Program Requirements

Doctor of Physical Therapy

(DPT degree)


The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program consists of a three-year, entry-level professional graduate program that prepares students to be eligible for licensure and entry into contemporary physical therapy practice. The curriculum emphasizes a problem-solving, evidence-based approach to learning in addition to providing a wide variety of clinical experiences that are integrated throughout the program. Our faculty are experts in the areas of manual therapy, orthopedics, biomechanics, research, sports medicine, pediatrics, neuroscience and general physical therapy practice.


The mission of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is to prepare physical therapists to meet the health and wellness needs of their community through innovative practice, passionate commitment, the pursuit of excellence, and generous service.


Effective May 28, 2015, George Fox University has been granted full accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email:

Program Objectives

Professional and Educational Objectives

To enable students to:

  • Function as safe, ethical and autonomous practitioners in a variety of settings
  • Use effective communication skills in all professional relationships including those with patients, colleagues, other health care professionals and families
  • Utilize critical thinking skills and principles of evidence-based practice for making clinical decisions using the patient/client management model
  • Demonstrate both societal and professional responsibility through a commitment to life-long learning, professional development and community service
  • Contribute to the profession as clinicians, researchers, educators, consultants and advocates
  • Apply the concepts of health, wellness, and prevention to promote the best possible function

Admission Requirements

Enrollment is highly competitive and applicants seeking admission to the DPT program must hold a four-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Applicants must have completed all prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA of 3.0 prior to entry into the program.

Additional admission criteria include knowledge of the physical therapy profession in a variety of settings. This is evaluated by the number of hours spent either observing or working in the field of physical therapy. Although there is no minimum requirement at present, it’s not uncommon to have applicants with well over 100 hours of observation time. Other factors that are included into the admission criteria are letters of recommendation, essay response, content of the application, and service to the community.

Prerequisite Courses

George Fox University offers an exercise science major, which is an interdisciplinary course of study that includes the prerequisites needed for most physical therapy programs. Although there are benefits to completing those courses at George Fox University, this does not guarantee admission into the program. All prerequisite coursework must be completed with a minimum grade of “C”. A general description of prerequisite coursework is listed below.

Anatomy and Physiology: 8 semester credits (or equivalent) required course: human anatomy (with dissection preferred) & physiology. Laboratory sessions are required.

Biological Sciences: 4 semester credits (or equivalent) required courses: Biological sciences can include general biology, neuroscience, genetics, microbiology, advanced anatomy and other upper division classes. Equivalent courses include kinesiology, exercise physiology, and biomechanics.

Physics: 8 semester credits (or equivalent): required course: general physics. The course should reflect a standard two-semester (or equivalent) course which includes laboratory.

Chemistry: 8 semester credits (or equivalent): required course: general chemistry.  Equivalent courses such as organic & biological chemistry courses should reflect standard two-semesters which includes laboratory. Advanced courses such as organic chemistry, physical chemistry and biochemistry are strongly recommended.

Psychology: 6 semester credits (or equivalent): course should include but not limited to a general course in psychology. Additional coursework in abnormal psychology, human development, and neuroscience are strongly recommended.

Statistics: 2 semester credits (or equivalent): course can be taken as either math, or social science credit.

Social Science and Humanities: combined 12 semester credits (or equivalent): required course: English composition. Additional coursework should include classes in more than one discipline such as literature, communication, foreign language, philosophy, sociology, political science, economics, and fine arts. 

Those students whose first language is not English must meet the required English proficiency standard as demonstrated in passing the following minimum international iBT (Internet-based TOEFL) scores: 25 points in each of the following, reading, writing, speaking and listening.

 In addition, applicants must complete the following to be considered for admission to the program:

  • Doctor of Physical Therapy application form and application fee
  • One official transcript from all colleges or universities attended
  • Two references (one academic and one physical therapist; forms provided in the application materials)
  • An in-person interview

Transfer Credit

The core faculty and the director have the authority for determining the acceptance of specific undergraduate credits that may fall outside the lines of the traditional prerequisites. Transfer credits and transfer students from other physical therapy programs will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Course Requirements

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program is approximately three years in length (29 months) with 92 semester hours of didactic coursework required as a minimum for graduation, as well as 37 weeks of full-time clinical internships. The first year of the program emphasize didactic study in the scientific foundations and evidence-based practice in physical therapy and includes a 4 week introduction to clinical practice during the summer. Students will integrate their didactic knowledge into clinical practice progressing in complexity as they advance through the program.

