Degree Requirements

Fall- Year One

  • DPT 700 Human Gross Anatomy

    This course is the classroom component which will cover normal human gross anatomy with emphasis on the structure and physiology of the musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiopulmonary, digestive and integumentary systems across the lifespan. Other anatomical systems will be covered briefly, especially as they relate to the function of the five emphasized systems.   This course is designed to help students establish a foundational understanding of the neuromusculoskeletal systems of the human body for the practice of physical therapy.  We will take a regional approach covering the arms, trunk, head, and legs.  At the end of the class,  students will have an understanding of how the structure of the human body determines function as a prelude to a clinical understanding of how to treat structural dysfunction. 

    Three semester hours.

  • DPT 701 Human Gross Anatomy Laboratory

    This course is the laboratory component involving cadaver dissection to complement the study of systems covered in DPT700 (i.e. musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiopulmonary, digestive and integumentary).  Additionally, there will be a dry lab incorporating surface anatomy exercises, using anatomical models and utilizing a variety of audiovisual means including medical imaging. 

    Two semester hours.

  • DPT 702 Human Histology

    Study of human histology with emphasis on cellular and extracellular components of the musculoskeletal, neural, cardiopulmonary and integumentary tissues.  Introduction to relationships between structure and function, as the basis for pathological processes. 

    One semester hour.

  • DPT 704 Kinesiology

    This course provides a foundation for the practice of physical rehabilitation. The structural and functional anatomy of the musculoskeletal system is applied to the study of human movement. The course includes both classroom and laboratory instruction with emphasis on movement and function of the upper extremities, axial skeleton, and lower extremities. Normal and abnormal posture and gait, as well as an introduction to motor control, are included as a part of this course. 

    Four semester hours.

  • DPT 706 Applied Physiology for Health Sciences

    A survey of physiological principles underlying clinical practice in the health sciences.  This course is designed to prepare students for further courses in pathophysiology and those related to specific physiological systems, including neuromusculoskeletal, integumentary, and cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. 

    Three semester hours.

  • DPT 721A Patient Care Skills I: Principles

    This is the first part of an introductory course in basic skills and patient management processes in the physical therapy setting, including basic safety, vital signs, patient handling and transfer techniques, and basic soft tissue mobilization.

    One semester hour. 

  • DPT 722 Patient Care Skills: Tests and Measures

    Continuation of DPT 721 with further application of the patient management model, clinical documentation, and addition of specific tests and measures commonly used in physical therapist clinical practice, including palpation, sensory, goniometry, and manual muscle testing. 

    Two semester hours.

  • DPT 731 Professional Issues I

    First in a series of three courses integrated throughout the curriculum to prepare students as ethical, moral, responsible and accountable physical therapists. Topics in this course include the history of the profession, role of the professional association, values of the profession, ethical and legal contemporary practice issues and an introduction to civic engagement within the physical therapy curriculum. Emphasis in this first course is on the history of the profession and the evolution of a doctoral profession.

    Two semester hours.

Total 18 credit hours

Spring- Year One

  • DPT 703 Human Neuroscience

    Detailed study of the structure and function of the central and peripheral nervous systems including morphology and developmental neuroanatomy.  Relationship between neuroanatomy, motor control and sensory responses are discussed. 

    Three semester hours.

  • DPT 711 Applied Exercise Physiology

    A study of the effect of physical activity on human physiology with an emphasis on the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, pulmonary and endocrine systems, including the acute and chronic adaptations associated with physical activity. Modes of exercise, environmental considerations, and selected clinical populations are also covered in this course. Additional content includes instruction designed to integrate the development, implementation, and evaluation of basic therapeutic exercise commonly used in physical therapy practice, as well as the administration of physical, thermal and mechanical interventions consistent with patient diagnosis and prognosis.

    Three semester hours.

  • DPT 714 Pathophysiology I

    A study of the general principles of pathophysiology impacting the practice of physical therapy and how they are managed medically and surgically in addition to the role of the physical therapist.  This first course of the pathophysiology sequence is focused on cell injury and the body’s responses, inflammation, disorders of vascular flow and shock, genetic disease, the immune system, neoplastic disease, infectious disease and diseases of the blood vessels and blood cells. 

    Two semester hours.

  • DPT 721B Patient Care Skills: Foundations B

    This is the second part of an introductory course in basic skills and patient management processes in the physical therapy setting, including basic safety, vital signs, patient handling and transfer techniques, and basic soft tissue mobilization.

