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 (.5 unit)
PT 644 (.5 unit)

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.