DPT Curriculum

The DPT program is three years (nine semesters) of year-round graduate study. Academic coursework with active learning labs, clinical education, and research activity take place during the first seven semesters. The final two semesters of the program are centered on four immersive clinical rotations. 

Year 1: Summer

 PT 6058 - Anatomy for Physical Therapy

Study of gross human anatomy, and surface anatomy, for practice of physical therapy. Cadaver dissection and prosection of extremities, head, neck, back, abdomen, thoracic, and pelvic regions. Correlation to clinical conditions. Lecture, laboratory.

Year 1: Fall

PT 6002 - Ethics in Healthcare

Moral/ethical analysis skills development in the context of physical therapy research/practice. Ethical decisions in a practice and in professional training.

PT 6231 - Clinical Biomechanics

Principles of biomechanics. Forces/structures internal/external to body responsible for normal human movement. Muscle, joint, and tissue mechanics. Joint-specific normal function, whole body posture, gait mechanics. Focuses on normal mechanics as foundation for abnormal mechanics and pathology. Lecture, laboratory.

PT 6280 - Clinical Assessment

Clinical assessment techniques of transfer training, manual muscle testing, range of motion, gait analysis, physical/sensory examination, and anthropometrics. Basic intervention approaches, including stretching techniques and resistive exercise. Weekly integration assignments with first clinical clerkship. Lecture, discussion, lab.

PT 6213 - Clerkship I: Introduction to Legal and Ethical Considerations

Students complete a 3 hrs/week clinical experience at either Jones Harrison Residence or Walker Methodist Health Center. Patient/therapist observations, activities tied to concurrent didactic coursework. Facilitation of group exercise, restorative ambulation, range of motion programs, and resident assessment instrument. Lecture component covers practical aspects of clinical education and professional behavior. Psychological, sociological, and cultural needs of diverse patient populations. 

PT 6281 - Physiology for Physical Rehabilitation

An in-depth presentation of fundamental concepts in tissue and organ system physiology as it relate to general health, aging, and physical exercise. Emphasis is on the following systems: muscle, bone & connective tissue, endocrine, immune, renal, GI, and hematology. Influence of aging on these systems will be addressed as well. 

PT 6340 - Human Growth & Development

Developmental process throughout life span. Theories of physical, motor, social, and personality development and what factors that influence a child’s development.

PT 6219 - Foundations of Interprofessional Collaboration

This course establishes the foundation for interprofessional learning and collaborative practice throughout the Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum and into the clinical environment. Active interprofessional engagement opportunities with learners from other health professions programs are designed to promote and develop interprofessional competencies in the areas of communication, teamwork, values and ethics, and roles and responsibilities as health care team members.

Year 1: Spring

NSCI 6112 - Medical Neuroscience for Professional Students

Survey of molecular, cellular, and systems neuroscience as related to medicine. Course taken with UMN MD students. Lecture/lab.

PT 6214 - Clerkship II: Documentation and Reimbursement

Students complete 3 hrs/wk clinical experience at either Jones Harrison Residence or Walker Methodist Health Center under supervision of clinical faculty. Observations/documentations, group exercise, restorative ambulation, range of motion programs, resident assessments. Lecture component covers documentation of physical therapy exams, progress, and discharge services. Regulatory agencies responsible for outcomes/accreditation, third party reimbursement, coding, and peer review. 

PT 6221 - Therapeutic Procedures

Theory/application of physical agents and therapeutic techniques. Therapeutic massage, ultraviolet radiation, thermotherapy, hydrotherapy, positive pressure devices, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, biofeedback, iontophoresis, high volt pulsed current.

PT 6282 - Cardiopulmonary Physiology and Rehabilitation

Conveys foundational information regarding human basic physiology cardiovascular and pulmonary physiology.  In addition, fundamental principles of cardiac and pulmonary systems as it relates to physical therapy and will be known in the clinic to the physical therapist as Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation will be addressed. A focus of this course is on normal and abnormal responses to exercise and the pathophysiology, assessment, evaluation and rehabilitation of patients with cardiopulmonary disorders. 

