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Degree Offered

DPT Doctor of Physical Therapy

Program Length and Locations

The program is three years in length, starting in August and ending three years later in May. The program will be offered at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) campus and on the University of Nebraska Kearney (UNK) campus.

Description of the Physical Therapy (PT) Program

The College of Allied Health Professions at UNMC offers a program leading to the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree (DPT). The program requires a bachelor's degree prior to admission to the three-year professional program at UNMC. The Division of Physical Therapy Education, established at UNMC in 1970, is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education and approved by the Nebraska Department of Education. UNMC enjoys full accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Colleges.

Students in the Division of Physical Therapy Education at the University of Nebraska Medical Center receive a comprehensive entry-level education in a program that includes didactic and clinical coursework, including full-time clinical experience. Upon graduation, students qualify to sit for licensure examination.

Program Goals and Expected Outcomes

  • Upon completion of the entry-level DPT program, the students/graduates will be successfully prepared for entry-level employment as licensed physical therapists.
  • Upon completion of the entry-level program, the students/graduates will be prepared to successfully provide evidence-based, patient-centered care as members of an interprofessional team.
  • Upon completion of the entry-level DPT program, the students/graduates will demonstrate commitment to professional development and service, including outreach to underserved populations.
  • The faculty will conduct scholarly activities that contribute to the evidence and influence change in clinical and educational practice.
  • The faculty will participate in a variety of professional service activities consistent with the expectations of faculty within the CAHP and University.
  • The program provides educational and professional development opportunities beyond the entry-level degree curriculum to a variety of audiences.

Degree Requirements and Professional Standards

Students must receive a passing grade of “C-” or better or “Pass” in all courses and maintain an overall quality grade point average of 2.33 (on a 4.0 scale) or above. Grades of less than “C-” are considered as failing within the physical therapy program. Physical therapy education requires the student to demonstrate skills of observation, communication, sensory, intellectual-conceptual, integrative and qualitative abilities, and professionalism. As such, students must successfully meet all of the program’s performance standards by passing all laboratory practical examinations and clinical education experiences, in addition to the successful completion of didactic work. The standing of a student in any course is determined by the instructor of the course by examinations, laboratory and clinical performance, class participation, written assignments, personal observation, and other methods of evaluation.

Physical Therapy Website

Physical Therapy

The mission of admissions in the College of Allied Health Professions is to advance evidence-based recruitment and admissions practices that are inclusive, equitable and balanced with respect to experiences, attributes and metrics to recruit and admit applicants for the purpose of preparing highly competent, collaborative and compassionate professionals dedicated to improving the health and healthcare of all individuals and communities. 

For specific PT admissions, application, and timelines, visit: Physical Therapy Admissions.

Curriculum Overview

The professional program is three years in length. Learning opportunities include lecture-laboratory courses, seminars, independent study opportunities, laboratory practical examinations and supervised clinical practice. The curriculum provides opportunities to develop abilities in teaching, supervision, administration, and research in physical therapy. Although a thesis is not required, opportunities may exist for interested students to actively participate in research. Patient simulations using various levels of technology are included throughout the curriculum (see the virtual tour of the Clinical Skills Center in the Michael Sorrell Center in this website). In addition, there are service learning and leadership opportunities available in UNMC student-run clinics. The Division reserves the right to modify the curriculum as necessary to comply with accreditation standards and to reflect advancements in the health sciences.

Clinical Education

The clinical education component of the curriculum provides students the opportunity to directly apply the physical therapy theories and techniques acquired during the classroom instruction, as well as the opportunity to acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes best learned in the clinical environment. The intent of clinical education is to provide the student with a broad exposure to physical therapy practice in a variety of settings and geographic locations. 

Currently, the clinical education component of the curriculum consists of 34 weeks over the course of the three year professional program. Clinical experiences are scheduled in advance and are subject to change at the discretion of the clinical education site or the Director of Clinical Education.

Some clinical education sites may require an assigned student to undergo a criminal background check and/or drug screening prior to participation in a clinical education experience. Please note, travel and living expenses for clinical education experiences should be anticipated.

