Doctor of Physical Therapy
Format: In person on the Armstrong Campus in Savannah
Credit Hours: 134
Entry Terms: Summer
The Physical Therapy program at Georgia Southern University is a full-time doctoral program offered on the Armstrong Campus in Savannah, Georgia. There are 36 students admitted to each class. The program consists of nine semesters of academic coursework, including three full-time clinical affiliations (with a minimum of 32 weeks of full-time clinical practice) and several additional clinical experiences.
Upon completion of the program, all students are awarded a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. All program graduates are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination and apply for state licensure in all jurisdictions.
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The professional curriculum consists of two phases: “systems” and “life span”. Courses introduced during the first year use a systems approach with cases in musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, neuromuscular and integumentary physical therapy. As closely as possible, courses are coordinated so that students are instructed in the anatomy, pathology and diagnosis related to specific joints or systems of the body at the same time.
During the third semester, students are given the opportunity to practice and integrate their professional skills in a simulated clinic course, case management. (Use of this experiential learning technique has been presented at international meetings.) Following the completion of the first year, students have an 8-week full-time clinical experience, allowing them to further solidify and integrate the classroom material in a clinical setting.
During the second year and early third year of study, students explore practice topics in greater depth within the context of a life span approach, covering content from diseases of children to impairments associated with aging. These advanced courses are followed by two final full-time 11-week clinical experiences, with a return to campus for final coursework at the end of the program.
The curriculum is further integrated by team teaching, a feature of several of the courses. Besides providing linkages between courses, this enables the faculty to serve as role models for the advantages associated with working together as a team.
Program of Study
|YEAR 1, SUMMER|
|PHTH 7101: Functional Anatomy of the Cardiopulmonary System||5|
|PHTH 7111: Introduction to Pathophysiology I||2|
|PHTH 7131: Basic Cardiopulmonary Patient Care||6|
|PHTH 7161: Physical Therapy Practice Issues I||1|
|PHTH 7181: Clinical Practicum I||1|
|YEAR 1, FALL|
|PHTH 7202: Functional Anatomy of Axial and Appendicular Regions||6|
|PHTH 7212: Introduction to Pathophysiology II||2|
|PHTH 7232: Basic Orthopedic Patient Care||4|
|PHTH 7232L: Basic Orthopedic Patient Care Lab||4|
|PHTH 7262: Evidence-based Practice 1||1|
|PHTH 7282: Clinical Practicum II||1|
|YEAR 1, SPRING|
|PHTH 7303: Functional Anatomy of the Nervous System||4|
|PHTH 7313: Intro Pathophysiology 3||2|
|PHTH 7333: Basic Neurologic and Integumentary Patient Care||8|
|PHTH 7363: Evidence-based Practice 2||1|
|PHTH 7383: Clinical Practicum III||1|
|PHTH 7390: Phys Ther Case Management||3|
|YEAR 2, SUMMER|
|PHTH 8400: Evidence-based Practice 3||2|
|PHTH 8481: Supervised Clinical Educ 1||8|
|PHTH 8491: Patient Care Synthesis 1||2|
|YEAR 2, FALL|
|PHTH 8501: Clinical Medicine I||3|
|PHTH 8531: Advanced Patient Care 1: Geriatrics||8|
|PHTH 8561: Implmt Life Concpts Phy Ther 1||2|
|PHTH 9551: Therapeutic Exercise 1||1|
|PHTH 9001: Special Topics in Physical Therapy||1|
|YEAR 2, SPRING|
|PHTH 8602: Clinical Medicine II||3|
|PHTH 8632: Advanced Patient Care 2: Adults||8|
|PHTH 8662: Implemt of Lifespan Concepts 2||2|
|PHTH 9562: Therapeutic Exercise 2||1|
|PHTH 9001: Special Topics in Physical Therapy||1|
|YEAR 3, SUMMER|
|PHTH 9703: Clinical Medicine III||3|
|PHTH 9733: Advanced Patient Care 3: Pediatrics||6|
|PHTH 9763: Life span Concepts III||2|
|PHTH 9500: Leadership & Management in Physical Therapy 1||2|
|YEAR 3, FALL|
|PHTH 9804: Clinical Medicine IV||1|
|PHTH 9834: Advanced Patient Care 4: Complex Patients||2|
|PHTH 9882: Supervised Clinical Education II||10|
|YEAR 3, SPRING|
|PHTH 9501: Leadership and Management in Physical Therapy 2||1|
|PHTH 9983: Supervised Clinical Education III||10|
|PHTH 9992: Patient Care Synthesis 2||3|
All potential and enrolled students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program must meet intellectual, physical, and social competencies in order to provide safe patient care and successfully complete the program.
