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Entry-level DPT

Earn your Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) in a hybrid, low-residency format.

About Our DPT Program

Spalding University’s new entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is offered in a hybrid, low-residency format. Lectures take place online, and you will attend lab sessions every month on our campus in Louisville, Kentucky. This format is more flexible than traditional DPT programs that are mainly made up of in-person classes.

  • You’ll move through the program with a cohort of students much smaller than other DPT programs.
  • You’ll learn with and from physical therapy students from around the country.
  • You’ll work with a skilled and caring faculty who have experience in hybrid programs.

Additionally, Spalding’s entry-level DPT program offers admission to students in their last year of undergraduate study. Undergraduate admission allows you to earn your bachelor’s degree at the completion of your first year of DPT coursework.

Program Details

  • Low residency, hybrid format
  • 110 credit hours
    • Online classes and lectures (68 credit hours)
    • Onsite immersive labs one week per month (26 credit hours)
    • Clinicals (16 credit hours, 32 weeks)
  • Fall start date (annual rolling admission)
  • 48 students per cohort

Tell us a little bit about yourself and we’ll be in touch with more information about our program.

Immersive Onsite Lab Experiences

With our hybrid, low-residency format, you’ll attend labs one week per month on Spalding’s campus in Louisville, Kentucky. During these hands-on, immersive lab experiences, you will apply the knowledge gained in your online classes. Your learning will take place in a newly-renovated facility that’s dedicated to physical therapy education.

This modern, practice setting is fully equipped and designed with the physical therapy student in mind. The nearly 22,000 sq. ft. facility includes anatomy and skills labs as well as a student lounge and study space. There is plenty of space to collaborate with your peers and faculty. You’ll also have the opportunity for interprofessional collaboration with other graduate students in nursing, clinical psychology, occupational therapy, social work and athletic training.

Hands-on Clinical Experience

You’ll be able to gain clinical experience in a variety of practice environments in Louisville and across the country. Our entry-level DPT curriculum includes 32-weeks of full-time clinical practice. The experiences will further build upon your skill and expose you to diverse, real-life practice opportunities.

  • You’ll have the help of our Director of Clinical Education in selecting clinical sites.
  • Clinical experiences are integrated across all three years of the program.
  • Integrated clinical experiences will allow you to gain experience and build confidence prior to the three-month terminal clinical experience during your last semester of the program. 

Sign up to learn more about our program.

Curriculum

The entry-level DPT is 110-credit hours. The content is organized around 10 themes: Foundational Basic Science, Introductory Patient Care Skills, Foundational Clinical Science, Applied Clinical Science, Professional Engagement, Critical Inquiry, Multisystem Management across the Lifespan, Patient Management, Professional Practice and Clinical Decision Making.

Fall Semester 1

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 701 Human Gross Anatomy 5
DPT 711 Patient Care Skills I 
DPT 741 Professional Engagement I 3
Total 11

Spring Semester 1

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 702 Applied Physiology 3
DPT 703 Foundations of Neuroscience for Physical Therapy Practice 4
DPT 712 Patient Care Skills II 3
DPT 721 Cells, Systems and Disease I 2
Total 12

Summer Semester 1

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 722 Cells, Systems and Disease II 2
DPT 731 Diagnostics and Pharmacology I 1
DPT 761 Foundations of Movement Science 5
Total 8

Fall Semester 2

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 862 Fundamentals of Patient Management 2
DPT 851 Critical Inquiry I 2
DPT 871 Integumentary Physical Therapy 2
DPT 842 Professional Engagement II 3
DPT 881 Professional Practice I 2
Total 11

Spring Semester 2

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 872 Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy I 4
DPT 874 Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy 3
DPT 832 Diagnostics and Pharmacology II 2
DPT 852 Critical Inquiry II 2
Total 11

Summer Semester 2

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 833 Diagnostics and Pharmacology III 2
DPT 873 Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy II 4
DPT 875 Neuromuscular Physical Therapy I 4
Total 10

Fall Semester 3

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 863 Physical Therapy in Geriatrics 3
DPT 878 Physical Therapy for Special Populations 2
DPT 843 Professional Engagement III 3
DPT 882 Professional Practice II 4
Total 12

Spring Semester 3

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 876 Neuromuscular Physical Therapy II 4
DPT 877 Orthotics and Prosthetics 2
DPT 864 Physical Therapy in Pediatrics 4
DPT 834 Diagnostics and Pharmacology IV 2
Total 12

Summer Semester 3

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 991 Clinical Decision Making in PT Practice 2
DPT 983 Professional Practice III 4
Total 6

Fall Semester 4

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 979 Health Promotion and Wellness 2
DPT 944 Professional Engagement IV 3
DPT 953 Critical Inquiry III 3
Total 8

Spring Semester 4

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 945 Professional Engagement V 2
DPT 984 Professional Practice IV 6
Total 8

Curriculum

The entry-level DPT is 110-credit hours. The content is organized around 10 themes: Foundational Basic Science, Introductory Patient Care Skills, Foundational Clinical Science, Applied Clinical Science, Professional Engagement, Critical Inquiry, Multisystem Management across the Lifespan, Patient Management, Professional Practice and Clinical Decision Making.

