Doctorate in Physical Therapy

https://www.whitworth.edu/cms/academics/doctor-of-physical-therapy/admissions/

Mission Statement

Students in the Whitworth University Doctor of Physical Therapy program integrate mind, heart and hands as movement system experts. Their professional roles embody reflective servant leadership, global citizenship, and the integration of learning with faith or worldview to challenge societal injustices and health system inequities. Graduates join the faculty as an inclusive community of scholars, engaged in critical inquiry to empower innovation and clinical reasoning that optimize human experience throughout the lifespan and advance the profession of physical therapy.

Graduate Learning Outcomes

  1. Embrace servant leadership identities through social responsibility, social justice, cultural responsiveness, global citizenship, and the integration of learning with faith or worldview. 
  2. Internalize professional formation commensurate with the expectations of the physical therapist.
  3. Develop as primary care providers recognized as movement system experts who consider the physical, emotional, social and spiritual components of health in the design of patient-centered plans of care.
  4. Collaborate as providers and healthcare consultants with patients and families, professional colleagues, and communities to optimize quality of life.
  5. Prioritize quality, cost-efficient, patient-centered care that integrates sound ethical, legal and business practices, as valued members of the healthcare team.  
  6. Educate others with consideration of the context of the individual, the task and the environment.
  7. Engage in self-directed learning and scholarship that prepare graduates to be lifelong learners who advance health and wellness in society.
  8. Adapt personal resilience to meet the needs of one's professional role and global community. 

Admission Requirements

  • Successful completion of a bachelor's degree (prior to admission).
  • Academic requirements include overall GPA and prerequisite GPA equal to or greater than 3.0, and completion of the GRE.
  • Completion of, or enrollment in, prerequisite courses.
  • Evidence of leadership skills, service and community engagement activities.
  • Twenty-five hours of observation in physical therapy practice; two or more settings preferred. 

Prerequisite Courses

Whitworth University adopts the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT) national prerequisite coursework list required of all entering DPT students: 

  • One course in anatomy with lab 
  • One course in physiology with lab 
    Or a two-course sequence in anatomy and physiology with lab (e.g., HS 220 & 220L, HS 221 & 221L) 
  • Two courses in biological sciences (not botany) (e.g., BI 150, 152, 153, 154, 204, 347) or upper division courses in genetics, animal physiology 
  • Two courses in general chemistry with lab (e.g., CH 161 & L, CH 181 & L) 
  • Two courses in general physics with lab (e.g., PS 151 or 131 with lab; PS 153 or 133 with lab) 
  • One course in psychology (e.g., PY 210, PY 358) 
  • One course in statistics (research design and with statistics typically through ANOVAs) (e.g., PY 201 or MA 256) 

General Policies

  • Students should be familiar with Whitworth's graduate program policies, including specific academic standards, class attendance, suspension, appeals and graduation procedures. The DPT student handbook, updated annually, includes additional policies and procedures related to the DPT program.
  • The DPT program does not accept any transfer courses to apply toward the completion of graduate course requirements.
  • Students must maintain full-time status and follow the required course sequence each term. This is an intensive, full-time program with day and evening requirements. As such, outside employment is discouraged and may not be possible while a student is completing this degree.

Criteria for DPT Program Progression and Advancement

Students in the DPT program must take courses in the order prescribed by the plan of study. Students must enroll full time and progress through the curricular sequence to meet requirements for graduation in the time frame stipulated in the curriculum. The plan of study is designed to follow a prescribed sequence of courses.

Progression of Students in the DPT Program

For progression through the curriculum from Year 1 to Year 2 and Year 2 to Year 3, a student must remain in good academic standing (no more than two C grades or six credits of grades of C in all didactic courses and a pass in clinical education courses of the preceding year while also maintaining a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0). Students who do not meet the requirements are placed on academic probation and must meet requirements of the academic remediation for progression. Students must have a cumulative 3.0 GPA to progress to final clinical internships unless an individual adjusted degree plan is approved by the chair. These are rare circumstances involving extenuating factors. 

Accreditation Status

Whitworth University is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist [assistant] education program from CAPTE. On February 24, 2022, the program submitted an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage. Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the professional phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in professional courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation.

