Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Curriculum
All physical therapy courses are limited to physical therapy students unless permission is obtained from the program director.
As an integral part of Chatham University, the Physical Therapy Program educates Doctors of Physical Therapy who will advance the quality of human life through excellence in clinical practice. The Program educates autonomous professionals who will meet the challenges of a dynamic health care environment and supports scholarly activity that bridges science and clinical practice.
The Chatham University Physical Therapy Program offers an exceptionally innovative and student-centered curriculum that promotes critical analysis and produces professionals who are guided by integrity, committed to excellence, and oriented to service. The Program supports practitioners in achieving best practice through scholarly inquiry, dissemination, and outreach.
Designed to prepare graduates to serve as generalists, the curriculum stresses clinical decision making through the study of patient problems typically encountered in the clinical setting. Normal structure and function provide a basis for the study of disease processes and prevention, and the effect of pathology and impairments on function and quality of life. The modified problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum presents the clinical arts and science of physical therapy in an integrated manner organized around body systems.
Chatham University offers a DPT degree upon successful completion of seven terms of study. Candidates follow a sequence of courses that includes 36 weeks of clinical education.
107 credits, including:
BIO502 Human Gross Anatomy
An in-depth study of gross human anatomic structure, emphasizing the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems through study of head and neck, body wall, and upper and lower extremity structures. Clinical correlates examine normal movement and pathological processes. Four hours of class and three hours of laboratory per week.
6 BIO502L Lab: Human Gross Anatomy 0 BIO504 Human Physiology
An in-depth study of the mechanisms of human body function, emphasizing cells, genetic control of protein synthesis, transport across membranes, contraction and excitation of muscles, the physiology of cardiac muscle, and rhythmical excitation of the normal heart.
3 BIO506 Principles of Neuroscience
A study of the structure and function of the human central and peripheral nervous system, including vascular components and special senses. The course emphasizes nervous system control of movement. Three hours of class per week.
3 BIO506L Lab: Principles of Neuroscience
Laboratory experience includes the human nervous system material, brain sections, and anatomical models. Two hours of Laboratory per week.
1 PTH700 Introduction to Clinical Skills
This course provides an introduction to physical therapy clinical skills with an emphasis on basic assessment and intervention procedures, along with surface anatomy palpation. Principles relating to these foundational techniques will be introduced via lecture and laboratory experiences. The techniques will be applied in future courses in increasingly complex patient problems and diagnoses.
2 PTH701 Foundations of Movement Science I
An in-depth analysis of normal and abnormal human motion with an emphasis on biomechanics, gait, patterns of motion and mechanisms that affect or limit movement. Principles of the physical therapy diagnostic process, along with therapeutic techniques, procedures, and modalities will be introduced. Prerequisite(s): BIO 502 and BIO 504.
7 PTH702 Foundations of Movement Science II
This course includes the study and application of theories of motor control, motor learning, and motor development that are utilized to guide examination of children and adults with neuromuscular dysfunction. Movement analysis is expanded along a continuum from infancy to older age, incorporating age-related movement changes and theories of aging.
3 PTH703 Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy
This course will provide in-depth preparation required to perform the examination, evaluation, and management of musculoskeletal conditions commonly encountered in physical therapy practice. The course includes the physical therapy diagnostic process, including differential diagnosis and development of evidence-based physical therapy plans of care.
12 PTH704 Fundamentals of Exercise Physiology
This course provides the basic principles of exercise physiology based upon how normal structure and physiological functioning in humans alters in response to bouts of physical activity. The importance of health promotion and wellness is emphasized. Laboratory sessions allow for participation in the components of a comprehensive fitness assessment.
3 PTH707 Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy
This course provides didactic, laboratory and problem-based learning experiences in the examination, evaluation and treatment of patients with primary and secondary cardiac, vascular and/or pulmonary dysfunction. Content ranges from the development of individualized, scientifically-based fitness/wellness programs to the management of patients across the lifespan with a wide spectrum of acute illnesses and/or chronic conditions.
