The College of St. Scholastica offers two doctoral programs in Physical Therapy.
The Department of Physical Therapy offers these programs:
The Entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program at The College of St. Scholastica is accredited by the:
Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Applications are accepted only through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application System (PTCAS). Basic requirements include an earned Bachelor’s degree and completion of all prerequisite coursework prior to beginning the program. Prerequisite courses include a full year of Chemistry with laboratories, a full year of Anatomy and Physiology with laboratories, a full year of Physics, and a course in Statistics, Developmental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology and Medical Terminology. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores and academic transcripts from all institutions attended are also required.
Physical Therapy Courses
Second in a four-course series focusing on the program's requirement of professional behaviors development as an essential component of academic and clinical success. Using multidimensional assessment and evaluation, students will demonstrate sufficient integration and application of professional knowledge and behavioral skills for progression to the first full-time clinical internship.
First in a two-course series focusing on the profession of and professionalism in physical therapy. Socialization into the profession is examined from program, state, and national perspectives. Development of professional responsibility, ethical practice, interprofessional competency, and cultural fluency are introduced
Second in a two-course series focusing on the profession of and professionalism in physical therapy. Development of skills related to the physical therapist’s role as an educator and communicator are the primary foci of this course. In the role of the educator, techniques and strategies related to the education of patients, healthcare providers, and community members will be presented, discussed, and practiced. In the communication realm, content includes strategies for forming a therapeutic alliance, determining a patient/client’s readiness for change, and motivating behavior change. Introduction to written communication in the form of clinical documentation is also incorporated within this course.
First of a three-course series related to the administration and management of physical therapy services. The major forms of health care delivery and reimbursement models are investigated. Billing for physical therapy interventions is covered and the interaction of ethical and legal issues is addressed.
Teaches physical therapy graduate students how to apply the principles of Evidence-Based Practice. Students will develop clinical questions using the PICO framework, locate appropriate literature, and interpret articles about diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention in physical therapy. Topics include PICO questions, literature searches, critically appraised topics (CATS), levels of evidence, study design, psychometric properties of tests, predictive statistics, parametric and non-parametric statistics, internal and external validity, Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis.
Students work in small groups to advance their knowledge of scholarly research methods and critical review under the guidance of a faculty advisor in an area of the faculty's expertise. Students participate in a scientific poster presentation and compile a final research review paper.
Provides foundational knowledge for understanding normal human movement. Emphasis is on biomechanics, joint structure and function, and muscle activity in the human body. The interaction between joints and movement during common activities of daily living is examined.
An advanced, regional, musculoskeletal anatomy course that emphasizes the study of functional relationships among musculature, nervous tissue, vascular, and skeletal components for the extremities and axial skeleton. Cadaver dissection laboratory experience is used to enhance understanding of three-dimensional anatomical relationships for specific body regions.
Studies the anatomy and physiology of the adult nervous system. Sensation, perception, cognition, and motor control are examined. Application includes analysis of normal functions as well as the effects of pathological lesions affecting the nervous system.
Theories of motor development across the lifespan are presented in the context of physical therapy practice. Emphasis is on normal age related changes from infancy and childhood through mature adulthood and late life.
Introduces students to physical therapy differential diagnosis and screening for referral principles. Discusses physical therapy treatment implications considering systemic medical pathology, medical management, pharmacology, pain, and laboratory testing in various settings using simple to complex patient cases.
First of a two-course sequence focuses on the acquisition of fundamental examination skills in physical therapy practice. Students are introduced to the patient/client management model and learn how to perform a subjective examination and basic objective tests and measures for the musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiopulmonary, and integumentary systems. Clinical reasoning is introduced related to the diagnostic process and identification of referral situations.
Second course in the sequence of acquiring fundamental examination, evaluation and clinical reasoning skills. Patients/ clients with multi-system dysfunction are addressed. Environment, home, and work (job/ school/ play) assessments are incorporated into clinical reasoning.
First in a two-course series designed to develop skilled application of interventions in the physical therapy management of patients. Students will learn proper patient positioning, draping, and body mechanics principles; the theory and application of soft tissue mobilization techniques and select biophysical agents; and basic functional mobility intervention skills. The integration of current evidence, clinical decision-making, and individual patient characteristics into intervention selection, instruction, and progression is emphasized.
Second course in the sequence designed to develop skilled application of exercise in the physical therapy management of patients. Students develop competency in application of evaluation, diagnostic, and prognostic information in to developing a plan of care that includes prescribing exercises, monitoring patient's response and program progression.