Graduation from a physical therapist education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

This program has been reviewed as a substantive change by our institutional accreditor, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and is included in our institutional accreditation status.

CAPTE Timing and the Licensing Exam

The DPT program will be evaluated for full-accreditation status in the third year of the first cohort (2024-25). Accreditation is anticipated to be received in the spring of 2025 prior to graduation of the first cohort in May 2025. Based on Rule 7.2 (see below), graduates of the first cohort will be able to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as early as July 2025. 

New Rule: 7.2 Definition of Candidate for Accreditation

Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status, awarded prior to enrollment of students in the technical (PTA programs) or professional (PT programs) phase of the program, which indicates that the physical therapy education program is progressing toward accreditation. All credits and degrees earned and issued by a program holding candidacy are considered to be from an accredited program.  

Complaints to the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education

The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education is a nationally recognized accrediting agency by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. CAPTE grants specialized accreditation status to qualified entry-level education programs for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. The only mechanism through which CAPTE can act on an individual’s concerns is through a formal complaint process. For more information please visit the CAPTE website.

The process for filing a complaint with CAPTE is available here or at: The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, VA 22305-3085; phone 703.706.3245accreditation@apta.org.

Courses

DPT 701 Human Anatomy6
Examines anatomy, histology and embryological orig
DPT 702 Clinical Medicine4
Foundational knowledge and application of pathophysiology as it pertains to general health, systemic disease and medical management. Includes pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and classifications of drugs used in the treatment of disease across the lifespan. Students will examine the relationship between medical management and their role as a movement system expert and a primary care practitioner. Lab included.
DPT 703 Neuroscience for Doctor of Physical Therapy Students3
Studies basic structure and function of the nervous system that includes cellular, systemic, motor and sensory pathology of peripheral and central neural components. Examines sensations, perceptions, cognition, and muscle control. Relates neuroscience to cognition, perception and the movement system across the lifespan. Lab included.
DPT 704 Exercise Science and Prescription3
Uses principles and applications of exercise as a means to promote health and physical activity to enhance movement, adapt to movement dysfunction and/or foster disease prevention/management. Assesses capacity, develops exercise prescription and progression that considers nutrition, goals, tolerance and responses to exercise. Applies ACSM guidelines for exercise testing and prescription for individuals across the lifespan. Lab included.
DPT 705 Health Systems I: Global Health2
Examines global health from a societal perspective as an aspiring health professional. Initiates development of transformational and servant leadership skills to reduce global health disparities of different health systems. Explores concepts of global burden of disease, globalization of healthcare, political and institutional impact on health, social determinants of health, health and human rights, and World Health Organization priorities. Engages in interprofessional collaboration opportunities for meaningful solutions to disparities. Includes community engagement activities.
DPT 706 Health Systems II: Population, Public And Community Health2
Explores health promotion and disease prevention theories as an integral component of the role of the physical therapist in promoting health and wellness. Issues of health behavior, public policy, community access and efficacy of health programs will be explored from a primary and secondary prevention perspective. Assesses the needs of a community within a participatory research model to design community interventions for health promotion. Includes community engagement activities.
DPT 710 Movement System I3
Application of biomechanical and kinesiological principles of human movement that translate into fundamental skills for patient/client management to identify, quantify and assess joint mobility, muscle length, muscle strength, functional mobility, sensation and soft tissue integrity. Examination techniques include interview skills and clinical documentation. Introduces The Clinical Decision Making Framework (CDMF) that guides clinical reasoning throughout the program. Lab included.
DPT 711 Movement System II3
This course will apply the principles of kinesiology, motor control and motor learning in the analysis and performance of the movement system. Analysis of movement will be informed through observational assessments of patient movement during gait and a functional continuum of movement. Interventions for patient transfers and use of assistive devices will be used to apply these principles for movement. Lab included.
DPT 712 Movement System III3
