Feb 01, 2023  
2007-2009 Catalog 
2007-2009 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Therapy

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The University of Michigan-Flint (UM-F) Physical Therapy (PT) program offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. The DPT degree is a professional degree, not a post-professional degree equivalent to a Ph.D. or other advanced academic degree. It is, rather, comparable to other entry-level professional degrees, such as the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) or Doctor of Pharmacology (Pharm.D) that prepare graduates as practitioners within their respective disciplines. The professional DPT program at the University of Michigan-Flint is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy (CAPTE) of the American Physical Therapy Association, 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: www.capteonline.org.

Physical therapy education is built on a solid foundation in the basic sciences of biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, physiology and pathology. Study of humanities and behavior sciences provides an important preparation for the interpersonal relationships that the physical therapist must successfully establish with patients and their family members, health care professionals, and community healthcare agencies.

The DPT program operates under a guiding philosophy that entry-level physical therapists should be competent to treat persons from infancy through the elder years. This lifespan approach enables our graduates to value and respect diversity of gender, race, culture and disability, regardless of age. Our graduates are critical thinkers, recognizing the value of and using the scientific literature to make sound clinical judgments. Our graduates understand the scope of physical therapy practice, recognizing when a patient needs medical management in substitution for or in addition to physical therapy.

The PT faculty mentor students into the profession using a collegial model which incorporates mutual respect and understanding between the faculty, staff, and physical therapy students as they proceed through the program. The collegial model and small class size encourage faculty and students to form close, effective working relationships that enhance student learning. The faculty has a consistent record of scholarly and service activity at the state, regional and national levels of the profession and therefore mentor students in leadership and service to the profession and community.

The curriculum of the professional Doctor of Physical Therapy Program provides students with multiple opportunities to enhance their learning. A variety of teaching formats are used, including but not limited to didactic teaching, hands-on laboratory experiences and student group projects and presentations, among others. A modular course curriculum is used, supplemented by a self-instructional audio-visual system, extensive notes and background materials, and the opportunity to pursue independent studies in physical therapy. Students are expected to adequately expose head, trunk and extremities in laboratory sessions with multiple student partners (male/female) in order to become familiar with surface anatomy and to develop handling skills necessary for the practice of physical therapy. Students are also responsible for the provision and appropriate utilization of laboratory attire and for conducting themselves in a professional manner. Faculty of the Physical Therapy Department are responsible for review, revision and implementation of curriculum. Students admitted to the program are expected to abide by faculty decisions about revisions of curriculum.

Clinical education is an important aspect of the program. Initial exposure to clinical practice occurs in Fall, Year 1; Winter, Year 2; and Spring/Summer,Year 2. The student is then placed into full-time clinical experience for Fall, Year 3. Following the satisfactory completion of all didactic courses, students engage in three ten-week full-time clinical rotations. This full-time clinical experience provides students an opportunity to engage in supervised work and study in selected clinical facilities.

Students may be assigned to hospitals or other institutions in Flint, other cities in Michigan, or other states. Approximately 147 facilities/agencies at nearly 400 different sites participate in the clinical education program. Students are responsible for arranging transportation and housing for these clinical education experiences. Projected costs for physical therapy students are available from the Physical Therapy Department.

Admission to the DPT Program

Admission to the program is highly competitive, and students are admitted in the fall semester only. Positions in the class are assigned to those candidates ranking highest among the group eligible for consideration. The number of available spaces in the class is currently 40 which may include up to 2 part-time positions. Admission to the professional DPT Program is the prerogative of the faculty of the program. Applicants are reminded that the supplemental application and reference forms are data sources that provide quantitative data and qualitative data. The faculty interprets these sources in making the final admissions decisions.

Admission Requirements

All admission requirements must be successfully completed prior to starting the program should the applicant be admitted. Failure to successfully complete the requirements will result in withdrawal of the admission offer.

  1. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  2. Overall undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
  3. Completion of the following prerequisite classes, with a minimum 2.75 grade point average and a grade of at least C (2.0) in each course. Prerequisite courses should be completed within 7 years of applying to the program; prerequisite courses taken more than 7 years prior will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
    1. Biology (not botany) with lab (8 credits)
    2. Chemistry with lab (8 credits)
    3. Physics with lab (8 credits)
    4. Human anatomy with lab (4 credits)
    5. Human physiology with lab (4 credits) [If a 5-6 credit combination Human Anatomy/Physiology class is taken, an additional 3-credit Human (not Exercise) Physiology class is required.]
    6. Statistics (3 credits)
    7. College algebra and trigonometry or precalculus (3-4 credits)
    8. General and developmental psychology (6 credits)
    9. Medical terminology (1 credit)
  4. Completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test.
  5. Current CPR (Adult, Child, and Infant) and First Aid certification.