7 PTH708 Pediatric Physical Therapy
This problem-based course will provide in-depth information on the examination, evaluation, and management of pediatric neuromusculoskeletal system dysfunction from birth through adolescence and young adulthood. Students will build upon concepts of normal development, motor control, and motor learning to develop a theoretical framework for addressing the physical therapy needs of children. Prerequisite(s): PTH 702 and PTH 707.
4 PTH709 Neuromuscular Physical Therapy
This problem-based course explores the prevention, evaluation and management of neuromuscular system dysfunction throughout the adult life span. Students will build upon concepts from all previous courses to gain a comprehensive understanding of the multiple complex problems seen in patients with neurologic diagnoses.
9 PTH713 Multi-System Physical Therapy
This problem-based learning course emphasizes the physical therapy management of complex patients across the lifespan who present with pathology affecting multiple body systems. Students utilize advanced clinical decision-making skills to evaluate and prioritize interventions. Laboratory and problem-based learning experiences focus on educating and directing patients, families and other providers is included.
3 PTH722 Research I
The purpose of this course is to offer students the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills that are essential to the critical evaluation of the medical literature and the application of research to the practice of physical therapy.
3 PTH724 Research II
The purpose of this course is to offer students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills that are essential to the critical evaluation of the medical literature and the application of research to the practice of physical therapy. Prerequisite(s): PTH 722.
2 PTH730 Clinical Experience I-A
The first part of this ten-week, full-time experience is scheduled at the completion of musculoskeletal system coursework. Students will be placed in outpatient facilities or general hospitals with an expectation that students, under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist, will primarily evaluate and treat patients with musculoskeletal conditions. Prerequisite(s): Satisfactory completion of all previous academic requirements.
3 PTH731 Clinical Expereience I-B
The second part of this ten-week, full-time experience is scheduled at the completion of musculoskeletal system coursework. Students will be placed in outpatient facilities or general hospitals with an expectation that students, under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist, will primarily evaluate and treat patients with musculoskeletal conditions. Prerequisite(s): Satisfactory completion of all previous academic requirements.
4 PTH733 Clinical Experience II
A ten (10) week full-time experience scheduled at the completion of study of didactic and laboratory course work. Students will generally be placed in acute care, acute rehabilitation, skilled nursing, pediatric, sub-acute, outpatient, or home health settings. Students will, under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist, primarily evaluate and treat patients with cardio/pulmonary and neurological conditions. Prerequisite(s): Satisfactory completion of all previous academic requirements.
7 PTH735 Clinical Experience V
A sixteen (16) week full-time experience completed at the conclusion of didactic and laboratory course work. Student is assigned to an area of academic need and/or interest. During this experience the student will continue to develop competency in his/her entry-level professional physical therapy skills, under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. An alternative to this course is the combination of PTH 746 Clinical Experience IV (8 weeks) and PTH 747 Clinical Experience V (8 weeks). Prerequisite(s): Satisfactory completion of all previous academic requirements.
12 OR PTH746 Clinical Experience III
An eight-week, full-time experience in combination with PTH 747 Clinical Experience V (eight weeks) completed at the conclusion of didactic and laboratory course work. During this experience, the student will continue to develop competency in his or her entry-level professional physical therapy skills, under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. An alternative to this course in combination with PTH 747 Clinical Experience V is PTH 735 Clinical Experience III (16 weeks). Prerequisite(s): Satisfactory completion of all previous academic requirements.
6 AND PTH747 Clinical Experience IV
An eight-week, full-time experience in combination with PTH 746 Clinical Experience IV completed at the conclusion of didactic and laboratory course work. During this experience, the student will continue to develop competency in his or her entry-level professional physical therapy skills. An alternative to this course in combination with PTH 746 Clinical Experience IV is PTH 735 Clinical Experience III (16 weeks). Prerequisite(s): Satisfactory completion of all previous academic requirements.
