Nov 30, 2022  
Catalog 2017-2018 
Catalog 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Therapy, D.P.T. (CIP 51.2308)

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Physical Therapy Program

Edward Mahoney, D.P.T, CWS
Program Director

The Program in Physical Therapy currently offers an entry level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree program for persons interested in becoming a physical therapist. Students planning to apply to the entry-level program should consult the Program in Physical Therapy website at for the most current information pertaining to the program format and application process.

Students desiring to apply to the program are strongly urged to attend one of the Informational Sessions, which are held several times a year on the Shreveport LSUHSC campus. Interested students should contact the Program to find out the dates of the Informational Sessions or visit our website at

The entry level program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The DPT curriculum consists of nine consecutive semesters of full-time didactic and clinical course work, which begin in the summer term.

Upon satisfactory completion of the curriculum, the student may take the licensing examination to practice physical therapy and apply for full membership in the American Physical Therapy Association.

Scholastic Requirements

 See the general section of the School of Allied Health Professions in this catalog for graduate scholastic requirements . Appeals may be made in accordance with the procedures set forth in the section of this catalog/bulletin entitled, “Student Academic Appeals .” Further academic requirements for students enrolled in the Program are outlined in the Program in Physical Therapy Policy Statement. In order to be eligible to continue enrollment in the curriculum, the student must satisfy all School, Departmental, and Programmatic academic requirements.

Requirements for Admission

Admission to the Entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program is competitive and preference is given to Louisiana residents. In order to be considered for admission, the applicant must:

  1. Satisfactorily complete (grade of “C” or better) the following courses prior to the summer term for which the student is applying:
  2. Complete 60 clock hours of practical experience in physical therapy under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist by the time of application. Additional hours are suggested;
  3. Hold a baccalaureate degree from a fully regionally or nationally accredited college or university by the date of expected matriculation into the Program in Physical Therapy;
  4. Have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.2 or above in all undergraduate science and math courses;
  5. Submit scores from the general (verbal, quantitative, and written assessment portions) Graduate Record Examination (GRE), with a combined score of 800 (verbal + quantitative) or 285 on the revised GRE General Test.

Acceptance is competitive and satisfaction of basic requirements does not guarantee admission. The admissions committee considers science grade-point average, quality of courses taken, GRE scores, documented experience in physical therapy, and interviews. The Program selects applicants it considers most qualified for the study and practice of physical therapy.

Admission requirements may change from year to year as modifications occur in the Program. Applicants are strongly urged to contact the Program annually to avoid the risk of not meeting admission requirements in the expected time frame.

Prerequisite Courses

  • English Composition 6 Hours
  • Technical Writing or Exposition 3 Hours
  • Chemistry (Laboratory based for science majors) 8 Hours
  • Biology / Zoology (Laboratory based for science majors) 8 Hours
  • Physics (Laboratory based for science majors) 8 Hours
  • Advanced Biology (Recommended: Histology, Cell Biology) 3 Hours
  • Anatomy (Recommended: Human Anatomy) 3 Hours
  • Physiology (Recommended: Human Physiology) 3 Hours
  • Mathematics (Algebra level or above) 6 Hours
  • Psychology (Recommended: Abnormal Psychology, Growth and Development) 6 Hours
  • Statistics * (Behavioral or Experimental) 3 Hours
  • Public Speaking 3 Hours


* Credits in Statistics may be used to meet Math requirements if taught in the Math Department.

The Program in Physical Therapy is not obligated to accept challenge credits in lieu of prerequisite courses.

Transfer of Credit

Graduate credit earned in another recognized institution will not be accepted by the Physical Therapy Program.

Technical Standards

The following technical standards are set forth so that the student will understand the essential eligibility requirements for participation and progression in the physical therapy curriculum. Standards cover interpersonal skills, communication, psychomotor skills, and cognitive skills. The ability to observe, evaluate, and treat a patient independently, while ensuring patient safety at all times is an expectation of the Program in Physical Therapy.

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all physical therapy students are able to provide swift, safe, and competent evaluation and treatment to patients. All students will be held to the same standards and must be able to perform the technical standards of their positions with or without reasonable accommodation.

The following list of examples is not inclusive but merely provides examples:


  • Independently, the student must be able to observe a patient accurately. Assess gait deviation of patient 10 feet away.
  • Observe patient’s response, diagnosis, pallor, grimacing.
  • Determine pressure ulcer stage and depth.
  • Read degrees of motion on a goniometer.


