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Doctor of Physical Therapy
The professional curriculum consists of two phases: "systems" and "lifespan." Courses introduced during the first year use a systems approach with cases in musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, neuromuscular and integumentary physical therapy. As closely as possible, courses are coordinated so that students are instructed in the anatomy, pathology and diagnosis related to specific joints or systems of the body at the same time. During the third semester, students are given the opportunity to practice and integrate their professional skills in a simulated clinic course, Case Management. (Use of this experiential learning technique has been presented at international meetings.) Following the completion of the first year, students have an 8-week full-time clinical experience, allowing them to further solidify and integrate the classroom material in a clinical setting.
During the second year and early third year of study, students explore practice topics in greater depth within the context of a lifespan approach, covering content from diseases of children to impairments associated with aging. These advanced courses are followed by two final full-time 11-week clinical experiences, with a return to campus for final coursework at the end of the program.
The curriculum is further integrated by team teaching, a feature of several of the courses. Besides providing linkages between courses, this enables the faculty to serve as role models for the advantages associated with working together as a team.