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Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Location: Worcester
Start Term: Fall
Application Deadline: April 1

As a physical therapist, you have the power to improve the health and well-being of people across the life span. This program builds on your bachelor's degree to help you develop the advanced knowledge and skills required for contemporary physical therapy practice.

In this full-time, three-year doctoral program, you will experience a challenging course of study designed to prepare you to diagnose and treat a wide variety of patients, assess their outcomes, and provide evidence of effectiveness. You will have the opportunity to work with real patients in our on-campus Balance, Movement, and Wellness Center and gain real-world experience through a wide range of clinical experiences both on and off campus.

When you graduate, you will be eligible to sit for the PT licensing examination and begin your rewarding career in a variety of roles in practice, patient education, research, policy, and advocacy as a physical therapist.

Ready to apply? Applicants to the DPT program must submit all required materials to the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) by the application deadline.

Apply

To apply to the DPT program at MCPHS, an applicant must submit the following:

  • All official transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official GRE scores (taken within five years)
  • Minimum of 10 PT observation hours

Students with foreign transcripts must also submit a course-by-course evaluation from World Education Services (WES). Please note that a WES evaluation is not required for applicants with coursework from English-speaking Canadian universities and colleges.

For non-native English speakers, proof of language proficiency must also be submitted with a score report from TOEFL, IELTS or iTEP, or by arranging to take the on-campus MCPHS Language Proficiency Test.

For admission to the program, an applicant must have:

  • A minimum overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • A minimum prerequisite GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

The following prerequisite courses must be completed:

  • General Biology I & II with lab (8 credits)
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology I & II with lab (8 credits)
  • Exercise Physiology (3 credits)
  • General Chemistry I & II with lab (8 credits)
  • Physics I & II with lab (8 credits)
  • Calculus (3 credits) (Calculus is preferred but Precalculus will be accepted as a substitution)
  • Psychology (3 credits)
  • Statistics (3 credits)
  • Behavioral Science Elective (3 credits) (Acceptable courses include any upper level psychology or sociology course)

Prerequisite courses (as indicated above) must have been completed at a regionally accredited college or university with a grade of B- or better. Math and science courses taken more than ten years prior to the anticipated date of matriculation to MCPHS will not be accepted.

MCPHS participates in the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). PTCAS gives applicants the ability to use a single application and one set of required materials to apply to multiple programs. To get started, visit http://www.ptcas.org to create an account.

For questions about the receipt, processing, and verification of your application, please visit the PTCAS Applicant Help Center to review the FAQs. You may also live chat with customer service or reach them by phone at 617.612.2040 or by email at ptcasinfo@ptcas.org. PTCAS customer service is available Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

Qualified candidates are invited to an on-campus interview with faculty at MCPHS-Worcester. Faculty interviews are open application which means your interviewer will have your complete application available to them during the interview and may ask questions about your academic history, work experience (if any), and extracurricular activities. You should be prepared to talk about all aspects of your application.

Prepping for your interview: Prior to coming to campus, be sure to research the University and read the information that has been sent to you. Showing you have a good understanding of our program and university will help you in the interview process.

Practice makes perfect: Consider having a friend or family member perform a mock interview with you. Consider questions like:

  • What are your strengths?
  • Why do you want to attend MCPHS?
  • What courses did you enjoy most in your undergraduate experience?
  • What, or who, has most influenced your decision to apply to this program?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions: Come prepared with a list of your own questions. The interview is an opportunity for you to get to know us as much as it is for us to get to know you.

Dress the part: Wear professional attire as if you would for a job interview (but wear comfortable shoes as you will be touring the campus!).

Most importantly: be on time, be yourself, and have fun!

Integrated Clinical Experiences:

You will gain hands-on experience through a variety of integrated clinical experiences in the first two years of the program. Integrated clinical experiences build on the information you learn in the classroom. For example, during the courses focused on acute care, students are assigned to an acute care setting to experience specialty clinics, post-surgical management, and intensive care.

Balance, Movement, and Wellness Center:

In the on-campus, pro-bono Balance, Movement, and Wellness Center, you will gain experience working with real patients. You will work together with our expert faculty and other students to help improve patients’ strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, and overall wellness through group exercise classes that focus on patients’ individual needs.

