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Doctor of Physical Therapy Courses

DPT 700. Health Promotion, Wellness, and Prevention: Individual level -Summer. Credit, 1 hour. Introduction to fundamental concepts of health, wellness, screening for risk, and the theoretical bases underlying behavior change.

DPT 705 Human Anatomy
Summer. Credit, 4 hours. Study of the structures and functions of systems of the body focusing on the nervous, musculoskeletal, circulatory and pulmonary systems. Includes human cadaver dissection.

DPT 710. Fundamentals of Clinical Measurement. Summer, Credit, 3 hours. Introduction to the physical therapist model of clinical practice with an emphasis on basic examination skills. Procedures covered include methods for determining strength and range of motion and basic cardiopulmonary assessment.

DPT 715. Kinesiology and Biomechanics. - Summer. Credit, 4 hours. Introduction to biomechanical principles of human movement. Includes discussion of the mechanical principles underlying the movement of individual joints, connective tissue mechanics and the analysis of posture and gait.

DPT 720.Ethics and Professionalism
Summer. Credit, 2 hours. Introduction to ethics, laws, and professionalism in physical therapist practice.

DPT 725. Interpersonal Communications - Summer. Credit, 2 hours. Listening, as well as talking, are skills inherent to providing the best patient care. This course fosters the development of skills in the interpersonal and problem-solving processes.

DPT 730. Systems Physiology.
Fall. Credit, 5 hours. Study of the physiology of the nervous, musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, excretory, digestive, and reproductive systems of the body.

DPT 735.  Neuroscience - Fall. Credit, 4 hours. Structure and function of the human nervous system with emphasis on a movement control model. Course includes human brain dissection labs.

DPT 740. Introduction to Interventions - Fall. Credit, 3 hours. Evidence-based course designed to provide students with the basic principles for determination of exercise need and the prescription of exercise programs and the determination of safe and appropriate application of physical modalities.

DPT 745. Growth Process through the Lifespan
Fall. Credit, 4 hours. The interactions of perceptual-motor, cognitive, and psychosocial influences on the developing human and the processes of individual and family reactions to stresses of aging, health changes, death, and dying. Integrated practical/clinical experiences in well-baby, child day care, and elder care/residential settings.

DPT 750. The Teaching and Learning Process in Physical Therapy - Fall. Credit, 2 hours. Much of physical therapy involves teaching – teaching the patient, family members, other health care professionals, insurance providers. This course develops skills in the teaching-learning and problem-solving processes.

DPT 755. General Medical Conditions - Spring, Credit, 12. Evidence-based physical therapist examination, diagnosis, and management of patients with cardiac, pulmonary, wound, cancer, and metabolic conditions. Content integrates pathophysiology and medical management of patients. Includes congruent, weekly patient oriented experiences and culminates in a two week, full-time clinical education experience.   

DPT 760. Medical Genetics in Physical Therapy - Spring. Credit, 3 hours. The course will elucidate the process of cell division, gamete production and sexual reproduction in males and females. Further study will explore the relationship of molecular and cellular genetics, transmission genetics and population genetics. The student will gain an understanding of the role of genes and chromosomes in determining structure and function in health. Risk assessment will be addressed for inherited and somatic genetic diseases including the interaction of genetic and environmental factors in contributing to multifactorial diseases, such as carcinogenesis. These concepts will be considered in the context of the lifespan of an individual, inheritance through pedigree analysis, and populations. Clinical applications for screening, genetic testing and gene therapy will be considered.

DPT 765. Evidence-Based Practice - Spring. Credit, 2 hours.  The purpose of the course is to gain competence in critical analysis of the research literature through the use of fundamental concepts of the inquiry process. This course provides the foundation for 1) evidence-based physical therapy practice and clinical reasoning used in General Medicine, Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, Adult Neurorehabilitation, Pediatric Rehabilitation, and Internship I, II, and III and 2) student research projects in Clinical Research.

DPT 800. Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation - Summer, Credit, 10 hours. Evidence-based physical therapist examination, diagnosis, and management specific to adult and pediatric patients with musculoskeletal conditions. Content integrates pathophysiology, medical management, and physical therapy assessment and treatment, including manual therapies. Incorporates congruent, weekly patient oriented experiences and culminates in a two week, full-time clinical education experience.

