Apr 23, 2024  
Academic Catalog 2023-2024 
Academic Catalog 2023-2024

Physical Therapy, DPT

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Degree Requirements

Note: the sequencing of the following coursework may be altered at the discretion of the faculty

Third Year Spring: 20 Credits

Program Details

Program Length

This is a full-time program of study that is 27 months in duration. A cohort of students enters each year in late August and courses typically are open only to students enrolled in the Physical Therapy Program.  9 credits or higher is a full-time course load; 6 credits is half-time. The Physical Therapy Program does not accept transfer credit.  Graduate students earning a cumulative 3.50 GPA or higher will graduate “With Distinction”

At the discretion of the respective faculty member, the Physical Therapy Program may allow currently enrolled Pacific University students to audit courses. Students must declare the audit option before the end of the add-drop period; once the audit option has been declared, the course cannot revert back to the graded option. Alumni, current students, and applicants accepted into the program are not permitted to study as non-degree seeking students.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Examine patients/clients of all ages through the process of obtaining a history, performing relevant systems reviews, and selecting and administering specific tests and measures.
  • Make clinical judgments based on data gathered during examination/reexamination (i.e. evaluation), and formulate diagnoses by organizing results of evaluation to help determine the most appropriate intervention strategies, including referral to other health professionals.
  • Make prognoses by determining the level of optimal improvement that might be attained through intervention and the amount of time required to reach that level.
  • Establish patient-directed measurable goals which lead to functional and optimal outcomes within a specified time frame.
  • Implement interventions with the patient/client/caregiver using various physical therapy methods and techniques to produce changes in the condition that are consistent with the diagnosis and prognosis.
  • Utilize interventions which take into account the patient’s/client’s physical and psychological status and cultural background.
  • Obtain and utilize outcome measures to facilitate remediation of functional limitation and disability, optimization of patient/client satisfaction, and prevention.
  • Act as a case manager, educator, consultant, and patient advocate in diverse settings.
  • Effectively interact with patients/clients, family and support systems, payers, and others professionals in the health care system.
  • Communicate with patients/clients, family, caregivers, other professionals, consumers, and payers with cultural sensitivity.
  • Complete accurate, analytically sound, concise, timely, and legible documentation that follows the specific forms required by a practice setting. 
  • Demonstrate professional behaviors in all interactions with patients/clients, families, caregivers, other professionals, students, other consumers, and payers.
  • Adhere to all safe, legal, and ethical practice standards.
  • Promote optimal health by providing information on wellness, prevention, impairment, functional limitation, disability, and health risks related to age, ability, gender, culture, and lifestyle.
  • Understand the importance of participation in professional organizations/activities and the legislative process.
  • Develop critical thinking skills in the area of clinical reasoning and in the evaluation of published studies, new techniques, and technology.


Admissions Information


All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher and taken on a graded basis unless the course was switched to pass-fail grading by an institution during the spring 2020 or summer 2020 semesters due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Science prerequisite courses must be for science majors and pre-professional students (e.g. pre-physical therapy, pre-med, pre-pharmacy) and must include a laboratory. Low level, non-science major courses do not meet the prerequisites. All science and Statistics prerequisite coursework must have been completed within 7-years of the intended year of entry. Listed below are the prerequisites and the Pacific University courses which satisfy the requirements.

Biological Sciences: 12 semester or 18 quarter credits

  • Must include general biology sequence (Botany portion may be excluded), complete human or vertebrate anatomy, and complete human or animal physiology courses. Sequential courses combining human anatomy and physiology are acceptable. A single course combining human anatomy and physiology will not meet this requirement. All courses must include laboratory. (If taken at Pacific University: BIOL 200 /BIOL 200L BIOL 201 /BIOL 201L ; HBIO 230 /HBIO 230L ; HBIO 231 /HBIO 231L .)

Chemistry: 8 semester or 12 quarter credits

  • Must include a standard one-year course in general chemistry. Courses must include laboratory. (If taken at Pacific University CHEM 220 ; CHEM 230 .)

Physics: 8 semester or 12 quarter credits

  • A standard two-semester course or the quarter system equivalent. This course need not be calculus based. All courses must include laboratory. (If taken at Pacific University; PHY 202 /PHY 204  [or PHY 232W /PHY 242 ].)

Psychology: 6 semester or 8 quarter credits

  • Must include a course in general psychology and one additional course in psychology. (If taken at Pacific University: PSY 150 )

English/Writing: 3 semester or 4 quarter credits

  • Must include one writing course beyond the introductory level. Courses taken to meet this requirement must be from an English or Writing department. A combination of writing-intensive coursework offered outside of an English or Writing department may be considered with valid evidence, such as syllabus, and must be approved by the Admissions Committee.

Statistics: 2 semester or 3 quarter credits

  • It is recommended that statistics be taken in a department of psychology, sociology or mathematics.  A course in Biostatistics is also accepted. (If taken at Pacific: MATH 207 , PSY 300 /PSY 301W .)

* Any courses used to satisfy this requirement must each be at least 2 semester credits or 3 quarter credits.

Pacific University Pre-Physical Therapy Program

Pacific University offers all of the pre-physical therapy course requirements for those students interested in preparing for the professional program. All pre-professional students complete bachelor degree requirements along with the pre-physical therapy requirements. Students should note that while there are advantages to completing the pre-physical therapy requirements at Pacific, doing so does not guarantee subsequent admission to the professional Physical Therapy Program.

Program Policies

Academic Procedures

The general regulations of the University apply to all students enrolled in the Physical Therapy Program unless otherwise specified. Other matters of academic or professional importance specific to physical therapy students, for which there are no standing provisions, may be referred to the Director of the School of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training.

For details regarding professional and academic standards, including academic standing and progression through the program, see the Student Handbook


Student Handbook Grading Policies

Licensure Information

G51 Licensure and occupation requirements: To practice physical therapy, one must graduate from a program accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Physical Therapist Education (CAPTE) and receive a passing score on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). Additional requirements may be present on a state-to-state basis.

H51 Licensure Exam Pass Rates: listed on our website at https://www.pacificu.edu/colleges/college-health-professions/school-physical-therapy/student-outcomes

I51 Program-specific transfer policy information: The Program in Physical Therapy does not accept transfer students

Additional Information

For details of professional and academic standards, academic policies and procedures, clinical policies and procedures, the appeals process, and the academic conduct policies, please see the following documents:

  • Physical Therapy Program Student Handbook
  • Physical Therapy Program Clinical Education Manual
  • Physical Therapy Program course syllabi
  • Additional resources are available in the Director’s Office.

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