Jun 19, 2024  
2019-2020 Academic Catalog 
2019-2020 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy

Department Chair and Program Director: Rose Pignataro

Vice-Chair: Scott Bennie



Director of Clinical Education: Jeff Emde

Faculty: Laura Podschun, Andrew Crofton, Elizabeth Clark, Jennifer Collins, and Bill Young



Licensure and Accreditation

For information regarding AdventHealth University (“AHU”) regional and church accreditation, see Accreditation section of this Catalog.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at AdventHealth University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call: 407-303-9904 or email: dptinfo@ahu.edu.

Mission Statement

Consistent with the values of AdventHealth University, the program prepares Doctors of Physical Therapy who promote holistic, person-centered care and wellness through evidence-based practice, leadership, life-long learning, scholarship, and service to local and global communities.

Vision Statement

As valued experts in movement and rehabilitation science, graduates will be the primary professional for movement dysfunction, health promotion, and prevention.

Curriculum Philosophy

The AHU DPT Faculty believe that:

  • Students are responsible, reflective, active learners.

  • Students require a foundation in basic and clinical sciences and skills that are applied across the lifespan, diagnoses, and systems, moving from simple to complex.

  • Faculty are role models and mentors.

  • Faculty facilitate transformational learning through critical thinking and self-reflection.

  • Values-based experiential learning, woven throughout the program, instills professionalism and fosters the vision of the institution.

  • Inter-professional learning develops competent and compassionate practitioners for team based environments.

Program Description

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program prepares graduates to become licensed physical therapists. The program uses a selective admission process to identify a new group of students to begin study annually in the 3-year DPT program. The curriculum, grounded in Christian principles, builds on the students’ undergraduate foundation in the arts and sciences. It includes 124 graduate-level credits during which students progress through and integrate foundational and clinical sciences, patient/client management skills, and ultimately, the provision of person-centered care.


By accepting enrollment as a physical therapy student, each applicant agrees to abide by the program policies as contained and outlined in the DPT Program Handbook.

Admission Process

 Applications for the DPT program are accepted once per academic year. The program will begin to accept applications through PTCAS on July 1 each year. The preferred deadline for submissions is December 1. The final deadline for submissions is February 1. The program starts a new cohort of students each Summer trimester.

1.  Submit application through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). The program does not accept applications through the AHU website.  All applicants for the DPT program must meet AHU’s general admission requirements to enroll for graduate study at AHU.

2.  Additionally, applicants for the DPT program must meet all of the following admission requirements to be considered for admission:

  • Provide evidence of an earned bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a regionally accredited college or university by his or her start date in the program.
  • Present a minimum cumulative, science, and prerequisite grade point average of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale. Higher GPA’s are more competitive within the applicant pool.

  • Must have completed the following prerequisite courses at a regionally accredited college or university. It is recommended that these prerequisites be completed within the five years immediately prior to application to the program. All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to enrolling in the program though 75% should be completed prior to application to the program. Grades of “C” or better are required in all prerequisite courses. Three quarters are considered equivalent to two semesters of course work.

    • Anatomy & Physiology, two semesters with lab (Anatomy with lab, one semester, and Physiology with lab, one semester, may be substituted)

    • General Biology, two semesters with lab

    • General Chemistry, two semesters with lab

    • General Physics, two semesters with lab

    • Statistics

    • General Psychology

    • One course in human development across the lifespan (e.g., developmental psychology, human growth and development)

It is assumed that the applicant is computer literate and familiar with the use of computers at home, on the job, or in school.

  • The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required of all applicants.

On the Revised General Test, scores of 151 or greater on the Verbal (≥460 on the General Test) and 152 or greater on the Quantitative (≥660 on the General Test) Reasoning sections, and 3.5 or greater on the Analytical Writing section are recommended. Higher scores are more competitive within the applicant pool.

Test scores more than five years old will not be accepted.

If there are multiple test scores available for an applicant the program will consider the highest score earned in each section of the GRE. For example, if the applicant’s Verbal Reasoning test score was 153 on their first attempt and 147 on their second attempt, the program will use the first (higher) score when considering the application. However, if the applicant has scores from both the prior General Test and the revised General Test, the program will use the scores from the revised General Test.

The program requires that one official copy of the GRE scores be sent directly from the Education Testing Service (ETS) to AHU’s (“AdventHealth University”) PTCAS code - 1777.

  • Three electronic references are required from the following: two physical therapists and one person of the applicant’s choice (employer, professor, academic advisor, etc.). References from friends or family members will not be accepted.

The applicant must arrange for PTCAS to receive all of the applicant’s references by the program’s application deadline date.

  • All graduate students for whom English is not their primary language must demonstrate English proficiency in one of the following ways:

    Successful completion of a bachelor’s degree from an institution where English is the primary language of instruction in the United States; or

    • A minimum score of 570 on the paper-based TOEFL exam; or

    • A minimum score of 230 on the computer-based TOEFL exam; or

    • A minimum total score of 89 on the Internet-based TOEFL exam

      • Composite of reading, listening, and writing: 63

      • Speaking: 26

  • Applicants to the AHU DPT program must submit a $50 supplemental fee, which can be online, by check, or over the phone at (407) 303-1631.

