May 29, 2024  
2022-23 ATSU University Catalog 
2022-23 ATSU University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Therapy (Residential), DPT

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: All Programs

Doctor of Physical Therapy (Residential)

Physical therapists are healthcare professionals who work to restore movement and function through direct treatment, education, consultation, and management of rehabilitation resources. Physical therapy means the examination, treatment, and instruction of human beings to detect, assess, prevent, correct, alleviate, and limit physical disability, movement dysfunction, bodily malfunction, and pain from injury, disease, and other bodily and mental conditions. This includes the administration, interpretation, and evaluation of tests and measurements of bodily functions and structures; the planning, administration, evaluation, and modification of treatment and instruction, including the use of physical measures, activities, and devices for preventive and therapeutic purposes; and the provision of consultative, educational, and other advisory services for the purpose of reducing incidents and severity of physical disability, movement dysfunction, bodily malfunction, and pain.

The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is a post-baccalaureate program that requires completion of didactic and clinical coursework, including a capstone project.

Program Mission Statement

Advance the profession of physical therapy and the health of society by: Promoting learners who embrace whole person healthcare through the integration of body, mind, and spirit.

Engaging the community through interprofessional service and community partnerships.

Serving the profession through local and national advocacy and leadership.

Contributing to the body of knowledge through scholarship.

Length of Program

The DPT entry-level program is a three-year degree program. Students are required to complete a minimum of 142 semester credit hours to obtain the degree. The curriculum plan includes 55 required courses (including two comprehensive practical exams and the final comprehensive written exam).

Tuition and Fees

Tuition is due twice a year at ATSU. It is due at the beginning of the first and second semesters. Each payment is half the cost for the entire year. Tuition may be paid any time during the week that it is due. Delinquent tuition penalties accrue at 1.5% per month, which is 18% per year. For more information on Student Account Collection, please reference ATSU Policy #50-112 within the Financial Policies  section of this catalog.

Class/Year Tuition Student Technology Fee Medical Equipment Fee
Class of 2025, year 1 $39,194 $1,150 $176
Class of 2024, year 2 $39,194 $1,150  
Class of 2023, year 3 $37,688 $1,150 $210


Application Process

ATSU-ASHS’ residential DPT program participates in a centralized application processing service called the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). PTCAS provides a web-based service that allows applicants to submit a single application to multiple participating PT programs. All official transcripts and letters of reference are sent directly to PTCAS as part of the application process.

Applications may be obtained through PTCAS at Questions regarding the PTCAS account may be directed to PTCAS at 617.612.2040 or by email at All other questions should be sent to Admissions at or 866.626.2878 ext. 2237.

Applicants meeting the minimum GPA requirements will be invited by ATSU via email to submit a secondary application. This application, in addition to a $70 application fee, must be submitted to ATSU for admission consideration.

Application Deadline

The deadline to apply with PTCAS for the ATSU-ASHS residential DPT program is December 16. Program enrollment is based on rolling admissions. Applicants are encouraged to apply early.

Admission Requirements

Applicants are required to meet all ATSU and ATSU-ASHS general admission requirements.

