Nov 26, 2020  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog Archived Catalog

Physical Therapy, D.P.T.

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Dr. Debbie Ingram
Department Head
(423) 425-4767 or email at

The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program at UTC is designed to prepare graduates to meet entry-level practice expectations of the physical therapy profession. The curriculum addresses current approaches to the evaluation and management of movement system disorders while simultaneously preparing the graduate to assume a role in prevention, wellness and health promotion. Classroom and clinic-based instruction provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to practice competently in today’s dynamic healthcare environment. By integrating current theory and research into all foundational science and applied clinical science courses, the entry-level DPT program of study prepares students to develop and implement evidence-based intervention plans leading to outcomes that enhance the movement competencies of clients with disorders of the musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiovascular, pulmonary, or integumentary systems.

The mission of the program: the Department of Physical Therapy is committed to developing engaged, competent life-long learners who provide evidence-based physical therapy to the community through teaching, research, service and leadership.

The goals of the program include:

NPTE pass rate

Graduates from the program will demonstrate a pass rate on the National Physical Therapy Examination that is equal to or higher than the national average for pass rates for first time takers who are graduates of US PT programs.

Safe Practice

Upon graduation from the program, all graduates will have demonstrated entry-level performance in a safe manner which minimizes risk to self, patients/clients, and others.

Professional Behavior

Upon graduation from the program, all graduates will have demonstrated professional behaviors in all situations at entry-level performance.

Students who are accepted into the professional program must be enrolled on a full-time basis for each of the eight semesters of the physical therapy curriculum. The curriculum combines classroom and laboratory training with independent study and clinical experiences in multiple health care settings. A variety of instructional methods are employed to enable students to develop the essential manual and clinical skills. The coursework is arranged according to a prescribed sequence and schedule that all students must follow. The entry-level DPT program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

Admission to the Professional Physical Therapy Program

All students admitted to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program must have completed a bachelor’s degree before entering the program. Students interested in pursuing physical therapy should seek advisement from the physical therapy faculty by calling the program office to schedule an appointment.

Application procedure and admission to the University does not assure acceptance into the physical therapy program. Enrollment is limited, and the number of qualified applicants may exceed the number of students who can be admitted.

Selection by the admissions committee is based upon a number of factors including overall GPA (calculated for all academic courses attempted up to the point of application to the program), GPA for science courses alone, GRE and references.

Applicants with the best combination of these factors will be selected for the class. Students may apply who have a minimum cumulative GPA and science GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 grading scale and meet the minimum prerequisite requirements. Entrance into the program is contingent upon the completion of all prerequisites with a minimum grade of “C.”

Applicants are required to apply for admission through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Application forms and information are available on-line at and on the Physical Therapy Web site:

Applicants are responsible for assuring the completion of the packet prior to the deadline. Following review of application materials the decision of the admissions committee is emailed to each applicant. Students are asked to verify their acceptance to the program in writing. Classes begin in late August.

Students accepted to the DPT program will be required to undergo a Criminal Background Check. A written report verifying the student applicant has been granted a Level 2 Criminal Background Check clearance must be received in the Physical Therapy office prior to being enrolled in DPT coursework. Information about how to obtain an approved Level 2 Background Check clearance report may be found on the Physical Therapy Department website:

If a student is admitted to the DPT program, but declines to accept a position in the class to which he or she has been admitted, the student must reapply to be considered for admission to the program at a later date.

Note: Consult for specific deadline dates and early decision information.

Eligibility Requirements - Applicants must have the following to apply:

  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.2/4.0; cumulative grade point average of 3.4/4.0 for early admission
  • Minimum science grade point average of 3.2/4.0; cumulative grade point average of 3.4/4.0 for early admission. The nine courses used to calculate the science GPA are:

Biology I & II

Chemistry I & II

Physics I & II

Human Anatomy, Human Physiology

Exercise Physiology

  • Completed six of the nine science prerequisites listed above.
  • Competitive GRE General Test Scores no more than five years old. College Code UTC PTCAS code 0464.
  • A minimum 3.0 analytical writing score is required; minimum 3.5 analytical writing score for early decision.
  • Two PTCAS references, including one from a license physical therapist.
  • PT observation hours. See Application Instructions on the department’s website for details.
Expenses and Transportation

All DPT students are required to pay differential tuition of 56.00 per credit hour, plus Graduate tuition and fees.  Physical therapy clinical experiences scheduled throughout the academic year require students to provide their own transportation to the clinical sites. Full time clinical experiences are scheduled during the summer semesters of both the first and second years and spring semester of the third year. Students must be financially prepared to meet costs incurred for travel and living expenses in other cities throughout the United States during clinical education courses.

Grades of S/NC

Students in the entry level DPT program may be allowed to earn up to 22 hours of clinical education credit (PHYT 7133 (4 hours); PHYT 7231 (4 hours); PHYT 7232 (5 hours); and PHYT 7332 (9 hours) that will be graded on a Satisfactory/No Credit basis. This is a Graduate Council approved exception to the 13 credit hour policy for doctoral program students.

Continuation and Graduation Standards

Practice standards of the physical therapy profession require that graduates be prepared to practice safely and competently within the physical therapy scope of practice. To ensure safe and competent performance by students enrolled in the program, the following continuation standards must be met for students to remain enrolled in the program:

  1. To progress in physical therapy, students are required to:
    1. maintain a 3.0 for all courses taken in the professional program period.
    2. maintain an active liability insurance policy for clinical courses;
    3. maintain current CPR certification.
    4. maintain full clearance of Level 2 Criminal Background Check
  2. If in the judgment of the faculty there is reason to question the emotional or physical condition of a student or the safety or quality of physical therapy care provided, the faculty has the right and obligation to exclude the student from the clinical area.
  3. Students who fail courses may be denied progression in the program. Students may repeat failed courses only at the discretion of the retention and progression committee or the Department Head of the Physical Therapy Department.
  4. Statement of Ethical and Professional Standards. In certain programs such as physical therapy, professional success depends upon factors other than those measured by normal evaluations in course work. The faculty has the right to separate a student from the program who is not likely to succeed professionally, despite earning acceptable grades. Failure to maintain the high ethical and professional standards of the physical therapy profession may subject a student to suspension, dismissal or other appropriate remedial action by the physical therapy faculty.


Program of study required for students admitted to the DPT program with graduate standing:

Prerequisite courses

  • PSY 1010 plus an additional Psychology course, 2000 level or above (PSY 2410 preferred) 6 hours
  • BIOL 1110/1110L - Principles of Biology I 4 hours
  • BIOL 1120/1120L - Principles of Biology II 4 hours
  • BIOL 1910/1910L - Functional Human Anatomy 4 hours
  • BIOL 2080/2080L - Human Physiology 4 hours
  • CHEM 1110/1110l - General Chemistry I 4 hours
  • CHEM 1120/1120L - General Chemistry II 4 hours
  • PHYS 1030/1030L - General Physics I 4 hours
  • PHYS 1040/1040L - General Physics II 4 hours
  • A statistics course 3 hours
  • HHP 3170 - Exercise physiology 3 hours


Professional DPT courses required

Additional Information and Notes

Program of study must also include 6 credit hours of approved electives; may include approved courses outside the DPT curriculum.

Minimum grade of C required in all physical therapy courses to continue in the DPT program.

Minimum 3.0 GPA in physical therapy courses.

Professional Curriculum Plan:

Year One

Year Two

Year Three

Program Total: 120 hours

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