Top of Page
Skip main navigation

Physical Therapy (PhD)

Request / Apply Now

To receive more information about our programs or to apply now, use one of the options below.

Request Information

Apply Now

Curriculum Requirements

Courses will be conducted in an Institute format and as independent study under faculty supervision.  The distance education format enables students to continue their career while earning the degree.

Graduates will be awarded the Ph.D. degree in Physical Therapy upon satisfactory completion of all degree requirements.

Please note: This is a three-semester program.

Course of Study  
Required HPD Core Courses 12 credits
Required PT Core Courses 23 credits
Specialty and Elective Courses 9 credits
Comprehensive Exam 0 credits
Dissertation 16 credits
Total Credits 60 credits
Course Credits
HPH 7200: Ethics
Health care professionals are required to act morally and ethically. This course is designed to expand the student's basic understanding of ethics to promote ethical awareness and enable students to derive better health care decisions that reduce risk of potential ethical consequence. By exposing students to bioethics and controversial ethical issues typically encountered in current health care practice, students practice making difficult decisions. Students will synthesize and implement strategies for applying morals, values and ethics systematically in the various settings in which health care is delivered. Considering the perspectives of all stakeholders and the role of the health care provider, patient advocate, professional and consumer of medical care, students will gain workable knowledge of contemporary ethical issues and appreciate that ethics permeate the majority of decisions made in health care.
HPH 7300: Biostatistics I
The application of quantitative techniques has expanded rapidly in medical decision-making. The emphasis on evidence based health care means that health care workers must be able to evaluate the results from published health care research studies. This course is the first of two courses designed to provide students with the knowledge of quantitative techniques. The course will cover descriptive statistics, parametric group comparison statistics, basic non-parametric statistics, and provide an introduction to linear modeling.
HPH 7310: Biostatistics II
The aim of this course is to enable students to appreciate the richness of statistical science and to invite them to the concepts of probabilistic thinking. Statistics is the science of the future. Any technique that they are going to learn will help them to understand the unknown better, and in turn it will increase their success in other courses and in future professional careers. Principles of statistical inference build upon the course of Fundamentals of Biostatistics. As such, a prerequisite for enrolling in this course of Fundamentals of Biostatistics. The goals of this course are threefold: (1) introduce the basic concepts of probability as well as methods for calculating the probability of an event, (2) assist students in developing and understanding of probability theory and sampling distributions, and (3) familiarize students about inferences involving one or two populations, ANOVA, regression analysis, and chi-square tests.
HPH 7400: Research Methods and Design
This course provides a review of the research process, including design, measurement, and statistical analysis. Emphasis is placed on the selection of appropriate methodologies for a variety of problem- solving situations. Emphasis is placed on qualitative and quantitative research methods.
Course Credits
HPH 7410: Qualitative Research
The Doctor of Philosophy degree programs are designed to prepare students to conduct research in their discipline. In HPH 7410 we will focus primarily on the knowledge and skill competencies you will need to design and conduct qualitative research successfully. In this pursuit we will immerse ourselves in the epistemological, theoretical, ethical, methodological, and procedural understanding of qualitative research, apply this knowledge to the conceptualization and conduct of qualitative research, report the findings of the research in the form of a research article, and appraise the quality of such qualitative research products. Upon completion of the course you will have demonstrated that you have mastered the basic competencies needed to create, plan, and complete a qualitative research dissertation.
HPH 7600: Grant Writing and Publication
This course is designed to provide writing experiences which prepare the learner for manuscript and grant proposal submissions. This introductory experience into the grant process from proposal to funding to management will include project management, funding sources, and funding challenges.? Other course requirements include a research proposal (manuscript) that is ready for submission for publication and development of a dissertation proposal.
Course Credits
PHT 7010: Professional Issues in Physical Therapy and Health Care *
This course deals with current issues facing the physical therapy profession. Students participate in group discussions and complete a written project on a selected topic
PHT 7020: Legal Issues in Health Care *
The practice of physical therapy has been and is becoming increasingly regulated by laws, rules, and regulations. With the ever increasing need for physical therapists to function in today's health care arena and plan for tomorrow's, it is essential that therapists gain a basic understanding of the legal constraints that direct and often challenge quality patient care management. This course is designed to increase the awareness and working knowledge of physical therapists to identify, understand, and apply relevant laws, rules and regulations, for the delivery of physical therapy services in various health care settings. With the growing interest toward the establishment of a centralized, nationalized health care program in the U.S., governmental regulations will likely expand restrictions and further impact all health care providers, including physical therapists. This course will explore legal rights and issues related to education, practice, ethics and standards of practice, role, business, and profession of physical therapy. Students deal with a diversity of legal issues by applying relevant laws, regulations, and theories to problem-solve and promote risk management. Students should emerge with greater confidence and understanding of the influence of laws and the legal process, as well as the intertwined relationship of law and ethics, on the practice of physical therapy to enable better service for patients, clients and society.