Application Process

To be considered for admission, an applicant must submit the following materials by the application deadline to the Office of Graduate Programs, 251 Thompson Library. The admissions committee will evaluate the applicant’s file only after all items are received.

  • Completed Application – either online or paper form.
  • $55 application fee (non-refundable) payable to the University of Michigan-Flint (credit card required for online application).
  • Completed Supplemental Application for the DPT program, including essay questions concerning the applicant’s life experience and career decision of physical therapy (available online from the Department of Physical Therapy at (http://www.umflint.edu/pt/Entry-LevelDPT/apply.htm).
  • Official transcripts from each college and university attended.
  • GRE scores (general test) sent to the University of Michigan-Flint (Institutional Code #1853).
  • Two letters of recommendation, including one from a Physical Therapist who has supervised the applicant’s physical therapy experience and one from a university professor from whom the applicant has taken a course or who has acted as the applicant’s advisor. Two clinical references may be submitted, provided one of the references is from a PT. Acceptable secondary clinical references would be from other rehabilitation professionals such as occupational therapists, speech therapists, and nurses.
  • Clinical Observation Form (available online from the Department of Physical Therapy at (http://www.umflint.edu/pt/Entry-LevelDPT/apply.htm). To be competitive in the applicant pool, students should volunteer for a minimum of 50 hours of observation, under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist in at least two different patient settings. The clinical experience may be as a student, volunteer or employee. The different patient settings may be at a single site but involving different types of clinical experiences; e.g., at a hospital where both inpatient and out-patients are seen, or a clinic where pediatric and geriatric patients are seen.
  • Copy of CPR card (adult, child, infant).
  • Copy of First Aid card.

International Applicants must submit additional documentation. For further information please refer to the Graduate Study portion of the catalog.

Application Deadlines

Students are admitted for the fall semester only. The Early Admissions deadline is November 15. A 3.3 GPA is required for early admission. The Standard Admissions deadline is January 15.


Students should be aware that they will be required to purchase clinical attire, evaluation tools to be used in the classroom or clinical practice, professional liability insurance, and professional textbooks. Clinical Education III, IV, V and VI require many students to leave the Flint area, some to distant cities in other states. Students must provide their own transportation for travel to all clinical assignments. The student may be required to make his/her own arrangements for housing, as most facilities are no longer able to provide housing arrangements. A physical examination, immunizations, TB test and health insurance will be required of students at their own expense at appropriate points throughout the program. Part-time employment is discouraged during the professional part of the professional DPT program because of demands made by the nature and scheduling of the program. Current estimates of costs students can anticipate are available to applicants through the Physical Therapy Department. Tuition and fees are subject to change without notice.

Applicants with Special Educational Needs

The University of Michigan-Flint is committed to prohibiting discrimination based on disability and is committed to insuring equal access for qualified individuals with disabilities. As prescribed by Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Michigan Handicappers’ Civil Rights Act, the University of Michigan-Flint will provide reasonable accommodation to academically qualified students with disabilities so that they can fully participate in the University’s educational programs and activities. The University is not required to alter fundamentally the nature or essential curricular components of its programs. The University will insure that the requirements of its programs are not discriminatory in nature.

In order to insure non-discrimination in the admissions process, no prior inquiry is made regarding the applicant’s capacity to successfully complete the course of studies. However, applicants should be aware that a high level of cognitive,  psychomotor and affective function is required in classroom,laboratory and clinical education. The Physical Therapy Department at the University of Michigan-Flint educates general practitioners and therefore its graduates must be able to successfully complete the clinical courses in the curriculum. The applicant may use as a point of departure for consideration the description of job duties of a physical therapist cited in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and the American Physical Therapy Association’s Guide to Physical Therapy Practice, as well as the Competency Assessment Report criteria specifically utilized in the Professional DPT Program at the University of Michigan- Flint. All documents are available for review at the Physical Therapy Department. The responsibility for determination of reasonable accommodation in clinical education rests with the specific clinical institutions to which the student is assigned.

