Doctor of Physical Therapy Program
The College of Health Sciences at Des Moines University offers an accredited entry-level program of study in physical therapy. The program includes 34 months of academic study and supervised clinical education experiences leading to a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.
The DPT program supports the development of health care practitioners via the utilization of innovative and collaborative learning experiences focused on enhancing quality of life via the science of human movement. The program prepares graduates who are competent in advancing health and serving society in diverse healthcare environments that are reflective of contemporary practice.
Engage innovative thinkers to optimize health through movement.
Transform communities by optimizing lives through the science of movement.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Students and graduates will demonstrate knowledge of foundational and clinical sciences associated with the practice of physical therapy.
- Students and graduates will perform all elements associated with patient management
- displaying sound clinical decision making
- Students and graduates will display moral, ethical, and legal behaviors in academic, healthcare and community environments.
- Students and graduates interact/communicate with patients/clients, caregivers, health care providers and community members in a manner that is congruent with situational and cultural needs.
- Students and graduates will apply evidence-based principles within their practice environment.
- Students and graduates will perform administrative duties/activities associated with practice management.
- Students and graduates will demonstrate interprofessional attitudes and behaviors in all settings.
- Students and graduates will provide care/consultation for health promotion and wellness in healthcare and community environments.
- Students and graduates will exhibit lifelong learning behaviors for personal and professional growth.
- Students and graduates will engage in service to the profession, university, and community.
To be considered for admission, you must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university prior to the start of orientation.
Submission of GRE scores with the application is highly recommended. Required courses must be completed before registration. A science GPA and cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher are recommended to be considered for admission. The following course work must be completed prior to matriculation; grades below a C- will not be accepted.
|Subject||Required Course(s) or Term Hours|
or a two-course sequence in anatomy and physiology with lab
Other recommended course work includes biomechanics, kinesiology, exercise physiology, genetics, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology and math (trigonometry or calculus).
Applicants are required to observe physical therapists at work for at least 25 hours. While applicants have until matriculation to complete the physical therapy observation requirement, at least 15 total hours of observation must be complete at the time of application to be considered for an interview. Observations may be in-person or virtual. The most competitive applicants will have observed in a variety of physical therapy settings.
Additional information can be found on the DPT Program Admissions Requirements website.
Program Application Process
Application to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program is accepted through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS).
Detailed information regarding the process can be found on the DPT Program Admissions website.
Applicants will be contacted by email if they are selected for an interview. An interview is required for admission. Applicants will receive a response to their application status after the interview process.
The DPT program does not accept transfer credits.
Curriculum Overview and Outline
Students must complete each of the courses listed in the accompanying set of course descriptions. The curriculum is designed to assist students with professional and personal development. This is accomplished through integrated and sequential learning experiences including but not limited to a course series in Foundational Sciences (FS), Patient Management (PM), Clinical Applications (CA), and Professional Issues and Development. The experiences provide the basic cognitive, affective and psychomotor knowledge and skills needed for the practice of physical therapy. These experiences are also designed to motivate students to become lifelong learners.
To ensure excellence for both students and society, formative and summative evaluation is essential. Evaluation facilitates learning and provides validation for program excellence.
The faculty is committed to excellence in teaching and learning, and to serving students, the community and the profession. Excellence is achieved through selection of students with unique natural talents and abilities followed by nurturing and development.
The program is 34 months in length and is divided into eight terms. Each term builds on the information from previous terms. The length of time for each term varies.
To review the program’s outcomes statistics (e.g., average graduation rate, average employment rate, average licensure exam pass rate, etc.), please visit the program’s outcomes webpage.
Students who satisfactorily complete the requirements for graduation from the physical therapy program of the College of Health Sciences are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) given by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. A passing score on this examination is one requirement for practice as a physical therapist in all states.
TECHNICAL STANDARDS FOR ADMISSION, ACADEMIC PROMOTION AND GRADUATION
The purpose of this document is to specify the technical standards the University deems essential for a student to matriculate, remain in good standing and ultimately achieve all the competencies necessary for graduation within their program. The University, therefore, requires candidates to confirm their ability to comply with these standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, as a condition of admission and on an annual basis thereafter within a program’s advising processes.
Fulfilment of the technical standards for graduation does not guarantee that a graduate will be able to fulfill the technical requirements of any specific post-graduate residency or fellowship program or employment setting.
