Physical Therapy

[1] Mission

The mission of the UCA Department of Physical Therapy is to develop outstanding physical therapy professionals who are practicing autonomously in the global clinical and research communities and to model excellence in education, research, and service.

[2] Professional Degree: Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

[2.1] Program Admission Requirements

Applications to the Professional DPT Program must be submitted using the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PT-CAS) at www.ptcas.org.

In addition to meeting the general requirements of the Graduate School, the applicant must complete a supplemental application and a graduate application.

All applicants to the Professional DPT Program must submit the following:

  1. Evidence of a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 on a scale of 4.00 and a science GPA of 3.00 on a scale of 4.00 for all biology, chemistry, and physics course work.
  2. A score report for the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).
  3. Documentation of 45 hours of PT observations at three different clinical settings (10-20 hours per facility).
  4. Any required application fee (if a fee is required, that information will be provided in the on-line application packet available at www.uca.edu/pt).
  5. Evidence of completion of the following courses or their equivalents:
    Area/CourseSCH
    General Psychology (PSYC 1300) and a Psychology elective
    6
    Chemistry (CHEM 1402 and 2450 or 1450 and 1451; other courses such as CHEM 2401 and 3411 are available by approval)
    8
    Physics (PHYS 1410 and 1420; Physical Science not accepted)
    8
    Biology, including the following: 4 hours of Biology 1440 or equivalent, at least 8 hours of Human Anatomy and Physiology, 3 hours of upper division, animal-based biology
    15
    Statistics (PSYC 2330, MATH 2311, SOC 2321, QMTH 2330)
    3
    Medical Terminology (H SC 3123)
    1
    TOTAL HOURS REQUIRED
    48
  6. Documentation of completion of 22 of the 31 hours of science course work prior to the application deadline.

In addition, students accepted to the DPT program must submit two official transcripts from every college attended, including a transcript showing an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, to the UCA Graduate School. The degree must be awarded by the August enrollment date. (Students pursuing a baccalaureate degree at UCA may want to consider the BS in Health Sciences with a physical therapy emphasis.)

Students enrolled in the DPT program must perform certain essential functions in order to participate in and complete program requirements. A list of these essential functions and the departmental policy is available at www.uca.edu/pt.

All prospective students should review the document “Essential Functions of the Student in the DPT Program” and the departmental policy prior to applying for admission to the DPT Program.

[2.2] Options for Admission

The professional curriculum in physical therapy has enrollment limitations, and entry is by specific application and competitive admission. Two options exist for application to the professional DPT program.

[2.2.1] Freshman Admission

Application Deadline: Selection of this option should be confirmed with the pre-PT advisor by October 15 of the freshman year.

Students who begin study at UCA as a freshman and score at least a 30 on the ACT (from high school) or 1320 on SAT (verbal and math) will be accepted into the Professional DPT program. Specific performance standards must be met in order to maintain the position in the program. Actual enrollment into the professional program will occur after completion of the baccalaureate degree.

To maintain freshman admission:

  • Take all coursework at UCA;
  • Complete the GRE by DPT application deadline (Oct. 1);
  • Attend three Pre-PT Club meetings each year (12 total in 4 years);
  • Maintain a 3.70 cumulative GPA and a 3.50 science GPA for all undergraduate work;
  • Complete 45 hours of observation at three different physical therapy clinics/facilities by application deadline;
  • Be enrolled in 22nd hour of 31 required science hours in fall semester prior to the year of enrollment in the DPT program;
  • Complete the baccalaureate degree and all required prerequisites by August of the year of enrollment in the DPT program;

No interview is required of applicants entering the program under Freshman Admission. Contact the UCA Pre-Physical Therapy Advisor for more details regarding Freshman Admission.

[2.2.3] Regular Admission

Application Deadline: October 1, each year

Those applicants not using the Freshman Admission must complete an application for Regular Admission. The deadline for Regular Admission is October 1 of the year prior to planned enrollment. Applications to the Professional DPT Program must be submitted using the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PT-CAS) at www.ptcas.org.

In addition to meeting the general requirements of UCA’s Graduate School, the applicant must complete the application using the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (www.ptcas.org) and a supplemental application (available on line at uca.edu/pt/).

To be eligible for Regular Admission, by the application deadline, the applicant must:

  • Possess a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.0 based on a 4.0 scale;
  • Possess a science GPA of at least 3.00 for all biology, chemistry, and physics course work;
  • Have received a score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE);
  • Have completed a minimum of 22 hours of the 31 required hours of science prerequisites by the DPT application deadline;
  • Have completed 45 hours of PT observation at 3 different clinical settings (10-20 hours per facility) by the application deadline.