  • Utilize verbal and nonverbal communication with patients and care givers. Elicit information from patients and care givers for written history.
  • Explain treatment procedures.
  • Demonstrate exercise programs.
  • Document client responses in the medical record.
  • Establish rapport with the patient, caregivers, and colleagues.
  • Apply teaching and learning theories and methods in health care and community environments.


  • Safely, reliably, and efficiently perform physical therapy assessments and treatments.
  • Respond to a timer, emergency alarms.
  • Discern breath sounds.
  • Practice in an ethical and legal manner.
  • Perform tests of vital signs, pain, strength, coordination, cranial and peripheral nerves, balance, movement patterns, posture, sensation, skin integrity, joint motion, wound status, coordination, cognitive/mental status, soft tissue, assistive devices fit/use, reflexes, developmental stages, exertion of torque for manual muscle test grading, push/pull forces.
  • Move from place to place and position to position.
  • Perform physical therapy procedures with speed, strength, and endurance for handling self, classmates, and patients.
  • Simultaneously, physically support activities and observe a patient with a disability.
  • Coordinate verbal, manual, and gross motor skills.
  • Perform gait assessment on level surfaces, outdoor terrain, curbs, steps, ramps.
  • Assist with bed mobility and transfers from supine to sit, and sit to stand.
  • Administer balance training, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, exercise techniques, activities of daily living, coordination training, prosthetic and orthotic training, joint mobilization, wound debridement and dressing, electrotherapy, soft tissue mobilization, thermal agents, neurosensory techniques, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, developmental activities, hydrotherapy, tilt table, massage, relaxation techniques, traction, taping and draping techniques, and dependent patient transfers.

Intellectual / Conceptual:

  • The student must be able to problem solve rapidly and have the ability to learn and reason, and to integrate, analyze, and synthesize data concurrently in a multitask setting.
  • The student must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationship of structures.
  • The student must be able to participate in scientific inquiry process.

The following list of examples is not inclusive but merely provides examples:

  • Determine the physical therapy needs of any patient with a dysfunction.
  • Demonstrate ability to apply universal precautions.
  • Identify cause and effect relationships.
  • Perform physical therapy differential diagnosis.
  • Interpret patient responses.
  • Make appropriate modifications to evaluations and treatment. Determine realistic short and long term goals for the patient.
  • Recognize the psychological impact of dysfunction and disability.
  • Integrate the needs of the patient and caregiver into the plan of care.
  • Develop hypotheses; perform literature and clinical research; perform statistical analyses, develop discussion and conclusions.


  • Students must be able to practice in a safe, ethical, and legal manner.
  • Students must be able to respond to emergencies.
  • Students must demonstrate management skills including planning, organizing, supervising, and delegating.

The following list of examples is not inclusive but merely provides examples:

  • Complies with the American Physical Therapy Association Code of Ethics.
  • Abides by LSU Health Sciences Center School of Allied Health Professions Policy & Procedures on Academic Misconduct.
  • Complies with Louisiana State Board of Physical Therapy Examiner Practice Act and Rules and Regulations.
  • Modifies procedures in a manner that is appropriate to the patient’s status and desired goals.

Behavioral / Social:

  • Students must possess the emotional health required for full use of their intellectual abilities, exercise good judgment, and the prompt and safe completion of all responsibilities.
  • Students must be able to adapt to change, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainty and stress.
  • Students must possess empathy, integrity, and concern for others.

The following list of examples is not inclusive but merely provides examples:

  • Assess a learner’s ability to perform tasks. Identify cognitive and emotional needs of self and others.
  • Establish rapport.
  • Interact with individuals, families, groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds.
  • Demonstrate responsibility for lifelong professional growth and development.
  • Overriding Behaviors Policy: Students must demonstrate professional behaviors, interpersonal skills and safety concerns.

The following list of examples is not inclusive but merely provides examples:

Professional Behavior:

  • Abides by APTA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
  • Self-evaluates/critiques own performance.
  • Follows state practice act.
  • Utilizes own resources before asking for help.
  • Abides by institutional policies and procedures.
  • Seeks constructive criticism for self -improvement.
  • Projects professional image.
  • Attends professional meetings.
  • Utilizes feedback to modify behavior and for self-improvement.
  • Accepts responsibility for actions and outcomes.
  • Asks pertinent questions.
  • Able to focus on tasks at hand without dwelling on past mistakes.
  • Seeks assistance of instructor and/or peers to gain a better understanding of concepts learned.
  • Sets up own schedule, sets priorities, and meets external deadlines.
  • Identifies and utilizes resources for learning.
  • Puts new information into practice.
  • Collaborates with others.
  • Accepts that there may be more than one answer to a problem.
  • Coordinates schedule with others.
  • Offers own thought and ideas.
  • Sets realistic goals.
  • Sets personal and professional goals.
  • Keeps commitments.


