Sep 22, 2023  

Department of Physical Therapy and Exercise Science


Professor   Mohamed Kohia, P.T., Ph.D.
    Janice Loudon, P.T., Ph.D., A.T.C., S.C.S.
    Kirsten Potter,  P.T., D.P.T., M.S.
Associate Professor   Kelly M. Meiners, P.T., Ph.D., A.T.C,, C.S.C.S. (Chair)
    Marcie Swift, P.T., Ph.D., F.A.A.O.M.P.T.
    Christina Wisdom, P.T., D.P.T, O.C.S., C.L.T.
Assistant Professor   Rachele Burriesci, P.T., D.P.T
    Michael Powers, D.P.T., M.H.Sc.
    Debbie Rico, D.P.T.
    Dave Heller, Ph.D.
    Amanda Cobb, Ph.D.
    Brian Stoltenberg, P.T., D.Sc
Clinical Assistant Professor /Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education   Ann Marie Decker, D.P.T., M.S.A., G.C.S.


Within Rockhurst’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program, you will develop the skills, knowledge and competence to become a movement expert, working with individuals of all abilities across the lifespan. Through active learning experiences in continuing education courses that embrace clinical reasoning and reflection, you will provide education, physical therapy management, leadership, service and advocacy within the community and the profession. Rockhurst University’s Department of Physical Therapy Education is committed to preparing competent, caring professionals who can help optimize movement and improve the life experiences for persons whose abilities are threatened or impaired due to developmental deficits, aging, physical illness or injury. Emphasizing and integrating critical thinking, problem solving and professionalism throughout the curriculum, the Rockhurst Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program prepares a student for licensure as a physical therapist and enhances the student’s ability to clinically reason in a complex and changing health care system.

The Rockhurst DPT program is designed as an entry-level doctoral degree program. A new class of 48 students enters the program every June. The program consists of eight semester of coursework, including 34 weeks of fieldwork experience, presented throughout 2 1/2 academic years. Students participate in a wide variety of learning experiences including lectures, discussions, hands-on laboratories, service projects, independent study, group projects, research, integrated patient/client experiences and clinical internships.

The physical therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA, 22314-1488. Graduates are eligible to sit for the licensure examination in any state. Students are required to pass a national licensing examination after graduation to be eligible for licensure and practice.

Program Goals
  • To prepare therapists who demonstrate excellence in clinical skills and professionalism.
  • To implement an accredited, entry-level physical therapy curriculum with effective instructional strategies.
  • To contribute to the growth of physical therapy education and physical therapy practice through the dissemination of scholarship in the areas of discovery, integration, application, teaching and learning.
  • To establish partnerships that support and enrich students, faculty and the community.
  • To foster the growth of faculty in areas of teaching scholarship and service.
Student Learning Outcomes
  • Demonstrate entry level competence through a solid foundation of physical therapy knowledge.
  • Demonstrate entry level competence through sound clinical skills.
  • Demonstrate professionalism in clinical and community settings.

Admission to the Program

Exceptional students may be given a Freshman Pre-Admission Guarantee into the professional program. These positions are awarded on a competitive basis, based on a combination of ACT or SAT scores and high school grades. Students receiving a pre-admission guarantee must maintain specified academic standards during their undergraduate studies and satisfactorily complete the formal application process in order to matriculate into the physical therapy program.

Exceptional students who transfer to Rockhurst with 48-60 hours of undergraduate work or have completed an Associate of Arts degree may be considered for a Transfer Pre-Admission Guarantee into the graduate program at the time of transfer. Such students must demonstrate a minimum 3.65 grade point average on a 4.0 scale at the time of transfer. Students must contact the Department of Physical Therapy Education after acceptance into Rockhurst University to request a transfer pre-admission. Students receiving a transfer pre-admission guarantee must maintain specified academic standards during their undergraduate studies and satisfactorily complete the formal application process in order to matriculate into the physical therapy program.

PT Scholars Pre-Admission Guarantee

All current Rockhurst University students may apply to the physical therapy program in the summer prior to their senior year. Students with a pre-admit guarantee should submit all materials prior to September 1. Applicants are expected to complete their degree requirements and physical therapy prerequisites prior to beginning the physical therapy program.

Post-baccalaureate students and those completing undergraduate degrees from an accredited college or university are considered for entry into the program on a competitive basis. Applications may be submitted beginning in the summer prior to the anticipated starting date.