All applications of candidates who meet qualifications for Regular Admission are reviewed by the DPT Admission Committee composed of physical therapy faculty, other departmental faculty, the Graduate Dean, and the Registrar. Applicants are ranked using a composite score derived from the cumulative grade point average (CGPA), the science grade point average (SGPA), points on extra science course work above the first year level, and scores on the GRE. Of the criteria, the SGPA is weighted most heavily. The top applicants are invited to a mandatory interview scheduled for early November. The DPT Admission Committee Chair will inform invited applicants of their interview time. The interview is used to assess such factors as the ability to present oneself professionally, to use verbal and non-verbal communication appropriately, to express knowledge about the profession of physical therapy, to function within the group for the interview, and to express ideas quickly and succinctly.

Applicants accepted for admission are notified of acceptance in late November. A ranked alternate list is also prepared. Individuals may be chosen from this list to replace applicants who decline their appointment at any time, up to the date of August 1. Ranking as an alternate is indicative of the Committee’s high opinion of a candidate’s potential, but does not assure placement in the class or in any future class. If class positions are not filled in the first application process, applications will be received until all class positions are filled or until August 1.

Students who do not meet the stated criteria for admission may appeal to the DPT Admission Committee. Requests for exceptions to the prerequisite course work and policies must be submitted to the DPT Admission Committee by the application deadline. Failure to be admitted does not prevent reapplying for a later year.

Grade Point Averages for recent course work (30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours): The GPA for recent course work may be considered by the DPT Admission Committee as a substitute for the cumulative GPA for admission purposes only. The substitution may be made if the GPA for the last 30 semester hours (45 quarter hour equivalent) is at least 10% higher than the cumulative GPA and includes 15 hours of appropriate science course work. A minimal 3.00 cumulative GPA requirement and a minimal 3.00 science GPA requirement must be met prior to utilizing this option. No more than 8 hours of the science course work may be repeated course work. The total hours for the recent college GPA are obtained by beginning with the last semester or quarter of course work and moving backwards chronologically on the transcript(s) until 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hour equivalents are obtained. All courses are included. No more than one-fourth of the non-science course work included in the recent course work GPA may be repeated course work. All other requirements still apply.

[2.3] Tuition and Fees

In addition to the general registration and other mandatory fees established by the university, a Health Sciences Fee of $14.00 per semester hour and a $5.00 per semester hour lab fee are required for physical therapy course work. Information on general registration and other mandatory fees is available from the Office of Student Accounts. No departmental fee is required during the full-time clinical work. Textbooks cost approximately $2,200 for the DPT curriculum, and other required fees total approximately $200. Fees are subject to change at any time.

[2.4] Simultaneous Admission to Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Program

Students who are admitted to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program may be eligible for simultaneous admission to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in physical therapy. Admission to the PhD program requires a separate application process. Simultaneous enrollment in the DPT and PhD programs will allow students wishing to pursue the PhD to get a head start on the doctoral research and will provide an opportunity to complete the PhD degree in less time than if the two degrees were completed sequentially. See section 2.7 for details on which PhD courses will be integrated into the DPT curriculum.

[2.5] Accreditation Status

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (professional degree) is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the APTA. Contact information for CAPTE is

1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

e-mail: accreditation@apta.org
phone: (800) 999-2782 or (703) 706-3245

[2.6] Professional Curriculum (123 hours)

CourseCourse Title
PTHY 5403Human Physiology
PTHY 5505Gross Anatomy
PTHY 6104Physical Therapy Research I
PTHY 6204Physical Therapy Research II
PTHY 6250Pharmacology in Physical Therapy
PTHY 6303Patient Management and Documentation
PTHY 6307Professional Development I
PTHY 6314Neurophysiological Principles of Motor Control
PTHY 6401Kinesiology I
PTHY 6402Kinesiology II
PTHY 6403Pathology
PTHY 6404Clinical Foundations in Physical Therapy Practice
PTHY 6405Therapeutic Exercise
PTHY 6424Clinical Administration and Management
PTHY 6501Neuroscience
PTHY 7103Outcomes Assessment in Physical Therapy
PTHY 7104Physical Therapy Research III
PTHY 7106Educational Roles in Physical Therapy
PTHY 7204Physical Therapy Research IV
PTHY 7209Complex Patient Management in Physical Therapy
PTHY 7210Integumentary System: Principles and Practice
PTHY 7228-7528Clinical Education Practicum in Physical Therapy ***
PTHY 7307Professional Development II
PTHY 7403Physical Agents
PTHY 7404Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy I
PTHY 7405Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy II
PTHY 7406Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy III
PTHY 7409Clinical Reasoning and Differential Diagnosis
PTHY 7411Physical Rehabilitation
PTHY 7515Neurological Rehabilitation in Pediatrics
PTHY 7516Adult Neurological Rehabilitation
PTHY 7520Cardiopulmonary Principles and Practice
PTHY 7529Clinical Education IV
PTHY 7530Clinical Education V