Clinical Training

A significant part of the program consists of 37 weeks of full-time clinical training. Integrated throughout all three years of the didactic component is hands-on clinical training in a variety of settings including private practice, hospital acute care, orthopedics, pediatric and rehabilitation facilities. Students should be prepared to participate in clinical internships outside of the Portland metropolitan area during the clinical education portion of the program. During these out-of-area internships (as well as other internships), students are responsible for living and transportation expenses.  

Continuous Enrollment

Students are expected to maintain continuous enrollment throughout the program.

Professional Standards

Standards for graduate education in physical therapy, as well as for the practice of physical therapy, are set by the policies of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) through its Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) and those of the relevant state laws and administrative rules. In Oregon this includes the Oregon Physical Therapy Licensing Board. The design, structure, and processes of graduate education at George Fox University are influenced by these statutes, accreditation criteria, and policies. Consequently, in addition to the policies of the university's graduate program, students in the physical therapy program are expected to know and abide by the professional standards established by these regulatory agencies. Both faculty and students are expected to adhere to the APTA Code of Ethics and Guide for Professional Conduct (2010).

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate with a doctor of physical therapy degree students must:

  • Satisfactorily complete a minimum of 129 semester hours with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Achieve no grade lower than C+ in all but 2 courses. See grading policy for further details.


The DPT program reserves the right to determine how it defines professional competence and professional behavior, to establish standards of excellence, and to evaluate students. Semester grades are determined by the instructor's evaluation of the student's daily participation in class, performance on periodic tests, work on research papers and class projects, and achievement on final examinations. The DPT program reserves the right to decline or withdraw a student’s admission if the student’s mental health status indicates that such action is essential for the safety of fellow students, faculty, administrative staff, or patients. The DPT program uses the following percentages for grade determination: A = 93-100%, A- = 90-92%, B+ = 87-89%, B = 83-86%, B- = 80-82%, C+ = 77-79%, C = 73-76%, C- = 72-70%, D = 60-69%, F = 59% or below, P = pass, NP = no pass, I = incomplete.

An incomplete (“I”) is given when the student is performing satisfactorily but there may be circumstances beyond the student’s control which resulted in the student not completing all of the assignments within the allotted time. If the incomplete work is not completed in the timeframe outlined by the faculty, the grade will be replaced with an “F”. Students cannot progress to the next sequenced course until the “I” is replaced with a passing grade.  If circumstances arise such that the student is unable to complete the semester they must either apply for a leave of absence, withdraw, or be dismissed

Course grades of D and F are unacceptable and cannot be included as graduate credit and may result in immediate dismissal from the program. Students may appeal grades through the university’s academic appeals process. A student will be also dismissed from the program for the following reasons:

  1. Repeating more than one clinical affiliation
  2. Failure to achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 by the end of the final semester

Clinical Grading

The DCE will assign a grade of “Pass, No Pass or Incomplete” to the clinical education experienced based upon the final APTA web based Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI) completed by the Clinical Instructor (CI) and student as well as input from the agency CCCE as appropriate. This grade will be determined using the following as a guideline for determining a passing grade. Students are expected to reach the performance by the end of each clinical experience.

-PDPT 580 Beginner to advanced beginner in all criteria
-PDPT 680 Advanced beginner to intermediate in all criteria
-PDPT 780 Intermediate in all criteria
-PDPT 781 Advanced intermediate in all criteria
-PDPT 782 Entry level to above entry level in all criteria

Progression, Retention, Withdrawal, Dismissal, and Reapplication

For continued matriculation, promotion, and graduation, Doctor of Physical Therapy students must maintain an average GPA of 3.0. If a student’s GPA falls below 3.0, the student will be placed on academic warning and the Program Director and faculty will consider the student’s potential for continued success. The faculty and Program Director will make recommendations to the course of action to the Dean of the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences. If a student receives a C or C- in a single course, the student will be required to meet with their academic advisor for counseling and/or remediation. If a student receives a C or C- in two designated courses, that student will be subject to academic warning and remediation. The remediation process could take the form of extra written work, retaking examinations (written or lab), or to retaking the course at the consent of the Program Director and faculty. In all circumstances, counseling between the student and academic advisor will be necessary to establish avenues to improve future performance. If a student receives a C or C- in three designated courses, that student may be subject to dismissal.

