DPT Academics

Campbell University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is a 36-month graduate degree program with 26.5 months of didactic education and 9.5 months of supervised clinical experiences. DPT Academics Graduates will receive the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree upon successful completion. There is a one-week summative session before graduation. The program starts in January with graduation in December. Most didactic courses are held on the main campus with an online licensure preparation course completed during terminal clinical experiences in the final year of study.

The DPT program curriculum is a competency-based graduate education (minimum required skills for physical therapist education and normative model of PT education) curriculum based on a hybrid model pulling from traditional, lifespan, and problem based learning. The sequence of courses is designed to start with foundation courses in the basic sciences, professional development, and early clinical skills. Following the initial foundational coursework, subsequent courses teach clinical assessment and intervention, medical, surgical and pharmacy concepts in patient management from a population based lifespan perspective. Integrated curricular themes in service-learning and early clinical experiences, therapeutic exercise, and approach to patient care using a lifespan model is designed to enhance student learning and promote confidence in application of skills and didactic knowledge. Clinical reasoning courses are designed to enhance student interaction through problem-based learning, application of concepts/skills, and critical interpretation of evidence. The integrated service learning and clinical experiences are designed to encourage inter-professional interaction and collaboration. Assessment of students in the didactic/classroom years is by written examinations, performance on laboratory practical examinations, OSCE, reflective narrative, professional portfolio, and participation in small group activities.

Three full-time clinical experiences occur throughout the curriculum with a six-week clinical experience in the spring of the second year. The remaining terminal clinical experiences occur in the third program year with durations of 16 weeks each for a total of 38 weeks of clinical education. Students complete clinical experiences and service learning in rural locations with many completing a clinical experience in a rural location. Clinical experiences can be completed in an acute/subacute or hospital, neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, and general practice settings. Specialized settings may include burn/wound care, aquatic, industrial/vocational, and VA/military locations, home health, and school systems. Evaluation of clinical-year students includes a clinical instructor and student self-assessment of student performance using the clinical performance instrument (CPI), reflective narratives on patient care experience/delivery, case study presentations, and written examinations to prepare for licensure.

All students complete all didactic elements in the program at the same time. All students complete the required clinical experiences. 

Proposed service learning and clinical experiences schedule:

DPT Program Spring Summer Fall
Year 1 Service Learning 1 Part-time Clinical Experience 1 Service Learning 2
Year 2 Full-time Clinical Experience Part-time Clinical Experience 2 Service Learning 3
Year 3 Terminal Clinical Experience 1 Terminal Clinical Experience 1 Terminal Clinical Experience 2