Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program

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SPP_MBC_AH-1578_edit_webThe Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program will prepare the student as an entry-level physical therapist that can work in any practice setting upon graduation and licensure. Course content is offered through innovative teaching and learning that integrates current technologies in a new building designed specifically for health sciences education. The DPT program focuses on developing the important skills of critical thinking, and application of evidence-based practice, for optimizing patient outcomes within the context of compassionate care delivery. The Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences has an emphasis on interprofessional education, meaning students from various health professions will work collaboratively in class and lab settings.  Interprofessional activities extend to opportunities for service to the local and regional community. Our program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

The DPT is a post baccalaureate entry-level professional doctoral degree. Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree prior to matriculation into the program. Students will be required to complete a full-time curriculum (124 credits) over slightly more than three years (nine semesters).  The DPT student must successfully complete each didactic year prior to matriculation to the clinical education course that follows. Students will complete two shorter full-time clinical experiences during the program at the completion of the first and second years of didactic course work to help integrate course content into the clinical setting. Two longer clinical experiences of 14 and 16 weeks will be completed during the final year of the program leading to achievement of entry-level practice skills. Students will complete clinical experiences in outpatient orthopedics and in a setting treating medically ill and complex patients. There will be opportunities for specialty rotations such as pediatrics, sports medicine, manual therapy practice, neuro rehab, and aquatics. Successful completion of the terminal clinical practicum sequence and evidence of meeting the competencies for entry-level physical therapy practice must be met in order to graduate.

The DPT program includes content on the four primary areas of physical therapy practice:

  • Musculoskeletal — orthopedics for extremities and spine
  • Neuromuscular — neuro conditions such as stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury, and pediatric conditions
  • Cardiovascular and Pulmonary — acute and chronic conditions of heart and lung
  • Integumentary — acute and chronic conditions such as wound care, amputees, and burns


These content areas are met by both a combination of didactic and clinical components in the curriculum.

In addition, there are several important threads woven throughout the curriculum. Content focuses on practice across the lifespan from birth to the elderly in all practice areas noted above. Students will also have content that focuses on health and wellness with a focus on integrating medical wellness across the lifespan.

Program Goals:

The goals of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, in keeping with the mission of Mary Baldwin University and the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, are to:

  1. Provide the appropriate learning opportunities for students to acquire the theoretical knowledge, applicable skills, and attitudes necessary to function as an entry-level, post-baccalaureate physical therapist (DPT).
  2. Instill in students a commitment to the core values and ethics of the physical therapy profession.
  3. Model the integrative, interdisciplinary, and collaborative nature of the health care industry through interprofessional educational opportunities in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings.
  4. Provide a learning environment that fosters critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, reflection, personal and professional growth with a commitment to life-long learning for faculty and students.
  5. Provide opportunities for faculty and students to contribute positively to the health of the regional community through service, research, and clinical practice.
  6. Provide an environment that supports students in obtaining the knowledge and skills for understanding and applying current and emerging evidence to clinical practice, as well as participate in and utilize research to advance the scholarship of the profession.