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University of South Alabama
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USA Undergraduate/Graduate Bulletin 2011-2012


Chair: Dennis W. Fell (251) 445-9330
Associate Professors: Fell, G.L. Irion, J.M. Irion
Assistant Professors: Gubler, Jefferson, Kennedy, Liu
Instructor: White
Emeritus: Gray
Department of Physical Therapy web site
A Physical Therapist, also called a PT, is a health care professional who provides direct patient care to persons who have disorders of movement, mechanical, physiological and developmental impairment and functional limitations, whether caused by injury, disease, or pain to help them achieve maximum physical function and mobility. Physical therapists have the necessary training to meet the total range of primary patient care responsibilities involved in preventing disabilities and promoting restoration of function to the physically impaired, including musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular/pulmonary and integumentary disorders that interfere with physical function. The Physical Therapist performs an examination and then uses clinical reasoning to plan and implement patient-centered PT intervention. Physical Therapists practice in rehabilitation centers, private practices, hospital-based and outpatient-based centers, home health care, sports medicine centers, and in universities to restore movement and function.
As its mission: "The Department of Physical Therapy is 1) dedicated to the education of physical therapists who provide the highest levels of professional care to diverse communities while maintaining a commitment to life-long learning, and 2) committed to service and the advancement of knowledge in the profession through research and scholarly activity."
The degree offered by the department is the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), designed as a first-professional degree for students who want to enter the physical therapy profession.
The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program consists of eight consecutive semesters of full-time professional graduate study. The DPT is a clinical doctorate degree, not a research degree, and is awarded after successful completion of the prescribed sequence of 122 semester hours (listed below) including classroom and clinical laboratory coursework and 34 weeks of full-time physical therapy internships. As an entry-level program, the DPT is designed as a first PT degree and is not appropriate for students who already hold a PT degree. The goals and objectives of the program are guided by the criteria and guidelines set forth by the Evaluative Criteria for Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Preparation of Physical Therapists (Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education). Graduates of the program are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Exam for licensure.
The program begins each year in the Fall semester. The application deadline for Fall semester is December 15th of the previous year. Additionally, international students must apply to the University's Office of International Services (including certified translations of transcripts) by July 1st, before making application to the Department of Physical Therapy. This program is an entry-level degree. Because of the extensive list of prerequisites that must be completed prior to application, this program does not meet the needs of international students who already possess PT degrees from other countries.
Two categories of applicants are considered for admission:
It is highly recommended, and in most cases required, that applicants complete a bachelor's degree prior to starting the PT program.
1. Regular Graduate Applicants:
These applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in any field from a regionally accredited college or university and complete all prerequisites for regular graduate admission as listed below with a GPA > 3.00. These applicants may apply by December 15th if they will complete their bachelor's degrees before the upcoming Fall semester.
2. Advanced Undergraduate Applicants:
This special "advanced" early-entry option is reserved for the highly motivated and academically strong student. Students with at least 96 semester or 144 quarter hours of specific college prerequisites listed below and an overall GPA ≥ 3.50 may apply for entry into the program prior to completion of the bachelor's degree. The student applying with three years of prerequisites is then able to complete the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree with just six years of college. Applicants in this category should carefully review Additional Information for Advanced Undergraduates that follows the list of prerequisites.
  1. The applicant must declare one of the above categories on the application form (deadline December 15th) and meet all requirements including prerequisites.
  2. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores must be officially reported to the University of South Alabama Office of Admissions by December 15th with a minimum score of 1000. The minimum GRE scores will be modified after August 2011, when the new GRE format is adopted. GRE must have been taken within the last 5 years. Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical Writing sections will be utilized, as well as the writing component.
  3. Regular Graduate applicants must have a minimum 3.0 (A=4.0) overall grade point average (GPA); Advanced Undergraduate applicants must have a minimum 3.5 overall GPA.
