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    Mar 20, 2023  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Physical Therapy, D.P.T.

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Program Overview

In concert with the William Carey University mission statement, the mission of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) degree program is to create a challenging and caring academic community, preparing students to become autonomous and competent entry level physical therapy practitioners who value lifelong learning, responsible leadership, service in diverse low-resource settings, and engagement in local and global health and wellness issues.

Physical therapy is dedicated to promoting wellness, preventing disability, and supporting participation in activities that impact quality of life. The physical therapy program at William Carey is committed to prepare students for these professional responsibilities by providing high quality academic and clinical educational experiences based on adult learning principles. Students are self-directed and assume responsibility for their learning, with the faculty guiding the education process by providing rich, diverse, interactive learning experiences that foster clinical reasoning and the integration of subject material. Core to the professional educational program at William Carey will be engagement in experiences that foster:

  • effective and cost-efficient patient care,
  • inter-professional collaboration,
  • community and global cultural competence,
  • research application and evidence based practice, and
  • advocacy for populations served.

Student Outcomes

Students and graduates of the D.P.T. program will:

  1. Be prepared as generalist practitioners to assume an entry level practice role in any practice setting as evidenced by pass rates on the licensing exam, employment rate, and diversity of practice settings.
  2. Practice professionalism by demonstrating the core values of the profession of physical therapy—accountability, altruism, compassion/caring, excellence, integrity, professional duty, and social responsibility.
  3. Strive for excellence in practice by participating in professional development activities, integrating current evidence into practice, and using tools to promote quality of care.
  4. Advocate for underserved populations in local, state, national, and international communities.


Admission to the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Admission to the D.P.T. program is competitive in nature, and students with strong academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Beginning in the fall of 2016, approximately 30 students per year will be admitted to the program in the fall trimester of each year, based on their GRE scores, GPAs, and other admission requirements. Application deadline is November 1. All applications must be made through the Physical Therapy Common Application System (PTCAS) at In addition to the general requirements for admission to the graduate school, each applicant must:

  1. Have earned a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university in the major of their choice.
  2. Have completed two undergraduate courses in each of the following areas: biology, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, and physics; and one course of statistics. Science courses must be for science majors, and the statistics course should be from psychology, math, or education departments. Coursework in psychology or sociology is highly recommended.
  3. Have an overall grade point average of 3.0 or above on the most recent 60 hours of course credit taken, and a grade point average of 3.0 or above on the prerequisite requirements listed above.
  4. Complete 20 total hours of observation at two distinctly different practice settings.
  5. Submit GRE scores (minimum 295).
  6. Comply with all admissions deadlines.

Admission Status

Due to the competitive nature of admissions, an applicant for the doctor of physical therapy program is admitted to regular graduate status only, as described below:

Regular—Regular graduate status will be granted to those students who meet all requirements for admission to the program and are actively pursuing a degree.

Health Status Requirements

All students entering doctor of physical therapy courses are required to have completed a College of Health Science health examination form. All students must submit documentation of receiving the hepatitis B immunization series or positive titer; two varicella immunizations, or positive titer; a DTaP immunization; and the results of appropriate screening for TB annually. Failure to comply with all health requirements will result in the inability to attend the clinical portion of a course and failure of the course.

All students must complete (re)certification of CPR for the Health Professional either annually or every two years, depending on the clinical facility requirements. Students are responsible for submitting evidence of current certification to the physical therapy office. Failure to do so will result in inability to attend the clinical portion of the program and failure of the course.

Criminal Background Check

All students enrolled in physical therapy must have clearance of criminal background checks prior to participating in physical therapy experiential learning courses. This is a mandatory requirement as part of the Mississippi state law, Section 43-13-11 of Mississippi Code of 1972.

After initial enrollment, any subsequent disciplinary action, arrest, charge, addiction, or impairment shall also be reported immediately to the program director. Failure to report any and all subsequent disciplinary actions, arrests, or impairment will constitute falsification of records and may result in dismissal from the program.

Drug Testing

All students will be required to have drug screens upon admission or provide proof of a clear drug screen within the last year. Students will be responsible for all sample collection, drug screening, and shipping fees.

Random drug screening may be performed at the discretion of the physical therapy program. Refusal by a student to submit to testing will result in denial of admission for new students and immediate dismissal from the program for continuing students. Any admitted student who tests positive for illegal drugs must withdraw from clinical education courses. The student may reapply for admission in six months and may be admitted based on admission criteria as any new student making application.

All costs associated with drug testing and criminal background checks are the responsibility of the student.

Malpractice Insurance

The student is required to have malpractice insurance, which is acquired through William Carey University.

Computer Requirements

Technology is an essential and integral aspect of web-enhanced (hybrid) courses. The student must have access to a computer and stable connection to the internet on a regular basis. A high-speed internet connection, such as a cable modem or DSL line, is preferred.

The student will need access to Word, PowerPoint, and Excel software programs, for example: Microsoft Office 2010 Professional. Students will also need access to audio through speakers and the capability to record through a microphone for selected web-enhanced assignments. Students’ personal computers must support ExamSoft, the program’s testing platform.

Progression and Graduation Requirements

An overall 3.0 GPA on graduate courses taken at WCU is required for graduation. A student whose overall GPA drops below a 3.0 in any trimester is placed on academic probation. Students on academic probation must raise their overall GPA to a 3.0 by the end of the next trimester of enrollment.

Only two grades lower than a B are allowed. Upon receiving a second grade lower than a B, a student is advised to repeat one of the first two grades lower than a B before continuing in the program. A student making a third grade lower than a B will be dismissed from the program. Students must also pass all course work in the program.

Earning a grade of “F” or failing to be removed from probation will result in further academic disciplinary action which may include:

  1. Dismissal—the usual form of academic discipline.
  2. Reclassification—in extenuating circumstances a student may appeal to the program director to be reclassified. In this instance the student may be permitted to withdraw from matriculation and offered remediation by retaking one or more courses recommended by the faculty. The usual recommendation is to repeat an entire year of study as all courses are offered in sequence and only once each academic year. Such a student is required to indicate in writing the intention to reinstate. Students should also be aware that repeating course work already passed may have financial aid/student loan implications. Reclassified students must meet the graduate school GPA and individual course grades requirements.


The curriculum can best be described as a hybrid curriculum, with foundational sciences and basic physical therapy skills taught in the first year in integrated fashion. Many of the foundational sciences are taught in collaboration with the Master of Biomedical Science degree, and will be cross listed in the catalog as such. The second and third year focus on patient management in each of four physical therapy practice areas; musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiopulmonary, and integumentary. Most trimesters of the program contain a clinical decision making course, which is a case based small group course designed for advanced mentoring in clinical decision making algorithms. Thirty-five weeks of full-time clinical practice are included in the curriculum, as well as a professional development track containing concepts in legal/ethical issues, practice management, and professionalism issues. Evidence-based practice courses are strategically placed in the curriculum to allow small groups of learners to develop research questions, collect data, and draw conclusions from the evidence regarding physical therapy principles under the mentorship of faculty. Finally, multiple opportunities exist in the curriculum for inter-professional training with nursing, doctor of osteopathy, education, and health information management programs.

This is a lock step, cohort educational program. Each student must pass the previous trimester at a satisfactory level to proceed to the next level. The proposed course offerings are as follows:

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