Doctor of Physical Therapy

A major goal of the Department of Physical Therapy is to prepare autonomous Doctors of Physical Therapy who, led by their commitment to advance the health and quality of life for all humanity, are recognized as leaders among health professionals and community.

PT Classroom

Graduates of the educational program will enter the profession as physical therapy practitioners who are prepared to:

  • Practice as autonomous point-of-entry providers of physical therapy services in adherence to ethical, professional, and legal standards within a variety of clinical and community settings
  • Communicate verbally and in writing with patient/clients and their caregivers, colleagues, legislators, third-party payers, and other constituents
  • Demonstrate proficiency in providing culturally competent care across the lifespan
  • Demonstrate decision-making skills including clinical reasoning, clinical judgment, and reflective practice
  • Screen patients/clients to determine the need for further examination or consultation by a PT or referral to another health care professional
  • Demonstrate competence in examination and re-examination of a patient/client using evidence-based tests and measures
  • Evaluate all available data (including examination, medical, and psychosocial) to establish and communicate a physical therapy diagnosis and to determine patient/client prognosis
  • Establish a collaborative physical therapy plan of care that is safe, effective, patient/client-centered, and evidence-based
  • Demonstrate accountability for the efficient, coordinated management of care (primary, secondary, or tertiary) based on the patient’s/client’s goals and expected functional outcomes
  • Implement safe and effective physical therapy intervention plans within a variety of care delivery settings including reflective practice leading to optimal outcomes
  • Provide effective education for patient/clients, caregivers, colleagues, and the general public
  • Contribute to the advancement of physical therapy practice through critical evaluation and informed application of the findings of professional and scientific literature
  • Complete accurate and concise documentation in a timely manner that supports the problem solving process and follows guidelines and specific documentation formats required by the practice setting
  • Participate in the administration of PT services including delegation and supervision of support personnel, management planning, marketing, budgeting, reimbursement activities, and clinical education of students
  • Provide consultation services to individuals and groups including wellness and health promotion program appropriate to physical therapy
  • Formulate and implement a plan for personal and professional development and life-long learning based on self-assessment, reflection, and feedback from others
  • Demonstrate social and professional responsibility through mentoring and participation in professional and community organizations and activities

PT Classroom


The curriculum comprises 110 graduate credit hours. It incorporates strong foundational, clinical, and applied sciences that contribute to the unique body of knowledge in physical therapy and rests on five fundamental concepts.

  • Problem Solving

    Problem solving is viewed in a context of a closed loop in which the evaluation of an outcome serves as the basis for further decisions about examination and intervention application. The curriculum fosters a problem‐solving approach to instruction by using tactics that include a variety of active learning strategies and case‐based learning opportunities.

  • Evidence‐based practice

    The curriculum emphasizes the infusion of best practice through an integration of empirically tested knowledge from clinical research. The skills that are necessary to appraise and apply new scientific knowledge in clinical decision‐making will be emphasized across the curriculum. These skills include ‐ but are not limited to ‐ the ability to: locate and appraise the relative strengths of the various experimental findings, interpret these results within the context of clinical practice, and integrate the evidence as part of an overall treatment plan.

  • Patient/Client Management Model

    Clinical Decision‐making is organized around the five essential elements of patient/client management encompassing a continuum of care across 1 CAPTE Accreditation Handbook, PT Criteria, Appendix B, (2004). American Physical Therapy Association, Alexandria, VA.

    Indiana University Department of Physical Therapy Student Handbook 10 delivery systems and lifespan as described in the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice 3.0.2

    Students are taught to use the model as a deductive framework for patient/client management. The model fosters a nonlinear deductive reasoning approach that serves to highlight the key variables causing musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiopulmonary, and integumentary limitations. Students are taught using case‐based teaching to promote health, wellness and fitness as well as to rehabilitate patients with impairments and disabilities.