DPT 805. Principles of Motor Learning - Summer, Credit, 3 hours. This course will provide the student with a theoretical basis and historical overview of motor learning and its application to motor skill acquisition. Since teaching acquisition or re-acquisition of motor skills is a foundation for physical therapy interventions, this course will provide students with core knowledge and a theoretical framework upon which to build therapeutic interventions. The course will include the basic tenets of: the relation of task, individual, and environment and motor skill acquisition, practice schedules, and the role of feedback. Materials will focus on cognitive and motor aspects of skill acquisition.

DPT 810. Adult  Neurorehabilitation - Fall, Credit, 7 hours. Examination, diagnosis, and management of the adult patient with neurological conditions. Content integrates pathophysiology, medical management, and physical therapy assessment and treatment. Students will learn examination techniques and validated outcome measures to evaluate disability, impairment, and functional deficits and to measure the outcomes of treatment. Students will develop interventions based upon available evidence and the principles of motor learning. Includes congruent, weekly patient-oriented experiences and culminates in a two week, full-time clinical education experience.

DPT 815. Pediatric Rehabilitation - Fall. Credit, 4 hours. This course will provide the student with foundation knowledge of primary and secondary conditions which result in activity limitations and disability across childhood. The roles of other medical professionals on the pediatric rehabilitation team will be presented including the physician and surgeon. Students will use pediatric specific examination techniques, standardized methods of testing and valid outcome measures to evaluate functional motor skills, coordination, other physical therapy problems, and to measure the outcomes of treatment. Students will develop intervention plans based upon available evidence and apply principles of motor learning during functional training. Physical therapy management of the child will be addressed in the context of the child’s interests, diagnosis, prognosis, age, environment of care and the child’s family.

DPT 820. Health Service and Management - Fall, Credit, 3 hours. This course is the second course in the health services management series and builds on learning in the previous course that focused on professionalism; ethical/legal guidelines and standards for practice; and professional roles, responsibilities and obligations. Specifically, this course focuses on the factors affecting the client’s entry into and progression through the healthcare system, including the effect of current financial, legal and regulatory policies that affect the client, the client/professional relationship, and the practice of physical therapy. This course will also instill an entrepreneurial mindset and prepare the student for participation in administrative activities. The course will provide a glimpse of primary business disciplines including market research and strategy, marketing, finance, operations, and management.

DPT 825. Exploration of Human Behavior - Fall, Credit, 2 hours. A tendency to underestimate the incidence of behavioral and cognitive problems can have a negative effect on treatment outcome and the return of the patient to normal activities. Therapists need to be able to recognize these behaviors, recognize how we react to the behaviors in our clients, measure these behaviors, and assess the effect of these behaviors on treatment planning and outcome. The course will cover behavioral and cognitive problems and the psycho-social-cultural aspects of disability. Class sessions will be primarily small group discussion and lecture.

DPT 830. Internship I - Spring, Credit, 10 hours. The first of three, full-time supervised clinical experiences in a variety of clinical settings. Each student completes a 10 week, full-time experience in an acute care facility, in a rehabilitation facility and in a community setting.

DPT 835. Administration and Consultation in Healthcare - Spring, Credit, 2 hours. Practical experience in planning, implementing, and evaluating an administration/ consultation project in a clinical setting. Concurrent with full-time, clinical experiences

DPT 840. Internship II -Spring, Credit, 10 hours. Continuation of full-time supervised clinical experience. This course is the second, ten week experience.

DPT 900. Internship III - Summer, Credit, 10 hours. Continuation of full-time supervised clinical experience. This course is the third, ten week experience.

DPT 905. Current Practices in Physical Therapy Care - Summer, Credit 2 hours. The course requires students to write several  reflective narratives about their clinical experiences and to comment and discuss the themes and levels of reflection of their narrative with each other via an electronic chat room on Blackboard. The goal is to help students develop reflective skills consistent with expert practice, and to provide students opportunities for self-reflection and to welcome uncertainty and see difficult or problem situations and patients as areas for creative problem-solving versus unsolvable problems. Concurrent with full-time, clinical experiences.