A comprehensive study of the interrelated effects of exercise, injury, and healing processes on normal and pathological tissues. Included are discussions about inflammation, pain, edema, and acute and chronic exercise. Tissue dynamics of the cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and integumentary systems as they relate to physical therapy are emphasized.
Focuses on the promotion of healthy behaviors to prevent or delay the onset of preventable chronic disease through proper nutrition, appropriate fitness programs, behavior change, motivational interviewing, and risk reduction. Students will design programs addressing primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention while identifying social disparities and addressing issues that are unique to specific populations.
Topics in Physical Therapy.
Designed to prepare students for their first clinical internship experience. Included are the roles of the clinical and academic internship team members, professional communications specific to internships, and strategies for maximizing the internship experience. Procedures, requirements and assignments for pre-internship and internship processes are presented.
The first in a series designed to develop foundational clinical reasoning skills required for patient care. Students will advance clinical examination and intervention skills by applying foundational knowledge to patient case scenarios. Faculty mentorship, small group discussion, and a problem-based approach are incorporated to facilitate learning. Multiple practice settings and a wide variety of potential diagnoses encountered across the lifespan will be represented.
Independent Study in Physical Therapy.
Final course in a four-part series addressing professional behaviors and values, which are program requirements. Students complete the professional behavior portfolio to display attainment of desired professional behaviors and skills needed for readiness in clinical settings and necessary for success in the physical therapy profession. Self-reflection, self-analysis, and collective faculty evaluation provide mechanisms for continued professional development while enrolled in the program.
Second of a two course series related to administering and managing physical therapy services. Students will investigate topics related to organizational design, human resource management, strategic planning, marketing, and advocacy for patients/clients and the profession; and will advance application of outcomes assessment, risk management, and application of legal and ethical issues related to service provision.
Advances application of evidence based practice in physical therapy and related disciplines. Focus is on furthering and applying knowledge of statistics and research methodology in the areas of intervention, diagnostic accuracy, systematic reviews and outcome measures. Introduction of the use of clinical prediction rules and clinical practice guidelines will be implemented.
Culminates in the application of Evidence-Based Practice skills to a clinical scenario. Students will integrate information from the previous two courses in the series to develop a clinical guideline for a case-based problem as would be seen in practice. Students will also learn about ethical guidelines when conducting research and the norms for properly citing rehabilitation literature.
Design research that will assist answering basic or applied research questions. Focus will be on research design and preparation for the final research project in Professional Project II. Students are led by an expert faculty member in a designated research area.
Critical review and interpretation of peer-reviewed literature in a focused topic area directed by a Physical Therapy faculty member. May also include the practical application of research methods for answering a question developed under faculty guidance.
Second of a two course series focuses on the medical management of various musculoskeletal and neurologic diseases and conditions along with the implications for physical therapy management of those patients/clients. Medical management of pediatric diagnoses is covered relative to physical therapy and lifespan implications.
Application of advanced physical therapy evaluation and interventions to patients/clients whose primary impairment or movement-limiting dysfunction is musculoskeletal in origin. Focus is on development of manual therapy techniques. Evidence-based practice and clinical decision-making are incorporated as they relate to developing, monitoring and progression of a patient's plan of care.
Focuses on management of patients whose primary impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions are due to multi-system involvement. Development of a comprehensive plan of care and application of interventions for complex patients is emphasized.
A comprehensive study of the integration of physiologic theories and principles with neuromuscular rehabilitation. Current theories relating to the control of normal and impaired movement are investigated and used to provide a framework for evaluation of and intervention for individuals with disability resulting from neurologic injury or disease.
Advances the study and application of patient/client management theories and skills for patients with neuromuscular system involvement. Emphasis is on evaluation and management of individuals in the areas of gait disturbance, vestibular dysfunction, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury.
Apply and integrate physical therapy examination and intervention skills for individuals whose head/face or spine/pelvis condition is primarily musculoskeletal in origin. Focus is on developing evidence informed clinical reasoning for comprehensive patient care from acute onset to return to activity and participation.
A comprehensive study of the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. The patient/client management model is applied to dysfunctions specifically involving these systems across the life span and the continuum of care. Managing critically ill patients in the intensive care unit and principles of primary and secondary prevention are discussed.
Focuses on the physical therapist’s assessment and management of patients with various forms of integumentary injury. Includes discussion of differential diagnosis, as well as medical and therapeutic interventions to manage underlying conditions related to integumentary system impairments.