  1. Applicants must have achieved a minimum 2.80 cumulative GPA and a 2.80 prerequisite GPA on a 4.0 scale. These GPAs are calculated and reported by PTCAS. The ATSU Admissions Department does not recalculate GPAs.
  2. Applicants must have earned a baccalaureate degree.
  3. Applicants must complete all pre-requisite courses prior to the start of school. Applicants with four or more outstanding pre-requisites will not be considered for admission. Applicants must show proof of enrollment in any pending pre-requisite courses by the end of the Spring quarter.
    1. Biology/Anatomy – Two courses in Human Anatomy and Human Physiology, each including lecture and lab (two semesters or quarters of lecture and lab). Example: Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II, Human Anatomy and Human Physiology, all with lecture and lab.
    2. Biology/Zoology – Two courses in Biology/Zoology, each including lecture and lab (two semesters or quarters of lecture and lab). Examples: General Biology I and II, Genetics, Molecular, Cellular and Microbiology, all with lecture and lab.
    3. General Chemistry – Two courses in Chemistry, each including lecture and lab. (two semesters or quarters of lecture and lab). Examples: General Chemistry I and II, Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, all with lecture and lab.
    4. Physics – Two courses in Physics, each including lecture and lab (two semesters or quarters of lecture and lab). Examples: General Physics I and II, or College/University Physics I and II all with lecture and lab.
    5. Statistics – One course, minimum of 3 semester/4 quarter hours. Examples: Applied Statistics, Elements of Statistics, and Statistics of Bio.
    6. Psychology – Two courses: One abnormal psychology and one either lifespan developmental or child psychology, minimum of 6 semester/9 quarter hours. No substitutes accepted.
    7. Exercise Physiology – One course, minimum of 3 semester/4 quarter hours.
  4. Official transcripts for all college level courses must be submitted directly from the institution to PTCAS.
  5. Applicants are required to obtain a minimum of 30 contact hours with a physical therapist in a variety of physical therapy settings prior to application submission. Exposure to multiple types of physical therapy practices such as, geriatrics, pediatrics, neurology and orthopedics is desired, and a consideration in the decision to offer admission. Students may contact hospitals, nursing homes and outpatient physical therapy clinics to meet the required observation hours. Observation hours do not have to be verified.
  6. Applicants must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores.
    1. Scores older than three years prior to admission year will not be accepted.
      1. The GRE general test Code for ATSU-ASHS is 7695 listed under Arizona on the ETS website.
      2. Applicants are required to have a minimum GRE of 140 for verbal and quantitative as well as a 3.5 on the writing score.
  7. Letters of References: Specific information regarding letters of reference can be found in PTCAS. For the secondary application, applicants only need to supply the name of the references listed in the primary PTCAS application.

Applicants who are considered potential candidates may be required to participate in an applicant interview process. Personal interviews are conducted both on-site and by video conference. Dates are not released prior to reviewing an applicant’s application.

Priority Consideration Agreements

ATSU-ASHS maintains admission agreements with Arizona State University (ASU), Grand Canyon University (GCU), Truman State University (TSU) and Chaminade University of Honolulu. More information on these admission agreements may be found at

Minimal Technical Standards for PT


The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at A.T. Still University has a responsibility to the public to assure that its graduates are prepared to become fully competent and caring physical therapists. In order to fulfill this obligation, physical therapy students must safely and competently demonstrate the technical standards described in this document as well as in individual course requirements.

Technical standards (also called competencies) refer to the physical, mental, and emotional abilities, skills, attitudes and behaviors that comprise physical therapist practice and are required for admission, retention, and graduation. The student must possess and demonstrate the program qualifications and entry-level proficiency in all six of the technical standards below to achieve satisfactory completion of the curricular requirements. Entry-level proficiency is defined as the minimum knowledge, skills and abilities to practice independently, competently, legally, ethically, and safely as a licensed physical therapist. Technical standards must be demonstrated throughout the entire ATSU community including in the classroom, laboratories, off-campus professional activities, and clinical settings.

ATSU Doctor of Physical Therapy Physical Therapy students must meet all of these standards with or without reasonable academic adjustments (accommodations). Reasonable academic adjustments may be required by otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities to meet these standards. It is the responsibility of the student to request disability-related academic adjustments. The University will provide necessary academic adjustments as long as they do not fundamentally alter the nature of the program offered, do not impose an undue administrative or financial burden, and are not unduly disruptive to the educational process. The program uses independent clinical education sites that may or may not be able to offer the same academic adjustments that are made available by ATSU. Students who have questions regarding disability-related academic adjustments, or who wish to make a request, should contact Learning & Disability Resources (, 480.245.6248).

If it becomes apparent that either: a) the student cannot meet the technical standards even with academic adjustments; or b) the requested academic adjustment(s) would fundamentally alter the nature of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at ATSU or the practice of physical therapy in ATSU clinical education placements; or c) create a significant risk of harm to the health or safety of others, then an offer of admission may be withdrawn or a matriculated student may no longer be qualified for the program.