Integrates motor control/learning and development across the lifespan into the clinical decision making framework that informs movement system examination, evaluation and intervention strategies. Details observational analysis of complex dynamic movements of posture, gait, reach and grasp, transitional, vocational and recreational activities that sets the foundation of intervention strategies as movement system experts. Lab included.
DPT 713 Psychosocial Aspects of Health and Well- Being3
Integrates the biopsychosocial model of care considering the mental, emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions of health. Includes theories such as spirituality, grief-loss-mourning, behavioral change, mental health disorders, depression and anxiety, addiction, and sexuality in rehabilitation. Explores motivational interviewing and targeted applications of pain science education. Includes community engagement hours.
DPT 714 Nutrition and Health Promotion1
Investigates current principles of nutrition across the lifespan that pertain to disease prevention and health promotion. Develops an understanding of nutritional needs for health, wellness and optimal movement while considering risk factors of chronic diseases. Interprets contemporary research findings and develops strategies to promote healthy lifestyles.
DPT 720 Musculoskeletal Management I4
Introduces the clinical decision-making framework of musculoskeletal examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention and outcomes for individuals with pathologies of the lower quarter. Applies patient-centered examination techniques, diagnostic testing, pharmacology and interventions for the movement system emphasizing education, manual therapy, and exercise while incorporating the social determinants of health. Lab included.
DPT 721 Musculoskeletal Management II4
This course is the second of four on examination, evaluation, and intervention of the musculoskeletal system. It continues the use of clinical decision-making framework of musculoskeletal examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention and outcomes for individuals with pathologies of the spine across the lifespan while incorporating social determinants of health. Content includes intervention for musculoskeletal conditions of lumbar spine, sacroiliac spine, thoracic spine, cervical spine, fundamental spinal manipulation, neurodynamics, cranio-vertebral, temporomandibular joint, and fractures. Emphasis is on patient-centered differential diagnosis, clinical decision-making, and interventions for the movement system emphasizing education, function, manual therapy (e.g., mobilization, manipulation, muscle-energy technique), therapeutic exercise, therapeutic modalities. Lab included.
DPT 740 Professional Formation I2
Introduces professional formation of a doctor of physical therapy as a master adaptive learner, clinician, educator, researcher, advocate and global citizen who serves humanity with humility to optimize the human experience. Embraces their role as a vocation to promote movement and support others in their pursuit to improve quality of life. Explores competencies in spirituality and worldview, leadership, professionalism, ethics/legal, interprofessional competencies (IPEC), teaching and learning, cultural awareness, and wellbeing for health professionals considering therapeutic alliance, societal context, contemporary practice and the healthcare environment. Identifies clinical role through guided participation in grand rounds, interprofessional education and Integrated Clinical Experiences (ICE).
DPT 741 Professional Formation II2
Establish goals of professional formation competencies commensurate with the role of a doctoring professional. Focuses on self-assessment to guide development in spirituality and worldview, leadership, professionalism, ethics/legal, interprofessional competencies (IPEC), teaching and learning, cultural awareness, and wellbeing for health professionals considering therapeutic alliance, delegation/supervision, societal context, contemporary practice and the healthcare environment. Continues application of clinical role through guided participation in grand rounds, interprofessional education and Integrated Clinical Experiences (ICE).
DPT 742 Professional Formation III2
Classifies level of achievement in professional formation competencies with learning through the mind, heart and hands. Continues development in spirituality and worldview, leadership, professionalism, ethics/legal, interprofessional competencies (IPEC), teaching and learning, cultural awareness, and wellbeing for health professionals considering therapeutic alliance, societal context, contemporary practice and the healthcare environment. Focuses on interpersonal relationships, communication, adaptability, and reflection. Begins application of clinical role through community engagement, guided participation in grand rounds, interprofessional education and Integrated Clinical Experiences (ICE).
DPT 750 Fundamentals of Critical Inquiry3
Introduces scientific inquiry used in healthcare research that includes theory, design, methods, critical appraisal, and measurement. Course examines qualitative and quantitative approaches, descriptive and inferential statistics, formulation of clinical questions, search appropriate literature sources, and critical appraisal of the evidence to foster the foundations of clinical reasoning.
DPT 807 Health Systems III - Health Policy2
Provides foundations to understand healthcare policies and organizational structures pertinent to professional practice and interprofessional healthcare services, while promoting civic engagement. Analyzes the current socio-political and economic impacts to healthcare policy decisions at regional, national and international levels. Evaluates financial, regulatory and legal policies on delivery of health services. Includes community engagement activities.