Fall Semester 1

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 701 Human Gross Anatomy 5
DPT 711 Patient Care Skills I 
DPT 741 Professional Engagement I 3
Total 11

Spring Semester 1

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 702 Applied Physiology 3
DPT 703 Foundations of Neuroscience for Physical Therapy Practice 4
DPT 712 Patient Care Skills II 3
DPT 721 Cells, Systems and Disease I 2
Total 12

Summer Semester 1

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 722 Cells, Systems and Disease II 2
DPT 731 Diagnostics and Pharmacology I 1
DPT 761 Foundations of Movement Science 5
Total 8

Fall Semester 2

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 862 Fundamentals of Patient Management 2
DPT 851 Critical Inquiry I 2
DPT 871 Integumentary Physical Therapy 2
DPT 842 Professional Engagement II 3
DPT 881 Professional Practice I 2
Total 11

Spring Semester 2

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 872 Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy I 4
DPT 874 Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy 3
DPT 832 Diagnostics and Pharmacology II 2
DPT 852 Critical Inquiry II 2
Total 11

Summer Semester 2

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 833 Diagnostics and Pharmacology III 2
DPT 873 Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy II 4
DPT 875 Neuromuscular Physical Therapy I 4
Total 10

Fall Semester 3

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 863 Physical Therapy in Geriatrics 3
DPT 878 Physical Therapy for Special Populations 2
DPT 843 Professional Engagement III 3
DPT 882 Professional Practice II 4
Total 12

Spring Semester 3

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 876 Neuromuscular Physical Therapy II 4
DPT 877 Orthotics and Prosthetics 2
DPT 864 Physical Therapy in Pediatrics 4
DPT 834 Diagnostics and Pharmacology IV 2
Total 12

Summer Semester 3

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 991 Clinical Decision Making in PT Practice 2
DPT 983 Professional Practice III 4
Total 6

Fall Semester 4

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 979 Health Promotion and Wellness 2
DPT 944 Professional Engagement IV 3
DPT 953 Critical Inquiry III 3
Total 8

Spring Semester 4

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
DPT 945 Professional Engagement V 2
DPT 984 Professional Practice IV 6
Total 8

Application Deadlines

We continue accepting applications for our Fall 2024 cohort through PTCAS from June 16, 2023 – May 15, 2024. We accept applications for our entry-level DPT cohort once per academic year.

In the meantime, we encourage you to tell us about yourself, and we’ll be in touch with more program information.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the DPT Program are required to meet or exceed the following criteria:

  1. Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university – or –completion of 90 credit hours from a regionally accredited college or university that include the DPT Program course prerequisites – or –enrollment in the final year of the Spalding University Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree program for DPT majors
  2. Minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 on a four-point scale.
  3. Minimum prerequisite and science grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 on a four-point scale.
  4. At least two letters of reference from a professional who can best address the applicant’s ability to be academically successful as well as address personal/professional characteristics. Letters should come from a college/university counselor/advisor/faculty member, a physical therapist that supervised your volunteer/work experience, and/or faculty advisor for a college/university club or organization.
  5. GRE (Graduate Record Examination) recommended minimum scores of 150 on each of the verbal and quantitative, and minimum of 3 on the analytical writing section. GRE scores must be taken within the past 5 years.
  6. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) for applicants who graduated from a college, university or professional training school in Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States do not need to take the TOEFL.  All other applicants must score at least 550 on the written examination, 213 on the computer-based examination, or 79 on the internet-based examination.
  7. Observation/Employment in Physical Therapy totaling 40 hours under the supervision of a physical therapist signed and verified by a physical therapist.
  8. Prerequisite coursework:
    • Applicants must submit evidence of satisfactory completion of the following courses with a minimum of a “C” (courses must be completed within 10 years):
      • Science Courses: Each science course must be a course for science majors, have a  laboratory component, and be a two-course sequence with more than 3 semester credits in length per course.
        • i. Human Anatomy and Physiology – or one three-credit course in human anatomy and one three-credit course in human physiology
        • ii. Chemistry – 8 credits
        • iii. Physics – 8 credits
      • Statistics – 3 credits
      • English/Psychology/Humanities: 18 credit hours total with a minimum of one 3-credit course in English, Psychology and Humanities.
      • One writing-intensive course, which may also be any prerequisite course.
  9. Interview with members of the DPT Program Admissions Committee
  10. Technical standards and essential functions statement of agreement

