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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

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.

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.

Additional resources:

  • UNC DPT Course Sequence: Our 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 cover. It also identifies targeted settings and patient populations for each clinical experience.
  • Syllabus for Clinical Education: A detailed overview of the clinical education course descriptions, objectives, and evaluation methods.