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Academics

group of DPT students studying a spine

Program Description

Mount Saint Mary's University provides doctoral education to a diverse student body culminating in physical therapists with sound clinical reasoning in a variety of settings who are committed to professional and personal development, social citizenship and ethical, compassionate care. This post-baccalaureate degree program offers professional education based on a foundation of liberal arts and sciences. It is a three-year (9 semester) program of academic rigor requiring full-time study throughout the curriculum. Concentration on the basic and clinical sciences is integrated with physical therapy patient/client management principles and procedures. The total educational experience of the student involves life-long learning, and the physical therapy curriculum facilitates this value throughout the student's acquisition of knowledge and development of intellectual skills, professional behaviors, cognitive abilities, and practice competencies. The program design provides early and continual integration of clinical experiences that foster maximum development of the student's clinical thought processes, and provides opportunities for mastery of the personal and skill-based competencies requisite for entry-level practice. The Physical Therapy Department is committed to providing an education that enables graduates to be generalist practitioners of the highest quality. The learning environment nurtures students to become skilled professional practitioners, possessing the skills of clinical reasoning and effective communication. Students experience and discover the personal and service-oriented aspects of health care including: 


* An understanding of the holistic nature of health, integrating body, mind, spirit and emotion 
* An understanding of human beings their inherent dignity, diverse cultures, and ethnicity 
* A respect for the role of compassion and communication in health and healing 
* A respect for the role of mutual trust and responsibility in patient relationships 
* An ethical basis for decision making 

As integral members of the health care team, graduates impart their knowledge and skill through competent and compassionate patient care, enlightened education, scholarly activity, quality consultation and a commitment to life-long learning and professional development. 

The curriculum is a sequential 3-year, 9-semester design based on a foundation of hierarchical and adult learning theory. The curriculum design incorporates values, content and process components. In the domain of values, seven values serve as a core for the program and are based on the mission and philosophy of the University and Department. These values are integrity, empathy, social citizenship, diversity, knowledge, leadership, and effectiveness. 

Seven themes serve as the conceptual framework around which the curriculum is organized. They are Foundational and Basic Sciences, Medical Sciences, Critical Thinking/Research, Patient/Client Management, Practice Management, Integration Seminar, and Clinical Experiences. The program includes a total of 36 weeks of clinical experiences, culminating with two 12 week clinical internships.