    One semester hour

  • DPT 733 Professional Issues II

    Second in a series of three courses integrated throughout the curriculum to prepare students as ethical, moral, responsible and accountable physical therapists.  Topics in this course include: health care systems; documentation in selected physical therapy settings; the physical therapist assistant, interprofessional practice; culture and health care; psychiatric diagnoses and psychosocial considerations in patient management; and legal and ethical responsibilities to vulnerable populations.

    Three semester hours.

  • DPT 740 Critical Inquiry I: Evidence-Based Practice

    First in a series of four courses to prepare students to understand and utilize the professional literature.  Students will learn how to formulate focused clinical questions, to search for the best available evidence, to critically appraise the evidence, and to integrate evidence to assist in clinical decision making. Emphasis in the first course will be on the concept of evidence as a foundation for clinical practice and the research process.

    Two semester hours.

  • DPT 751 Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy I

    This is the first course in a series of four that will apply the physical therapist patient/client management model to patients (across the lifespan) with musculoskeletal conditions.  Students are instructed in and practice the integration of the five elements of care (evidence-based examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, therapeutic exercise, manual therapy and other interventions) of the patient/client with conditions associated with the upper quarter. 

    Four semester hours.

Total 18 credit hours

Summer- Year One

  • DPT 715 Pathophysiology II

    A continuation of pathophysiology I focused on body systems.  Management by healthcare professionals beyond physical therapy is discussed. The acute and chronic effects of diseases of body systems on human function/performance and achievement of outcomes of therapeutic intervention are explored.  

    Two semester hours.

  • DPT 716 Pharmacology

    A study of pharmacological principles in relation to rehabilitation of patients with systems impairments, with inclusion of the possible benefits and side effects of pharmacological agents in patients undergoing physical rehabilitation. 

    Two semester hours.

  • DPT 724 Therapeutic Interventions

    This course provides students with instruction designed to help them determine a patient’s need for therapeutic (physical, thermal, and mechanical) interventions, as well as to integrate the administration of and the evaluation of the impact of therapeutic interventions commonly used in physical therapy practice, consistent with patient diagnosis and prognosis.  Critical appraisal of the literature is addressed, in order to apply the best evidence to practice and the clinical decision-making process.

    One semester hour.

  • DPT 742 Critical Inquiry II: Research Methods

    Introduction to experimental and quasi-experimental research. Areas of investigation will include research design, methodology, data collection, statistical analysis, scientific writing, and presentation styles. Content will include quantitative and qualitative design, analyses and statistics. An overview of the IRB process and CITI training will be included.

    Two semester hours.

  • DPT 752 Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy II

    This is the second course in a series of four that will apply the physical therapist patient/client management model to patients (across the lifespan) with musculoskeletal conditions.  Students are instructed in, and practice the integration of the five elements of care (evidence-based examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, therapeutic exercise, manual therapy and other interventions) of the patient/client with conditions associated with the lower extremities. 

    Three semester hours.

  • DPT 760 Health Promotion and Wellness

    Study of fundamentals of health promotion and wellness in individuals and populations seen in physical therapy practice. 

     Two semester hours.

  • DPT 780 Clinical Immersion I

    First of 2 integrated clinical education courses that are embedded within the first 6 didactic semesters of the DPT curriculum. These courses will focus on clinical practice with students working individually or in pairs with a clinical faculty member (i.e. physical therapist clinical instructor) to apply skills, demonstrate clinical problem-solving and assume professional roles in various patient care settings (based on their level of clinical experience). In this first course, students will be expected to demonstrate skills and knowledge gained from the first 3 semesters of coursework. This course is completed in the classroom (information sessions) and at affiliated clinical facilities during the third semester in Year 1 for a total of 80 clinical hours. 

    One semester hour.

  • DPT 864 Human Learning

    This course incorporates application of the principles of human learning to patient/client management, including patient/family/caregivers, and community education. Roles of the physical therapist as a clinical educator and academician are discussed, as well as opportunities/responsibilities for lifelong learning and professional development. 

    One semester hour.