Entry-level approach to providing physical therapy services to pediatric patients/clients in a variety of settings. The patient/client management model is applied to multiple pediatric diagnoses and conditions. Abnormal development, therapeutic play, and behavior management are covered as essential components of pediatric physical therapy. Ethical, legal, and legislative issues affecting this population are addressed.
Entry-level approach to geriatric patients/clients in a variety of settings. Application of the patient/client management model is specific to this population. Legal, legislative, and ethical issues pertinent to geriatric patients/clients are discussed.
Analyzes the impact of a number of psychosocial factors that affect patient-practitioner relationships. Topics include communication, cultural and ethnic issues affecting interactions, perspectives on health/wellness, response to impairments and disabilities, sexuality, substance abuse, violence to self and others, and spirituality. Through in class activities and assignments, students will be able to express their viewpoints and relate how these topics affect their professional development.
Examines diagnostic imaging principles and various techniques. Emphasis on a systematic approach to identify normal and pathological anatomy. Evidence informed clinical reasoning to guide imaging selection, utilization, referral/consultation, and patient/healthcare provider interactions.
Analysis of common classes of pharmacological agents, and their potential effects on a physical therapy assessment and plan of care. Basic principles of pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, and drug receptor function are covered for medications frequently encountered by Physical Therapists; including anti-inflammatory agents, and medications used to treat cardiac, pulmonary, musculoskeletal, endocrine and neurological system dysfunction.
Compares and contrasts benefits and limitations of various medical imaging techniques including X-Ray, CT Scan, MRI, and emerging field of rehabilitative ultrasound imaging. Criteria for and the PT’s role in imaging referral and basic imaging assessment are covered. The role of the PT and imaging in APTA’s Vision Statement for the Physical therapy Profession is discussed.
Focuses on how physical therapists function in the larger context of a health care system, and within society. Characteristics of health care systems (structure, finance, ethics, etc.) are studied with emphasis on how these impact access to and performance of physical therapy practice. The roles of the physical therapist in individual and societal health promotion, wellness, and disease prevention are highlighted. Responsibilities for advocacy and professional engagement are stressed.
Applies concepts of evidence-based practice including basic concepts of research, statistics, and critical analysis of literature in a topic of interest to the learner.
Topics in Physical Therapy.
Application of the patient/client management model. Students synthesize information from previous and concurrent course work to develop a plan of care for a patient/client with single or multiple system involvement with faculty guidance. Students participate in self and peer review processes. The course provides opportunities for hands-on examination, evaluation, and intervention with patients in a clinical setting.
Continued application of the patient/client management model. Integrated clinical experiences with pro bono service promote development of professional behaviors and clinical decision making. Integration of all coursework is demonstrated through the creation and progression of plans of care. Further development of interprofessional competency, clinical teaching, self and peer assessment skills is emphasized.
Focuses on screening processes and clinical reasoning skills in patient/client management. Emphasis is on the differential screening processes for physical therapy and indications for referral. Prior completion of courses with Pharmacology and Diagnostic Imaging content are recommended, although not required.
Demonstration of physical therapy skills, knowledge, and behaviors/interactions with patient/clients, peers, and other professionals through development of a portfolio and a cumulative project in addition to participation in group discussions pertinent to professional development and project completion.
Provides a full-time opportunity to apply professional skills, knowledge, behavior, and theory in a clinical setting. Under the direct supervision of a clinical instructor, the student applies the elements of patient/client management in a physical therapy practice. Development of professional behavior continues as students interact daily with patients/clients, physical therapists, and other members of the health care team.
Provides further development, manipulation, and utilization of knowledge and skills, and for continued professionalization. This internship may occur in a variety of settings with students required to complete an inpatient, outpatient and rural setting internship within the program. By the end of this internship the student is expected, under the direct supervision of a clinical instructor, to be demonstrating entry level skill for most areas of patient management within the assigned setting.
Gain increased experience and depth of understanding for application and integration of skills, knowledge, and professional behaviors during a final ten week, full-time clinical internship in the program. The internship is the culmination of the entry-level clinical requirements and represents integration of all previous coursework.
Focuses on the acquisition and application of fundamental examination, differential screening and consultation applications in physical therapy practice for the physical therapist trained outside of the United States. Students apply their knowledge of tests and measures for the musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiopulmonary, and integumentary systems.
Introduces the management and assessment of clients with integumentary disorders. Factors affecting wound repair will be presented. Tests and measures to assess skin integrity and tools for managing skin disorders will be discussed. Students will be expected to demonstrate lab wound debridement and compression skills
Culminating course requiring application of all skills learned in the program. Main outcome is in-depth patient case study that is presented in both written and oral formats.