First Year - PT 1 (late August - July)

Second Year - PT 2 (late August - mid June)

Third Year - PT 3 (late August - mid May)

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredit Hours
CIP 606 INTERMEDIATE PHYSIOLOGY 6
GCBA 531 STRUCTURE OF THE HUMAN BODY PT 5
PHYT 502 HUMAN MOVEMENT 1 4
PHYT 560 SEMINAR 1 1
 Credit Hours16
Spring
NRSG 605 ADVANCED PATHOPHYSIOLOGY 4
PHYT 505 HUMAN MOVEMENT 2 4
PHYT 512 NEUROSCIENCE FOUNDATIONS 3
PHYT 561 SEMINAR 2 1
PHYT 523 PSYCHOSOCIAL ASPECTS OF HEALTHCARE 1 2
PHYT 575 CLINICAL ANATOMY OF THE THORAX, ABDOMEN, AND PERINEUM 2
PHYT 640 CRITICAL INQUIRY 3
PHYT 500 CLINICAL EDUCATION 1 2
 Credit Hours21
Summer
PHYT 509 HUMAN MOVEMENT 3 4
PHYT 510 PHYSICAL AGENTS 3
PHYT 562 SEMINAR 3 1
PHYT 604 MUSCULOSKELETAL PHYSICAL THERAPY 1 2
PHYT 622 PRACTICE MANAGEMENT SKILLS IN PHYSICAL THERAPY I 2
 Credit Hours12
Second Year
Fall
PHAR 570 PHARM HLTH CARE PROFES 3
PHYT 600 CLINICAL EDUCATION 2 6
PHYT 605 MUSCULOSKELETAL PHYSICAL THERAPY 2 2
PHYT 610 CARDIOPULMONARY AND INTEGUMENTARY PHYSICAL THERAPY 1 3
PHYT 616 NEUROMUSCULAR PHYSICAL THERAPY 1 3
PHYT 623 PSYCHOSOCIAL ASPECTS OF HEALTH CARE 2 2
 Credit Hours19
Spring
PHYT 606 MUSCULOSKELETAL PHYSICAL THERAPY 3 4
PHYT 611 CARDIOPULMONARY AND INTEGUMENTARY PHYSICAL THERAPY 2 2
PHYT 612 PEDIATRIC PHYSICAL THERAPY 3
PHYT 617 NEUROMUSCULAR PHYSICAL THERAPY 2 4
PHYT 624 ORTHOTICS & PROSTHETICS 3
PHYT 660 SEMINAR 4 1
PHYT 727 IMAGING FOR PHYSICAL THERAPISTS 1
 Credit Hours18
Summer
PHYT 601 CLINICAL EDUCATION 3 4-10
PHYT 742 PHYSICAL THERAPY SPECIAL TOPICS 1
 Credit Hours5-11
Third Year
Fall
PHYT 700 CLINICAL EDUCATION 4 4-10
PHYT 720 DIFFERENTIAL SCREENING FOR PHYSICAL THERAPISTS 2
PHYT 722 PRACTICE MANAGEMENT IN PHYSICAL THERAPY 2 2
PHYT 730 HEALTH PROMOTION AND HEALTH POLICY 3
PHYT 760 SEMINAR 5 2
 Credit Hours13-19
Spring
PHYT 701 CLINICAL EDUCATION V 10
PHYT 723 PRACTICE MANAGEMENT 3 1
 Credit Hours11
 Total Credit Hours115-127

Curriculum subject to change without notice.

Physical Therapy Website

Licensure

Graduates of accredited physical therapy education programs are eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE), which is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, in order to be licensed in the state(s) in which they wish to practice.

It is the position of the American Physical Therapy Association that:

Physical therapists are licensed and physical therapist assistants should be licensed or otherwise regulated in all U.S. jurisdictions. State regulation of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants should at a minimum:

  1. require graduation from an accredited physical therapy education program (or in the case of an internationally-educated physical therapist, an equivalent education)
  2. require passing an entry-level competency exam
  3. provide title protection
  4. allow for disciplinary action

Additionally, physical therapists’ licensure should include a defined scope of practice.

For more information, visit the APTA website.

Physical Therapy Website