Enrollment is limited and early application is encouraged. Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the professional program. Applications for the graduate program can be obtained through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS), Interested students may request additional information about the program by contacting:

Office of Graduate Admission
Rockhurst University
1100 Rockhurst Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2561
(816) 501-4100 or 501-4097

Requirements for Admission

Applicants for the doctoral degree in physical therapy must show evidence of the following in order to be considered for admission:

  • Completion of a bachelor’s degree at an accredited institution in a discipline other than physical therapy with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a minimum prerequisite and science prerequisite GPA of 3.2.
  • Completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  • A TOEFL score of at least 80 - internet access (if the applicant is an international student whose first language is not English).
  • Completion of all materials in the online application.
  • Personal interview.
  • Completion of ALL designated prerequisite courses by the end of the Spring semester prior to beginning the professional curriculum as listed below:
    Basic Proficiencies: English Composition I & II (EN 1110 and 1120), Fundamentals of Communication (CT 2000). Interpersonal Communication is also strongly recommended.
    Behavioral Sciences: Introduction to Psychology (PY 1000) and an upper level psychology course. Developmental Psychology (PY 3400) or Abnormal Behavior (PY 3550) is preferred.
    Humanities: Ethics (PL 3100).
    Natural Sciences: General Biology I (BL 1250/1251), Human Anatomy and Physiology I (BL 3030/3031) and Human Anatomy and Physiology II (BL 3040/3041), General Chemistry I & II (CH 2610 and CH 2630), Introductory Physics I & II (PH 1700/1710 and PH 1750/1760), and Statistics (PY 2100 or BI 2200 or BUS 2200). Embryology and Histology are recommended.
    Exercise Physiology: EXS 3500 Physiology of Exercise and EXS 3501 Physiology of Exercise Lab       

NOTE: The above course numbers should assist both Rockhurst and transfer students in locating prerequisite course descriptions.

Requirements may be subject to change without notice. Therefore, it is important that all prospective applicants contact the Department of Physical Therapy Education on a regular basis.

Promotion in the Program

To progress toward the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, students must:

  1. Maintain a 3.0 semester AND cumulative GPA for all courses within the professional curriculum. All courses in the professional curriculum must be completed with at least a grade of C. Any grade below a C results in dismissal from the  program.
  2. Complete all required coursework in the DPT curriculum. Courses must be completed in the order outlined by the department curriculum plan. A student wishing to complete the courses in a difference sequence must obtain consent of the course instructor and/or program chair.
  3. Complete a minimum of one elective course. Requirements concerning elective course work are described in detail in the Physical Therapy Student Handbook.
  4. Successfully complete three comprehensive examinations in accordance with standards determined by the department; one each prior to matriculation to the second and third years of professional study, and one prior to graduation.
  5. Consistently demonstrate professional behavior when interacting with faculty, students, and consumers. These behaviors reflect the capacity to deliver a high standard of health service and are as important as traditional academic  standards in determining criteria for promotion and continuation in the program. Professional behaviors are described in detail in the Physical Therapy Student Handbook.
    Students should be aware that a criminal background check will be required. The presence of any criminal conviction on the student’s record may affect his/her eligibility for participating in clinical internships, becoming certified or licensed, and/or securing a job in the field of physical therapy.

Decelerated Option

The Physical Therapy Education Program at Rockhurst University acknowledges the need for some students to complete their doctoral degree education in more than two and a half years, as would be the case for students who encounter unforeseen or unusual circumstances. Students who are granted the Decelerated Option must take no longer than five years rather than two and a half, to complete their doctoral degree. Students who are granted the Decelerated Option are required to meet the same graduation requirements as students completing the two and a half-year sequence.


The Doctor of Physical Therapy degree requires a cumulative quality grade point average of 3.0 or greater to graduate. The Physical Therapy Student Handbook contains additional supplementary information about the program.

Dual DPT/MBA and DPT/MA Program

Students enrolled in Rockhurst’s DPT program may complete a joint degree program in conjunction with the Helzberg School of Management. Rockhurst is one of only a few universities in the United States to provide students with this very unique opportunity, which will enhance the graduate’s ability to assume administrative, supervisory, and leadership roles in health care.

The Helzberg School of Management offers two degree programs: a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MA). Both programs are taken concurrently during a student’s DPT studies and include a concentration in Health Care Management. The MBA and MA programs offer flexibility in timing of enrollment and structuring class schedules.

The length of time to complete the dual degree program is dependent on multiple factors, including the business degree selected and the student’s previous education. However, the program is designed for a student to complete the DPT degree in time to graduate with the cohort class in which he/she started.