Clinical Rotations:

In the final year of the program, you will participate in three, full-time off-campus clinical education experiences. Each experience is 10 weeks long—one in an outpatient orthopedic setting, one in a complex medical setting such as inpatient acute, acute rehab, subacute rehab or homecare, and an elective in the area in which you have a strong passion for.

COURSE TITLE SEMESTER HOURS

Year 1-Fall

PTH 501 PT as a Profession 2
PTH 510 Foundations of PT Management I (w/ lab) 3
PTH 520 Clinical Medicine and Pathology I 3
PTH 530 Clinical Human Anatomy I (w/ lab) 3
PTH 540 Evidence for PT Practice I 2
PTH 552 PT in the Acute Care Environment (w/ lab) 3
PTH 570 Integrated Clinical Education I 2
TOTAL

18

Year 1-Spring

PTH 515 Foundations of PT Management II (w/ lab) 3
PTH 525 Clinical Medicine and Pathology II 3
PTH 535 Clinical Human Anatomy II (w/ lab) 3
PTH 545 Evidence for PT Practice II 1
PTH 550 Pharmacology 3
PTH 560 Standardized Measurement in PT Practice (w/ lab) 3
PTH 575 Integrated Clinical Education II 2
TOTAL 18

Year 1-Summer

PTH 554 Lifespan Motor Control 3
PTH 556 Human Gait 2
PTH 558 Clinical Kinesiology (w/ lab) 3
PTH 565 Cardiopulmonary Patient Management (w/ lab) 3
PTH 580 Professional Issues In PT Practice I 1
TOTAL 12

Year II-Fall

PTH 601 Clinical Imaging 2
PTH 610 Musculoskeletal Patient Management I (w/ lab) 3
PTH 640 Evidence for PT Practice III 2
PTH 650 Therapeutic Exercise (w/ lab) 3
PTH 652 Neuroscience (w/ lab) 3
PTH 654 Orthotics and Prosthetics (w/ lab) 3
PTH 670 Integrated Clinical Education III 2
TOTAL 18

Year II-Spring

PTH 615 Musculoskeletal Patient Management II (w/ lab) 3
PTH 630 Neuromuscular Patient Management I (w/ lab) 3
PTH 645 Evidence for PT Practice IV 2
PTH 656 PT Management of the Geriatric Patient 3
PTH 658 PT Management for the Pediatric Patient 3
PTH 660 Professional Issues in PT Practice II 1
PTH 675 Integrated Clinical Education IV 2
TOTAL 17

Year II-Summer

PTH 620 Musculoskeletal Patient Management III (w/ lab) 3
PTH 635 Neuromuscular Patient Management II (w/ lab) 3
PTH 665 Professional Issues in PT Practice III 3
PTH 680 Integrated Clinical Education V 2
TOTAL 11

Year III-Fall

PTHC 700 Clinical Education Experience I 8
PTHC 710 Clinical Education Experience II 8
TOTAL 16

Year III-Spring

PTHC 720 Clinical Education Experience III 8
DPT Elective(s) 1
PTH 810 Evidence for PT Practice V 1
PTH 820 Current Topics in PT Practice 2
PTH 830 Professional Issues in PT Practice IV 1
TOTAL 13

Our students learn from faculty who are leaders in their fields and are committed to the success of each student. Discover our full list of Physical Therapy faculty

Information on the University’s Disabilities Support Services is set forth in the MCPHS University Catalog. If a student feels s/he may require special accommodations to perform any of the fundamental requirements of the curriculum, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the Assistant Dean for Academic Support Services as set forth in the MCPHS University Catalog.

Essential Functions

The practice of physical therapy includes the examination, diagnosis, and treatment of people with physical disabilities, movement dysfunction, and pain. Physical therapists must be prepared to conduct in a timely manner a relevant patient examination, evaluate the results of this examination and synthesize these data to establish an accurate diagnosis, prognosis and plan of care, implement an intervention and use the process of re-examination to assess patient outcomes. Physical therapists must also possess the skills necessary to determine when referral of the patient/client to another health care professional is appropriate. Physical therapists must provide evidence that the care that they provide is effective, often through the conduct of clinically based research.

