Marymount University

Graduate Catalog 2013-14

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)

The Marymount University Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T) program prepares generalist practitioners to deliver best available physical therapist practice for improving movement, function and health across diverse individuals and communities. The program employs a dynamic learning-in-context environment that is warm and welcoming. Critical thinking, professionalism, respecting individual differences, and adherence to ethical practices ground all classroom, clinic, and community activities. The program utilizes a modified problem-based curriculum unique to the region.

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to

  • function independently, managing patients with a wide variety of simple or complex conditions;
  • perform skilled physical therapist examinations, interventions, and clinical reasoning proficiently and consistently;
  • apply best available scientific evidence, clinical judgment, and patient preferences in physical therapy patient management;
  • manage a full-time physical therapist’s caseload to achieve resource-efficient and patient-effective outcomes;
  • exhibit care, compassion, and empathy in delivering physical therapy services sensitive to individual, cultural, and social differences; and
  • implement a self-directed plan for professional development and lifelong learning.

The physical therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Admission Requirements and Eligibility: The physical therapy (PT) program is a three-year, full-time program. Applicants have a separate admissions process and a notification of admission status shortly after the required interview. Entry into the program is in the fall semester only. Class size is limited to 38 students. Marymount University participates in the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS), offered through the American Physical Therapy Association. With this system, one central application is completed. Materials are then forwarded to all programs to which the individual applied through PTCAS. The PTCAS website ( provides further information and instructions about the application process. The deadline to submit a completed application is December 2.

In order to be considered for admission, applicants need the following:

  • a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university prior to entry into the physical therapy program;
  • a 3.0 or higher cumulative GPA for all college and university coursework;
  • a 3.0 or higher cumulative GPA for all prerequisite science coursework; and
  • completion of 40 hours of observation or volunteer service work in a physical therapy clinical setting, verified by a physical therapist from the clinical setting. These hours may be completed at more than one clinical facility.

Application materials are available on the PTCAS website. A complete application includes

  • the PTCAS application form;
  • a $30 supplemental fee paid directly to Marymount's Office of Graduate Enrollment Services;
  • an autobiographical essay, as described in the application packet;
  • official transcripts for all college and university coursework;
  • verification of completing 40 hours of clinical observation or work in a physical therapy setting under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist;
  • two letters of recommendation (using the form provided by PTCAS) from faculty, academic advisors, physical therapists, or employers addressing the applicant’s ability, motivation, and interest in pursuing graduate studies in physical therapy; and
  • scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).

The physical therapy program’s Admissions Committee reviews all applications. Initial evaluation of applicants includes assessment of overall GPA, prerequisite science GPA, GRE scores, applicant’s written statement, community activities, and recommendations.

Special consideration is given to current Marymount students who have completed at least two full-time semesters at Marymount prior to applying, Marymount University graduates, and persons from minority groups that are underrepresented in the profession.

Applicants are selected based upon their qualifications and potential to contribute to the profession and their community, and who represent a broad diversity of backgrounds.

After the initial review of applicants’ preliminary materials, all individuals being considered for admission are invited to participate in a Department of Physical Therapy interview, typically a Saturday in January. Interview Day consists of a personal interview, group activity, and facility tour. Please check the University website or call the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services to determine the date of Interview Day for the upcoming year. Admission decisions are announced to applicants within 30 days following their scheduled interview. All accepted students must confirm acceptance within three weeks of notification.

Prerequisite Coursework: The prerequisite courses, as identified below, must be completed with a grade of C or better prior to beginning the Physical Therapy program; however, please note that a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better in all PT prerequisite coursework is required for admission. No more than 12 credits from this group of courses may remain incomplete at the time of application to the program. For those students admitted to the program, final transcripts for these courses (if applicable) must be submitted to the PT office by mid-August.

Prerequisite courses for the program are:*

(Marymount course equivalences in parentheses)

  • Two (2) courses of biological sciences with lab (BIO 151-152* General Biology I and II)
  • One (1) course of anatomy/anatomy and physiology I with lab (BIO 161 Anatomy and Physiology I)
  • One (1) course of physiology/anatomy and physiology II with lab (BIO 162 Anatomy and Physiology II)
  • Two (2) courses of general chemistry with lab (e.g. CHM 151-152 Principles of Chemistry I and II)
  • Two (2) courses of general physics with lab (PHYS 171-172 General Physics I and II)
  • One (1) course of psychology (PSY 101 General Psychology)
  • One (1) course of statistics (MA 132 Statistical Analysis)8

International students for whom English is a second language should review International Applicants on page 11 for TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic test score requirements.