  • Identifies and addresses potential and actual safety hazards.
  • Reports unsafe conditions to appropriate personnel.
  • Is able to assess physical and cognitive limitations of self and others and request assistance as necessary.
  • Determines safety and operational status of equipment.
  • Selects treatment interventions considering safety of patient at all times.
  • Does not select treatment interventions in which: patient’s, own, or others’ safety is compromised
  • Modifies evaluation and treatment based on patients’ signs, symptoms, and response to treatment. Modifies: when safety of patients, others, or self is compromised; patient’s discomfort exceeds levels necessary for procedure; patient’s assistance is necessary, and he/she is no longer able to assist; equipment becomes faulty; procedure is not yielding results necessary for evaluating patient’s physiologic, neuromuscular, and skeletal problems.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills:

  • Demonstrates understanding of basic English (verbal and written) and writes legibly; uses correct grammar, accurate spelling, and expression.
  • Recognizes voice quality and avoids vocal distractors; (e.g., song-singing, sighing, uh).
  • Maintains eye contact.
  • Summarizes verbal or written message clearly and concisely.
  • Presents verbal or written messages with logical organization and sequencing, using accurate professional and/or lay terminology.
  • Gives feedback constructively.
  • Respects personal space of patients and others.
  • Takes responsibility for mistakes and apologizes.
  • Recognizes worth and dignity of each person as demonstrated in the following manner:
  • Exhibits caring, maintains confidentiality; modifies response when appropriate; exhibits courtesy by using polite language; listening without interrupting; tone of voice, body language, and verbal expression.
  • Demonstrates flexibility by being cooperative in changing plans to meet the needs of peers, faculty, patients, and the institution.
  • Evidences loyalty by supporting the institution in a positive way to peers, staff, and others.

Students are expected to demonstrate overriding behaviors in all courses and clinical experiences. Overriding behaviors will be assessed as part of all didactic courses, lab sessions, lab practical, and clinical science experiences. As students participate in the education program, academic and clinical faculty and the student’s adviser will document problems that arise in overriding behaviors. The student will be given opportunities to demonstrate modifications of his/her behavior and faculty will assist where possible to facilitate strategies for this development.

When behaviors do not meet acceptable standards, depending on the nature and severity of the infraction, one or more of the following actions may be taken at the discretion of the Physical Therapy Program faculty:

Notify the student about inappropriate behaviors first orally, and then with a written warning. Problem behaviors will be discussed with the student’s faculty adviser. If inappropriate behaviors are cited on subsequent occasions, faculty will discuss the incident at faculty meetings for action. Clinical or academic faculty may require remedial action on the part of the student as a contingency to continuing in the program or passing the course. The faculty may terminate a student from the program because of failure to meet the standards of the overriding behaviors in the academic or clinical settings.

Student Employment Statement

Due to the demands of the curriculum, students are discouraged from seeking outside employment.

Method of Application

Accepted applicants are enrolled once a year in the summer term. The New Orleans and Shreveport programs have separate admissions. Prospective students may apply to one or both of the programs. If a student desires to apply to both programs, he/she must submit an application to each program.

Note: See “GENERAL ADMISSIONS POLICIES ” of the School of Allied Health Professions for further requirements and procedures relating to admissions.

Application procedures are as follows:

  1. In late June of the year prior to the date of desired admission, apply through PT Centralized Application Service at
  2. Submit the application packet by the deadline as instructed in PT CAS.
  3. Students interested in applying to the program are strongly urged to attend an Informational Session. Sessions are held several times each summer. Interested students should contact the Program to find out the dates of the Informational Sessions or visit our website at

Clinical Affiliations

The Program affiliates with numerous clinical sites throughout the United States. Students in the program are provided with lists and information regarding approved clinical sites prior to clinical assignments.

Note: In addition to fees and costs for required items listed in the sections on HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER FEES AND TUITION and ADDITIONAL EXPENSES of the School of Allied Health Professions, students enrolled in Clinical Procedures courses who study at offcampus locations will incur further expenses, which should be anticipated.

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