6 PTH741 Principles of Practice I: Intro to PT Practice
This course introduces the novice professional student to the roles of the physical therapist as: a professional; a communicator; and as a scholar. There is a heavy emphasis on patient-practitioner communication skills, especially during the patient interview. Fundamentals of evidence-based practice help students embrace the role of scholarly clinician.
3 PTH742 Principles of Practice II: Communication and Ethics
Communication and Ethics enhances basics concepts learned in PTH 741 related to evidence-based practice, ethics and communication while introducing new concepts of health behavior and the current healthcare environment for application throughout the physical therapy curriculum. Prerequisite(s): PTH 741.
3 PTH743 Principles of Practice III: Ethical Action and Social Responsibility
This course is an integrated synthesis of material learned in previous Principles of Practice courses with practical application into clinical education. Students preliminarily explore the integration of social responsibility and professionalism via community-based learning.
1 PTH744 Principles of Practice IV: Service Learning
This course is an integrated synthesis of material learned during previous POP courses. This course, guided by faculty and community service advisors, primarily evaluates the service learning project as it evolves over the past year. The evaluation will review the benefits of and obstacles to a meaningful learning experience. Students will discuss their contribution to the community agency and the population it serves, and will disseminate this to the Chatham physical therapy community through a group oral presentation.
1 PTH745 Principles of Practice V: Health Care Delivery, Management, & Policy
Principles of Practice V integrates the principles of health care delivery, management, policy and leadership within the physical therapy profession.
3 PTH748 Research III: Evidence in Practice
In this course, students integrate previous curricular topics related to evidence based practice. Students develop and complete a presentation of the systematic review completed in PTH 724. Students also complete a Knowledge-to-Action project aimed at increasing the use of research evidence in clinical practice.
PTH633 Global Health Perspectives
This course provides an opportunity for physical therapy students to study and experience global health issues by participating in an international service experience. It is intended to give students the opportunity to understand the culture and health care issues of the visited country.
Doctor of Physical Therapy Course Sequence
|BIO 502 / 502L||Human Gross Anatomy||4 / 2|
|PTH 700||Introduction to Clinical Skills||2|
|BIO 504||Human Physiology||3|
|PTH 741||Principles of Practice I: Introduction to PT Practice||3|
|Total Credits For Semester||14|
|BIO 506 / 506L||Principles of Neuroscience/Lab||3 / 1|
|PTH 701||Foundations of Movement Science I||7|
|PTH 704||Fundamentals of Exercise Physiology||3|
|Total Credits For Semester||14|
|PTH 703||Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy||12|
|PTH 742||Principles of Practice II: Communication and Ethics||3|
|PTH 730||Clinical Experience I-A for 4 weeks||3|
|Total Credits for Semester||18|
|PTH 731||Clinical Experience I-B for 6 weeks||4|
|PTH 743||Principles of Practice III: Ethical Action and Social Responsibility||1|
|PTH 707||Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Physical Therapy||7|
|PTH 702||Foundations of Movement Science II||3|
|PTH 722||Research I||3|
|Total Credits for Semester||18|
|PTH 709||Neuromuscular Physical Therapy||9|
|PTH 708||Pediatric Physical Therapy||4|
|PTH 744||Principles of Practice IV: Service Learning||1|
|Total Credits for Semester||14|
|PTH 733||Clinical Experience II for 10 weeks||7|
|PTH 745||Principles of Practice V: Health Care Delivery, Management, and Policy||3|
|PTH 724||Research II||2|
|PTH 713||Multi-System Physical Therapy||3|
|Total Credits for Semester||15|
|PTH 735||Clinical Experience V for (16 weeks);
or PTH 746* & PTH 747*
|Clinical Experience III for 8 weeks
Clinical Experience IV for 8 weeks
|PTH 748||Research III: Evidence in Practice||2|
|Total Credits for Semester||14|
107 TOTAL CREDITS for PROGRAM COMPLETION