|SKILL||STANDARD||EXAMPLE OF ACTIVITIES|
|Critical Thinking||Critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgment.||Transfer knowledge from one situation to another. Process information, evaluate outcomes, problem-solve, and prioritize.
Use long and short-term memory, identify cause-effect relationships.
Plan activities for others.
Synthesize knowledge and skills.
|Analytical Thinking||Ability to process information, evaluate outcomes, and problem solve.||Transfer knowledge from one situation to another. Prioritize tasks.
Use long and short-term memory
|Reading||Ability to read and understand written documents.||Reading policies and protocols.
|Arithmetic Competence||Measuring, counting, computing.||Reading and understanding charts, digital displays, graphs.
Measure time, count rates, use measuring tools.
|Interpersonal||Interpersonal skills sufficient to interact with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds.||Negotiate interpersonal conflict. Respect cultural diversity in patients. Establish rapport with patients and co-workers.
|Communication||Communication abilities sufficient for interaction with others in verbal and written form as measured by the Doctor of Physical Therapy program professional behavior evaluation, CPI, and course instructors.||Explain health conditions, diagnostic and treatment procedures and initiate health teaching.
Interpret and document patient responses to health status.
Convey information through written and oral reports.
Interact with others (patients, family members, health care workers) in person, on the phone, and in writing.
|Physical Endurance||Physical abilities sufficient to stand for multiple hours, sustain repeated movements, and maintain physical tolerance for entire work shift.||Standing multiple hours at a patient’s side during examination or therapy session|
|Physical Strength||Physical abilities sufficient to lift, support, and move heavy objects.||Exert 100 lbs. of force occasionally, 50 lbs. frequently, and 25 lbs. of force regularly. Support 25 lbs. of weight (e.g., ambulate patient). Lift 25 lbs. of weight (e.g., transfer patient). Move light and heavy objects.
Defend self against combative patient.
|Mobility||Physical abilities sufficient to move from room to room, maneuver in small spaces, and maintain physical tolerance for repetitive movements and demands of the work shift. Sustained standing.||Move within confined spaces.
Sit or stand and maintain balance.
Reach above shoulders and below waist.
Twist, bend, stoop, or climb on stool or stairs, and move quickly in response to potential emergencies. Use upper and lower body strength.
Squeeze with hands and fingers.
|Motor Skills||Gross and fine motor skills sufficient to provide safe and effective examination and treatment of patients and complete documentation.||Grasp, pick up objects with hands.
Manipulate small objects with hands/fingers. Write with pen/pencil.
Sit and maintain balance. Maintain balance in a variety of postures.
Reach above shoulders, reach below waist.
Walk with and observe patient on a variety of surfaces and heights.
Reach, manipulate, and operate mechanisms such as lifts, treatment tables.
Self-mobility with capability of propelling wheelchairs, stretchers, heavy equipment for extended periods of time.
Type on computer keyboard.
|Hearing||Auditory ability sufficient to monitor and assess health needs.||Hear normal and faint voices.
Hear faint body sounds such as blood pressure, heart beat, etc.
Ability to receive spoken communication when not able to read lips.