[2.7] Curriculum Substitutions for DPT/Ph.D. Students

For students simultaneously enrolled in DPT and Ph.D. programs, the following substitutions in the DPT curriculum will be made:

* PTHY 6104, 6204, 7104, 7204 will be replaced with PSYC 6330 Advanced Psychological Statistics and PSYC 6331 Research Design.

*** One of the 10 week clinical practica (PTHY 7528, 7529, OR 7530) may occur in a clinical research laboratory related to the student’s doctoral research.

[3] Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

[3.1] Objectives

The PhD degree program graduate will demonstrate

  1. Skill in conducting original research and providing evidence of an understanding of research designs
  2. The ability to formulate hypotheses, plan methodologies, gather data (quantitatively and qualitatively), and draw conclusions
  3. Effective communication and dissemination of research findings;
  4. A commitment to engage in scholarship after graduation and to discover new knowledge and develop theoretical principles that advance the understanding of physical therapy practice;
  5. Breadth of knowledge of the discipline and the research literature; and
  6. The ability to teach at beginning and advanced levels of instruction; and

[3.2] Application Process

Students wishing to pursue the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree program in physical therapy will be admitted through a process involving a mutual decision between the graduate dean and the Department of Physical Therapy. Applicants must submit the application materials to the Graduate School and should contact the department for further information. The following materials must be submitted:

  1. A completed application for admission to the PhD program from the Department of Physical Therapy (online application and resources at uca.edu/pt)
  2. An application for admission to the Graduate School at the University of Central Arkansas (online application and resources at uca.edu/graduateschool/admission-process)
  3. Scores of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  4. Score of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is also needed for international students. Contact the Graduate Office for the minimum acceptable score.
  5. Two letters of reference
  6. A brief letter indicating a statement of purpose
  7. Verification (transcripts) of completion of a CAPTE accredited physical therapy curriculum or equivalent with a cumulative grade point average of at least a 3.0 (4.0 scale).
  8. International students should refer to uca.edu/international/admissions for important additional requirements concerning graduate admissions.

[3.3] Admission Process

[3.3.1] Review by the PhD Admissions Committee

The PhD Admissions Committee for the Department of Physical Therapy consists of five members of the UCA graduate faculty. Four members are faculty in the Department of Physical Therapy, and one member is a graduate faculty member from a department other than Physical Therapy. Upon submission of the application materials, the PhD Admissions Committee will determine whether the applicant meets the criteria for acceptance including academic credential, GPA, scores on the GRE and TOEFL (if required), and appropriate interest area and statement of purpose.

[3.3.2] Interview

Applicants who meet the criteria are invited for an interview. An on-site interview at the University of Central Arkansas is preferred, but a telephone interview may be conducted when extenuating circumstances prevail.

[3.4] Residency Requirements

A minimum of three years of study will be necessary to attain the level of achievement required for completion of the Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Therapy degree. To assist in achieving the required level and to have ample opportunity to be part of the scholarly environment, the student is required to be in residence onsite in the Department of Physical Therapy in the form of two full semesters (Fall/Spring), or three Summer semesters. The minimum time for a Summer semester will be 10 weeks, while the minimum for a Spring/Fall semester will be 15 weeks each semester. During this residency, the student is required to be registered full time (9 credits) or part-time (6 credits) and expected to serve as a research or teaching assistant within the department. Specific requirements of the residency will be negotiated with the research advisor.

[3.5] Program of Study

As graduates of accredited physical therapy educational programs, applicants to the PhD degree program are expected to possess knowledge regarding the profession of physical therapy and its practice environments and culture. The program of study will be individualized for each student based upon current skills in statistics, research design, and a specific interest area. The program includes a major field, independent scholarship (consisting of core and research courses), and elective courses that provide breadth within the student’s interest area.