A candidate who is seeking a DO, DPM, MSPAS, or DPT degree at Des Moines University must be capable of completing core educational requirements and achieving the competencies in the basic and clinical sciences. DMU seeks to develop candidates who have a deep and robust health science or medical knowledge base and outstanding clinical skills, with the ability to appropriately apply them, effectively interpret information, and contribute to decisions across a broad spectrum of medical situations and settings. The critical skills required to be successful are outlined below and include the ability to observe, communicate, perform motor functions, as well as to understand, integrate core knowledge and skills, and to behave appropriately in varied educational and professional situations.
Reasonable accommodations consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act and the Iowa Civil Rights Act may be required by otherwise qualified individual candidates to meet the technical standards specified below. Requests for University-provided accommodations will be granted if the requests are reasonable, do not cause a fundamental alteration of the health science or medical education program, do not cause an undue hardship, are consistent with the standards of the health science or medical profession, and are recommended by the Accommodations and Educational Support Specialist.
1. Observation: Candidates and students must be able to acquire required information and timely interpret demonstrations, experiments, and laboratory exercises in the basic sciences. They must be able to observe a patient/client accurately for purposes of interactions, evaluation, and treatment.
2. Communication: Candidates and students must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language such that they can communicate effectively in oral and written form with all members of the health care team. Candidates and students must be able to communicate with patients/clients in order to elicit and share information. They must have the capacity for comfortable verbal and non-verbal communication and interpersonal skills to enable effective caregiving of patients/clients and collaboration within a multidisciplinary team. In any case where a candidate’s ability to communicate is compromised, the candidate must demonstrate reasonable alternative means and/or abilities to communicate with patients/clients and members of the healthcare team.
3. Motor and Sensory: Candidates and students must have sufficient motor and tactile function to execute movements reasonably required to perform basic laboratory tests, perform physical examinations, and provide clinical care, including emergency treatment to patients. Such actions may require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements and strength, vestibular function, and functional use of the senses of touch to meet professional care standards. In any case where a candidate’s ability to complete and interpret physical findings using such skills and functions is compromised, the candidate must demonstrate reasonable alternative means and/or abilities to retrieve these physical findings. Candidates and students must be willing and able to touch and examine without regard to race, color, national origin, ethnicity, creed, religion, age, disability, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, veteran status, genetic information, or other characteristics protected by law.
4. Strength and Mobility: Candidates and students must demonstrate strength, including upper and lower extremity and body strength, and mobility to provide clinical care, attend to emergency codes, and to perform or direct such maneuvers as CPR.
5. Evaluation and Treatment Integration: Consistent with the ability to assess at a minimum symmetry, range of motion, and tissue textures, candidates and students must perform proper evaluation and treatment integration.
6. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities: Candidates and students must have the ability to accurately measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, problem solve, and think critically. They must also have the ability to participate and learn through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to, classroom instruction, small groups, virtual learning, team and collaborative activities. Interpretation of information from multiple sources (written, verbal, environmental, and interpersonal) is also expected. In addition, candidates and students should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures. Candidates and students must be able to concentrate, timely analyze and interpret data, and make decisions within areas in which there is a reasonable amount of visual and auditory distraction.
7. Behavioral Attributes, Social Skills, and Professional Expectation: Candidates and students must be able to effectively utilize their intellectual abilities, exercise good judgment, complete all responsibilities attendant to the evaluation and care of patients/clients, and develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and colleagues. Candidates and students must be able to professionally manage heavy workloads, prioritize conflicting demands, and function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments; to display flexibility, to learn to function in the face of their own possible biases and uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients, and to not engage in substance overuse or abuse. Candidates and students must be able to understand and determine the impact of the social determinants of health and other systemic issues (including workload and environmental demands) which impact the care for all individuals in a respectful and effective manner regardless of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, creed, religion, age, disability, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, veteran status or any protected status. Professionalism, compassion, integrity, concern for others, ethical standards, interpersonal skills, engagement, emotional intelligence, and motivation are all qualities that are required throughout the educational process.
Des Moines University welcomes qualified candidates and students with disabilities who meet the technical standards of the program, with or without reasonable accommodations. Students with a disability who may need accommodations during their educational career at DMU will be asked to reaffirm their need for accommodations when acknowledging the ability to meet technical standards annually. The student is responsible for requesting accommodations through the Accommodations and Educational Support Specialist in the Center for Educational Enhancement in person, by phone (515-271-4452) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Accommodations and Educational Support Specialist reviews all requests for accommodations through an individualized, interactive process.
