PhD Degree Requirements
Students must complete a minimum of 50 credits beyond the DPT degree. Out of the 50 credit hours, 18 credit hours will be based on concentration/specialization coursework (beyond DPT), 6 credit hours in education leadership and teaching, 12 credit hours of research design and statistics, and a minimum of 14 credit hours of Ph.D. research seminar and dissertation research. Within one semester of admission, each student must form a doctoral committee, request a committee chair (also their faculty advisor), then designate their final decision on their area of concentration/specialization and submit the information to the DPT/PhD faculty for approval.
PhD Course Requirements (50 credits)
The required curriculum includes the courses listed below:
- Concentration (Specialization/Advanced Practice) (18 credits).
Currently enrolled PhD students must enroll in a concentration/specialization area. Students will choose one of the above five areas of specialization for a total of 18 credits. This allows the student to obtain a PhD degree with concentration in an area of advanced specialized practice and research. See the Post-Professional Physical Therapy Clinical Certificates and Credentialed APTA Residency section for more information. Each student must designate preliminary specified specialization/advanced practice area upon admission to the program which they finalize by the end of the first semester in the PhD curriculum. The DPT/PhD in Physical Therapy program features five concentration areas which are Areas of Specialization in physical therapy practice and research.
- Concentration Area 1: Pediatrics PTP 690 , PTP 691 , PTP 692 , PTP 790 , PTP 791 .
- Concentration Area 2: Adult Neurology PTP 677 , PTP 678 , PTP 679 , PTP 777 , PTP 778 .
- Concentration Area 3: Geriatrics PTP 686 , PTP 687 , PTP 688 , PTP 787 , PTP 788 .
- Concentration Area 4: Orthopedics PTP 674 , PTP 675 , PTP 676 , PTP 775 , PTP 776 .
- Concentration Area 5: Cardiovascular and Pulmonary PTP 695 , PTP 696 , PTP 697 , PTP 796 , PTP 797 .
B. Engagement and Transformational Leadership (6 credits)
PTP 698 - Physical Therapy Higher Education Teaching Methods and Assessment. (3 credits)
PTP 798 - Physical Therapy Teaching Practicum and Educational Leadership. (3 credits)
C. Scholarly Activity/Research (12 credits)
To generate new knowledge, apply knowledge, and translate knowledge, students need grounding in quantitative and qualitative research methods, design and biostatistics.
PTP 720 - Research Methods and Stats in PT 1. (quantitative, 4 credits)
PTP 721 - Research Methods and Stats in PT 2. (epi/observational methods, 4 credits)
PTP 722 - Research Methods and Stats in PT 3. (qualitative, 4 credits)
D. Seminar and Dissertation Research (minimum of 14 credits)
PTP 896 - Seminar in Physical Therapy. (3 credits-1 credit for 3 semesters in year 2 and year 2.5) to develop and present their dissertation research proposal. The student must register for and participate in the seminar course each semester after fall semester year 2 until the completion of the qualifying (comprehensive) exam and the preliminary exam which is defense of their dissertation proposal and passing the ABPTS specialization exam in their area of advanced practice.
PTP 897 - Dissertation Research. (1-3 credits/semester to total not more than 11 credit hours) to conduct dissertation research. The dissertation will be of pass/fail type and will not carry any letter grades. The student must register for at least 1 credit upon passing their comprehensive exam until the completion of the dissertation defense.
- The qualifying examination must be taken within 24 to 28 months after beginning the Ph.D. portion of the degree program. This will typically occur during the last semester of completing the core courses.
- The student must be in good academic standing at the time of the qualifying examination.
- The student must select one area of specialization for the qualifying examination typically the area of the student’s concentration and research.
- The qualifying examination in the concentration area which is their area of specialization will be the national ABPTS examination in their area of specialization.
- The Doctoral Program Council will review and approve the examination results.
- A student failing the qualifying examination the first time will be allowed to take it again; however, if the student fails it the second time, he/she will be terminated from the program.
a. The Doctor of Philosophy Program Faculty must approve the dissertation topic, the proposal outline, and the dissertation committee prior to the preliminary examination.
b. The student will make an open oral presentation, which has been prepared in consultation with the dissertation advisor, in defense of the proposal.
A student will become a candidate for the Ph.D. degree after completing the required coursework with a minimum GPA 6 out of 9 and after passing both the qualifying and the preliminary examination. At this point, the student will be allowed register for the dissertation work.
The dissertation committee will include a minimum of four faculty members. One of these members must be from outside the SHPS. One of the faculty members will be the dissertation advisor and will serve as the chair of the dissertation committee. Depending on the dissertation topic, other members, including a qualified industry member, may be included on the dissertation committee.
Dissertation and Dissertation Defense
The dissertation must include original research work of archival quality. The student must submit a written copy of the dissertation to the dissertation committee for approval. The work must be defended at a final oral examination open to other faculty, students, and the interested public.
Students are expected to pursue their degree on a full-time basis. It is expected that each Ph.D. student will spend sufficient time on campus for conducting research, interacting with other graduate students, and fostering intellectual activities. All students in the Ph.D. program are required to attend graduate seminars in the PTD. After attaining candidacy, each Ph.D. student is required to present at least one seminar per semester on his/her research until the dissertation proposal is completed. All Ph.D. students are required to attend these research seminars. After attaining candidacy, each Ph.D. student is expected to spend at least 12 hours per week on campus working on his/her research and discussing research issues with faculty and fellow students.
Transfer of courses taken within the DPT prior to admission to the PhD program are a total of 10 credits.