Degree Requirements

The Physical Therapy program leads to the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. The program prepares candidates for entry-level positions as practicing physical therapists. Physical therapists practice as independent practitioners in the health care environment.

Degree requirements are established by the faculty on recommendation from the Director of Graduate Study and the Academic Standards Committee.

1.     An undergraduate degree must be cleared and posted to the academic record by the time of enrollment.

2.     The following courses required for physical therapy must be completed with a grade of C or better: PT 601, 602, 605, 610, 625, 630, 633, 635, 640, 641, 642, 643, 645, 646, 647, 648, 649, 661, 662, 664, and two sections of PT 677. In addition, students must receive a passing grade for PT 650, 651, 657, 660, 687, and 688.

3.    University of Puget Sound DPT students are required to complete a research project.  The research project will typically be done in a small group of students under the supervision of a faculty mentor.  The project begins in the second semester of the program and culminates at the end of the fifth semester.  The final products of the project are a written manuscript which is suitable for submission* to a professional journal and a professional poster which is presented to the university community.

The research project can take different forms.  A typical project is a systematic review of the professional literature on a clinical question.  Experimental research is also a possibility if there is a faculty member who is doing research in an area of student interest. No matter the format, the student will participate in developing study methods and procedure, performing a rigorous literature review, completing appropriate data analysis, and discussing of the results and interpretation of the research findings.

*the faculty mentor must approve the final manuscript for this requirement to be met. If the reviewed and revised manuscript does not meet mentor approval the mentor will provide specific instructions on the changes required to meet approval. Deadline for approval is the first day of the sixth semester of the program.

4.     PT 650, 651, 657, 660, 687, and 688 require the student to complete the equivalent of 51/2 weeks of work in the on-site clinic and 36 weeks of full-time clinical internship under supervision of licensed physical therapists in clinical facilities that hold an Extended Campus Agreement with the Physical Therapy program.  To be eligible to participate in off-campus internships, students must satisfactorily complete all prerequisite coursework and demonstrate appropriate professional behavior. In addition, students must undergo annual criminal background checks through Certifiedbackground.com prior to placement in off-campus clinical experiences. Students whose criminal background checks are deemed unsatisfactory may be denied access to clinical experiences in certain clinical facilities. The PT program may also deny a student access to the on-site clinic based on the findings in a criminal background check. Failure to complete the clinical education component of the program will prevent a student from graduating from the program.

Continuation Toward the Degree

1.   Once degree candidacy has been granted, a student is expected to complete all degree requirements within six years. All courses to be counted in the degree must be taken within the six-year period prior to granting the degree.

2.   A student is expected to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.  The Academic Standards Committee reviews the record of a degree candidate who earns a cumulative grade point average below 3.0 or who receives a grade of C+ or lower in a course.  A maximum of two courses with a grade of C or C+ may be counted toward a degree, subject to school approval.  Grades of C-, D+, D, D-, F and WF are failing grades and are not used in meeting graduate degree requirements but are computed in the cumulative grade point average.  A candidate falling below a 3.0 GPA will be placed on academic probation. A student will not be approved for PT 657, 687, or 688 (Internships I-III) while on academic probation. Schedule for internships taken out of usual timing will be determined the Director of Clinical Education and will likely result in delayed graduation.

A candidate failing a course may not register for additional work until the course is repeated for a successful grade. All DPT program courses are offered once in an academic year. Failing a course will therefore result in the student being placed on an academic leave of absence for one semester. The student will enroll and repeat the failed course for a grade.  The student will be required to pay a per unit tuition and will not be eligible for financial aid during this semester. The student will resume full-time coursework in the next semester.

A student will be unable to continue in the program or enroll in Physical Therapy courses if the student: a) receives a failing grade for the second time in a required course; b) must repeat more than two required courses; c) violates the standards of ethical practice observed by the academic and clinical educational programs in physical therapy; or d) violates university policies regarding academic integrity.  A student may petition the Academic Standards Committee to appeal this decision.

3.   Each student must provide his or her own transportation to clinical facilities for clinical experience; pay a fee for PT 657, 687 and 688 (Clinical Internships); and maintain health insurance, immunizations, and a current CPR certificate.

4.   To be eligible to obtain a University degree from the School of Physical Therapy, a student will be required to meet the minimum technical standards and competencies outlined in the program Essential Technical Standards document. It is the student’s responsibility to read, understand and ensure that he/she has these capacities.