Plan of Study/Course Description

Clinical Education

The curricular model is a modified case-based model, designed in a “builds on, leads to” manner which is delivered in a full time, in-house format utilizing lecture, labs, small group discussion, case seminars, and clinical visits and internships, starting with education in the basic foundational sciences that inform the content of the field. Faculty who teaches the foundational sciences facilitates discussion drawing on research, clinical experiences, and personal/professional activities to model professional behaviors, elucidate psychosocial and ethical issues, and present a broad application of course content to practice settings. Through clinical cases intermingled within basic science didactic content, students are challenged to apply basic science information to solve clinical problems. Instruction in these basic science areas builds the foundation for the clinical coursework that follows.

Within any given semester, we utilize team-taught, integrated course classes to encourage synthesis of material presented. Case Application Seminars and Experiences (CASE) courses provide students the opportunity to learn collaboratively in faculty-facilitated small groups. Most semesters, students attend laboratory sessions in local physical therapy/rehab clinics for hands-on experiences interspersed within the didactic coursework.

Early in the curriculum, students are introduced to the basic tools of investigation in PT (Evidence Based Practice course series). Starting with the clinical decision making process, they learn to utilize literature review and scientific method to support evidence based practice, and the process for utilizing and creating evidence to improve upon the body of knowledge that informs the profession. Basic clinical skills coursework forms the foundation for more advanced clinical courses in diagnosis and management.

Faculty emphasizes utilization of current, evidence-based practices that are built on the foundational sciences and are consistent with published research and clinical outcomes in the diagnosis and management process. Knowledge of the professional aspects of practice is integral to successful hands-on practice, and necessary to become a competent practitioner. Therefore, a series of professional practice courses inculcate a working knowledge of communications, educational methodology and process, culture, ethics, law, health care delivery systems, administration, and the political aspects that influence the field of physical therapy.

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The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Marshall University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, VA 22305-3085; phone: 703-706-3245; email:; website:

The MU SOPT is a proud member of the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT).

Program Reciprocity Status

Students who graduate from the Marshall University SOPT and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination are eligible for Physical Therapy Licensure in all 50 states.