The entry-level curriculum will consist of 122 credit hours over 33 months (eight (8) semesters) or four (4) academic years (PT1 to PT4). It will include 44 weeks of professional practice education with 30 weeks of clinical education under the direct supervision of licensed physical therapists and 14 weeks of experiential opportunity to practice in an emerging role of physical therapist under the supervision of a qualified preceptor. The Entry Level DPT Program will use a problem-based learning (PBL) approach.
Developed by Barrows1 and colleagues at McMaster University, ON for medical education, PBL is a rigorous, highly structured teaching methodology which places the student in a position of active responsibility for learning and mastering content. In a group of peers, the student learns new material by confronting and solving problems in the form of a clinical patient case. Students will work in tutorial groups (7-8 students) in which an adjunct/associate faculty member serves as a tutorial facilitator. Rather than listening to a lecture on a given topic (teacher-centered learning), students are presented with a patient case which typically integrates previously learned information with a great deal of new content (Physical Therapy Clinical Reasoning). The group must come to consensus about what they would need to know in order to manage the patient case. They do this by developing “learning issues” or topics which represent questions about the case. On an individual basis, students then research the topics by using textbooks, review articles, peer-reviewed research, and electronic data bases. Later in the week, students regroup to discuss their findings and apply them to the patient case at hand. Rather than lecturing, the faculty member facilitates discussion and asks questions to ascertain that students are learning the material to the appropriate breadth and depth required of an entry level physical therapist. Carefully crafted cases are the “anchors” around which other content is taught. The curriculum includes extensive laboratory experiences (Patient/Client Management and Foundational Sciences) as well as special topic seminars (Professional Topics) which complement and reinforce content learned in PBL sessions.
The curriculum plan includes five (5) main threads – Professional Reflection, Physical Therapy Reasoning, Patient/Client Management, Foundational Sciences and Professional Topics. Professional Practice opportunities are integrated throughout the curriculum.
Draft of On-Campus Schedule PT1 (2013-2014)