DPT 808 Health Systems Management IV - Business Management, Ethics and Law4
Integrates legal and ethical guidelines with principles of strategic planning, market analysis, human resource management, fiscal management, and total quality improvement for health service provision. Expands on concepts of entrepreneurial practice management and leadership within the business of healthcare. Facilitates adaptive interprofessional collaboration opportunities within an evolving healthcare system.
DPT 815 Rehab Technology3
Emphasis is placed on applying theoretical principles underlying the clinical decision making of prescription and integration of rehab technology for individuals with a range of system dysfunctions. Content focuses on mobility assistive technologies such as orthoses, prostheses, biophysical agents, robotics, AI, VR/AR, and other advanced technologies that supplement movement interventions. Lab included.
DPT 822 Musculoskeletal Management III4
Continues the use of clinical decision-making framework of musculoskeletal examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention and outcomes for individuals with pathologies of the upper quarter across the lifespan. Applies patient-centered examination techniques, diagnostic testing, pharmacology and interventions for the movement system emphasizing education, manual therapy, and exercise while incorporating the social determinants of health. Lab included.
DPT 823 Musculoskeletal Management IV2
Integrates the clinical decision-making framework for management of individuals with complex musculoskeletal dysfunction across the lifespan that requires advanced differential diagnostic skills. Emphasizes patient centered care, diagnostic imaging, pharmacology, comprehensive case management, prevention management, risk reduction strategies, and the continuum of care. Integrates interventions of the movement system incorporating pain science, motor control and motor learning, technology, education and activity-based exercises while adjusting for social determinants of health. Lab included.
DPT 824 Neurological Management I3
Introduces the clinical decision-making framework of examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention and outcomes for individuals with neurologic health conditions, with emphasis on Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA) and Cerebral Palsy (CP). Relates neurophysiological, patho-kinesiological, neuroplasticity, relevance and recovery of movement system impairments to function and participation. Emphasizes application of patient-centered care, diagnostic imaging, pharmacology and movement system interventions that integrates motor control/motor learning, technology, education and activity-based exercises while adjusting for social determinants of health. Lab included.
DPT 825 Neurological Management II4
Continues the clinical decision-making framework for individuals with neurological health conditions, with emphasis on vestibular system dysfunction, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, CNS tumors, movement disorders and spectrum disorders. Formulates a patient-centered care plan that considers diagnostic imaging, pharmacology and movement system interventions. Integrates motor control/motor learning, technology, education and activity-based exercises while adjusting for social determinants of health. Lab included.
DPT 826 Neurological Management III3
Synthesizes advanced clinical decision making in the management of individuals with complex neurological health conditions, such as spinal cord injuries, progressive neuromuscular diseases and congenital and genetic neurological conditions across the lifespan. Emphasizes patient centered care, diagnostic imaging, pharmacology, comprehensive case management, prevention management, risk reduction strategies, and the continuum of care. Integrates movement system interventions with motor control/motor learning, technology, education and activity-based exercises while adjusting for social determinants of health. Lab included.
DPT 827 Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Management3
Applies the clinical decision-making framework of examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention and outcomes for individuals across the lifespan with cardiovascular and pulmonary causes of movement dysfunction. Emphasizes application of patient-centered care, diagnostic imaging, pharmacology and movement system interventions, comprehensive case management, prevention, risk reduction strategies and continuum of care. Lab included.
DPT 828 Integumentary, Endocrine, and Multiple Systems3
Applies the clinical decision-making framework of examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention and outcomes for individuals across the lifespan with integumentary, endocrine, lymphatic, oncological, autoimmune, metabolic and other multisystem conditions with movement dysfunctions. Emphasizes application of patient-centered care, diagnostic imaging, pharmacology, movement system interventions, comprehensive case management, prevention, risk reduction strategies and continuum of care. Lab included.
DPT 829 Movement Across the Lifespan3
Integrates the clinical decision-making framework using a movement system approach in the management of the pediatric and geriatric population not included in previous coursework. Focuses on changes in static and dynamic movements as a result of developmental and aging processes. Incorporates biopsychosocial considerations and social determinants of health in interprofessional comprehensive case management. Emphasizes application of family-centered care, diagnostic imaging, pharmacology, prevention, risk reduction strategies and continuum of care. Lab included.
