Physical Therapy School Category: Physical Therapy Programs
General Program Description
The DPT is a 3-year, 34-month,117 credit-hour curriculum designed to professionally prepare students with the knowledge and clinical experiences to become licensed physical therapists. The academic curriculum takes place during the first semester and subsequent 3 fall and 2 spring semesters. The average number of graduate credit hours is 18 per semester. Full-time clinical internship rotations take place during the second and third summer semesters and during the final spring semester. The faculty consists of ten full-time members and more than 20 adjunct members from basic sciences and various clinical specialities. During the final fall semester, students present original case reports, participate in differential diagnosis presentations/discussions, and take a written and oral comprehensive examination. Annual graduation ceremonies and final evaluation sessions occur at the end of the 3rd Spring semester. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to sit for licensure in any United States jurisdiction and practice in any health care setting where physical therapists are employed.
Part-time clinical problem-solving experiences are provided for first and second year students through the academic year through the use of analysis of patient care videotapes, local community members with typical movement disorder diagnoses who volunteer to be subjects in student labs, and use of standardized patients in controlled clinical scenarios. The first full-time experience of 8 weeks occurs between the first and second years of the 3-year graduate program. The second two 8-week, full-time experiences occur in the summer of the second year after all academic subjects have been completed. The final full time clinical experience is completed during the last Spring semester. Students graduate at the end of these experiences. The clinical experience offers students a variety of possibilities, both geographically and educationally. Students have the opportunity to have one experience in an acute care environment and one in a long-term care or rehabilitation environment. Often, one of their clinical experiences is in a specialized environment designed to meet the students’ special interests or needs.
As of January 2011 there are ten full-time faculty members. All of the full-time faculty hold post-professional doctoral degrees. Faculty members are engaged in a variety of clinical practices and research activities. The number of peer-reviewed publications has been rising annually, with 11 this year. This reflects the interest and investment in the School of Physical Therapy that the University has made over the last few years, with an increase number of faculty and improved faculty support in both teaching and research activities. Lab classes use a combination of core faculty, adjunct faculty from local clinics, and teaching assistants to assure a ratio of one instructor for every 10 students.
Old Dominion University, a comprehensive regional university with a diverse number of undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, has a total enrollment of 24,466 students. The physical therapy program accepts 40+ students each year for a total enrollment of approximately 120 students.
Applicants to the program must have a bachelor’s degree, at least 80 volunteer hours in a physical therapy setting (40 hours of acute care), three letters of reference (one from a physical therapist), and an overall grade point average of 3.0. All applicants must take the GRE. Prerequisites include 8 hours of general chemistry w/lab; 8 hours of physics; 4 hours of general biology w/lab; 8 hours of human anatomy & physiology; 3 hours of statistics; 3 hours of psychology; and 3 hours of social science (2nd psychology, anthropology or sociology). Educational sessions begin during the last week in June. Application deadline is the first Monday each November. Applications received after that date will be considered on a case-by-case basis until the class is filled. Approximately 30% of qualified applicants are admitted to the program.
The first-time licensure pass rate is consitently above the state and national average, averaging 94% over the last 3 years. The overall pass rate is 100%. Employers report that ODU graduates are good clinicians who easily step into leadership positions.
Tuition, fees and financial aid
Tuition for 2010-2011 is $379 per graduate credit for in-state students and $961 per graduate credit for out-of-state students. On average, students spend about $900 per semester for books and supplies, with more books purchased early in the program and fewer books purchased later because many of the books are used over multiple semesters. A lab fee of $150 per semester is added to the fall and spring semester classes of the first two years. The majority of the students receive some form of financial aid. The Financial Aid Office of the University has a variety of financial aid programs for which graduate students and physical therapy students qualify. Most financial aid is in the form of low interest loans and several scholarships. There are usually 4 to 5 graduate assistantships available starting in the spring semester of the second year. In addition, there is a one-year fellowship offered to a second year student, and several second year students are chosen to receive Maihafer scholarship support.
Old Dominion University is an urban university with an attractive in-town campus. There is an ample supply of off-campus rentals in a wide price range, and the housing office will assist students in finding suitable housing. Also, graduate students qualify for on-campus housing, primarily apartments. Norfolk is a major metropolitan center for southeast Virginia. There are multiple cultural and entertainment activities. Available within commuting distance to the university are several major medical and academic centers. The DPT students have an active student organization. They plan social events and participate in service learning and volunteer opportunities such as participating in a limb drive for Physicians for Peace, helping at the Sunwheeler’s wheelchair basketball game, volunteering at the Virginia Beach Free Health clinic, and helping out at charity runs.
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