Apr 20, 2024  
2016-2017 Catalog 
2016-2017 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Therapy Professional Program (DPT)

Physical Therapy Department information  

The Professional Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program prepares graduates to be licensed practitioners within the scope of practice defined in the public health code in state law. Graduates are prepared to assume roles consistent with various physical therapy practice patterns throughout the United States, and are required to be critical thinkers and lifelong learners. 

Physical therapy education is built on a solid foundation in the basic sciences of biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, physiology, pathology and kinesiology. Study of humanities and behavioral 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 perform patient/client management of persons from infancy through elder years. This lifespan approach enables program graduates to value and respect diversity of gender, race, culture and disability, regardless of age. Graduates are self -directed learners who are critical thinkers, recognizing the value of and using scientific method to research existing literature to make sound clinical judgments. 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 encourages faculty and students to form close, effective working relationships that enhance student learning. The Physical Therapy Department faculty members have 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.

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 60, which may include 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 both quantitative and qualitative data. The faculty interprets these sources in making the final admissions decisions. Up-to-date admissions requirements and application process information is available on the website at www.umflint.edu/graduateprograms/physical-therapy-entry-level-dpt.

To be considered for admission, applicants must meet the following requirements and qualifications by the time they are admitted:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Overall 3.0 GPA or higher in the undergraduate degree
  • Overall 3.0 GPA in prerequisite courses* from an accredited institution with an equivalent grade of ‘C’ or better in each course:
    • 8 credits Biology with at least two labs (no Botany)
    • 8 credits Chemistry with at least two labs
    • 8 credits Physics with at least two labs
    • 4 credits Human Anatomy with lab
    • 4 credits Human Physiology with lab (if a 5-6 credit combination Anatomy and Physiology class is taken, then course content needs review)
    • 3 credits Exercise Physiology with lab
    • 3 credits Statistics
    • 3 credits College Algebra and Trigonometry or Pre-calculus
    • 6 credits Psychology (general and developmental)
    • 1 credit Medical Terminology (must be a letter-graded course)
  • Overall 2.75 GPA in science prerequisites 
  • Completion of the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) general test (must be completed before application will be considered for admission) with a minimum test score of 146 Verbal and 141 Quantitative
  • Current CPR (Adult, Child, and Infant) and First Aid Certification
  • 60 or more hours observing Physical Therapists in two or more different types of clinical settings required; 125 or more hours in four or more settings recommended

*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.

The most competitive applicants demonstrate knowledge of the depth and breadth of the profession as well as consistent academic performance, maturity and values associated with health care professions.

Application Process

To be considered for admission, an applicant must submit a completed application though the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Instructions for completing the application may be found at the PTCAS website (http://www.ptcas.org) or at the Office of Graduate Programs Website (http://www.umflint.edu/graduateprograms/physical-therapy-entry-level-dpt).

International applicants must submit additional documentation (see the Graduate Study  portion of the catalog) and meet Physical Therapy Department English proficiency requirements  

Application Deadlines

Students are admitted for the Fall semester only. Application deadlines are posted on the admissions portal through the PTCAS website.


Students should be aware that they will be required to purchase clinical attire, evaluation tools to be used in the classroom or clinical practice and professional textbooks. Clinical Education experiences may require students to leave the Flint area. All students are responsible for providing their own transportation to all clinical sites, housing, and clinical attire. Students are responsible for costs related to keeping all required health documents updated, including special tests required by clinical sites (drug screen, fingerprinting, etc). Current estimates of costs are available to applicants through the Physical Therapy Department. Tuition and fees are subject to change without notice.

DPT Curriculum

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, recitation sessions, and student group projects and presentations. A modular course curriculum is used to ensure consistent organizational structure of the curriculum. 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 (religious and cultural standards regarding exposure of the body are honored when requested by students). Students are also responsible for the provision and appropriate utilization of laboratory attire and for conducting themselves in a professional manner. Faculty members 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 regarding revisions of curriculum.

Clinical education is an important aspect of the program. Initial exposure to clinical practice occurs in the Fall and Winter semesters of Year 1 and Fall semester of Year 2.  Following the satisfactory completion of all didactic courses, students engage in three ten-week, full-time clinical internships Winter Year 3. Students must attend an acute care setting, general outpatient setting, and area of interest for the three final full-time internships.  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 150 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.

Part-Time Professional DPT Program

The University of Michigan-Flint offers a part-time course of study that, when completed, awards the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), the professional degree for professional practice. The part-time program is specifically designed to accommodate those students who are unable to or otherwise choose not to attend the University on a full-time basis. Students are admitted in the fall semester only. Positions in classes are assigned to those candidates ranking highest among the group eligible for consideration. The number of available part-time spaces in each class is limited. The sequence of courses in the part-time program is predetermined. Since courses are scheduled according to many constraints in the overall program sequence, students in the part-time track may not elect and schedule courses to meet their own personal, employment or other needs. The part-time program involves a reduced credit load per semester, but not necessarily a limited number of days per week on campus. 

Students accepted to the part-time program:

  • Remain in part-time status (as defined by the University) for at least two years
  • Follow a predetermined part-time curriculum plan
  • Complete the professional DPT program within a 5 year period
  • Enroll full-time in Year 3 

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. 

Transfer of Credit

Transfer of credit for courses in Years 1-3 taken prior to admission to the program is the prerogative of the Physical Therapy faculty. Transfer courses must meet the requirements outlined in the Guidelines for the Transfer of Credit of Previous Course Work in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for Professional DPT Program which is available from the Physical Therapy Department.

Requirements (120 credits)

The DPT degree requires completion of a three-year academic program with satisfactory completion of clinical education courses. Students must achieve an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher both prior to beginning the final clinical internships (PTP 823 , PTP 824 , PTP 825 ) and upon completion of the degree program. The program is completed in three consecutive years on a full-time basis. Each academic calendar is a 14-week Fall and Winter semester followed by a 10-week (first year) or 11-week (second year) Spring semester. A part-time curriculum is also available.

A grade of C (2.0) or better in each course.

Year One

Year Two

Year Three

Required Elective (3 credits)

Three (3) credit hours of electives must be selected from the list provided below. For more detailed information regarding the Independent Study course and other courses, please speak with your advisor.