If a student is not in good academic standing, they may be placed on academic probation or warning, and a recommended course of action for the individual will be made by the Program Director and faculty.  Students will remain on academic probation until the deficiency is corrected. Once corrected, the student will be considered in good academic standing.

Should a student fail a clinic experience, they must remediate the failed clinical experience before progressing on to the next more advanced clinical experience. Remediation programs specific to the clinical education experience are designed and implemented on a case by case basis and are determined by the circumstances that led to the failure. The DCE, Program Director and faculty will decide the most appropriate remediation activity that may include instruction in clinical skills under direct supervision of faculty.

Unprofessional conduct will be remediated through review, oral and written testing on the code of ethics and standards of conduct; mentoring with the students’ advisor or other designated faculty; and/or counseling with faculty possessing behavioral training expertise.

Academic remediation and probation will be assessed each semester or more frequently as needed. The determination of a plan to resolve the deficiencies will be developed by the Program Director and Faculty. If a student is at risk for dismissal, the Faculty and Program Director will make final determination. The student’s advisor or program director is to notify the student of the concern regarding performance and plan of action for remediation.  Scholastic dishonesty (cheating, falsifying, misrepresentation or plagiarism) are also grounds for academic probation or dismissal from the program.

Upon completion of the remediation activity, the Program Director and Faculty will review the results and determine the outcome of the remediation process. Successful completion of the remediation activity will result in restoration of good academic standing, and a new grade will be assigned. Unsuccessful completion may result in retaking the class, reassignment to another cohort, or dismissal.

Leave of absence

If a student must take a leave of absence from the program due to an illness, accident, or other substantial reason that impairs their ability to continue course work at that time, all incomplete coursework must be completed within two years from the date of their original start. If they are unable to complete the program in that time frame, they will be dismissed from the program.

Curriculum Plan

PDPT 500 Professional Practices in Physical Therapy 2
PDPT 503 Basic Patient Care Skills 2
PDPT 510 Human Anatomy I 4
PDPT 520 Biomechanics and Kinesiology I 3
PDPT 531 Neuroscience 4
PDPT 550 Therapeutic Exercise I 2
PDPT 570 Applied Physiology 3
PDPT 504 Principles of Motor Control 2
PDPT 511 Human Anatomy II 3
PDPT 521 Biomechanics and Kinesiology II 3
PDPT 529 Evidence-Based Practice & Clinical Decision Making 2
PDPT 540 Therapeutic Modalities 2
PDPT 551 Therapeutic Exercise II 2
PDPT 560 Essentials of Research Methods 3
PDPT 573 Pathophysiology 3
PDPT 580 Clinical Internship I 4
PDPT 600 Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Therapeutics 3
PDPT 610 Pharmacology for Physical Therapy 3
PDPT 620 Geriatric Physical Therapy 2
PDPT 630 Neurorehabilitation I 4
PDPT 649 Medical Screening and Differential Diagnosis 2
PDPT 650 Orthopedic Assessment and Rehabilitation I 4
PDPT 750 Professional Research Project I 1
PDPT 611 Medical Surgical and Integumentary Conditions 3
PDPT 619 Health and Wellness in Physical Therapy 2
PDPT 631 Neurorehabilitation II 3
PDPT 651 Orthopedic Assessment and Rehabilitation II 4
PDPT 660 Prosthetics and Orthotics 2
PDPT 670 Pediatric Physical Therapy 3
PDPT 680 Clinical Internship II 6
PDPT 690 Diagnostic Imaging for Physical Therapists 2
PDPT 710 Psychosocial Aspects of Patient Care and Disability 1
PDPT 751 Professional Research Project II 1
PDPT 760 Professional Duty and Social Responsibility 2
PDPT 720 Administration in Physical Therapy 3
PDPT 730 Professional Seminar 2
PDPT 752 Professional Research Project III 1
PDPT 770 Special Topics 2
PDPT 780 Clinical Internship III 8
PDPT 753 Professional Research Project IV 2
PDPT 781 Clinical Internship IV 9
PDPT 782 Clinical Internship V 10
College of Behavioral and Health Sciences Course Descriptions