an understanding of the foundational principles of underlying exercise as a physical therapy intervention. The course first explores the fundamental principles of exercise, with a particular emphasis on the physiological effects of mobility, strength, and conditioning interventions across the lifespan. Instruction in exercise program planning stresses the need for prescribing therapeutic exercise with precision and consideration of each individual’s unique medical history. Exercise interventtions for the spine and lower extremities are the regional foci. At these regions, students learn both isolated and integrated techniques and the proper application of each. Finally, the course challenges the students' clinical decision-making as they learn to integrate therapeutic exercise with their evaluation/treatment classes. Prerequisite: Second-year status in the Physical Therapy program.

643 Therapeutic Exercise II   0.25 unit  This course is designed to build on understanding and competencies developed in PT 642. In addition to the regional coverage of the upper spine and shoulder, this course explores the following topics: use of screening examinations for application in a variety of injury prevention and performance settings; application of strength and conditioning principles to both late rehabilitation and performance training; evaluation of exercise products for effectiveness and utility in the clinical environment; gait and movement analysis in orthopedic and sports practice; and movement-based therapies outside the mainstream. Finally, the student’s research and presentation of special topics in therapeutic exercise improves his or her ability to apply fundamental exercise principles to less commonly encountered impairments. Prerequisite: Successful completion of PT 642 and second-year status in the Physical Therapy program.

645  Adult Neurologic Rehabilitation   1.5 units   The course is a study of the assessment and treatment of adults with neurological disorders. Students explore common manifestations of neurological impairments and how physical therapy can intervene. The foundational neurorehabilitation models of treatment, current theory, and evidence are discussed. Students learn movement analysis and strategies for functional movement training using principles of motor learning. Health promotion and prevention of secondary impairments and an overview of wheelchair prescription for individuals with neurologic disability complete the course. Prerequisite: Second-year status in the Physical Therapy program.

646  Orthopedic Evaluation and Treatment II   1.25 units  A continuation of PT 641, this course is designed to provide the student with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform orthopedic musculoskeletal and neuromuscular evaluations and interventions utilizing manual therapy (to include spinal mobilizations and spinal manipulations, upper extremity mobilizations and manipulations) and therapeutic exercise for the patient with cervical spine, thoracic spine, ribs cage, temporalmandibular and/or upper extremity pathology.  Approximately 30 percent of class time is devoted to lecture on the basics of orthopedic management. Emphasis is placed on the student’s ability to interpret findings from a systemized evaluation and to develop appropriate pathology specific procedures including manual therapy, spinal manipulation, and therapeutic exercise based on current research and literature, and biomechanical theory. Laboratory experience comprises approximately 70 percent of class time for skill development. Radiologic spine imaging is continued from PT 641, with content covering imaging of the cervical and thoracic spines, upper extremity, available imaging modalities, systematic scanning, and appropriateness criteria covered in detail and integrated into aspects of patient care. Clinical experience in the on-site clinic and internships provides opportunity to refine these skills, as well as synthesize information gained in the classroom and lab settings. Prerequisite: successful completion of PT 641 and second year status in Physical Therapy program.

647  Physical Therapy Across the Lifespan: Pediatrics   This course addresses physical therapy examination and treatment of the pediatric patient. The course focuses on normal development, examination considerations, and treatment considerations of functional skills typically seen in childhood. In addition, students explore current theories of motor development as well as pediatric service settings and models. Prerequisite: Second-year status in the Physical Therapy program.

648  Physical Therapy Across the Lifespan: Adult Pathology   0.5 unit   Systemic processes affect the entire person as an organism. This course is a discussion and review of several such processes including normal and abnormal pregnancy, cancer, major burns, and renal disease. Appropriate physical therapy diagnosis and intervention are included. Prerequisite: Second year status in the Physical Therapy program.

649  Physical Therapy Across the Lifespan: Geriatrics  0.5 unit   This course is designed to prepare students to work with individuals late in the lifespan, particularly those 65 or older. The content includes an overview of the physical, physiological, cognitive and emotional changes associated with aging as well as selected pathologies and challenges commonly encountered when working with older individuals. The case-based approach encourages students to integrate learning from other courses to select appropriate tests and measures, and to identify and implement appropriate intervention strategies for impairments and functional limitations commonly seen in the geriatric population. Prerequisite: Third-year status in the Physical Therapy program.

