Jun 12, 2024  
2014-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2014-2016 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Physical Therapy

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Professor   Jim Dronberger, P.T., D.P.T., O.C.S., M.B.A.
    Jean M. Hiebert, P.T., Ph.D. (Chair)
    Mohamed Kohia, P.T., Ph.D.
Associate Professor   Catherine Thompson, P.T., Ph.D., M.S.
    Amy Foley, P.T., D.P.T., M.A.
    Kendra Gagnon, P.T., Ph.D.
    Janice Loudon, P.T., Ph.D., S.C.S., A.T.C.
    Kirsten Potter, P.T., D.P.T., M.S., N.C.S.
Assistant Professor   Marcie Swift, MSPT, Ph.D.
    Christina Wisdom, P.T., D.P.T.
Assistant Professor /Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education   Ann Marie Decker, P.T., M.S.A., G.C.S.
Visting Assistant Professor   Kelly Meiners, P.T., M.P.T., A.T.C.


The Rockhurst University Department of Physical Therapy Education is committed to the development of highly qualified physical therapists. The primary focus is on the preparation of students to provide prevention, education, examination, and intervention to persons whose abilities are threatened or impaired by developmental deficits, aging, physical illness, or injury. Graduates of the program are able to examine and evaluate, arrive at a physical therapy diagnosis and prognosis, and provide interventions and risk reduction strategies. As critical consumers of the professional literature, graduates are able to apply the results of research to patient care.

Emphasizing and integrating critical thinking, problem solving, and ethics throughout the curriculum, the Rockhurst physical therapy program sharpens the student’s ability to clinically reason in a complex and changing health care environment. The program is designed for the person with an undergraduate degree in a field other than physical therapy. The professional course work leading to the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree is typically completed over three full-time years of study.

Rockhurst’s physical therapy program is distinctive for its Jesuit liberal arts perspective, close faculty-student interactions, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Students work together with faculty on research projects, have access to state of-the-art technology, and are given opportunities for clinical experiences at sites located across the country. Graduate and research work study positions are available, and provide opportunities for students to work one-on-one with faculty mentors. Collaborative service projects enable faculty, students, and other members of the Rockhurst community to team with community and international agencies, fulfilling the institution’s mission of providing leadership in service to others.

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.

Admission to the Program

The physical therapy program provides multiple points of entry for interested students. For the Rockhurst student, this is the Freshman Pre-Admission. Opportunities also exist for the transfer and post-baccalaureate student. Admission to the University and/or meeting the minimum stated requirements does not guarantee 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 after 2 years to complete an undergraduate 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 of a 3.5 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.

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), www.ptcas.org. 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 2.9 and a minimum prerequisite and science prerequisite GPA of 3.2.
  • Completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  • A TOEFL score of at least 550 (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), Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy (BL 3400/3401) or Advanced Human Anatomy (BL 3440/3441), General Physiology (BL 3700/3701), 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.

    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 three 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 three, to complete their doctoral degree. Students who are granted the Decelerated Option are required to meet the same graduation requirements as students completing the three-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.


    Doctor of Physical Therapy

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