    The five elements of patient/client management are:

    • examination
    • evaluation
    • diagnosis
    • prognosis and plan of care
    • intervention
  • Framework of function, health, the individual and environment

    To identify areas of motor and movement capacity deficit, the curriculum uses the International Classification of Functioning ICF enablement model. The model classifies disablement in terms of impairment of body structures and function, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. Students are responsible for addressing the concerns of their clients in any of these categories and collaborating in developing a plan of action with other healthcare disciplines that seeks to improve their movement capacity across all three domains. The ICF model is used to assist students in understanding the pivotal relationship between the individual or population and the physical, social, and attitudinal environments. Knowing how the environment can facilitate or hinder functioning or disability can have significant effect on the assessment and subsequent intervention necessary for the participation and health and well‐being of an individual or group of individuals.

  • Conceptual Framework for Clinical Decision Making Individual-Centered Approach

    The curriculum provides an ongoing educational process that embraces the seven core professional values adopted by the American Physical Therapy Association. The values are recognized as tenants of a doctoring profession and are the building blocks for professional leadership. The faculty model these values and integrate them into the curriculum with the expectation that students will adopt these perspectives as part of their core professional identity. Students are expected to document their development in these areas as part of a professional portfolio process that they create over the span of the three year curriculum. The seven core professional values are:

    1. accountability

    2. altruism

    3. compassion/caring

    4. excellence

    5. integrity

    6. professional duty

    7. social responsibility

First Year

  • Semester 1 (Fall)

    Term 1 Fall Term  
      P510 Clinical Integration I 1
      P511 Clinical Decision Making & Professionalism 2
      P513 Functional Anatomy & Clinical Biomechanics 5
      P515 Introduction to Physical Therapy Examination & Interventions I 3
      P501   Case Series Rounds I  1
      GRDM-X620 Human Structure (fka: Gross Anatomy) 8
  • Semester 2 (Spring)

    Term 2 Spring Term  
      P520 Clinical Integration II 1
      P526 Introduction to Physical Therapy Examination & Interventions II 5
      P531 Clinical Physiology, Pathophysiology & Pharmacology I 5
      P534 Introduction to Motor Sciences 2
      P501  Case Series Rounds I  1
      P646 Introduction to Therapeutic Interventions 4
  • Semester 3 (Summer I—Six Weeks)

    Term 3 Summer Session I - 6 weeks  
      P599 Clinical Education I 3
  • Semester 4 (Summer II—Five Weeks)

    Term 4 Summer Session II - 5 weeks  
      P514 Evidence Based Critical Inquiry I 2

Second Year

  • Semester 5 (Fall)

    Term 5 Fall Term  
      P533 Lifespan Motor Development & Motor Control 2
      P535 Clinical Physiology, Pathophysiology & Pharmacology II 5
      P643 Psychosocial Dimensions of Physical Therapy Practice 2
      P645 Evidence Based Critical Inquiry II 2
      P601 Case Series Rounds II 1
      D701 Translational Neuroscience 5
  • Semester 6 (Spring)

    Term 6 Spring Term  
      P524 Cardiopulmonary Practice Patterns 3
      P541 Musculoskeletal Practice Patterns I 4
      P610 Clinical Integration III 2
      P641 Neurorehabilitation I 4
      P650 Integumentary Practice Patterns 2
      P601 Case Series Rounds II 1
      P680 Health Promotion and Community Outreach 2
  • Semester 7 (Summer I—Six Weeks)

    Term 7 Summer Session I - 6 weeks  
      P532 Legal & Ethical Issues in Physical Therapy 2
      P695 Clinical Education II 3

Third Year

  • Semester 8 (Fall)

    Term 8 Fall Term  
      P622 Musculoskeletal Practice Patterns II 4
      P642 Neurorehabilitation II 4
      P660 Selected Topics in Physical Therapy 3
      P661 Prosthetic & Orthotic Interventions 2
      P701 Case Series Rounds III 1
      P664 Administration & Management of Physical Therapy Services 3
  • Semester 9 (Spring)

    Term 9 Spring Term  
      P696 Clinical Education III (8 Weeks) 4
      P697 Clinical Education IV (10 weeks) 5
      P675 Capstone Seminar 1


P685 Topics in Sports Rehabilitation for Athletes 1
P685 Instrumented Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (GRASTON) 1
P685 Clinical Specialty Experience - Summer 1
P699 Clinical Specialty Experience - Fall 1