If by check it should be:

  • Made payable to: AdventHealth University,

  • Labeled as “DPT Supplemental Fee” on the memo line (please include the applicant’s name on the memo line as well), and

  • Mailed to: 

AdventHealth University

Attn: Financial Services

671 Winyah Dr

Orlando, FL 32803


All applicants who meet the minimum admissions requirements will be considered on an individual basis. Applicants found to be competitive will be invited for an interview. The interview process serves a dual purpose:

  1. It provides a realistic evaluation of eligibility for admission into the program as it assesses oral communication skills, professional behaviors and attitudes, ability to interact in a group, knowledge of the profession, ability to solve problems, and motivation to pursue a career in physical therapy. The applicants’ written communication skills will also be measured with an on-site writing sample.
  2. It gives the applicant an opportunity to learn more about the program’s teaching and learning philosophy and to spend time with faculty to appraise the program in terms of meeting personal and professional growth.

Interviews will begin after the preferred deadline of December 1, and may continue until the class is full.

Student Selection

The primary requirement for admission into the DPT program is the applicant’s ability, as appraised by the program’s Admissions Committee, to successfully complete the 3-year curriculum. Applicants who are admitted into the program have strong academic records as evidenced by their cumulative, science, and prerequisite grade point averages and GRE scores, their breadth and depth of science background and their demonstrated consistency of academic performance. A firm and clear commitment to the profession of physical therapy and to fulfilling the missions of the University and program are additional criterion for admission and are assessed through the writing samples and interview process. The interview process also assesses for behaviors in the applicant that demonstrate the core values of professionalism.  

Applicants are reminded that, due to the competitive nature of the admission process, meeting the minimum standards for admission does not guarantee admission to the program.

Admission decisions may occur until the program start date in May.

The Program supports and upholds the nondiscrimination policy of the Institution, which is published in the Catalog under ‘Nondiscrimination Statement’ and on the AHU website.

Post Admit Requirements (Pre-Clinical)

An applicant who receives a provisional acceptance on the basis of course work still in progress must satisfactorily complete all outstanding courses prior to enrollment and matriculation. All students must have an official final transcript submitted by the degree-granting institution directly to AHU prior to matriculation that indicates the receipt of the bachelor’s degree.

Applicants who are accepted into the physical therapy program will receive, in addition to their notification of acceptance, guidelines for the submission of the following, which must be completed prior to their enrollment in the program. AdventHealth University and the program use VERIFYStudents to verify and ensure compliance with the following requirements. Students will also utilize VERIFYStudents to submit proof of those immunizations that are required on an annual basis:

  1. Yearly verification of tuberculosis screening test. If test is positive, refer to the guidelines provided in the AHU Student Handbook’s Communicable Disease Policy.
  2. Updated verification, on the AdventHealth University Student Immunization Form, of the following vaccinations or immunity titer including:
  1. Completed and signed Student Health Assessment Form for Professional Programs within the three months prior to the start of the program. Students must update their records annually by submitting the Student Annual Medical Requirements Form.
  2. All students admitted to the DPT program must complete a criminal background check. A student may encounter potential problems with clinical education placement and/or licensure as a physical therapist if he or she has a criminal record. For specific information, contact the Florida Board of Physical Therapy Practice, or the board that regulates physical therapy licensure in the state in which the student intends to practice. If a student has a criminal record, it is the responsibility of the student to inquire with the Florida Board of Physical Therapy Practice, or the board that regulates physical therapy licensure in the state in which the student intends to practice, as to whether a criminal record may limit the student’s ability to obtain licensure as a physical therapist or practice in certain settings.
  3. Each student who is enrolled in the program must complete the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers certification. This training and certification must occur no later than the start of the second trimester and must be maintained throughout the remainder of the professional curriculum. Proof of this certification must be presented as requested by the program. Online training courses will not be accepted.
  4. Each applicant who is accepted into the program must demonstrate proof of health insurance, through the use of the AHU Verification of Insurance Form, prior to entry into the program and must maintain health insurance throughout their enrollment. Health insurance is required of all students in the DPT program. 
  5. Each applicant who is accepted into the program must undergo and pass a drug test prior to entry into the program.
  6. The applicant’s acceptance letter will contain a deadline indicating when the nonrefundable $500 deposit must be received by the University, in order to reserve the student’s place in the program. Once the student enrolls in the program, this deposit will be applied toward the student’s account. Students who have paid the deposit, but decide not to, or become ineligible to, enroll in the program, for any reason, will forfeit the deposit. If that student is admitted to the same program at a later date, he or she will be required to pay the full deposit amount again. A professional program deposit is not transferable to another department.
  7. In addition to the information regarding the required deposit, the acceptance letter will include an Essential Functions Acknowledgment form.  If the student is an individual with a disability and needs reasonable accommodation in order to accomplish these Essential Functions, the student must follow the directions provided in AHU’s Catalog under “Rehabilitation Act (1973) Section 504: Services for Students with Special Needs.” The student must complete and submit the signed Essential Functions Acknowledgment form along with their deposit.