Applicants who are admitted are given the opportunity to identify any special needs which require accommodation in order to participate in their educational program. The capacity of the Physical Therapy Department to respond to individual needs is made on a case-by-case basis by the Director of the Physical  Therapy Department and the University Accessibility Coordinator, with any necessary special resources provided by the University if it is reasonably capable of doing so.

Given the above, the possibility exists that a student whose needs cannot be reasonably accommodated may be admitted. In such rare cases, admission may have to be rescinded. It is also possible that a student may be admitted, but clinical education may not be available.

Inquiries prior to or during the admissions process or complaints after admission may be addressed to the Accessibility Coordinator, Student Development Center, Room 264 UCEN, University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, MI 48502. Phone: (810) 762- 3456, TTY: (810) 766-6727.

Academic Regulations and Procedures

Students are expected to maintain satisfactory performance in their academic standing, clinical practice, and ethical conduct. While engaged in the professional portion of the professional DPT Program, the student is subject to the policies and procedures of the program with regard to the maintenance of quality. Because the student is enrolled in the School of Health Professions and Studies, the student is subject also to the policies and procedures of that school.

All regulations of the University of Michigan-Flint apply to students in the Physical Therapy Department of the School of Health Professions and Studies. Students should make note of these regulations, which appear in other sections of this Catalog. Specific rules and regulations adopted by the faculty of the Physical Therapy Department are presented in the following sections.

  Letter Grade Honor Points
  A 9
  B 5
  E 0

(For students admitted prior to Fall 2006, a 4.0 scale is used.)

Grade point averages are computed by dividing the total number of honor points by the total number of credits. The computation is limited to points and credits earned at the University of Michigan-Flint or transferred from other schools and colleges of the University of Michigan. The report of I (incomplete) may be made by the instructor if the student is unable to meet the course requirements within the specified time. An I grade may be made up while a student is not enrolled and must be made up by the end of the fifth week of the next semester (Fall or Winter) in which a student is enrolled. If, for sufficient reason, a student cannot remove the incomplete within the fiveweek period, an extension request form must be approved by both the course instructor and the Department Director and forwarded to the Office of the Registrar. Failure to either make up the grade within the allotted time or to have an extension approved will result in the I automatically being changed to a grade of E. A grade once reported (with the exception of I) may be changed only to correct a demonstrable error.

Credit Without Grade (Pass/Fail)

The pass/fail option applies only to specific courses so designated in the course schedule by individual SHPS departments. Courses elected for credit without grade are not included in the calculation of the grade point average.

Changes in Course Elections (Drop/Add)

Changes in course elections include dropping and adding courses. It is the student’s responsibility to adhere to the published deadlines for dropping and/or adding a course.

Granting withdrawal from the Professional DPT Program (with or without intention to return) is a prerogative of the Physical Therapy Department Faculty.

Academic Standing

The faculty of the Department, acting on behalf of the University, has the responsibility of defining academic standards and reserves the right to remove from the professional DPT program any student whose academic standing, in the judgment of the faculty, is regarded as unsatisfactory.

To maintain satisfactory academic standing, a student must have a minimum cumulative graduate grade point average of “B” (5.0) for all graduate courses taken for credit and applied toward the degree program.

The academic records of all students are reviewed by the administrative staff of the Physical Therapy Department at the end of each semester, according to the Academic Progression Policy and Procedure, and cases of students whose cumulative graduate grade point averages fall below a “B” (5.0) in a given term are reviewed by the Director of the Department. If the Director deems it necessary, the student will be informed, orally and in writing, that the student’s case will be reviewed at a forthcoming meeting of the faculty and the Director. The complete policy can be found in the Physical Therapy Department Student Handbook.

Appeals Procedure

Students admitted to the professional DPT program agree to follow established policies and procedures which govern academic performance, clinical competency, and ethical standards. Specific appeals procedures are outlined in the Physical Therapy Department Student Handbook. For problems involving a faculty member, the appeal procedure should be initiated after consultation with the faculty member whenever possible.

For problems of a discriminatory or sexually harassing nature, the student should consult with the Office of Equity & Diversity Services or the Dean of the School of Health Professions and Studies. Formal complaints must be filed with the Office of Equity & Diversity Services.

Sequence Requirements

Courses in the professional preparation program are intended to be taken in a prescribed sequence. It is important for students to recognize that the Physical Therapy Professional Preparation Program is not just a series of courses but instead a professional preparation program in which appropriate sequence is critical for assuring intended educational outcomes. Waiver of courses in Years 1-3 taken prior to admission to the program remains the prerogative of the Physical Therapy faculty.

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