University Bulletin 2019-20

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Physical Therapy (DPT)

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 curriculum plan, by semester, of courses required once admitted to the DPT program can be found on the department website: The DPT is a clinical doctorate degree, not a research degree, and is awarded after successful completion of the prescribed sequence of 121 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 1st of the previous year. All applicants must apply through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) and submit a supplemental application and supplemental application fee directly to the PT department. International Students should carefully review earlier deadlines and additional requirements listed after Minimal requirements for all applicants (see below).

DPT Early Acceptance Program (DPTEAP)

The DPT Early Acceptance Program (DPTEAP) allows for some highly qualified high school seniors who meet the qualifications to gain early provisional acceptance to the graduate program prior to starting college. Details are described in the Early Acceptance Program section of the Office of Admissions website at

In addition, a link to the application for this program is also found on this webpage and the "Special Programs" section of the Office of Admissions Website. The application deadline for this program is February 1 of the senior year in high school.

Regular Graduate Applicants

It is required, that applicants complete a bachelor's degree prior to starting the PT program. These applicants must hold a bachelor's degree (or be able to complete the degree prior to starting the PT program) 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 1st if they will complete their bachelor's degrees before the upcoming Fall semester.

Minimum Requirements For All Applicants

  1. The applicant must declare one of the above categories on the application form (deadline December 1st) 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 1st with a minimum score of 290 on the GRE (use institution code 7799). The GRE must have been taken within the last 5 years. Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical Writing sections will be utilized.
  3. Regular Graduate applicants must have a minimum 3.0 (A=4.0) overall grade point average (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 and submitted to PTCAS by the December 1st deadline. A form is available for download from the PTCAS website (
  6. Applicants may only have a maximum of 2 science course prerequisites remaining by the application deadline. The remaining prerequisites must be completed in the spring and summer prior to the start of the program.

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 submit the following to the Department of Physical Therapy by October 15 of the year prior to admission: TOEFL score, official transcripts with certified translations of transcripts, supplemental application and non-refundable supplemental application processing fee of $75.00. In addition, international students must submit PTCAS application and official GRE scores by December 1st.  Materials being sent by mail carrier must be postmarked NO later than December 1st. This DPT program is not ideal 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.

Program Prerequisitesa (for optimal preparation, on-line science labs are discouraged)

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.

aFor all prerequisite courses, credit older than ten years from the application deadline must be repeated or validated by examination or other appropriate mechanism.
bBotany may not be used to satisfy this prerequisite.
Electives should be concentrated in a back-up major of the student's choice.

Essential Functions

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 website.


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 website) 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:

Abbr Course Description Fee
PT 600 Human Anatomy $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 675 Comprehensive Capstone $81.00
PT 682 PT Internship $75.00

A Resource Fee of $133/semester is charged to all health professions students.

A $25.00 professional liability fee is assessed annually ($12.00 each in fall and spring and $1.00 in summer).


The Department of Physical Therapy currently has eight scholarships that are awarded to students after admission to the program, in year-1, year-2 and year-3. These scholarships are listed on the department webpage.

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).  1111 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; Telephone: (703) 706-3245; Web site: E-mail:

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:

DPT Curriculum Sequence

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

After admission, the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree requires the following course sequence to complete the professional degree:   

First Year Course Description   Cr Hrs
Fall Semester      17
PT 600 Human Anatomy I*  3 hrs  
PT 601 Human Anatomy II*  3 hrs  
PT 610 Principles of Research  2 hrs  
PT 620 Clinical Kinesiology* 3 hrs  
PT 621 Introductory PT Skills*  4 hrs  
PT 689 Professional PT Practice 2 hrs  
Spring Semester      19
PT 604 Pathophysiology I  2 hrs  
PT 622 Exercise Physiology 4 hrs  
PT 625 Therapeutic Intervention 4 hrs  
PT 631 PT in Musculoskeletal Disorders I* 4 hrs  
PT 632  PT in Musculoskeletal Disorders II* 3 hrs  
PT 681 Clinical Practice Issues 2 hrs  
Summer Semester      12
PT 607 Pathophysiology II 2 hrs  
PT 633 PT in Musculoskeletal Disorders III* 4 hrs  
PT 682 PT Internship I 6 hrs  
Second Year Course Description   Cr Hrs 
Fall Semester       17
PT 602 Life Span Human Development 2 hrs  
PT 603 Neuroscience*  3 hrs  
PT 606 Pharmacology  2 hrs  
PT 611 Research Proposal  2 hrs  
PT 634 PT in Musculoskeletal Disorders IV*  3 hrs  
PT 650 PT in Integumentary Disorders* 4 hrs  
PT 671 Clinical Case Studies I 1 hr  
Spring Semester       16
PT 612 Research Project 2 hrs   
PT 628 Mobility, Orthotics, and Prosthetics*  2 hrs  
PT 640  Neuromuscular PT Exam/Eval 4 hrs  
PT 641 Pediatric Neuromuscular PT Exam/Eval 2 hrs  
PT 660 PT in Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Disorders*   4 hrs   
PT 672 Clinical Case Studies II 1 hr  
PT 687 Professional Behaviors in PT 1 hr  
Summer Semester      9 or 10
PT 627 Medical Screening 2 hrs  
PT 635 PT in Musculoskeletal Disorders V* 2 hrs  
PT 642 Neuromuscular PT Intervention* 4 hrs  
PT 673 Clinical Case Studies III 1 hr  
Third Year Course Description   Cr Hrs
Fall Semester      15 or 16
PT 605 Human Learning 1 hr  
PT 626 Health Promotion and Prevention in PT   2 hr  
PT 674  Clinical Synthesis and Patient Management  1 hr  
PT 683 PT Internship II  8 hrs   
PT 685 Management of PT Practice 3 hrs  
Spring Semester      15
PT 613  Clinical Case Report  2 hrs   
PT 675 Comprehensive Capstone  1 hr   
PT 684 PT Internship III 6 hrs   
PT 686 PT Internship IV 6 hrs  
Curriculum Total     121
Physical Therapy Administrative Staff (251) 445-9330
Chair Barry Dale
Professors Dale
Associate Professors  
Assistant Professors Cahanin, Eaton, Fletcher, McDermott, Saale, Waldhelm
Emeritus Gray, Kennedy, Wall

Department of Physical Therapy website

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, school systems, and in universities to restore movement and function.

As its mission: The Department of Physical Therapy is:  "Committed to high quality education, promoting and generating scholarship, and engaging in local to global service.