Total 14 credit hours


Fall- Year Two

  • DPT 831 Professional Issues III

    This course is a third in a series of three courses to prepare students as ethical, moral, responsible and accountable physical therapists.  Topics in this third course include consideration of legal, ethical, generational communication, and psychosocial and end-of-life issues in patient management. In addition, expansion of knowledge is included in the areas of protected populations, cultural competence, inter-professional practice, shared decision-making, and patient/client/caregiver-provider communication. Two semester hours.

  • DPT 840 Critical Inquiry III: Data Collection and Analysis

    A continuation of the Critical Inquiry series with an emphasis on collecting data, writing results and discussion, and presenting research in both a poster and platform format.  Assessment of research presentations is also emphasized.

    Two semester hours.

  • DPT 851 Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy III

    A continuation of the musculoskeletal series of courses which includes etiology, medical management, physical therapy examination, evaluation and intervention of selected musculoskeletal disorders with an emphasis on the lumbar spine, pelvis and lower thoracic spine. Three semester hours.

  • DPT 853 Neuromuscular Physical Therapy I

    This is the first course in a series of two that will apply the physical therapist patient/client management model to patients with neuromuscular conditions.  Students are instructed in and practice the integration of the five elements of care (evidence-based examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutic exercise/ other intervention) of the patient/client with conditions associated with the neuromuscular system across the lifespan. 

    Four semester hours.

  • DPT 856 Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy

    Introductory application of the patient management model to patients with cardiopulmonary disorders.  Examination, evaluation, and management of the patient with cardiopulmonary disorders common to physical therapy practice are presented. 

    Three semester hours.

  • DPT 861 Lifespan Human Development

    This course provides an overview of human development and serves as an introduction to the principles of normal growth and development across body systems as we age. Students will apply the components of physical therapy practice: screening, examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, plan of care, intervention, outcomes across the lifespan. Opportunities for exploring development and community resources will be provided through discussions, community and interprofessional engagement, reflective assignments, and critical thinking. This course prepares students as entry-level physical therapists to effectively examine and provide physical therapy interventions across the lifespan perspective. 

    Two semester hours.

  • DPT 863 Rural Health and Primary Care

    This course engages students in analyzing healthcare access; community needs assessment, health literacy, and interprofessional clinical practice across the lifespan in rural areas. Primary, secondary and tertiary care models will be discussed with emphasis on medical screening, referrals, and scope of practice.  Critical inquiry into evidence-based practice strategies, technology and potential inroads within the field of physical therapy will guide students to enter the workforce as entry-level physical therapists. 

    Two semester hours

Total 18 credit hours

Spring- Year Two

  • DPT 832 Administration & Management in Health Care

    Emphasis is on the role of administration and management in physical therapy practice.  Student service learning projects are continued. 

    Three semester hours.

  • DPT 835 Intraprofessional Practice

    This course will focus on the clinical interactions between Physical Therapists (PTs) and Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs). Students will interact with students from the Wytheville Community College PTA program to discuss differences between the two programs and current topics relevant to the clinical interactions between PTs and PTAs.

    One semester hour.

  • DPT 841 Critical Inquiry IV: Research Presentation

    Culmination of the Critical Inquiry course series with an emphasis on writing results and discussion, and presenting research in both a poster and platform format.  Assessment of research presentations is also emphasized.

    Two semester hours.

  • DPT 852 Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy IV

    A continuation of the musculoskeletal series of courses which includes etiology, medical management, physical therapy examination, evaluation and intervention of selected musculoskeletal disorders with an emphasis on the cervical, upper thoracic spine and the tempomandibular joint. 

    Four semester hours.

  • DPT 854 Neuromuscular Physical Therapy II

    The course is the second in a two-course sequence of neuromuscular patient management content areas. This course builds and adds to the framework of entry-level physical therapy practice for client-centered care of neuromuscular conditions.  Students are instructed in and practice the integration of the five elements of care (evidence-based examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutic exercise/ other intervention) of the patient/client with conditions associated with the neuromuscular system across the lifespan. 

    Three semester hours.

  • DPT 855 Pediatric Physical Therapy

    Application of the patient management model to pediatric cases.  Both primary and secondary conditions common to the pediatric physical therapy setting are addressed.  Emphasis is on the evaluation, examination, and tests and measures used in pediatric cases.  The importance of interaction with family, caregivers and other healthcare providers is addressed. 

    Three semester hours.