DPT 843 Professional Formation IV1
Implements professional formation competencies with integration of faith and learning to lead and influence change within teams as students practice servant and transformational leadership. Assumes roles to advocate for reducing inequities and injustices in health systems and our societies. Emphasizes integrity, trustworthiness, social responsibility, social justice, and cultural sensitivity. Continues application of clinical role as evidenced by leading discussions in grand rounds and interprofessional education activities in preparation for intermediate clinical experience.
DPT 844 Professional Formation V2
Demonstrates advances in professional formation and cultural responsiveness while engaging with interprofessional colleagues within organizations, systems or communities in preparation to participate in fostering diversity, reducing inequities and injustices in health systems and our societies. Examines concepts of initiative, integrity, trustworthiness and other-centeredness with professional roles and responsibilities. Continues application of clinical role as evidenced by leading discussions in grand rounds, interprofessional education activities and teaching/advocacy roles and Integrated Clinical Experiences (ICE).
DPT 845 Professional Formation VI2
Creates opportunities to internalize professional formation that integrates leadership, professionalism, cultural responsiveness, spirituality and world views, and innovation to foster change for positive outcomes within organizations, communities and society. Distinguishes between cultural awareness, sensitivity and responsiveness to participate in correcting inequities and social injustices. Emphases an entrepreneurial spirit while assuming professional roles and responsibilities. Justifies ethical/legal decisions and actively engages in advocacy that demonstrates voice and assertive communication in personal and professional interactions. Continues to lead in grand rounds, interprofessional education activities and Integrated Clinical Experiences (ICE).
DPT 851 Research I1
Applies the scientific inquiry process to develop a research question, research design, proposal and IRB submission. Develops projects that might include systematic reviews, intervention, diagnostic, prognostic studies, or community-based projects and may use qualitative, quantitate, or mixed-methods design. This project fulfills a component of the Doctoral Capstone project.
DPT 852 Research II1
Implements the scientific inquiry process of a previously developed project through data collection and analysis. This project fulfills a component of the Doctoral Capstone project.
DPT 853 Research III1
Completes the scientific inquiry process of a previously developed project through comprehensive analysis, synthesis of findings and implications to practice. Disseminates findings via manuscript and presentations. This project fulfills a component of the Doctoral Capstone project.
DPT 860 Clinical Education I4
First of three full-time clinical education experiences. Students will integrate didactic content related to examination, evaluation, and intervention skills during an 8-week mentored clinical experience. Applies clinical decision-making framework to demonstrate clinical reasoning, practices communication and develops socialization skills to optimize health outcomes.
DPT 916 Movement System IV3
Integrates the clinical decision-making framework using the movement system approach in the management of individuals with primary and secondary system involvement and complex movement system dysfunctions across the lifespan. Incorporates interprofessional collaboration to address health and wellness needs as a primary care provider. Emphasizes application of patient/family-centered care, differential diagnosis, diagnostic imaging, pharmacology, comprehensive case management, emergency medical management, prevention, risk reduction. Lab included.
DPT 946 Professional Formation VII1
Embraces role as a servant leader with transformational leadership skills. Engages with the community to confirm social responsibility, social justice and global citizenship within education, practice, research, consultation and advocacy efforts. Fosters resilience through reflection while assuming responsibilities of their vocation.
DPT 961 Clinical Education II6
The first of two terminal clinical education experiences. Emphasizes on the development as a primary care movement system expert. Illustrates growth in formation commensurate with the expectations of the profession. This clinical experience is inclusive of mentorship across various roles of professional practice.
DPT 962 Clinical Education III6
The second of two terminal clinical education experiences that confirms entry-level performance as a primary care movement system expert. Affirms their multiple roles as a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Internalizes formation commensurate with the expectations of the profession. This clinical experience is inclusive of mentorship across various roles of professional practice.
DPT 970 Capstone Portfolio1
Produces evidence of achievement of expected graduate outcomes as a result of accumulated knowledge, skills and behaviors from previous didactic and clinical coursework. Presents written and oral defense to justify readiness to graduate into the professional community of scholars of physical therapists.
DPT 971 Elective1-2
Advances specialty practice topics with elective courses that vary annually to support future specialization interests of Doctor of Physical Therapy students.