  4. All applicants must have a minimum grade of "C" in each of the prerequisite courses.
  5. Observation or work experience in Physical Therapy (50 hours minimum) under the supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist must be documented. A form is available for download from the PTCAS (http://www.ptcas.org/) web site that must be signed by the physical therapist with the license number included.
  6. International applicants must have a TOEFL score ≥ 600 (250 on computer based or 100 on Internet based tests), TSE ≥ 60 and TWE ≥ 4.5 and must apply to the University's Office of International Services, with certified translations of transcripts, by October 15 of the previous year. This DPT program is not designed for students who already have a physiotherapy degree.
   NOTE: If selected for interview, the applicant must achieve a satisfactory interview score, and if accepted into the program, must submit a health form and physical examination which includes required immunizations.
Prerequisites Required For All Applicants:
English Composition (2 courses)
Social Sciences (3 courses--at least two of which must be Psychology)
Precalculus Algebra/Trigonometry or Higher Mathematics (1 course)
Statistics (1 course)
College Physics - with labs (2 semester or 3 quarter sequence)
General Chemistry for science majors - with labs (2 semester or 3 quarter sequence)
General or Cell Biology for science majors - with labsb (2 semester or 3 quarter sequence)
Human Physiology, Mammalian Physiology OR a course sequence in Anatomy
and Physiology (minimum 6 credits). Human Physiology is preferred.
Additional Prerequisites for Advanced Undergraduate Applicants
Fine Arts (History or Appreciation) (1 course)
Literature I & II (World Lit, American Lit, or British Lit) - both courses must be in the same series
Oral Communication (Speech) (1 course)
History of Civilization or U.S. History (1 course)
Computer Science (1 course)
Microbiology or Infectious Disease (1 course)
Electives (21 semester hours)c
  For Advanced Undergraduate applicants, prerequisites must total at least 96 semester hours.
a. For all prerequisite courses, credit older than ten years from the application deadline must be repeated or validated by examination or other appropriate mechanism.
b. Botany may not be used to satisfy this prerequisite.
c. Electives should be concentrated in a back-up major of the student's choice.
Additional Information for Advanced Undergraduate Applicants:
Students who have completed 96 semester or 144 quarter hours of prescribed and elective course work and who meet all admission criteria and the terms specified below are eligible for application to the program. Thus, these students may be able to complete the DPT degree in 6 years from entry into college. Students planning to pursue this category of admission should be working toward a back-up major in a discipline of their choice by the junior undergraduate year. This will insure that students who are not admitted to the graduate program or who elect not to apply will be able to complete a degree within a normal time period. Also, students who go on to complete a bachelor's degree and who meet all admission criteria (GPA = 3.0) will be eligible to apply later as Regular Graduate applicants.
In addition to the minimum admission requirements listed above, advanced undergraduate applicants also must acknowledge an understanding of the following:
That, according to University policy, no more than 64 semester hours of transfer credit from two-year colleges will be accepted.
That the student will be officially classified as an undergraduate for the first 2 semesters of the program but will be taking graduate courses of the DPT program.
That in the first 2 semesters of the program, while classified as undergraduate students, any financial aid is restricted to the types and amounts for which undergraduate students are eligible.
That upon satisfactory completion (minimum GPA of 3.0 in all course work) of the first 2 semesters of the program, they will be awarded the Bachelor of Science in Professional Health Science degree. These students must then complete application for reclassification and admission to the Graduate School. Upon satisfactory completion of the next 6 semesters of the DPT program, students will be awarded the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.
That tuition will be assessed at the graduate level for the entire 8 semesters of the professional program.
That the academic program for students in both categories is identical in its entirety.
That for the entire 8 semesters of the program they will be held to the same standards and policies as students enrolled in the graduate school (see the policies of the Graduate School).
Core Performance Standards, which are fundamental tasks that must be performed to successfully complete the program, have been outlined and are available upon request from the program and on the department web site.