  • DPT 880 Clinical Immersion II

    Second in a series of integrated clinical education courses that are embedded in the DPT curriculum. This series of courses will focus on clinical practice and/or collaborative practice (inter-professional education, civic engagement/activities, etc.). Students will work in teams, each with a clinical faculty member (e.g. physical therapist clinical instructor with a multidisciplinary team) and/or an academic faculty member, to apply skills, demonstrate clinical problem-solving and assume professional roles in various patient care settings (based on their level of clinical experience). Each semester, students will be expected to demonstrate skills and knowledge gained from the current and previous coursework. 

    One semester hour.

Total 18 credit hours

Summer- Year Two

  • DPT 813 Imaging

    This course introduces the student to equipment, procedures and use of medical imaging for examination and evaluation of dysfunction of body structures. Examination topics included are radiographs, arthrography, CT scans, PET scans, MRI, ultrasonography and nuclear studies. Case studies will be used to integrate imaging data in the patient/client management plan. 

    Two semester hours.

  • DPT 857 Integumentary Physical Therapy

    Introductory application of the patient management model to patients with integumentary disorders.  Examination, evaluation, and management of the patient with integumentary disorders common to physical therapy practice, including burns, are emphasized. 

    Three semester hours.

  • DPT 858 Management of Multisystem Impairments

    Application of the patient management model to patients with co-morbidities affecting the primary diagnosis.  Emphasis is on the development and modification of the patients’ plan of care with regard to their prognosis. 

    Three semester hours.

  • DPT 859 Orthotics and Prosthetics

    Concepts and application of orthotic and prosthetic devices commonly used in physical therapy settings, with an emphasis on the lower extremity issues. 

    Two semester hours.

  • DPT 862 Screening for Referral

    A course focusing on the use of screening tests and clinical tools to enhance the therapist’s role as an independent practitioner with the ability to identify medical conditions of concern that require referral to an appropriate health care provider. 

    Two semester hours.

Total 12 credit hours


Fall- Year Three

  • DPT 833 Leadership in Daily Practice

    Physical therapists play key roles in leadership. This course creates a framework for students to develop skills for leadership in daily practice. The Core Competencies of Leadership will be explored. Other topics include: leadership styles, differentiate management from leadership, integrate a mission and strategic planning, decision-making strategies for conflict mediation, and communicating to improve outcomes. Application of leadership skills will be facilitated with case scenarios in class and application activities, in a concurrent clinical immersion course.  Emphasis will be learning by doing to model key elements of leadership teamwork, effective behaviors, goal setting, and achievement. 

    One semester hour.

  • DPT 981 Final Full-Time Clinical Rotation I

    The first of three full-time clinical experiences, providing students with hands-on practice under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist.  Students begin to collect clinical data with non-complex patients to develop their case studies.  Emphasis is on legal and ethical issues, critical thinking and evidence-based practice. Full-time, 12 weeks. 

    Six semester hours.

Total 7 credit hours

Spring- Year Three

  • DPT 834 Public Policy and Physical Therapy

    This course introduces the student to public policymaking in the United States, with an emphasis on current health care policy affecting physical therapy practice specifically and healthcare in general. Students will engage in active learning experiences to develop a working knowledge of public policy and to provide them with skills and resources to be an effective advocate for their patients/clients and the profession. Current state and federal legislative and regulatory issues will be the focus of this course. Students will reflect on and discuss these issues in the context of their current and present clinical experiences in the program. Teaching methodology includes a mix of guided self-directed learning activities and online interactive discussion while on a final full-time internship. Critical thinking skills are emphasized in all activities. 

    Two semester hours.

  • DPT 982 Final Full-Time Clinical Rotation II

    The second of three full-time clinical experiences, providing students with hands-on practice under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist.  Students practice tests and measures and interventions in patients with multiple morbidities.  Emphasis is on the relationship of the co-morbidities with primary physical therapy cases, critical thinking, and evidence-based practice. Full-time, 12 weeks. 

    Six semester hours.

Total 8 credit hours

Summer- Year Three

  • DPT 983 Final Full-Time Clinical Rotation III

    The third of three full-time clinical experiences, providing students with hands-on practice under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist.  Students are guided to practice physical therapy in patients with varying complexities, as well as to participate in the overall patient management.  Preparation for independent entry-level practice is emphasized. Full-time, 12 weeks. 

    Six semester hours.

Total 6 credit hours


 Curriculum Total: 119 credit hours

*Information is current for the 2019-20 Academic Catalog.  

**Courses and sequencing may change for future cohorts.