The program reserves the right to rescind an acceptance offer if the above are not completed by the start of program classes.

Reapplication Process

Applicants who are not admitted into the Doctor of Physical Therapy program may reapply for the next admissions cycle as long as they have successfully met the minimum admission requirements. Reapplicants are expected to meet the published admission deadlines by submitting their application materials through PTCAS.  Further information on reapplication via PTCAS can be found at: http://www.ptcas.org/Reapplicants/.

Reapplicants are required to submit the following:

  • a written self-assessment of the steps that he or she has taken to improve their application since they last applied

  • a non-refundable $50 supplementary application fee paid directly to AHU

Reapplicants are encouraged to submit:

  • new references to demonstrate what steps they have taken to improve their application since they last applied.

Grading Policy

The following grading system will be used for all PHTH-identified courses:

A   90 - 100%

B   80 - 89%

C   70 - 79%

D   60 - 69%

F   <60%

Individual course syllabi define evaluative components for each course.


As the DPT Program is a “block program”, 3-year, continuous course of study, students will be deemed to be making continuous satisfactory progress toward the DPT degree when they:

  1. Complete all scheduled professional and cognate courses with a grade of “B” or better. One course with a grade of “C” is permitted. 

    More than one ‘C’ or below as a final course grade in the professional program will result in consequences that may include dismissal from the program. The decision will be made by the program’s Progression and Completion Committee (PACC). Factors that may be considered by the PACC in this decision include, but are not limited to, student’s previous performance in didactic, lab, and clinical education coursework, the student’s professional behaviors, and standing within the ‘Disciplinary Policy’ of the Program.

    As program courses are only offered once per year, a student who is required to remediate a course may be delayed in their progression through the program.

    The Clinical Experience courses are considered differently. Please refer the program’s Clinical Education Handbook for details. 

    If a student is dismissed and wishes to reenter the Program, they must reapply to the program following the program’s ‘Reapplication’ policy stated in the Catalog.

    To foster student progression in the program, grades will be calculated at mid-term each trimester.  Instructors will send a ‘Letter of Concern’ (see Appendix S) to any student with a ‘C’ or below in a class. Students receiving a ‘Letter of Concern’ are expected to initiate a meeting with the appropriate instructor to develop a plan for improvement which may include, but is not limited to: altering study strategies, obtaining tutoring, or development of a ‘Learning Contract’ (see Appendix T).  Any student who is below passing in 2 or more courses is required to meet with the Progression and Completion Committee (PACC), or representative, to establish a ‘Learning Contract’ for improvement.

    A copy of the ‘Letter of Concern’ and/or ‘Learning Contract’ will be provided to the student, their faculty advisor, Progression and Completion Committee (PACC), and included in the Student’s Departmental File.

    Failure to comply with the agreed-upon Plan(s) of Action and achieve the Expected Outcome(s) within the given timeframe(s) may result in consequences which may include, course failure, call to appear before the Progression and Completion Committee, and/or dismissal from the Program.”

  2. Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.00, on a 4.00 scale, or better in all program coursework.


AdventHealth University will consider students for graduation with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree when they have:

  1. Met the general requirements for the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

  2. Completed all required courses (124 credit hours) in the Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum with grades of ‘B’ or better (one ‘C’ grade is permitted) and a cumulative program grade point average of 3.00, on a 4.00 scale, or better. 

  3. Successfully completed all required courses in the Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum within 54 months of their matriculation into the program.

  4. Completed a Scholarly Project that has met or exceeded the University’s and program’s standards.

  5. Participated in the University’s Colloquium as instructed by the program.

Clinical Education Requirements

All students are expected to meet AHU DPT requirements prior to attending any clinical experience. The Institution utilizes a web-based product,VerifyStudents.com, to monitor the requirements associated with admission into the program and clinical site placement. 

All expenses during clinical education courses are the student’s responsibility (including transportation, accommodations, pre-clinical requirements). While some facilities may be able to offer incentives or assistance to students, this cannot be expected.

Some clinical placements may have additional requirements.  These are the student’s responsibility.  Examples include:

  • X-rays
  • HIV testing
  • Non-traditional immunization titers
  • Character/Professional references
  • Repeat drug testing and/or criminal background checks

Clinical Site Selection

All clinical education assignments will be made by the Director of Clinical Education (DCE) or designee.  Assignments cannot be made solely on the basis of the student’s family/marital status or personal preference/needs.

Clinical education experiences are arranged for each student approximately 6-12 months prior to the scheduled assignment. Once the arrangements are finalized, no changes will be allowed.  If the assigned clinical site should become unable to provide the clinical experience, the DCE will obtain an alternate placement for the student.

Information and related materials are subject to change.


Physical Therapy, D.P.T.


Program Sequence

Total: 15 Credit Hours

Total: 17 Credits

Total: 16 Credit Hours

Total: 15 Credit Hours

Total: 16 Credit Hours

Total: 15 Credit Hours

Total: 13 Credit Hours

Total: 9 Credit Hours

Year 3, Spring, Trimester #9/9
Total: 8 Credit Hours

Total DPT Program Units: 124