Students admitted in the Physical Therapy program will be charged a matriculation deposit of $300 required to secure a seat in the entering class. This amount is not refundable but will be applied towards tuition expenses after registration.
Students should be prepared for extra expenses (estimates available on the web site) associated with professional studies including books, local travel to and from clinical facilities and for out-of-town travel and living expenses during the 34 weeks of clinical internship in the first year and the final year. It is highly recommended that students have a laptop computer. Special lab fees are assessed for the following courses:
PT 600 Human Anatomy I
$ 75.00
PT 601 Human Anatomy II
$ 200.00
PT 603 Neuroscience
$ 15.00
PT 612 Research Project
$ 50.00
PT 621 Introductory PT Skills
$ 20.00
PT 625 Therapeutic Intervention
$ 20.00
PT 682 PT Internship I
$ 75.00
A $25.00 professional liability fee is assessed annually ($12.00 each in fall and spring and $1.00 in summer).
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree requires the following course sequence after admission to the professional program:
Fall Semester - Year I (18 credits)
PT 600 Human Anatomy I* 3
PT 601 Human Anatomy II* 3
PT 610 Principles of Research 2
PT 621 Introductory PT Skills* 4
PT 622 Exercise Physiology* 4
PT 680 Professional PT Practice; W 2
Spring Semester - Year I (18 credits)
PT 604 Pathophysiology I 2
PT 620 Clinical Kinesiology* 3
PT 625 Therapeutic Intervention (EPA/Manual Therapy)* 4
PT 631 PT in Musculoskeletal Disorders I* 4
PT 632 PT in Musculoskeletal Disorders II* 3
PT 681 Clinical Practice Issues; W 2
Summer Semester - Year I (13 credits)
PT 607 Pathophysiology II 2
PT 650 PT in Integumentary Disorders* 4
PT 671 Clinical Case Studies I 1
PT 682 PT Internship I 6
Fall Semester - Year II (16 credits)
PT 602 Life Span Human Development 2
PT 603 Neuroscience* 3
PT 606 Pharmacology 2
PT 611 Research Proposal 2
PT 633 PT in Musculoskeletal Disorders III* 4
PT 634 PT in Musculoskeletal Disorders IV (spine)* 3
Spring Semester - Year II (16 credits)
PT 612 Research Project 2
PT 628 Mobility, Orthotics, and Prosthetics* 2
PT 640 Neuromuscular PT Adult* 4
PT 641 Neuromuscular PT Pediatrics* 2
PT 660 PT in Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Disorders* 4
PT 672 Clinical Case Studies II 1
PT 687 Professional Behaviors 1
Summer Semester - Year II (9 credits)
PT 627 Medical Screening 2
PT 635 PT in Musculoskeletal Disorders V* 2
PT 642 Neuromuscular PT Intervention* 4
PT 673 Clinical Case Studies III 1
Fall Semester - Year III (16 credits)
PT 605 Human Learning 1
PT 614 Measurement in PT 1
PT 626 Health Promotion and Prevention in PT 1
PT 674 Clinical Synthesis and Patient Management 2
PT 683 PT Internship II 8
PT 685 Management of PT Practice 3
Spring Semester - Year III (15 credits)
PT 613 Critical Analysis 2
PT 675 Comprehensive Capstone 1
PT 684 PT Internship III 6
PT 686 PT Internship IV 6
  Curriculum Total 121
Accreditation and Licensure
The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of South Alabama is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the American Physical Therapy Association. CAPTE can be contacted at The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, Department of Accreditation, American Physical Therapy Association, 1111 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; Telephone: (703) 706-3245; Web site: www.apta.org/CAPTE
Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) to gain licensure. Applicants are hereby informed that a history of felony conviction, use of drugs or intoxicating liquors which affects professional competence, or narcotic law conviction will prevent physical therapy licensure.
See Alabama Board of Physical Therapy site: http://www.pt.alabama.gov/

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Date last changed: February 28, 2011 4:15 PM

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