Hear auditory alarms such as monitors, fire alarms, and call bells.
|Visual Skills||Visual ability sufficient for observation and assessment necessary for safe patient care.||Visualize objects from 20 inches to 20 feet away. Use depth perception and peripheral vision. Distinguish colors and color intensity.
Read and understand written documents.
|Tactile||Tactile ability sufficient for physical assessment and equipment manipulation.||Feel vibrations to detect pulses, etc.
Feel differences in sizes and shapes and detect surface characteristics.
|Smell||Detect environmental and patient odors.||Detect odors from patient (e.g. foul smelling drainage, alcohol on breath, etc.).
Detect gases or noxious smells.
|Emotional Stability||Emotional stability sufficient to tolerate rapidly changing conditions and environmental stress.||Establish appropriate therapeutic interpersonal boundaries.
Provide patients with emotional support. Adapt to changing environment and stress. Deal with the unexpected.
Focus attention on task.
Monitor own emotions.
Perform multiple tasks concurrently.
Handle strong emotions.
Clinical Education and Resources
Clinical education experiences are designed to maximize the student’s abilities to apply newly acquired patient/client/client management skills in clinical settings. The educational institution depends upon the clinical sites to provide carefully supervised learning experiences through which the student has the opportunity to apply the principles learned in the classroom. The clinical site is also a highly conducive environment in which to develop professional attitudes, values, and ethics; seek practitioner role models; and to observe and participate in administrative, managerial, and clinical research spheres. The problem-solving approach should form the basis of these experiences.
The student, with the clinical instructor as guide, should have the opportunity to gather all relevant information about the patient/client through examination; make clinical judgments from the information gathered; organize these judgments into a physical therapy diagnosis; establish a prognosis and goals through this process; and plan an appropriate program of intervention to attain these goals. Inherent in this approach is concern for the individual student’s needs. The clinical instructor should evaluate the student and communicate recognized strengths and weaknesses, as the student strives for excellence in performance as a physical therapist.
The professional curriculum shall prepare the student to meet the following goals:
- To develop safe, logical, and effective patient/client management skills in a variety of health care settings.
- To develop effective skills for clinical teaching and lifelong learning.
- To develop a strong sense of professional values which fosters an ethical approach to the practice of physical therapy.
Students are responsible for costs of transportation, housing, meals, uniforms and other expenses associated with each clinical education experience.
For more information regarding the clinical education component of the curriculum, please refer to the Student Handbook.
Meet Our Current Students
|Employed as physical therapists within one year of licensure||100%||100%||100%|
|Licensure Examination Pass Rate||100% passed the NPTE (93% on first attempt)||98% passed the NPTE (90% on the first attempt)||99% passed the NPTE (92% on first attempt)|
The DPT Program includes nine semesters of academic course work with three full-time clinical affiliations (totaling at least thirty weeks of full-time clinical practice), and numerous additional clinical experiences. Upon completion of the program, students are awarded the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. The bachelor’s degree is required for admission to the Physical Therapy program. Admission is limited to 36 students per class.
All applicants applying to the DPT Program at Georgia Southern University are required to complete an online suite of assessments, Altus Suite, to assist with our selection process for the 2023-2024 Application Cycle.
How to Complete Altus Suite
In order to take Altus Suite, you will be responsible for securing access to a laptop or desktop computer with webcam and audio capabilities. You will require the following for both account creation and completing Altus Suite:
- Government-issued photo ID
- Valid email address (the same one you will use to submit your application)
- Working webcam
- Working microphone
- Reliable high-speed internet connection
- Please go to www.TakeAltus.com to sign up for Altus Suite for Physical Therapy (CSP-10101 – U.S. Professional Health Sciences), under your specific country, and register for a test date.
- Select a Casper test date. You will be provided with a limited number of testing dates and times. Please note that these are the only testing dates available for your Casper test. There will be no additional tests scheduled. Please use an email address that you check regularly and that you have used for your application; there may be updates to the test schedule.