A brief description of each competency is provided below. Additional details are outlined in individual course requirements, and in the Department, School of Health Sciences and University catalog and student handbooks/manuals.


Physical Therapy students are expected to abide by the APTA Code of Ethics, APTA Guide for Professional Conduct, and demonstrate the behaviors outlined in the APTA Core Values.


Physical Therapy students must possess the intellectual, conceptual, perceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities necessary to independently problem-solve effectively during the patient/client management process. To achieve entry-level proficiency, students must progress from the basic skills of memorization, comprehension, and application to the advanced skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation in order to discern the nature of and to develop and implement a plan of care for a patient/client’s actual or potential impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. Students also must be able to measure and calculate as well as use data collected to formulate and test hypotheses. In addition, students should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. Students must have the ability to communicate proficiently in English in both written and oral forms in a timely manner under high paced stressful environments.


Physical Therapy students must be able to independently accomplish the physical demands of the work performed by physical therapists which are categorized as “medium” in difficulty. “Medium work” is defined as: “Exerting 20 to 50 pounds of force occasionally, or 10 to 25 pounds of force frequently, or greater than negligible up to 10 pounds of force constantly to move objects.” (Department of Labor)

The physical therapy student also must possess the physical and sensorimotor abilities (including gross motor and fine motor skills, vision, hearing, and tactile and proprioceptive awareness) to perform the patient/client management elements of examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention in a timely manner. This includes possessing the physical abilities to conduct required examination and treatment procedures while assuring the student’s own safety and that of the patient.


Physical Therapy students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities; the exercise of good judgment; the prompt completion of assignments and other responsibilities necessary for the didactic and clinical coursework within the program as well as to those, necessary to the diagnosis and care of patients. Students must acknowledge and respect individual differences by demonstrating mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with others including, but not limited to, peers, instructors, staff, patients and all members of the healthcare team. In addition, students must be able to tolerate physically, intellectually, and emotionally demanding challenges and workloads and be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the rigors of the academic professional program and in dealings with peers, instructors, staff, and patients. Compassion, maturity, integrity, ethics, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all required personal qualities.


Physical therapy students must be able to communicate through nonverbal, verbal and written forms of communication. Students must be able to speak, hear and observe patients in the English language in order to elicit information; examine and treat patients; describe changes in mood, activity and posture; and perceive nonverbal communication. Student’s communication, both verbal and non-verbal, must be sensitive, effective, and efficient with peers, instructors, staff, patients, and all members of the university and healthcare team.

Statement of Agreement

I have read the above document and have sought clarification where needed. I understand that I must meet all competencies described above, with or without academic adjustments, in order to be qualified for admission, promoted to the subsequent terms, and to achieve eligibility for graduation from the ATSU Doctor of Physical Therapy program.  

Graduation Requirements

To earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in the residential program, all students must:

  1. Pass all prescribed didactic and clinical courses, including completion of a capstone project, with a minimum grade of ‘C’ and a minimum GPA of 2.5
  2. Pass all practical and written comprehensive exams
  3. Attend commencement activities


During the first year, students build on their prerequisite coursework through courses in the basic sciences and introductory courses in patient care and therapeutic exercise. As the year progresses, the students are introduced to clinical courses in the areas in both musculoskeletal and neurologic rehabilitation. Additionally, students begin core courses in critical inquiry covering evidence-based practice, research design, and statistics. They also begin coursework in professional practice that will continue throughout the curriculum. The first year ends with the first full-time clinical experience. In the second year students continue with clinical courses in both the musculoskeletal and neurological rehabilitation areas. They progress into courses focusing on special populations and then finish with seminar courses aimed to assist with integration of concepts and a holistic approach to patient care. Students are introduced to the capstone project options and begin working toward completion of an applied research project. During the third year, students continue work on their capstone projects while completing three full-time internships and participating in virtual grand rounds.


Descriptions and Credit Values

A typical course schedule consists of the following. Additional course options may be available and listed below under Other Courses.

Other Courses

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: All Programs