DPT students must be able to complete the following:

  • Participation in all required aspects of classroom and laboratory activities. 
  • Participation in all required aspects of clinical experience activities.
  • Effective communication with other students, instructors, assistive personnel, patients, family members, payers, and other health care professionals.
  • Maintenance of a safe environment for other individuals and for one’s self, including use of universal precautions.
  • Provision of emergency patient care, including, but not limited to, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Completion of elements of patient/client management, including examination, evaluation of data, formulation of physical therapy diagnosis and prognosis, intervention, assessment of outcomes, and record keeping.
  • Completion of specific patient/client interventions and treatments, including patient and family education, application of modalities, therapeutic exercise, and functional training.

Clinical agencies may have additional or agency-specific technical standards, which take precedence over MCPHS University technical standards.

The Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accredits professional physical therapy programs and requires that graduates of these programs be able to deliver entry-level clinical services. Graduates of entry-level programs are required to possess a broad base of knowledge and skills requisite for the practice of physical therapy. Physical therapists require the intellectual—communication, behavioral—social, observational, and motor abilities to meet the standard of practice.

Certain disabilities can interfere with a student’s ability to complete the program of study and acquire the essential functions necessary for the practice physical therapy. Reasonable accommodation can be made to compensate for some limitations. However, those that interfere with patient care, safety or require the use of an intermediary may be incompatible with independent professional practice.

Technical Standards

Intellectual – Communication Abilities

Intellectual skills include the abilities to recall and comprehend large amounts of didactic information and to apply this information to the examination, evaluation and management of routine and complex physical therapy problems. Effective communication skills enable the physical therapist to elicit appropriate information from patients and to effectively explain examination and treatment procedures.
 
Some of the skills an individual must be able to demonstrate include but are not limited to the ability to:

  • Communicate clearly and in a timely manner with patients, physicians, other health professionals, community or professional groups, and colleagues.
  • Report clearly, legibly, and in a timely manner through progress notes in patient charts, reports to physicians, insurance forms, and order forms.
  • Respond to such things as a patient calling from behind a curtain, warning calls from anyone, and machine alarms.
  • Participate in group meetings to deliver and receive information and to respond to questions from a variety of sources.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

Students must demonstrate the ability to practice in a professional and ethical manner and possess the emotional stability to practice in a stressful work environment. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, cultural competence and motivation are all personal attributes associated with the practice of physical therapy.

Some of the skills an individual must be able to demonstrate include but are not limited to the ability to:

  •  Recognize and respond appropriately to individuals of all ages, genders, races, socio- economic, religious, and cultural backgrounds.
  • Cope with the stress of heavy workloads, demanding patients, and life threatening clinical situations.
  • Recognize and respond appropriately to potentially hazardous situations.

Observational Skills

Observation is one of the key tools that a physical therapist possesses. To gather data on patient/client condition and to appropriately manipulate machinery are critical to being an effective physical therapist. Some of the skills an individual must be able to demonstrate include but are not limited to the ability to:

  • Observe and interpret patient movement, skin condition, safety hazards, and changes in appearance.
  • Read and interpret equipment dials, assessment graphs, patient charts, professional literature, and notes from patients, physicians, and other health professionals.

Motor Skills

The practice of physical therapy requires that the practitioner possess the ability to perform basic evaluative and therapeutic procedures that require specific physical skills and stamina (e.g. palpation, transfers, gait training). A therapist must be able to use vision and somatic sensation in the evaluation and treatment of patients. Some of the skills an individual must be able to demonstrate include but are not limited to the ability to:

  • Lift, carry, and push patients (150 lbs.) in bed or wheelchairs, heavy equipment, body parts, and patients transferring from bed to chair or mat or be able to instruct others in the activity including proper body mechanics.
  • Walk and balance well enough to help patients walk and transfer with or without equipment, and prevent injury to patient and self.
  • Palpate anatomical structures and handle injured body parts without causing injury to the subject.
  • Exhibit sufficient manual dexterity to manipulate very small equipment, provide support and resistance as needed through complex exercise movements, perform CPR, manipulate dials, and treat acutely ill patients without disturbing sensitive monitoring instruments and lines.
  • Provide for the patient’s safety and well-being in all therapeutic or transporting activities.

MCPHS University is committed to creating and fostering a positive learning, working and living environment where all members of our community can thrive. Learn more about our non-discrimination policies and procedures here

 

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Find out what makes this program unique at MCPHS.

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Student Spotlight: Aaron Soto, DPT

Aaron Soto DPT 18

From our on-site Balance, Movement, and Wellness Center to experienced faculty, one current student explains why he chose MCPHS.

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