About PTCAS

The School of Physical Therapy at Spalding University participates in the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service, known as PTCAS. Applicants applying to the Spalding University physical therapist education program for the 2024 entering class will apply online using the PTCAS application beginning in June 15, 2023. To learn more about PTCAS, visit www.ptcas.org.

Faculty

Spalding’s physical therapy faculty is knowledgeable, experienced and ready to support you in your learning. As academic leaders, physical therapists and board-certified specialists, our faculty are skilled at providing current, evidence-based instruction in a hybrid and online learning environments.

Program Director
Professor

[email protected]

Kay TassoDr. Tasso obtained her PhD in Curriculum Leadership from the University of Florida, her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from Virginia Tech, and her Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from Old Dominion University. She has over 20 years of teaching experience both in the traditional on-campus model and the blended model. Dr. Tasso has over 37 years of experience as a physical therapist primarily in early intervention in children’s homes. She has been a Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Pediatric Physical Therapy since 1994 and now has emeritus status.

Her professional volunteerism has included local and state components of the American Physical Therapy Association, the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, the Florida Board of Physical Therapy and pro bono pediatric PT services.

Michigan Licensed Physical Therapist
Assistant Professor

[email protected]

Holly Lookabaugh-DeurDr. Holly Lookabaugh-Deur is a physical therapist with 40+ year of patient care experience in a variety of settings, including as owner of a private practice in Michigan. With a BS in Physical Therapy from University of Connecticut, Masters of Health Science from Grand Valley State University, and a Doctor of Science from Rocky Mountain University. She holds specialist certificates in lymphedema management, wound care, LSVT Parkinsons care and is a Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults. Lookabaugh-Deur is Board Certified in Geriatric Physical Therapy, and is currently the Director of the Oncology Residency program at Ivy Rehab. Previously a PTA Program Director and adjunct faculty at Central Michigan University and Grand Valley State University, she has served the APTA Michigan in multiple roles: as an instructor for the Aquatic Academy Specialist program; Vice President of the APTA MI Oncology SIG and Director of Education.

Director of Clinical Education
Assistant Professor

[email protected]

Kimberly SistoDr. Kimberly Sisto is an Assistant Professor in the Kosair for Kids School of Physical Therapy. She is a board-certified clinical specialist in sports physical therapy. Kim holds a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from University of Michigan – Flint and Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Eastern Michigan University. She has over a decade of experience in outpatient pediatric physical therapy with specialization in the treatment of pelvic health and orthopedic injuries. Kim collaborated to develop the Sports Physical Therapy Residency at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and served as residency faculty. She has presented at many local and national professional conferences on the topics of pediatric pelvic health and rehabilitation of the gymnast.

Assistant Professor
[email protected]

Goutam SinghGoutam Singh, PhD is an assistant professor in the Kosair for Kids School of Physical Therapy. Dr. Singh graduated with a BS from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (2008) and graduated with an MS in exercise physiology (2012) and PhD in physiology (2017) from the University of Louisville. Dr. Singh subsequently completed a postdoctoral fellowship (2021) in the Kosair for Kids Center for Pediatric Neurorecovery at the University of Louisville. Dr. Singh’s research is focused on identifying the multifaceted role of trunk muscles across multiple physiological systems and to investigate therapeutic potential of non-invasive neuromodulation to promote motor recovery in children with spinal cord injury.

Professor
[email protected]

Elisa M. ZuberElisa M. (Lisa) Zuber, PhD is Professor and Chair of the Kosair for Kids School of Physical Therapy. She holds a BS degree in physical therapy from the Medical College of Virginia, an MS degree in education from Radford University and a PhD in physical therapy from the University of Central Arkansas. She had a variety of experience in physical therapy practice and education before becoming Associate Director of the Department of Accreditation at the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) for 12 years. She returned to education in 2008 and has become passionate about the delivery of physical therapy curricula in a blended format, earning a certificate in blended learning in 2017. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, the Health Humanities Consortium, and has been active with Hands of Light in Action, a non-governmental organization (NGO) specializing in disaster relief. Dr. Zuber is a 2021 Fellow of the Louisville-based Health Enterprise Network.