DPT 910. Advanced Medical Screening - Fall, Credit, 3 hours. Identification of problems that may require consultation with or referral to another practitioner based on history, systems review, and clinical evaluation; identification of problems that are outside the scope of physical therapy practice, and enhancing the ability to efficiently communicating examination/evaluation findings to other healthcare practitioners. The student will be able to integrate medical screening concepts to prepare the student for autonomous practice in a collaborative healthcare model. Upon completion of the course; students will be able to apply comprehensive medical screening to patients with complex medical problems with neurological, cardiovascular, and orthopedic dysfunction observed in clinical practice

DPT 915. Clinical Research I - Fall, Credit, 6 hours. Application of the scientific principles in a research setting. This course sequence is designed to provide the student with the opportunity to actively apply the principles and concepts learned in Evidence-Based Practice to a contemporary research issue. Emphasis is placed on practical application of research principles and the scientific process. Students participate in a group project under the direct guidance of a faculty member actively involved in research activity. Project topics vary depending on the research programs of the faculty. Students will be involved in various aspects of the research process, as appropriate for a given project, such as proposal development, subject recruitment, data collection, data reduction, statistical analysis, interpretation of the results and dissemination to the scientific community.

DPT 920. Health Promotion, Wellness, and Prevention: Community  level -Spring. Credit, 3hours. The second of two courses on the topics of health promotion, wellness, and prevention. The purpose of the course is to apply the fundamental concepts of health, wellness, and prevention learned in HP, W&P:Individual level to improve the health and wellness in specific communities. Students will learn to assess the needs of a community, develop, and assess health promotion, wellness, or prevention programs targeting adults at risk for disease development or injury, as well as targeting populations with special needs.

DPT 925. Clinical Research II - Spring, Credit, 6 hours. The second of two research courses. The purpose of the course is to answer an original question related to physical therapy practice through the application of the scientific inquiry process. Students will work in small groups with a faculty mentor to collect and analyze data. All students will participate in presenting their project at the Graduate DPT Research Day traditionally held in May prior to graduation.

Elective Opportunities

Elective Opportunities may be taken in different departments and schools within Emory University including the Graduate School, Rollins School of Public Health, and Goizueta Business School. The following are elective courses offered within the Division of Physical Therapy.

DPT 951. Yoga and Physical Therapy – Credit, 3 hours. Yoga Therapy is gaining recognition and acceptance worldwide as a complementary healthcare modality. The purpose of this class is to teach the physical therapy student the practices of yoga that are applicable to the physical therapist patient. Concepts underlying yoga and yoga practices as well as their application to a variety of patient conditions will be explored. The student will be able to understand, explain, teach and integrate a variety of yoga practices into their patients’ rehabilitation programs.

DPT 952 -  Business Management for the Physical Therapist Entrepreneur - Credit, 3 hours. - The purpose of this course is to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in physical therapy students irrespective of the practice environment in which they choose to work. This course is for students interested in learning the art and science of becoming a successful entrepreneur in the physical therapy industry. This course will help students learn planning, operational, and analytical skills that will improve the likelihood of success in starting their own private practices or introducing new services in different health care settings (acute care hospital, rehabilitation center, etc.). Thus, this course is for all students and not just for those wanting to work in out-patient settings or wanting to start their own private clinics. This course will provide a glimpse of a number of primary business disciplines including marketing, finance, operations, management, market research, and strategy. By the completion of this hands-on course, students will have learned how to reduce their risk in starting a new service and increase their likelihood for return. Students will be able to develop and present a new business concept in an effective oral and written manner.

DPT 954. Manual and Manipulative Therapy

Credit, 3 hours. The historical development of manipulative therapy is investigated starting with the use of manipulation by bone setters followed by the introduction of manipulation into the medical, osteopathic, chiropractic and physical therapy professions. The various schools of manipulative thought are investigated with recognition to the individual contributors who advanced the practice of manipulation. The current state practice acts regarding the utilization of manipulation in the physical therapy profession is reviewed. Supportive arguments against the regulation of manipulative therapy within the profession of physical therapy are explored. Theoretical rationale and effects of manipulation are examined with respect to psychological impact, neurophysiologic influences and mechanical changes. Spinal manipulative research and evidence for the use of manipulation is analyzed. Risks, adverse reactions and contraindications are considered. The psychomotor skills required in the successful performance of manipulation are also addressed.