The use of an intermediary may be a reasonable accommodation while performing some non-essential physical maneuvers or non-technical data gathering. However, an intermediary cannot substitute for the candidates’ or student’s interpretation and judgement. Intermediaries may not perform essential skills on behalf of the candidate or student, nor can they replace technical skills related to selection and observation.
PROCESS FOR ASSESSING COMPLIANCE WITH THE TECHNICAL STANDARDS
Candidates are required to attest at the time they accept an offer to matriculate that they meet the applicable technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, and annually confirm they continue to meet these standards. These standards are not intended to deter any candidate or student who might be able to complete the requirements of the curriculum with reasonable accommodations.
The University will provide reasonable accommodations as may be required by the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Iowa Civil Rights Act
A student whose behavior or performance raises questions concerning his or her ability to fulfill these technical standards may be required to obtain evaluation or testing by a health care provider designated by the University, and to provide the results to the Center for Educational Enhancement to be considered as part of the interactive process to determine possible reasonable accommodations.
Technological compensation can be made with respect to certain technical standards, but candidates and students should be able to perform these standards in a reasonably independent manner.
In addition to the technical standards set forth, candidates and students must possess the general physical health necessary for performing the duties of a student in the health sciences and a health professional in training without endangering the lives of patients and/or colleagues with whom they might have contact.
|Fall Term||Credit Hours|
|DPT 1620||CA Health Promotion||1.5|
|DPT 1640||Research Design & Statistics||2|
|DPT 1650||FS Anatomy||9|
|DPT 1651||FS Health Promotion||4.5|
|DPT 1660||PM Health Promotion||2|
|DPT 1690||Professional Issues & Development 1||3|
|DPT 1621||CA Musculoskeletal Lower Quad||2|
|DPT 1641||Epidemiology and Evidence Based Practice||1|
|DPT 1652||FS Musculoskeletal Lower Quad||4.5|
|DPT 1661||PM Musculoskeletal Lower Quad||8|
|DPT 1680||Health Promotion Practicum||2|
|DPT 1691||Professional Issues & Development 2||1|
|DPT 2622A||CA Musculoskeletal Upper Quad 1||1|
|DPT 2653A||FS Musculoskeletal Upper Quad 1||2.5|
|DPT 2662A||PM Musculoskeletal Upper Quad 1||5|
|DPT 2692A||Professional Issues & Development 3||0.5|
|DPT 2622B||CA-Musculoskeletal Upper Quad 2||0.5|
|DPT 2630||Clinical Education Experience 1||10|
|DPT 2653B||FS Musculoskeletal Upper Quad 2||1|
|DPT 2662B||PM Musculoskeletal Upper Quad 2||3|
|DPT 2692B||Professional Issues & Development 4||1|
|DPT 2623||CA Neuromuscular Systems||2.5|
|DPT 2654||FS Neuromuscular Systems||3|
|DPT 2663||PM Cardiopulmonary Systems||3|
|DPT 2664||PM Neuromuscular Systems||7|
|DPT 2693||Professional Issues & Development 5||2.5|
|DPT 3631||Clinical Education Experience 2||10|
|DPT 3610||Civic Engagement||1|
|DPT 3670||Practice Topics||10|
|DPT 3694||Professional Issues & Development 6||3.5|
|DPT 3632||Clinical Education Experience 3||8|
|DPT 3633||Clinical Education Experience 4||8|
|Total Credit Hours||123.5|
There are no required elective hours for students entering the program beginning in Fall of 2020. A complete list of University electives may be found on the Elective Courses page. Prior to the start of each term, students are provided a list of electives for which DPT students are eligible.
To receive a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, a student must satisfy the following:
- Successful completion of all academic requirements:
- Pass all academic course work and clinical internships.
- Maintain a grade point average (GPA) of at least a 2.0.
- Completion of the Federation of the State Boards of Physical Therapy's Practice Exam and Assessment Tool.
- Approval for graduation by the program faculty, Dean and the Board of Trustees of the University following recommendation by the Academic Progress Committee. Academic performance and professionalism is evaluated and considered for graduation.
- Satisfactory resolution of all financial obligations