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Marshall University: School of Physical Therapy

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DPT Curriculum and Plan of Study The curricular model is a modified case-based model, designed in a "builds on, leads to" manner which will be delivered in a full time, in-house format utilizing lecture, labs, small group discussion, case seminars, and clinical visits and internships, starting with education in the basic foundational sciences that inform the content of the field. Faculty teaching the foundational sciences will facilitate discussion drawing on research, clinical experiences, and personal/professional activities to model professional behaviors, elucidate psychosocial and ethical issues, and present a broad application of course content to practice settings. Through clinical cases intermingled within basic science didactic content, students will be challenged to apply basic science information to solve clinical problems. Instruction in these basic science areas will build the foundation for the clinical coursework that follows. Within any given semester, we will utilize team-taught, integrated course classes to encourage synthesis of material presented. Case Application Seminars and Experiences (CASE) courses will provide students the opportunity to learn collaboratively in faculty-facilitated small groups. Most semesters, students will attend laboratory sessions in local physical therapy/rehab clinics for hands-on experiences interspersed within the didactic coursework. Early in the curriculum, students will be introduced to the basic tools of investigation in PT (EBP course series). Starting with the clinical decision making process, they will learn to utilize literature review and scientific method to support evidence based practice, and the process for utilizing and creating evidence to improve upon the body of knowledge that informs the profession. Basic clinical skills coursework forms the foundation for more advanced clinical courses in diagnosis and management. Faculty will emphasize utilization of current, evidence-based practices that are built on the foundational sciences and are consistent with published research and clinical outcomes in the diagnosis and management process. Knowledge of the professional aspects of practice is integral to successful hands-on practice, and necessary to become a competent practitioner. Therefore, a series of professional practice courses will inculcate a working knowledge of communications, educational methodology and process, culture, ethics, law, health care delivery systems, administration, and the political aspects that influence the field of physical therapy. Clinical education exposure/experiences are integrated into the first two years of the curriculum though case-based courses and seminars, and through clinic visits to local physical therapy facilities spread within the didactic course work, with the first full time clinical rotation/internship (8 weeks) occurring early in the second year of the program. These rotations continue in the 3rd year with two full-time clinical internships, for 27 weeks in the last two semesters of the program, totaling 35 weeks of long-term clinical rotations/internship in the entire DPT program. This series of clinical experiences assures that the graduate has the opportunity to develop skills in a variety of practice settings, working within a team approach to patient management, under the direct supervision of a clinical instructor who is a licensed physical therapist.
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