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The transitional DPT curriculum is a 27-credit program that is taken part-time. Coursework includes 12 courses that build a foundation of generalist practice but also allow significant opportunities for self-directed learning in areas of a student’s interest. NOTE: The transitional DPT curriculum does not train students to conduct research, although it is possible to have exposure to research in an ongoing faculty project through elective work. Therapists interested in research training should explore PhD programs such at the UNC Human Movement Science degree.

The recommended sequence for part-time students requires two courses per term, one in the summer and is completed in the spring of the second year. All students complete a Capstone project as the final activity in the program, as well as a comprehensive portfolio that showcases their work and professional development. Students are provided with opportunities to develop as educators in clinical practice or academic settings, with mentored teaching experiences integrated into the curriculum following an education seminar during the first summer session.

All students are assigned an academic advisor upon enrollment who assists the student in curriculum design, identification of clinical mentors, selection of project topics, and provides professional guidance. Clinical mentors are sought in the student’s home community to provide guidance on projects developed for clinical practice, with academic guidance from UNC-CH faculty.

DPT Course Descriptions

Clinical Foundation Core

PHYT 820 Advanced Patient Management I (four credits)

Case-based learning format incorporating didactic knowledge, standardized assessment tools, and clinical decision-making skills. Includes content augmentation beyond masters-level physical therapy preparation in basic sciences, pharmacology, radiology; differential diagnosis, standardized assessment information. Emphasis is on evidence-based decision making. Fall.

PHYT 822 Advanced Patient Management II (four credits)

A continuation of case-based learning activities from PHYT 320 with increasing level of complexity. Case content will reflect comprehensive sampling of a variety of patient populations and practice environments especially focusing on the unique needs of rural and diverse populations. Spring.

PHYT 839 Advanced Practice Issues (two credits)

Addresses the responsibilities of physical therapists as doctoral level professionals, leadership, public policy, advocacy, cultural competence, disparity in health services, ethics, and related topics. Spring.

PHYT 800 Physical Therapy Education Seminar (three credits)

Education in Physical Therapy is a course designed to advance students’ skills and experiences as educators in physical therapy. The transitional DPT program provides additional opportunities for students for professional development as clinical or academic instructors. This course focuses on educational theory, methods for designing teaching, and strategies to meet their learners at an appropriate level. Methods of content delivery are explored, depending on each student’s interest, as well as strategies for evaluating student learning and one’s own teaching. A teaching experience of some sort (face-to-face or online) is planned as part of the seminar, to be carried out prior to graduation. Summer.

PHYT 824 Topics in Health and Wellness (three credits)

Focus on the role of the physical therapist in promoting health and wellness for individual patients and community populations. Issues of health behavior, public policy, community access and efficacy of individual and group programs will be explored. Learners will evaluate health promotion intervention designs in terms of needs assessment strategies and process/outcome evaluation components. Fall.

Clinical Practice Core

PHYT 860 Advanced Clinical Practice (four credits)

Knowledge and skills developed in the Clinical Foundation Core are integrated into practice through evidence-based practice. The student will select a topic of interest based on their clinical practice and will write a clinical question. The student will then explore the evidence related to the topic. The course will culminate in a final product that includes a table of evidence and a summary about how to integrate the relevant findings into the student’s clinical practice. Mentors may be used as necessary to provide additional content specific clinical expertise. Fall and spring.

Clinical Specialty Core

PHYT 875 (cross listed w/ HMSC 293) Advanced Orthopedic Assessment and Intervention (two credits)

Discussion of mechanical properties and healing of musculoskeletal tissues throughout the life cycle. Laboratory and seminar units concerned with the examination and intervention for musculoskeletal pathology. Fall.

PHYT 880 (cross listed w/ HMSC 282) Child & Family Assessment and Intervention (two credits)

Evidenced-based rationale for examination, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention and outcomes. Cases will draw from both medical and community settings serving infants through young adults and will address system-level issues, service coordination, service delivery models, federal regulations, insurance, and needs of families and caregivers. Fall.

PHYT 885 Advanced Neuromuscular Intervention (two credits)

Content includes advanced material pertinent for doctoral level clinical practice in neurology across the lifespan and practice settings. Learners integrate rehabilitation models to explore impairments that influence motor control, motor learning and plasticity in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Learners explore issues of individual interest in depth with a focus on a select degenerative disease or traumatic injury, including methods of assessment and intervention evidence. Translation of evidence into clinical practice is examined by considering ways to improve effectiveness and ensure maintenance of long-term outcomes at program and individual levels. Spring.

Capstone Project

PHYT 854 Capstone Project (three credits)

The Capstone project, for which students will receive four credits, will involve an extensive case study, an educational project, or other project of significant depth reflective of doctoral level of study approved by the student’s committee. Students will be encouraged to select projects that address critical and diverse population needs within their local community. Regardless of the format chosen, the project must include at least one component (e.g., an abstract or an educational module) that will be posted on the web. Each student will select a project review committee composed of a project advisor, who is a member of the faculty, and two clinicians from the community. At least one of the clinicians must be a licensed physical therapist.

Students may form the project review committee and begin working on their projects any time after they have completed the first course in the Advanced Patient Management series. With assistance from the project advisor, each student will develop a timeline for timely completion of the project.

Case Study

Students who choose to perform a case study will be required to

  1. Identify a clinical problem, relating to either an individual or a community health issue;
  2. Develop a theoretical model, based on evidence from the scientific literature, that provides a framework for addressing this problem;
  3. Develop and implement a specific intervention plan;
  4. Measure and document the outcomes of the intervention; and
  5. Prepare a paper for professional dissemination of information about the project and its results.
Educational Program

Students who choose to develop an educational program will be required to:

  1. Identify a clinical problem as the topic of the presentation
  2. Write behavioral objectives for the learners;
  3. Develop one or more tools for evaluating attainment of objectives by the learners;
  4. Develop multimedia teaching/learning module(s);
  5. Present the module(s) to a professional or community audience; and
  6. Write an assessment of the effectiveness of the module(s), including review of data collected from the learners and the student’s self-assessment.