Physical Therapy, Doctor of Physical Therapy (0013)

Program Coordinator

Harvey Wallmann,, (270) 745-4070

The DPT Program is designed to prepare students to plan and administer treatment to help patients regain diminished physical function lost secondary to injury or disease, to promote soft tissue healing, and to relieve pain. Determining the degree of impairment allows physical therapists to help patients return to full function by using various physical agents to decrease pain and by using therapeutic exercises to increase strength, endurance, and coordination.

The purpose of the DPT Program is to provide students pursuing a career in physical therapy the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills required for the safe practice of physical therapy. Students are prepared as generalists, but also have some opportunity to investigate specialized aspects of physical therapy through numerous clinical exposures. The program of study consists of 118 credit hours of graduate course work and consists of intense academic and clinical work spread over 3 years. These hours are divided between classroom, clinical, and research activities.

The DPT Program is an entry-level professional degree program designed to provide individuals with baccalaureate degrees and the appropriate prerequisite courses the knowledge and skills to develop clinical and research expertise in the field of physical therapy. Upon receiving the DPT degree, students will be eligible to sit for the licensure examination in physical therapy.

The Mission of the WKU Doctor of Physical Therapy program is to serve the healthcare and preventative needs of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, including rural and under-served areas, by developing culturally competent, caring, autonomous physical therapists who will engage in evidence based practice, critical thinking, professional behavior, life-long learning, and community/professional service.

In addition to formal lecture and laboratory courses, students are required to successfully complete clinical experiences usually conducted at external agencies/facilities. Due to the nature of these experiences and to stipulations established by agencies/facilities, specific requirements for students may exist to be eligible to participate in the clinical experiences. These requirements may include, but are not limited to, undergoing criminal background checks, drug testing, and TB skin tests; providing proof of health insurance, professional liability insurance, and/or immunization records or blood titers verifying proof of immunizations. These items may need to be updated annually. Additionally, there may be certifications, training seminars, or other requirements specified by the facility/agency that a student must meet in order to be eligible for clinical experiences at a facility. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all institutional and/or facility requirements are met as a condition of participating in any on or off-campus experiences; students may be responsible in part or in full for any costs incurred to meet such requirements. Student questions regarding the agreements with external agencies may be directed to the Director of Clinical Education of the DPT Program. Students are also responsible for transportation to and from off-campus experiences.

For more information visit or call the DPT Program office, (270) 745-4071.  For admissions information, contact Dr. Ray VanWye, (270) 745-4925.

Program Admission

Admission to the program is competitive and limited to 32 students per class. Complete applications that are received by the application due dates will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee to determine which applicants will be offered an interview.  Following the completion of all interviews, the Admissions Committee will determine which applicants will be offered entry into the program. Due to the competitiveness for entry into the program and the limited spaces available, applicants that meet the minimum requirements are not ensured admission into the program.

The following are requirements for admission into the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program:

  1. Baccalaureate Degree: Prospective candidates are required to earn a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university prior to matriculation.
  2. Prerequisite Courses: Prospective candidates must complete the following prerequisite courses:
    • Human Anatomy (1 semester with lab) OR Human Anatomy & Physiology I (1 semester with lab).
    • Biology (2 semesters with labs)
    • General Chemistry (2 semesters with labs)
    • General Physics (2 semesters with labs)
    • Psychology (1 semester)
    • Statistics (1 semester)
    • No grade lower than a C (i.e. C-, D, F) is acceptable in the above prerequisite courses.
  3. Grade Point Average (GPA): A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, for both cumulative and prerequisite courses.
  4. Graduate Record Exam (GRE):
    • There is no minimum GRE score
    • A composite score of 300 or higher on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE is recommended.
    • A score of 4 out of 6 on the analytical writing section of the GRE is recommended.
  5. Doctor of Physical Therapy Program application materials:
    1. Prospective students are required to apply online using the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS)
      1. submit official transcripts from all college, university, and professional coursework for PTCAS verification
      2. submit official GRE scores to PTCAS using code 0557
      3. two letters of recommendation
        1. the first letter of recommendation is required from a licensed physical therapist
        2. the second letter of recommendation is required from a current or previous professor, an advisor, or a current or previous employer/supervisor
      4. refer to the PTCAS WKU program profile website for further information regarding completing your application
    2. Applicants are required to complete the WKU Graduate School application
      1. submit official transcipts from all college, university, and professional coursework to the WKU Graduate School
      2. submit official GRE scores to the WKU Graduate School via ETS using code 0557
      3. refer to the WKU Graduate School website for clarification regarding the application process
  6. Technical Standards: Students are required to enter the program with a minimum level of ability in specific areas termed “technical standards.”  For successful admission into the program, students are required to meet the minimum technical standards with or without reasonable accommodation as part of the Core Performance Standards as stated in the DPT Program Student Manual and Program Policies and Procedures.  Your application to the WKU DPT program signifies you have reviewed and understand the Technical Standards provided on the WKU DPT program website.  In addition, upon admission you will be required to sign documentation that you understand the implications and content in each section, as well as signify whether you will or will not require reasonable accommodations.
  7. An interview may be required.

Please refer to the admission section of this catalog for Graduate School admission requirements.

Program Requirements (118 hours)

Required Courses
DPT 700Orientation to Physical Therapy1
DPT 705Topics in Physical Therapy1
DPT 711Principles of Physical Assessment I1
DPT 712Principles of Physical Assessment II2
DPT 713Principles of Physical Assessment III2
DPT 715Patient Care Techniques3
DPT 720Gross Human Anatomy I2
DPT 721Gross Human Anatomy I Lab1
DPT 722Gross Human Anatomy II2
DPT 723Gross Human Anatomy II Lab1
DPT 724Pathophysiology4
DPT 726Orthopaedic Foundations3
DPT 727Health Promotion and Wellness in Physical Therapy2
DPT 728Clinical Exercise Physiology2
DPT 729Pharmacology in Physical Therapy2
DPT 736Neuroanatomy3
DPT 737Neurophysiology3
DPT 738Motor Control2
DPT 740Physical Modalities3
DPT 742Diagnostic Testing and Imaging2
DPT 745Integumentary System2
DPT 746Orthopaedic Assessment4
DPT 747Women's Health in Physical Therapy2
DPT 748Prosthetics and Orthotics2
DPT 749Neurological Assessment1
DPT 751Supervised Clinical Education I4
DPT 752Supervised Clinical Education II5
DPT 753Supervised Clinical Education III7
DPT 754Supervised Clinical Education IV9
DPT 760Professional Issues2
DPT 761Physical Therapy Management and Administration I1
DPT 762Physical Therapy Management and Administration II3
DPT 770Orthopaedic Rehabilitation4
DPT 771Neurological Rehabilitation4
DPT 772Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation3
DPT 774Spine Assessment and Intervention3
DPT 775Screening for Referral4
DPT 778Geriatric Physical Therapy1
DPT 779Pediatric Physical Therapy3
DPT 781Research in Physical Therapy I3
DPT 782Research in Physical Therapy II3
DPT 783Research in Physical Therapy III3
DPT 784Research in Physical Therapy IV1
DPT 785Research in Physical Therapy V1
DPT 790Physical Therapy Seminar1
Total Hours118