650  Integrated Clinical Experience I   No credit   Integrated clinical experiences designed to give students an opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in an on-campus clinic. Concurrent seminars enable students to present relevant topics and to develop a workable plan that will improve an existing health care delivery system. Prerequisite: Second-year status in the Physical Therapy program.

651  Integrated Clinical Experience II   No credit   This integrated clinical experience is a continuation of PT 650, enabling students to further apply their knowledge and skills in an on-campus clinic. Prerequisite: successful completion of PT 650 and second-year status in the Physical Therapy program.

657  Full-Time Clinical Internship I   No credit   This full-time internship occurs off campus and consists of 12 weeks designed to provide students with an opportunity for guided and independent experiences in providing physical therapy services to the public. Pass/Fail grading only. Prerequisite: Successful completion of first two years of the Physical Therapy program.

660  Integrated Clinical Experience III   0.5 unit   This integrated clinical experience is a continuation of PT 650 and 651, enabling students to further apply their knowledge and skills in an on-campus clinic. Students in this course have opportunities to role-play elements of clinical instruction. Prerequisite: Third-year status in the physical therapy program.

661  Psychological Factors in Physical Therapy Practice   0.25 unit   This course provides an introduction to salient psychological factors having direct bearing on effective physical therapy practice. Areas covered include psychological paradigms; utilizing collaborative psychological resources; classification and diagnostic criteria of psychopathologies commonly comorbid with patient conditions presented to the physical therapist; impact of locus of control on physical restoration, adherence, and functional independence; psychological reactions to disability; motivational principles and psychobehavioral predictive factors in exercise adherence; countertransference; psychological factors in chronic pain syndromes; psychosomatic theory; psychophysiology of the stress response; and application of therapeutic relaxation techniques. 

662  Clinical Research: Application to Practice   0.25 unit   Measurement and scientific inquiry are applied to clinical problems in this course. An extensive systematic review of the literature or a research project is carried out with faculty mentorship in order to answer a specific clinical question. Communication and dissemination of the findings are presented in the forms of an oral presentation to a forum of colleagues, a research poster presentation and a publishable quality paper which meets scientific journal guidelines. Prerequisite: Third year status in the Physical Therapy program.

664  Physical Therapy Administration   0.5 unit   This course covers the role of the physical therapist in administrative settings. Guests and students assist in the presentations. A health care proposal is prepared and presented that will improve an existing health care delivery system. Prerequisite: Third-year status in the Physical Therapy program.

677  Advanced Topics in Physical Therapy   0.5 unit   This course is designed to build from the student's basic background in a specialized area of physical therapy practice to a level of expertise and comprehensive understanding. Several topic areas are available each year. Course content includes basic medical science, clinical examination and intervention theory and practice, the opportunity to practice knowledge and skill in the treatment of actual patients, and synthesis of knowledge in a formal case report. May be repeated for credit with distinct content. Students must complete two PT 677 courses in order to graduate. Prerequisite: Third-year status in the Physical Therapy program.

687  Full-Time Clinical Internship II     No credit   The analysis and synthesis of physical therapy concepts, skills and values utilizing clinical experiences at University of Puget Sound clinical internship facilities. This full-time internship occurs off campus and consists of a minimum of nine weeks designed to provide students with an opportunity for guided and independent experiences in providing physical therapy services to the public. Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of all academic course work in the Physical Therapy program.

688  Full-Time Clinical Internship III      No credit   The analysis and synthesis of physical therapy concepts, skills and values utilizing clinical experiences at University of Puget Sound clinical internship facilities. This full-time internship occurs off campus and consists of a minimum of nine weeks designed to provide students with an opportunity for guided and independent experiences in providing physical therapy services to the public. Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of all academic course work in the Physical Therapy program.

697  Special Project   Variable credit up to 1 unit   An independent study course designed to provide the student with an opportunity to engage in a collaborative project with faculty. The student, with faculty supervision, develops an individualized learning contract that involves critical inquiry, clinical research, and/or classroom teaching. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Permission of faculty project advisor(s).

Physical Therapy Clinical Affiliates

Clinical centers that accept full-time student affiliates for PT 657, 687, 688, and 689 are located throughout the United States primarily in Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, and Hawaii.