Provisional Admission Policy: Occasionally, an applicant who does not fully meet physical therapy admission requirements may be admitted as a provisional student. Candidates for provisional admission are evaluated by the Department of Physical Therapy, and documents supporting a request for provisional admission are forwarded to the dean for approval. Provisional students must complete the first semester of graduate study with a GPA of 3.0 or better. Failure to meet this condition or withdrawal from required first-semester courses will result in dismissal from the program. After successful completion of the first semester of the physical therapy program, a provisional student will be moved to active status.

Clinical Education: Clinical activities are integrated throughout the three-year curriculum. Integrated part-time clinical experiences take place in local physical therapy clinics and coincide directly with didactic learning activities. Clinical full-time practicums take place in clinics locally, nationally, and internationally. The majority of full-time clinical placements occur within the greater metropolitan Washington area and nearby states. Typically, students complete full-time practicums in 8-week or 12-week rotations, at three different clinic sites.

Clinical Requirements: A copy of each PT student’s medical examination record is required upon admission. Physical therapy students must also provide

  • written verification of testing for tuberculosis or screening if PPD is positive (required annually) prior to registering for classes;
  • written verification or letter of declination of the following immunizations: Hepatitis B, MMR, Chicken Pox, and Tetanus/Diphtheria;
  • written verification of health insurance coverage, submitted to the clinical agency coordinator;
  • written verification of CPR certification (adult, child, and infant) prior to registration for the first clinical physical therapy course (current CPR certification must be provided to the clinical agency coordinator each semester);
  • a criminal background check, which is a federal requirement for all persons working with vulnerable populations;
  • drug screening, required by clinical agencies; and
  • additional requirements as stated by specific health care agencies.

Students will not be permitted to register for classes until all requirements are met.

Clinical-Experience Transportation: Students provide their own transportation to and from courses and clinical experiences. The university’s free shuttle service connects the Main Campus, the Ballston Center, and the Ballston-MU Metro station.

Comprehensive Examination: Each student must pass a comprehensive written examination and a comprehensive practical examination in order to graduate. All physical therapy program faculty members contribute questions to the exams.

Minimum Grade and Academic Progression Requirements: Physical therapy students must meet all of the university academic standards for graduate students. In addition, physical therapy students are expected to receive a minimum grade of B in all required courses. However, students are allowed to continue in the program without interruption with up to two course grades of B-. Course grades lower than a B- are considered unsatisfactory. Upon receiving three course grades of B- or any course grade lower than a B-, the student is dismissed from the PT program.

Provisional students who do not complete the full course load in the first semester of graduate study or do not receive a semester GPA of 3.0 or better are dismissed from the program.

Degree Requirements – Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)

101 credits

Year One — Fall

PT 700 Clinical Neuroscience

PT 701 Applied Pathophysiology

PT 702 Health Care Delivery and Contemporary Society

Year One — Spring

PT 710 Gross Anatomy

PT 711 Foundations of PT Examination, Evaluation, and Diagnosis

PT 712 Evidence-Based Practice I: Critical Assessment of Information

Year One — Summer

PT 713 Therapeutic and Scientific Principles of Exercise

Year Two — Fall

PT 720 Evaluation and Management of Patients with Peripheral Musculoskeletal Disorders

PT 721 Evaluation and Management of Patients with Spinal Musculoskeletal Disorders

PT 723 Research Principles and Design

PT 732 The Physical Therapist as a Manager

Year Two — Spring

PT 722 Physical Agents and Electrotherapeutics

PT 730 Evaluation and Management of Patients in Acute Care

PT 731 Clinical Application of PT Management of Patients in Acute Care

PT 733 Evidence-Based Clinical Practice II: Applying Evidence in the Clinical Environment

Year Two — Summer

PT 800 Clinical Practicum I

Year Three — Fall

PT 740 Evaluation and Management of Patients with Neurological Disorders

PT 741 Clinical Applications of PT Management of Patients with Neurological Disorders

PT 744 Case Report I: Foundations

PT 745 Clinical Practice Synthesis

Year Three — Spring

PT 754 Capstone Seminar

PT 755 Topics in Specialty Practice

PT 801 Clinical Practicum II

PT 803 Clinical Case Reports

Year Three — Summer

PT 802 Clinical Practicum III

Catalog Contents

Graduate Catalog 2013-14

General Information


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