Clinical Education and UNC Curriculum

The UNC-CH physical therapy program affiliates with many excellent clinical education centers both inside and outside of North Carolina. Considerable planning and preparation go into the arrangements as affiliation contracts are established. The students' special interests and personal circumstances are seriously considered as the clinical assignments are made. A diverse geographical distribution of assignments is important in the students' development as a professional physical therapist.

Clinical Education Settings

The students must work with patients of all ages and a variety of clinical conditions to provide them with entry-level knowledge and skills in the general practice of physical therapy. Each student must have a clinical experience in three settings during their academic curriculum: acute care hospital, neuromuscular and musculoskeletal. In addition, each student must complete a clinical experience in an underserved area, including rural settings or specialty experiences.  Click here for more information on categorization of clinical education settings.

Clinical Education and UNC Curriculum

First year physical therapy students have an eight-week practicum beginning in the summer following the first two semesters of their academic experience. Second year physical therapy students have back-to-back eight-week practicums spanning from March to June (or, alternatively, on 16-week rotation for selected sites). Third-year physical therapy students have a final 12-week rotation in the summer upon completion of the academic portion of the curriculum.

For more information on how clinical education is part of our, please see the resources below:

  • UNC DPT Course Sequence- The UNC Doctor in Physical Therapy program requires three calendar years and 39 courses. This document outlines the sequence of the curriculum.  
  • Clinical Education Timing and Course Content Completion- This document describes where the clinical rotations fall within the curriculum and what content students will have covered. It also identifies targeted settings and patient populations for each clinical experience.
  • Syllabus of Clinical Education- A detailed overview of the clinical education course descriptions, objectives, and evaluation methods.