DPT 955. Advanced Study of Extremities
Credit, 3 hours. Medical screening and differential diagnosis for patients with orthopedic extremity joint conditions including tissue responses to trauma and immobilization, abnormal mechanics, fractures, dislocations, upper and lower extremity overuse syndromes and gait dysfunction.

DPT 956. Pilates for the Rehabilitation Professional.

Credit, 3 hours. The objective of this course is to introduce the principles of Pilates and their application in a rehabilitation setting. Classes will be case scenario-driven to provide novice physical therapists clinical reasoning and problem solving skills relevant to application of Pilates exercise. Upon successful completion of this course, students will have developed a repertoire of Pilates exercises to apply in multiple rehabilitation settings. They will be familiar with modifications and progressions specific to various patient types and conditions.

DPT 957. Advanced Human Anatomy
Credit, 3 hours. Human cadaver dissection to identify anatomical characteristics of different body systems with emphasis on correlating these characteristics to clinical implications. The students identify two body regions, based on their clinical interests and in consultation with the instructor, for detailed dissection and study.

DPT 958. Principles of Human Nutrition

Credit, 3 hours. Study of human nutrition. Topics include macro & micronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, lipids; vitamins), digestion, absorption, metabolism; energy balance, weight management and the role of nutrition in physical fitness and maintaining health & preventing disease. In addition this course will cover how to plan a healthy diet, the latest dietary guidelines, nutritional supplements and how to identify sound sources of nutrition information and nutrition misinformation (via internet, media, etc.). The course is designed to enhance the nutrition knowledge of the future health professional.

DPT 960 Spanish for Physical Therapists
Credit, 3 hours. Spanish for Physical Therapists is an elective course designed for physical therapy students who want to improve communication skills with Spanish-speaking patients and their caregivers through increased awareness of Hispanic American culture and improved ability to use spoken Spanish to communicate during physical therapy assessments and procedures. Each week a different assessment procedure and related physical therapy intervention is introduced and practiced in role-playing experiences. Assessment topics include: family and home environment, work history, medical history, pain assessment, functional assessment, range of motion testing, muscle testing, neurologic examination procedures, balance and gait assessment, and developmental assessment for children. Treatment procedures include: explanation of precautions, therapeutic exercises, functional training, gait training, and the use of physical modalities. Students also learn to give instructions to patients about approprate dress for treatment procedures, to make appointments and to give directions to the clinic or to other locations. Class materials including vocabulary lists, exercise programs, and patient education handouts allow students to build a portfolio of resources to use in the delivery of physical therapy services to patients who speak Spanish and very little or no English.

DPT 962. Tai Chi Applications for Physical Therapy.

Credit, 3 hours. Students will receive training in the Tai Chi movements most commonly practiced in the USA and their possible applications as support for current physical therapy practices, to benefit both the physical therapist and the client. Covering body alignment, movement philosophy and theory, breathing techniques, focus techniques and more, we will also discuss factors which identify appropriate client candidates for this practice and the appropriate movements for the particular needs. Students will receive hands on experience with volunteers who will present certain issues, and also will be encouraged to bring in their own current cases for evaluation.

DPT 964. Preceptorship: Adult Neurorehabilitation

Credit, 3 hours.

DPT 965. Preceptorship: Neuroscience

Credit, 3 hours.

DPT 966. Preceptorship: Introduction to Interventions

Credit, 3 hours.

 DPT 968: Preceptorship: Spanish for Physical Therapists

Credit, 3 hours.

DPT 970. Directed Study
Credit, 2 or 3 hours.

DPT 972. Readings in Physical Therapy Credit, 2 or 3 hours.

DPT 974. Preceptorship: Pediatric Rehabilitation

Credit, 3 hours.

DPT 976: Advanced Human Anatomy

Credit, 3 hours. Human cadaver dissection to identify anatomical characteristics of different body systems with emphasis on correlating these characteristics to clinical implications. The students identify two body regions, based on their clinical interests and in consultation with the instructor, for detailed dissection and study.