PT 8132 - Research Seminar

Scientific thinking in physical therapy. Preparation to execute research project or literature review. Analysis of current literature. Basic features of research design. Elements of evaluating treatment efficacy. Students interact with their research adviser and with research faculty in various specialties.

Year 2: Summer

PT 6241 - Movement and Pathokinesiology

Provides an experiential bridge between foundational clinical courses and applied content area courses to aid in the development of comprehensive movement system examination and evaluation skills. Learners will solidify didactic integrative knowledge of the human movement system and its component elements through applied, real-world activities and clinical simulations. 

PT 6250 - Acute Care Physical Therapy

General care of the acute and critically ill patient including the disease and disorders common to the acute care environment and the integration of evaluation, treatment, and client management skills throughout the course.

PT 6251 - Integument

Response of the integument to injury, disease, and aging. Emphasizes wound management, treatment, and rehabilitation of persons with acute/chronic integument disorders. Integrating elements of physiology, pathophysiology, and therapeutic procedures to evaluate, treat, and manage clients.

PT 6252 - Pathophysiology

General and organ system pathology that prepares the student for clinical practice by presenting complicating pathological factors that affect patients and the implications of the pathology on the patient’s clinical presentation.

PT 8193 - Research Problems

Process of developing/completing a scholarly research project or literature review related to rehabilitation science. Type of research experience is determined by an adviser.

PHAR 6800 - Rehabilitation Pharmacology

Impact of medications on rehabilitation. How rehabilitation affects medication use. Online, independent study.

Year 2: Fall

PT 6283 - Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation I

First of two-course sequence. Problem-solving approach to evaluating, testing, and preventing selected musculoskeletal conditions across the life span. Chart review, history taking, strength testing, functional testing, gait and posture examination, special orthopedic tests. Therapeutic exercises, orthopedic ambulation, joint mobilization, splinting, patient education.

PT 6215 - Clerkship III: The Physical Therapist in Today's Society

Students are assigned to a community outpatient orthopedic clinic. Patient evaluations/treatment. Instructing patients, therapists, student physical therapists, and community members to promote physical therapy, health, and wellness. Students assess, prepare, and provide educational experiences. Lecture component covers role of physical therapist, in orthopedic outpatient setting, as educator and promoter of health/wellness. 

PT 6286 - Neurorehabilitation I

An in-depth exploration of fundamental principles of neural plasticity, neurophysiology, motor control, and motor learning as a basis for understanding scientific advancements in pathophysiology and therapeutic intervention in motor dysfunction.

PT 6293 - Essentials of Rehabilitation Research

Predictive research, elementary statistical concepts, analysis of scientific literature. Tools to design experiments and analyze data acquired from student group projects. Design/statistical formats: risk analysis, multivariate regression analysis, designs of reliability studies, traditional group designs. Students give preliminary presentation of analysis to their peers.

PT 8193 - Research Problems

Process of developing/completing a scholarly research project or literature review related to rehabilitation science. Type of research experience is determined by student's research advisor. 

Year 2: Spring

PT 6284 - Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation II

Second portion of a year-long course sequence. Problem-solving approach to evaluating, treating, and preventing selected musculoskeletal conditions across life span. Includes instruction in subjective evaluation, postural and mobility assessment, special orthopedic tests, functional status assessments, therapeutic exercises for mobility, strength and coordination, joint mobilization, orthotic devices, and patient education.

PT 6287 - Neurorehabilitation II

Second portion of a year-long course sequence. Assessment/rehabilitation of patients with neurological conditions (e.g., cerebral vascular disease traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Using treatment procedures, orthotics, and equipment to improve function and prevent, stabilize, or decrease impairments.

PT 6216 - Clerkship IV: Advocacy and Adjustment to Disability

Students are assigned to a local hospital or rehabilitation facility. Patient evaluations, treatment, discharge planning. Students prepare for full-time clinical experiences and for their role as potential clinical instructors. Lecture component covers role of physical therapist, in acute care or rehabilitation setting, as clinical educator of physical therapy students. 

PT 8193 - Research Problems

Process of developing/completing a scholarly research project or literature review related to rehabilitation science. Type of research experience is determined by student's research advisor.

