Students will follow the typical plan of study for DPT students for the first 2.5 years of the program. After the first 2.5 years, students will follow the plan of study for Bioengineering PhD students. At a minimum, the program will take 6 years to complete. After completing the didactic and clinical requirements of the DPT program, the student will be allowed to take the licensing exam. Students are required to write and orally defend a dissertation to complete their PhD degree.
Throughout the program, students are engaged in didactic classwork, part-time and full-time clinical internships, and research experience. The DPT plan of study integrates the basic sciences and clinical practice, emphasizes evidence based practice and includes a comprehensive array of course offerings in musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, integumentary, cardiopulmonary, geriatric, and pediatric physical therapy, as well as course content related to leadership & professional development. The PhD plan of study provides focused education in a specific area of bioengineering (Cellular and Organ Engineering, Biomechanics, Biosignals and Imaging, Physiology and Biophysics, or Neural Engineering), dedicated research experience with faculty advisors, mentorship for developing into an independent researcher.
The course requirements for the DPT include the following:
- Basic Science (Anatomy, Neuroscience, Exercise Physiology, Pharmacology)
- Clinical Science (Kinesiology, Musculoskeletal PT, Neuromuscular PT, Cardiopulmonary PT, Patient Management, Human Disease, Geriatrics Growth and Development)
- Critical Inquiry (Research Methods, Evidence-Based Practice)
- Leadership and Professional Development
- Clinical Education
Students are required to pass a written comprehensive examination before the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree can be awarded. The written comprehensive examination is a cumulative examination covering the core clinical sciences and focusing on physical therapy practice.
The course requirements for the PhD in bioengineering for the combined program include the following:
- Bioengineering Track Courses
- Graduate Electives
- Graduate Engineering Mathematics
- Statistics for Bioengineers
- Societal, Political, and Ethical Issues in Bioengineering
- Teaching Practicum
- Grant Writing in Bioengineering
- Doctoral Dissertation Research
Students typically take the PhD preliminary exam after their first year in the program, and PhD proposal (comprehensive examination) is presented generally at the end of the second year. A final public PhD defense is made by each PhD candidate based on the student's research work.