- Important: To account for identity verification and payment processing timeline, ensure that you register for your test at least 3 days before your preferred test date and time. Last-minute bookings are not recommended.
- Ensure you have selected Georgia Southern University DPT Program for distribution before the posted Distribution Deadline. Likely, there will be no additional tests scheduled, but the most up to date information can be found by browsing the Test Dates and Times on TakeAltus.com.
- Please direct any inquiries on Altus Suite to email@example.com. Alternatively, you may use the chat bubble in the bottom right hand corner of your screen on the takeAltus.com website.
Accommodations: If you require testing accommodations for Altus Suite you will need to submit the Accommodations Request Form signed by you and your qualified professional 3 weeks in advance of your desired test date. View additional information regarding accommodations.
More about Altus Suite
Altus Suite consists of a two-part online assessment of non-cognitive skills, interpersonal characteristics, and personal values and priorities that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program. Altus Suite will complement the other tools that we use for applicant screening. In implementing Altus Suite, we are trying to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process.
Altus Suite consists of:
- Casper: a 60-90 minute online situational judgment test (SJT)
The Casper test comprises 12 sections of video and written scenarios. Following each scenario, you will be required to answer a set of probing questions under a time contract. The test typically takes between 75-90 minutes to complete. Each response is graded by a different rater, giving a very robust and reliable view of personal and professional characteristics important to our program. No studying is required for Casper, although you may want to familiarize yourself with the test structure at TakeAltus.com, and ensure you have a quiet environment to take the test. We strongly urge you to take advantage of the 12-section practice test, which will not only immerse you in the test environment, but will also ensure you meet the technical requirements to access and complete the test.
Casper test results are valid for one admissions cycle. Applicants who have already taken the test in previous years will therefore be expected to re-take it.
For a more detailed look at the Casper test, please see this video.
Program Tuition and Fees
Current tuition and fee charts can be found on the Georgia Southern University Bursar’s website. When reviewing tuition, click on a specific semester, then choose Armstrong Campus/Graduate Student to view the tuition rate for 12+ credit hours. The DPT Program consists of 9 full-time semesters that are all 12+ credit hours. The total amount for in-state and out-of-state students can be used to estimate the projected total cost of the program for nine semesters. Please note that tuition and fee rates are approved by the University System of Georgia and are subject to change.
For information about financial aid and scholarships, please visit Financial Aid.
Information sessions will be led by DPT program faculty and include an overview of the program and the admissions process. Information sessions will be held on the following days:
- August 14, 2023 at noon
If you are interested in attending one of the above sessions, please register at the link below. All in-person information sessions will be held on the Armstrong Campus. Once registered, you will receive a parking pass for in person sessions or a link for virtual sessions the week before the session.
Faculty and Advisory Board
Currently the program consists of 11 full-time faculty and several adjunct faculty members. All are licensed to practice within the state of Georgia.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Georgia Southern University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: https://www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 912-344-2580 or email email@example.com.
Please contact the program office with any questions about admissions:
Those outside the DPT program who wish to report a concern or complaint or DPT students who wish to address concerns that are not addressed in the Georgia Southern University Student Handbook should reach out to the Department of Clinical Sciences Chair, Laurie Adams, Ed.D., at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those who wish to register a complaint about the program may contact the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Avenue, Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305; telephone: 800-999-2782; email: email@example.com; website: https://www.capteonline.org.
Professional License Disclosure
The Department of Clinical Sciences anticipates that graduates of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program will seek individual state licensure from the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.
The Department of Clinical Sciences has determined that the required classes and educational activities of this academic program will qualify a graduate of this program to take the exam for a physical therapy license in the 50 U.S. states, District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories: American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands.
For required disclosures on whether this program satisfies the license requirements of all states and territories for Physical Therapy license, go to www.fsbpt.org to check the requirements of your state or territory.
Last updated: 6/28/2023