Year 3: Summer

PT 6288 - Pediatric Rehabilitation

Provides a study of the etiology, theoretical framework, and techniques used in the examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention, and assessment of pediatric patients with neurological, orthopedic, cardiac, developmental, systemic, and behavioral conditions.  Students will also gain exposure to treatment techniques and equipment used in comprehensive pediatric settings, with additional emphasis on developing plans of care that focus on optimizing functional outcomes for pediatric patients.

PT 6290 - Contemporary Physical Therapist Practice

Includes learning experiences and project assignments related to contemporary physical therapy practice. Topics included are legal and regulatory aspects of practice management, the contemporary practice environment, professional development, and the integration of professional practice in the various practice settings.

PT 6294 - Clinical Integration

Integrates content from the entire physical therapy program to address physical therapy assessment and management of complex patient cases.  Focus is on real-world examples of clinical practice, combining psychomotor skills with clinical reasoning, effective communication, professionalism, and affective competence.  Students will deepen critical thinking skills and the ability to facilitate competent, evidence-based, patient-centered physical therapy care for patients with complex presentations.

Students choose one of the following three electives: 

PT 6401 - Pediatric Rehabilitation Elective

Expands upon the study of pediatric rehabilitation introduced in PT6288 to a greater variety of pediatric diagnoses and treatment settings.  Pediatric evaluations will be administered in accordance with the Guide to Physical Therapy Practice 3.0 and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) Model.  Pediatric screenings will be practiced in the community. Students will gain exposure to health and wellness activities for children/adolescents with developmental disabilities to improve community participation and gross motor outcomes. Selection of adaptive equipment for children with physical and developmental disabilities will be explored, along with communication with a multidisciplinary assistive technology team and medical justification documentation.

PT 6402 - Shoulder in Sports Elective

Explores the unique demands placed on the shoulder in sports that involve throwing, swimming, swinging, and bodily impacts. The course begins with an investigation into sport-specific biomechanics, pathomechanics, and epidemiology and progresses to applied problem solving for rehabilitation and research scenarios. Online course for students who are interested in investigating the biomechanical and epidemiological aspects of the shoulder in athletics.

PT 6403 - Topics in Aging Elective

Covers a variety of topics related to aging. It is intended to enhance the basic aging content students have already acquired. The course will be taught in a seminar format, requiring active engagement and discussion from all students.

Year 3: August through May

PT 6295 - Clinical Experience I

Communication skills, team participation, and evaluation/treatment. Predicting outcomes. Managing patient diagnoses/problems. Selected specialty area of physical therapy practice.

PT 6296 - Clinical Experience II

Second of four courses. Students must demonstrate proficiency in communication, team participation, evaluation/treatment, predicting outcomes, and managing patient diagnoses/problems. Selected specialty area of physical therapy practice.

PT 6297 - Clinical Experience III

Third of four courses. Students must demonstrate proficiency in communication, team participation, evaluation/treatment predicting outcomes, and managing patient diagnoses/problems. Selected specialty area of physical therapy practice.

PT 6298 - Clinical Experience IV

Fourth of four courses. Students must demonstrate proficiency in communication, team participation, evaluation/treatment predicting outcomes, and managing patient diagnoses/problems. Selected specialty area of physical therapy practice.


PT 6220 - Clinic Volunteer

Students may elect to volunteer at the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic or the Diabetic Foot Clinic during their time in the program. 

PT 6404 - Interprofessional Education Independent Study

PT 8131 - Research Problems Elective 

As part of the Phase II experience, students from participating programs will meet with patient volunteers in the community to further develop and refine their interprofessional communication and teamwork skills. These patient volunteers, called Community Teachers, serve as an integral part in this phase of the interprofessional education curriculum. Community Teachers provide students with a deeper understanding of the importance of interpersonal skills in combination with their program-specific knowledge, and will share with students their experiences as patients in navigating the healthcare system, managing chronic health conditions, and being an active participant in the coordination of their care. 

Total Credits: 138
Changes in course numbers and sequence may occur during the course of the curriculum.