Tuition, Fees, & Estimated Program Costs

The DPT at Spalding University is a 110 credit-hour program.

Please view our 2024-2025 Financial Fact Sheet to see an estimate of first year costs for the Entry-Level Doctor of Physical Therapy. Our 2023-2024 Financial Fact Sheet is available for review as well.

Students are responsible for securing their own travel and lodging arrangements for lab immersion weeks and clinical education.

For more information about tuition, fees or other associated expenses, please visit our Cost of Attendance page.

Schedule a Visit

Want to schedule a visit? You can schedule one through our online Graduate Campus Visit portal.

For any additional questions regarding a campus visit, please contact our graduate recruiter to get on the calendar.

Jennifer Huff

[email protected]

(502) 873-4165

Financial Aid Options

Spalding University has a robust offering of financial aid including scholarships, grants, loans, and other types of aid. Check out our Financial Aid page for more information.

Health & Counseling Services

Your physical and mental health and wellness are essential to your academic success. The Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS) center implemented teletherapy so students can receive services from the comfort of their residence hall room, home, or wherever they need to be for a private meeting. CaPS also continues to offer in-person services in the CaPS office as well. The Eagle Care Clinic offers both telehealth and office visits by appointment as well. Check out our Health and Counseling Services page for more information.

Licensure Information for Charter Class

A decision about initial accreditation from CAPTE is expected prior to graduating from the charter class. Graduates from the DPT program will be eligible to apply for the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) after the program receives initial accreditation. The dates for the NPTE are not yet scheduled for 2026.

Criminal Background Checks

Criminal background checks are required for Professional Practice (clinical education) placement. Findings of a criminal background check may preclude placement in the Professional Practice courses. Students with findings on a criminal background check will be counseled by the program director regarding potential implications for state board licensure as a physical therapist. Students with convictions of certain criminal history may not meet state board requirements for licensure as a physical therapist.

Complaints

For complaints that fall outside of the realm of due process such as complaints about the program from prospective students, clinical education sites, employers of graduates and the public, the following policy and procedures should be utilized:

Policy: The Program values the concerns and complaints that may arise from parties outside the University’s due process system and strives to respond to concerns and complaints in a timely, fair, and appropriate manner. Retaliation to parties affiliated with the filing of a complaint will not occur. A complaint will be considered when the maker submits it in a signed, written format to the Program Director or Chair of the KFKSPT. A complaint regarding the Program Director should be forwarded to the Chair of the KFKSPT. A complaint about the chair should be forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Education.

Procedures:

  1. Complaints not involving a specific faculty member will be shared with the faculty to develop solutions and to educate the faculty about the concern. The Program Director will attempt to resolve the complaint and notify the complainant within 10 days of receipt.
  2. The Program Director will discuss complaints involving clinical education sites or from or about clinical faculty with the Director of Clinical Education (DCE). Once a solution is created, the complainant will be notified within 10 days of receipt.
  3. Records of complaints about the program that fall outside of due process, including the nature and disposition of the complaint, will be maintained by the Program Director for 5 years.

In addition to the DPT Program policies and procedures about complaints, the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) considers complaints about programs that are accredited or are seeking accreditation by CAPTE, and complaints about CAPTE itself. That information can be accessed at https://www.capteonline.org/complaints.

Program Accreditation

Effective October 25, 2022 the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Spalding University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; phone: 703-706- 3245; email: [email protected]. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 502-873-4449 or email [email protected].

Candidate for Accreditation is an accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the program may matriculate students in technical/professional courses. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status does not assure that the program will be granted Initial Accreditation.

Candidacy is considered to be an accredited status, as such the credits and degree earned from a program with Candidacy status are considered, by CAPTE, to be from an accredited program. Therefore, students in the charter (first) class should be eligible to take the licensure exam even if CAPTE withholds accreditation at the end of the candidacy period. That said, it is up to each state licensing agency, not CAPTE, to determine who is eligible for licensure. Information on licensing requirements should be directed to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT; www.fsbpt.org) or specific state boards (a list of state boards and contact information is available on FSBPT’s website.

Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Statement

Spalding University is an equal opportunity educational institution that complies with all applicable federal, state and local laws. It is the University’s policy not to discriminate against any individual or group of individuals regardless of race, color, national origin, age, disability, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, military status, veteran status or other protected status.

(Reference https://catalog.spalding.edu/?id=1085)