PHT 7030: Health Care Policy and Health Care Reform *
Students explore the global issues of health care reform examining the theories, methodologies of reform, the impact of each upon Physical Therapy, and how practitioners can effect change.
PHT 7112: Measurement Issues in Physical Therapy Research *
This course is designed for the health professionals to gain an overview of measurement theory and methods. It will focus on problems and challenges of validity and reliability of measurement, and emphasize development, testing, and refinement of norms and criteria referenced data collection instruments. It will help the student in the development of an analytical view of measurement issues.
PHT 7113: Advanced Methods and Design
This course presents statistical methods commonly used in the collection and analysis of health research data. Topics include descriptive statistics, basic concepts of probability, statistical inference, analysis of variance (ANOVA), correlation, regression, and non-parametric statistical techniques. Statistical software will be used. Emphasis is on understanding and applying statistical concepts and techniques to research data.
PHT 7120: Critical Inquiry
Students are required to evaluate research literature in a scientific and systematic way. Knowledge gained in this course will help in developing research proposal using different designs. Note: Required for students entering with a BS degree (HPH 7300 Biostat 1 and HPH 7400 Research Design are prerequisites)
PHT 7130: Dissertation Research Seminar *
The purpose of this course is to prepare students for writing the dissertation as the final requirement for completion of the PhD. Students will be guided in the development of a research question, related research design, data collection and the appropriate statistical methods as steps toward developing an idea paper and a dissertation proposal. Attention will also be paid to how results of research might be presented and the discussion portion of a dissertation should be approached. Various referencing methods will be discussed and the advantages and disadvantages presented. A variety of writing styles that are appropriate for scientific writing will be examined and various ways to improve dissertation writing will be examined. Students will be required to investigate the application of research designs to research problems in physical therapy by analyzing classmates research questions, proposed research designs, data collection methods and proposed statistic.
PHT 7140: The Therapist and Cultural Diversity (inactive)
In this course the impact of ethnocultural issues, policies and procedures on the therapist will be assessed and analyzed. The complex issues of policy implementation and planning in dealing with ethno-cultural issues will be explored. Continuation of PHT 6140. No prerequisite.
PHT 7200: Teaching and Learning in Physical Therapy *
This course will examine the complexity of learning and behavioral change. Students will have the opportunity to explore their own learning styles as well as a variety of learning theories, including computer based learning.
PHT 7210: Patient Education (Inactive)
Applies teaching-learning theories to patient education issues. Students will complete a project related to teaching and learning for patient groups or for individual patient care. Offered as independent study as needed. Prerequisite: PHT 7200
PHT 7300: Consulting Skills
Students will discuss concepts of the roles and skills of consultants. Students complete a paper on selected topics in consultation.
PHT 7400: Independent Study
Individualized study under the supervision of assigned instructor. Requires permission of graduate coordinator.
PHT 7401: Independent Study
Individualized study under the supervision of assigned instructor. Requires permission of graduate coordinator.
PHT 7420: Health Care Delivery Systems
This individualized course will address issues in various health-care systems where physical therapists work. Students discuss and complete a report on management of physical therapy services in selected delivery systems.
PHT 7510: Designing Materials for the Web
This course explores current concepts and principles of designing for the web. Through "discovery learning," students will develop principles of multimedia design for the web, and then "surf" the web to identify best and worst sites based on those principles. Next, students will apply those principles to the development of individual home pages. Ultimately, students will apply what has been learned in the course to the creation of a web-based course using WebCT.
PHT 7700: Advanced Clinical Competency I
Students will enroll in an advanced clinical course of their choice. The course may be offered by the Physical Therapy program or in a form of a clinical certificate that is approved by the doctoral committee.
PHT 7710: Advanced Clinical Competency II
Pre-requisite for this course is PHT 7700. A project in the area of chosen clinical competency will be completed under the direction or agreement of the assigned mentor.
PHT 7740: Comprehensive Examination *
Students in the PhD program in Physical Therapy must take the Comprehensive Examination (Pass/Fail) to be eligible to start the dissertation phase. To be eligible to take the examination, all the core courses must be completed. The examination includes questions related to Research, Ethics and Legal Issues, Health Care Policies and Professional Issues. The student has 6 hours to complete the examination without using any resources.
PHT 7800: Dissertation *
Supervised, original research on a physical therapy related topic would be completed under the supervision of a dissertation committee.
16 total
PHT 7801: Research Seminar *
This sequence of four 1 credit courses is intended to prepare the student for the processes of analysis and understanding of the research literature which is crucial to the dissertation process. These courses designed as 1 credit per semester are required during the first 4 semesters that students are taking courses in the Physical Therapy PhD program. Other students in the program are encouraged to participate. These courses are designed to reinforce the material being presented in the research courses and to promote intellectual discussion on physical therapy science and scholarly works. Students will be required to read and discuss the research literature related to physical therapy illustrating the relationship of research design to statistical analysis and how researchers approach research questions and problems.

1 each/

4 total

* These courses are required.

Return to top of page