University Bulletin 2016-17

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Physical Therapy (DPT)

The degree offered by the department is the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), designed as a first-professional degree for students who want to enter the physical therapy profession.

The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program consists of eight consecutive semesters of full-time professional graduate study. The DPT is a clinical doctorate degree, not a research degree, and is awarded after successful completion of the prescribed sequence of 121 semester hours (listed below) including classroom and clinical laboratory coursework and 34 weeks of full-time physical therapy internships. As an entry-level program, the DPT is designed as a first PT degree and is not appropriate for students who already hold a PT degree. The goals and objectives of the program are guided by the criteria and guidelines set forth by the Evaluative Criteria for Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Preparation of Physical Therapists (Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education). Graduates of the program are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Exam for licensure.

The program begins each year in the Fall semester. The application deadline for Fall semester is December 1st of the previous year. All applicants must apply through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) and submit a supplemental application and supplemental application fee directly to the PT department. International Students should carefully review earlier deadlines and additional requirements listed after Minimal requirements for all applicants (see below).

DPT Early Acceptance Program (DPTEAP)

The DPT Early Acceptance Program (DPTEAP) allows for some highly qualified high school seniors who meet the qualifications to gain early provisional acceptance to the graduate program prior to starting college. Details are described in the Early Acceptance Program section of the Office of Admissions website at

In addition, a link to the application for this program is also found on this webpage and the "Special Programs" section of the Office of Admissions Website. The application deadline for this program is December 15th of the senior year in high school.

Regular Graduate Applicants

It is required, that applicants complete a bachelor's degree prior to starting the PT program. These applicants must hold a bachelor's degree (or be able to complete the degree prior to starting the PT program) in any field from a regionally accredited college or university and complete all prerequisites for regular graduate admission as listed below with a GPA > 3.00. These applicants may apply by December 1st if they will complete their bachelor's degrees before the upcoming Fall semester.

Minimum Requirements For All Applicants

  1. The applicant must declare one of the above categories on the application form (deadline December 1st) and meet all requirements including prerequisites.
  2. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores must be officially reported to the University of South Alabama Office of Admissions by December 1st with a minimum score of 290 on the 'new' GRE (use institution code 7799). The GRE must have been taken within the last 5 years. Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical Writing sections will be utilized.
  3. Regular Graduate applicants must have a minimum 3.0 (A=4.0) overall grade point average (GPA).
  4. All applicants must have a minimum grade of "C" in each of the prerequisite courses.
  5. Observation or work experience in Physical Therapy (50 hours minimum) under the supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist must be documented and submitted to PTCAS by the December 1st deadline. A form is available for download from the PTCAS website (
  6. Applicants may only have a maximum of 2 science course prerequisites remaining by the application deadline. The remaining prerequisites must be completed in the spring and summer prior to the start of the program.

International applicants must have a TOEFL score = 600 (250 on computer based or 100 on Internet based tests), TSE = 60 and TWE = 4.5 and must submit the following to the Department of Physical Therapy by October 15 of the year prior to admission: TOEFL score, official transcripts with certified translations of transcripts, supplemental application and non-refundable supplemental application processing fee of $75.00. In addition, international students must submit PTCAS application and official GRE scores by December 1st.  Materials being sent by mail carrier must be postmarked NO later than December 1st. This DPT program is not ideal for students who already have a physiotherapy degree.

NOTE: If selected for interview, the applicant must achieve a satisfactory interview score, and if accepted into the program, must submit a health form and physical examination which includes required immunizations.

Program Prerequisitesa (for optimal preparation, online science labs are discouraged)

Prerequisites Required For All Applicants:

  • English Composition (2 courses)
  • Social Sciences (3 courses--at least two of which must be Psychology)
  • Precalculus Algebra/Trigonometry or Higher Mathematics (1 course)
  • Statistics (1 course)
  • College Physics - with labs (2 semester or 3 quarter sequence)
  • General Chemistry for science majors - with labs (2 semester or 3 quarter sequence)
  • General or Cell Biology for science majors - with labsb (2 semester or 3 quarter sequence)
  • Human Physiology, Mammalian Physiology OR a course sequence in Anatomy and Physiology (minimum 6 credits). Human Physiology is preferred.

aFor all prerequisite courses, credit older than ten years from the application deadline must be repeated or validated by examination or other appropriate mechanism.
bBotany may not be used to satisfy this prerequisite.
Electives should be concentrated in a back-up major of the student's choice.

Essential Functions

Core Performance Standards, which are fundamental tasks that must be performed to successfully complete the program, have been outlined and are available upon request from the program and on the department web site.


Students admitted in the Physical Therapy program will be charged a matriculation deposit of $300 required to secure a seat in the entering class. This amount is not refundable but will be applied towards tuition expenses after registration.

