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Postprofessional Programs in Physical Therapy (MSPT and ScDPT)

The Department of Physical Therapy offers post-professional graduate studies for licensed physical therapists that lead to either the Master of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT) or Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy (ScDPT) degree. The programs provide the opportunity to: 1) select a specialized area of physical therapy practice; 2) develop an advanced level of clinical competence for leadership in practice; 3) develop a research base for the analysis of the physical therapy profession's scientific body of knowledge and for developing clinically oriented research techniques; 4) and develop skill in teaching in entry-level educational, clinical, continuing, and public educational programs.

The postprofessional programs are designed for part-time or full-time students. All students develop a plan of study in conjunction with the program director. Each plan of study includes required core courses in physical therapy theory, education, and research as well as a clinical concentration in either musculoskeletal or neurological physical therapy. Each student selects a clinical area of concentration. All degree requirements for the Master of Science in Physical Therapy must be completed within 5 years of the date of initial enrollment. Degree requirements for the Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy must be completed within 7 years of the date of initial enrollment.

Postprofessional Admission Process Minimum Requirements

Minimum requirements for consideration for admission to the Master of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT) or Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy (ScDPT) degree programs include:

  • Current license to practice as a physical therapist in the U.S.;
  • Entry-level degree from an accredited program in physical therapy (official transcript(s) must accompany application);
  • Minimum of two years of clinical practice as a physical therapist prior to matriculation into the program;
  • Minimum GPA 3.00 on a 4.0 scale from the entry-level program;
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): Recommend score of 500 (153 on new scale) each on verbal and quantitative components and 4 on analytical writing component
  • Three letters of reference from previous college instructors or immediate supervisors;
  • Personal interview with members of the faculty;
  • Typed essay (3-5 pages) submitted with application;
  • Computer and technology knowledge, skill, and access for completion of online courses, communication via e-mail, and conduction of literature searches; and
  • Foreign applicants whose native language is not English must submit results of TOEFL, with minimum score of 550.

Additionally, applicants will be required to complete application forms for admission. Included in the application will be a required essay stating the applicant's goals for graduate study.

Curriculum Summary for Master of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT)

Core Courses (16 SH required) Credit Hours
PT 813 Educational Theory and Methods
3
PT 860 Biostatistics for Physical Therapists
3
PT 861 Research Design
3
PT 881 Health Care Management and Policy
3
PT 863 Thesis or Research Project
21
Musculoskeletal Concentration (12-15 SH required) Credit Hours
PT 803 Theoretical Bases of Orthopaedic PT*
3
PT 804 Orthopaedic Clinical Medicine Seminar*
3
PT 890 Cervicogenic Headaches and Temporomandibular Dysfunction
3
PT 896 Musculoskeletal Evaluation/Treatment of Spine
3
PT 897 Musculoskeletal Evaluation/Treatment of Extremities
3
PT 914 Imaging for Physical Therapists
3
PT 898 Musculoskeletal Evaluation/Treatment of Upper Quarter
3
PT 899 Musculoskeletal Evaluation/Treatment of Lower Quarter
3
Neurological Concentration (12-15 SH required) Credit Hours
PT 812 Advanced Neuro. PT Techniques 2
3
PT 900 Issues in Motor Control and Motor Learning 2,3
3
PT 895 Sensory Integration and Perceptual Motor Disorders 3
3
PT 811 Evaluative Procedures in Pediatric PT
3
PT 814 School-Based Physical Therapy
3
PT 815 Issues in the NICU
3
PT 816 Complex Practice Issues in Pediatrics
3
PT 817 Cardiopulmonary Care for Adults with Neurological Disabilities
3
Total hours required for degree
36

1Students take PT863 twice over the course of two semesters, thus for a total of 4 SHs.
2Required for Adult Neurological concentration
3Required for Pediatric Neurological concentration
*Required coursework for Musculoskeletal Concentration

Curriculum Summary for the Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy (ScDPT)

Core Courses (47 credit hours required) Credit Hours
PT 813 Education Theory and Methods
3
PT 860 Biostatistics for Physical Therapists
3
PT 861 Research Design
3
PT 881 Health Care Management and Policy
3
PT 902 Clinical Science Seminar I
3
PT 903 Clinical Residency Seminar
1
PT 905 Clinical Science Seminar II
3
PT 907 Clinical Residency I
8
PT 908 Complex Clinical Management I
3
PT 909 Clinical Outcomes Project I
3
PT 910 Clinical Residency II
8
PT 911 Complex Clinical Management II
3
PT 912 Clinical Outcomes Project II
3

The following electives are offered for the Postprofessional Programs

Course Name Credit Hours
PT 814 School-Based Physical Therapy
3
PT 815 Issues in the NICU
3
PT 816 Complex Practice Issues in Pediatrics
3
PT 817 Cardiopulmonary Care for Adults with Neurological Disabilities
3
PT 851 Spanish for Physical Therapists
3
PT 871 Balance Disorders
3
PT 875 Human Gait and Disorders
3
PT 890 Cervicogenic Headaches and Temporomandibular Dysfunction
3
PT 891 Applied Skeletal Ms. Physiology
3
PT 894 Dissection Anatomy
3
PT 831 Assistive Technology for Clients with Disabilities
3
PT 833 Professional and Ethical Issues
3
PT 898 Musculoskeletal Eval and Treatment of Upper Quarter
3
PT 899 Musculoskeletal Eval and Treatment of Lower Quarter
3
PT 901 Cultural Diversity
3
PT 904 Health Communication: Counseling Patients and Personnel
3
PT 906 Age, Exercise & Rehabilitation
3
PT 913 Special Topics: Women's Health
3
PT 913 Special Topics: Wound Care
3
PT 913 Special Topics: Pediatric Oncology
3
PT 914 Imaging for Physical Therapist
3
PT 862 Practicum
3, 4
Total hours required for degree
92

Requirements for Graduation

The following requirements must be satisfied to earn the degree of Master of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT):

  1. Satisfactory completion of 36 credit hours of work, which must include 16 hours of core courses, 12-15 hours in a clinical concentration and 5-8 hours of electives.
  2. Students must earn a minimum grade of "B" in all coursework.
  3. Satisfactory completion ("Pass") of either PT863 Thesis (minimum of 4 credit hours) or completion of a research project and submission of a publishable manuscript to an appropriate peer-reviewed publication.
  4. Admission to candidacy for the master's degree. A student files an application for admission to candidacy when conditions above have been fulfilled and the final draft of the thesis or manuscript has been approved by the committee.
  5. Students must discharge all financial obligations to the University and remove all deficiencies documented by the Registrar.

Attendance at graduation is mandatory. Any student unable to attend commencement must write a letter to the Dean of the College of Allied Health Science for permission to graduate in absentia.

The following requirements must be satisfied to earn the degree of Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy (ScDPT):

  1. Satisfactory completion of 92 credit hours of work, which must include 47 hours of core courses, 13-14 hours in a clinical concentration and 32-34 hours of electives.
  2. Students must earn a minimum grade of "B" in all coursework.
  3. Satisfactory completion ("Pass") of a research project and submission of a publishable manuscript are required prior to graduation.
  4. Students must discharge all financial obligations to the University and remove all deficiencies documented by the Registrar.

Attendance at graduation is mandatory. Any student unable to attend commencement must write a letter to the Dean of the College of Allied Health Science for permission to graduate in absentia.

Contact:

Pamela D. Ritzline, Ed.D., P.T.
Director of Graduate Program
Department of Physical Therapy

The University of Tennessee
Health Science Center
930 Madison – Suite 640
Memphis, TN 38163
901.448.5888
pritzlin@uthsc.edu