Apprenticeship to and close association with faculty members allow the student to evaluate pertinent literature, determine issues and problems, apply appropriate principles and procedures, and commit to ethical practices necessary for research. The course of study is individualized for each student based upon recommendations by a faculty advisor and two committee members. A minimum of 60 credits beyond the master’s degree is required. An individual holding the doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree may be allowed to apply up to 15 hours of course credit from the DPT degree toward the PhD. Minimum credits for master’s degree holders are outlined below.

[3.5.1] Core Courses (27 credits + 12 credits of dissertation)

Through seminars and specific courses, students learn to interpret the implications of research and identify complex questions and possible answers for the profession. The core emphasizes pertinent issues for physical therapy researchers and educators as well as continuous involvement in scholarship.

CourseCourse TitleSCH
PTHY 7387Lifespan Movement Analysis
3
PTHY 7316Advanced Biomechanical and Kinesiological Analysis
3
PTHY 7310Professional Leadership in Physical Therapy
3
PTHY 7315College Teaching in Physical Therapy
3
PTHY 7324Theory and Practice of Evidenced Based Physical Therapy
3
KPED 6316Data Analysis
3
CSD 7110Grant Writing Internship
1
CSD 7210Grant Writing Pedagogy
2
PSYC 6330Advanced Psychological Statistics
3
PSYC 6331Research Design
3
PTHY 7102-7902Dissertation (variable credit 1-9 for total of 12)
12

[3.5.2] Guided Elective Courses (6 credits chosen from the following)

Guided electives provide for more in depth study, allowing students to acquire the tools essential for conducting research and effectively disseminating the findings.

CourseCourse TitleSCH
PTHY 7101-7901Advanced Research in Physical Therapy (variable credit 1-9)*
1-9
PSYC 7315Application of general linear models
3
PSYC 7320Regression and multivariate analysis
3
PTHY 7385Teaching Practicum
3
PTHY 7390Advanced Gross Anatomy
3

*PTHY 7101-7901 may be repeated as needed. The student will learn to use the research tools necessary for the dissertation and professional scholarship.

[3.5.3] Elective Courses (Interest Area) (15 credits chosen from the following)

The elective courses foster development of breadth in the student’s area of clinical interest. These courses are typically taken by those entering with a Master’s degree in order to fulfill the 60 credit hour requirement. The student’s committee will approve specific courses to complement the research focus. Students may not repeat for credit any course equivalent to one taken for a previous degree.

CourseCourse TitleSCH
PTHY 6250Pharmacology in Physical Therapy
2
PTHY 6330Transdisciplinary Assessment of Young Children
3
PTHY 6335Advanced Spinal Cord Injury Management
3
PTHY 6354Transdisciplinary Intervention of Young Children
3
PTHY 7211Diagnostic Imaging
2
PTHY 7220Wellness and Advanced Health Management
2
PTHY 7304Foundations in Sports Physical Therapy
3
PTHY 7306Sports Physical Therapy: The Lower Extremity
3
PTHY 7308Evaluation and Treatment of the Cervical Spine
3
PTHY 7309Lumbopelvic Dysfunction
3
PTHY 7311Developmental Anatomy
3
PTHY 7312Sports Physical Therapy: The Upper Extremity
3
PTHY 7329Application of Physical Therapy in Geriatrics
3
PTHY 7314Applied Histology and Physiology
3
PTHY 7333Occupational Health and Work Injury Management
3
PTHY 7334Aquatic Therapy
3
PTHY 7337Wound Management in Physical Therapy
3
PTHY 7345Advanced Electrophysiological Assessment
3
PTHY 7350Clinical Assessment of peripheral nervous system compromises for the sports, orthopedic, and industrial therapist
3
PTHY 7360Advanced Examination and Evaluation in Pediatrics I
3
PTHY 7361Advanced Examination and Evaluation in Pediatrics II
3
PTHY 7365Differential Diagnosis in Physical Therapy
3
PTHY 7380Geriatric Orthopedics
3
PTHY 7390Advanced Gross Anatomy
3
PTHY 6138-6338Directed Graduate Study (variable credit 1-3)*
1-3
PTHY 6101-6301Special Problems in Physical Therapy (variable credit 1-3)*
1-3

*PTHY 6301 and 6338 may be repeated.

[4] Graduate Courses in Physical Therapy (PTHY)

Follow this link for Physical Therapy course descriptions: course link.