Students should be prepared for extra expenses (estimates available on the web site) associated with professional studies including books, local travel to and from clinical facilities and for out-of-town travel and living expenses during the 34 weeks of clinical internship in the first year and the final year. It is highly recommended that students have a laptop computer. Special lab fees are assessed for the following courses:

Abbr Course Description Fee
PT 600 Human Anatomy $75.00
PT 601 Human Anatomy II $200.00
PT 603 Neuroscience $15.00
PT 612 Research Project $50.00
PT 621 Introductory PT Skills $20.00 
PT 625 Therapeutic Intervention $20.00
PT 675 Comprehensive Capstone $81.00
PT 682 PT Internship $75.00
A $25.00 professional liability fee is assessed annually ($12.00 each in fall and spring and $1.00 in summer).


The Department of Physical Therapy currently has eight scholarships that are awarded to students after admission to the program, in year-1, year-2 and year-3. These scholarships are listed on the department webpage.

Accreditation And Licensure

The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of South Alabama is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).  1111 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; Telephone: (703) 706-3245; Web site: email;;

Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) to gain licensure. Applicants are hereby informed that a history of felony conviction, use of drugs or intoxicating liquors, which affects professional competence, or narcotic law conviction will prevent physical therapy licensure.

See Alabama Board of Physical Therapy site:

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree requires the following course sequence after admission to the professional program:

First Year   Credit Hours
Fall Semester   18
PT 600 Human Anatomy I*  3 hrs  
PT 601 Human Anatomy II* 3 hrs  
PT 610  Principles of Research  2 hrs  
PT 621  Introductory PT Skills*  4 hrs  
PT 622  Exercise Physiology*  4 hrs  
PT 680  Professional PT Practice; W  2 hrs  
Spring Semester     18
PT 604  Pathophysiology I  2 hrs  
PT 620  Clinical Kinesiology*  3 hrs  
PT 625  Therapeutic Intervention  (EPA/Manual Therapy)* 4 hrs  
PT 631 PT in Musculoskeletal Disorders I*        4 hrs  
PT 632  PT in Musculoskeletal Disorders II*  3 hrs  
PT 681  Clinical Practice Issues; W  2 hrs  
Summer Semester    13
PT 607  Pathophysiology II  2 hrs  
PT 650  PT in Integumentary Disorders*  4 hrs  
PT 671  Clinical Case Studies I  1 hr  
PT 682  PT Internship I  6 hrs  
Second Year   Credit Hours
Fall Semester   16
PT 602  Life Span Human Development  2 hrs  
PT 603  Neuroscience*  3 hrs  
PT 606  Pharmacology  2 hrs  
PT 611  Research Proposal  2 hrs  
PT 633  PT in Musculoskeletal Disorders III*  4 hrs  
PT 634 PT in Musculoskeletal Disorders IV* 3 hrs  
Spring Semester    16 
PT 612  Research Project  2 hrs  
PT 628  Mobility, Orthotics, and Prosthetics*  2 hrs  
PT 640  Neuromuscular PT Adult*  4 hrs  
PT 641  Neuromuscular Pt Pediatrics*  2 hrs  
PT 660  PT in Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Disorders*  4 hrs  
PT 672  Clinical Case Studies II  1 hr  
PT 687      Professional Behaviors 1 hr  
Summer Semester     9
PT 627  Medical Screening  2 hrs  
PT 635  PT in Musculoskeletal Disorders V*  2 hrs  
PT 642  Neuromuscular PT Intervention*  4 hrs  
PT 673  Clinical Case Studies III  1 hr  
Third Year   Credit Hours
Fall Semester   16
PT 605  Human Learning  1 hr  
PT 614  Measurement in PT  1 hr  
PT 626  Health Promotion and Prevention in PT  2 hr  
PT 674 Clinical Synthesis and Patient Management 1 hrs  
PT 683  PT Internship II 8 hrs  
PT 685  Management of PT Practice  3 hrs  
Spring Semester    15 
PT 613  Clinical Case Reports 2 hrs  
PT 675 
Comprehensive Capstone  1 hr  
PT 684 
PT Internship III 6 hrs  
PT 686  PT Internship IV 6 hrs  
Curriculum Total       121 
Physical Therapy Administrative Staff (251) 445-9330
Chair Dennis W. Fell
Professors Fell
Associate Professors Dale, Gubler, Kennedy
Assistant Professors Day, Eaton, Fletcher, White
Emeritus Gray, Wall

Department of Physical Therapy web site

A physical therapist, also called a PT, is a health care professional who provides direct patient care to persons who have disorders of movement, mechanical, physiological and developmental impairment and functional limitations, whether caused by injury, disease, or pain to help them achieve maximum physical function and mobility. Physical therapists have the necessary training to meet the total range of primary patient care responsibilities involved in preventing disabilities and promoting restoration of function to the physically impaired, including musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular/pulmonary and integumentary disorders that interfere with physical function. The Physical Therapist performs an examination and then uses clinical reasoning to plan and implement patient-centered PT intervention. Physical Therapists practice in rehabilitation centers, private practices, hospital-based and outpatient-based centers, home health care, sports medicine centers, school systems, and in universities to restore movement and function.

As its mission: "The Department of Physical Therapy is: 1) dedicated to the education of physical therapists who provide the highest levels of professional care to diverse communities while maintaining a commitment to life-long learning, and 2) committed to service and the advancement of knowledge in the profession through research and scholarly activity."