DPT 978: Spinal Orthopaedic PT

Credit, 3 hours. Functional anatomy, clinical biomechanics, and neurophysiologic aspects of neck and back problems with special emphasis placed on detecting spinal motion dysfunction during the clinical examination and manual therapy techniques.

DPT 980: Advanced Extremities

Credit, 3 hours. Medical screening and differential diagnosis for patients with orthopedic extremity joint conditions including tissue responses to trauma and immobilization, abnormal mechanics, fractures, dislocations, upper and lower extremity overuse syndromes and gait dysfunction.

DPT 982. Fundamentals of Strength and Conditioning

Credit, 3 hours. This course will provide a comprehensive overview of strength and conditioning and is designed specifically to prepare students for the nationally accredited Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification exam. Content involves an extensive review of the basic exercise sciences including anatomy, exercise physiology, and biomechanics. In addition, the fundamentals of performance nutrition, exercise technique, program design and administration, and testing and evaluation will be covered.

DPT 984. Advanced Pediatrics
Credit, 3 hours. Research evidence supporting examination and management of pediatric patients with specific musculoskeletal conditions; includes process of bone modeling as well as the developmental changes in joint mobility and alignment related to functional movement from birth through skeletal maturity.

DPT 986. Vestibular Rehabilitation
Credit, 3 hours. This intense, evidence-based, five-day course consists of lecture and laboratory sessions with additional self-study sessions. All participants will be expected to demonstrate assessment skills to faculty including: oculomotor examination with emphasis on the identification of nystagmus and canal involvement; and balance and gait, fall risk, and functional assessments. Participants will also be expected to demonstrate appropriate treatment procedures for BPPV affecting posterior, anterior, and horizontal canals for both cupulolithiasis and canalithiasis, for unilateral and bilateral peripheral vestibular disorders, and for central vestibular disorders including traumatic brain injury and stroke. Emphaiss will be on using assessment results to develop an effective treatment plan. The course will include written, video, and practical examinations.

DPT 988. Interfacing Engineering Technology and Rehabilitation

Credit, 3 hours. This course is designed to introduce the student to the emerging trends in rehabilitation technologies. Lecture and laboratory instruction will help students develop skills in adopting objective criteria for evaluating emerging technologies with alternative methods. The course will feature recent discoveries in research related to rehabilitation technology. Students will learn about the physiological mechanisms governing physical rehabilitation, as well as the tools used to quantify those mechanisms. The course will survey neural prosthetics, brain-machine interfacing, wearable technologies, telerehabilitation, regenerative medicine, robotics, and informatics as well as the processes for technology transfer, patent applications, and licensing.

DPT 990 . Sports Physical Therapy

Credit, 3 hours. A study of anatomy and biomechanics related to sport injuries. Examination procedures specific to the athletic population will be emphasized. The significance of test findings and the formulation of treatment plans are discussed. Management Strategies for acute injuries, improvement in motion performance and return to sports activities will be demonstrated. Intervention strategies will include first aid, taping, manual therapy, and exercise techniques. The course also investigates the relationships between extremity joint injuries and adjacent regions, including the spine.

DPT 992. Advanced Adult Neurorehabilitation: Stroke Rehabilitation

Credit, 3 hours. This course focuses on the current body of literature for the practice of physical therapy with the stroke population followed by a week-long, intensive clinical experience with a population of adult individuals post-stroke. The clinical experience will occur via a service learning trip. Special attention will be given to various outcome measures and interventions with respect to both theory and practice, with a focus on current evidence-based medicine.  

DPT 994.  Service Learning

Credit, 3 hours. This course offers the opportunity to explore the physical therapists’ role in providing a variety of services to medically underserved communities. Service learning consists of academic learning modules integrated with meaningful community service experiences designed to increase civic responsibility and cultural competence and strengthen communities. The course consists of independently completed web-based learning modules, written reflections, and provision of services to a community. Students will have the opportunity to create their own project or commit to an existing community project (community projects TBA). Student MUST have an agreement with a faculty advisor regarding their service learning project prior to registering for this course.

DPT 996. Preceptorship: General Medical Conditions
Credit, 3 hours.