Jun 20, 2024  
Fall 2019 - Summer 2020 Graduate Catalog 
Fall 2019 - Summer 2020 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Doctor of Physical Therapy

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University of North Georgia (UNG) offers an accredited entry level program leading to the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. The curriculum consists of nine semesters, 143 semester hours, and utilizes a hybrid learning format. Evidence Based Practice and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Core values are emphasized throughout the curriculum and are role modeled and practiced in the UNG Physical Therapy STAR Clinic. Students who successfully complete the program are eligible to sit for the national licensure examination in Physical Therapy. More information regarding physical therapy as a career may be obtained through www.APTA.org.

For additional program information, call the Office of the Programmatic Admissions Coordinator, Department of Physical Therapy, 706-864-1863, email lynn.youngblood@ung.edu, or write to the Office of the Programmatic Admissions Coordinator, Department of Physical Therapy, University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, GA 30597-1001.

Graduate Admissions Procedures

Applications are available from the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS): www.ptcas.org. The Graduate Admissions application should not be submitted.

DPT Admission Requirements

The following must be received by the Department of Physical Therapy prior to consideration of an invited interview.

Physical Therapy application submitted through PTCAS in accordance with PTCAS instructions which include:  

  1. One set of official transcripts from each institution attended for all course work, undergraduate and beyond. Transfer credit posted on records of other institutions is not accepted in lieu of transcripts from original institutions. International applicants must also include an official permit to practice Physical Therapy in their home country.
  2. Official scores on the Graduate Record Exam General Test (GRE). The institutional code for official scores to be sent directly to PTCAS is 7732.
  3. Three completed DPT admissions reference forms documenting each of the ten generic abilities representing behavioral characteristics, which, in addition to professional knowledge and clinical skills, are required for success as a physical therapist.
  4. Supplemental forms required if accepted into the program (information on obtaining and completing these forms is provided on the PTCAS and UNG websites). 

Overview of the Application Process
Admission to the Physical Therapy program requires an orderly progression through checkpoints and due dates by which certain requirements must be completed if the student is to be considered for admission. These requirements center on the admission standards of:

  • Nearness of completion of baccalaureate.
  • Adequacy of grade point averages.
  • Graduate Record Exam General Test (GRE) scores.
  • Completeness of prerequisite courses.

Beginning early fall semester and following a review of submitted applications, qualified candidates will be selected by the Physical Therapy Admissions Committee and may be invited for a personal on-campus interview. Personal interviews are typically conducted during the fall semester. All interviewed applicants will be further evaluated on the basis of probable academic success in the rigorous curriculum, demonstrated interpersonal abilities, adequacy of inquiry into the profession of Physical Therapy, extracurricular activities, communication skills, and demonstrated or potential leadership ability. 

Final decisions regarding admission to UNG’s DPT program will be made by the Department of Physical Therapy Admissions Committee. Notification from the Physical Therapy Admissions Committee verifying official acceptance or denial to the program will be sent to each applicant.

To qualify for admission, individuals must:

  1. Hold an earned baccalaureate from a regionally accredited, four-year institution with at least a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0.
  2. Take the Graduate Record Exam General Test (GRE) and achieve a minimum score of 153 on the verbal section and a minimum score of 144 on the quantitative section, and a minimum score of 3.5 on the analytical writing section. Although most students meet these minimum requirements, students may be considered as long as a score of 146 has been earned on the verbal section and 140 on the quantitative section. Only those scores less than five years old will be considered.
  3. Complete prerequisite science and statistics courses from a regionally accredited institution with at least a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.
    • One academic year of the following:
      • General Chemistry with labs.
      • General Physics with labs.
    • Full academic year general Biology I & II with labs (for Biology majors) or Human A&P I & II with labs (for Biology majors) followed by 1 upper-level course following that sequence of course work.
    • One course in statistics: Math - Elementary Statistics or Psychology - Behavioral Science Statistics
    • Two courses in social sciences.
  4. Demonstrate evidence of appropriate interest in and knowledge of the profession. A minimum of 100 hours of exposure in a physical therapy treatment environment is required for admission. Applicants are expected to be familiar with various settings in which physical therapy is practiced and to provide clear evidence of their commitment to physical therapy as a career choice. Satisfaction of this expectation will be determined through the professional judgment of admissions personnel.
  5. Completion of a personal interview.
  6. Meet all other program admission requirements.

If admitted to the UNG Physical Therapy program, new students must submit the following documents prior to the first day of the semester for the new program to Graduate Admissions.

  1. One set of official transcripts from each institution attended for all course work, undergraduate and beyond. Transfer credit posted on records of other institutions is not accepted in lieu of transcripts from original institutions. Official transcripts are accepted directly from the issuing institution via postal mail or electronically to grads@ung.edu. Student transcripts are accepted only when issued to the student in a sealed envelope and submitted to Graduate Admissions unopened. Official transcripts from UNG are not required (Graduate Admissions will print UNG transcripts). International transcripts must have a course-by-course credential evaluation by an independent evaluation service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services, Inc. (NACES). Evaluations must include certification that the applicant’s course work and degrees earned are equivalent to course work and degrees earned from a regionally accredited institution of higher education in the United States and include a cumulative grade point average.

  2. Proof of lawful presence in the United States in accordance with Board of Regents’ policy if applying for in-state tuition.

Physical Therapy students are required to be covered by health insurance. Mandatory student health insurance is provided via a contract with an insurance provider (currently United Healthcare) through the University System Board of Regents. Students may apply for a waiver on United Healthcare website www.uhcsr.com/northgeorgia during the open enrollment period at the beginning of each semester. Waivers will be applied to student accounts once the waiver is approved by United Healthcare. Mandatory coverage is divided into two payments:

Fall Semester August 1 - December 31
Spring Semester January 1 - July 31

Visit the United Healthcare website: www.uhcsr.com/northgeorgia and the Board of Regents’ website:  www.usg.edu/student_affairs/students/services_for_students/student_health_insurance_program_SHIP for additional information regarding the Board of Regents’ student health insurance requirements.

Students who have not submitted all of the above documentation prior to the first day of the semester will not be allowed to attend until all documentation has been received. Students are responsible for all course material and for all announcements and assignments. The decision to permit students to make up work that is required in any missed class resides with the instructor. 

New students admitted to the program must submit to Graduate Admissions a final official transcript showing degree awarded prior to registering for the second semester of the program. Final transcripts from UNG are not required (Graduate Admissions will print final UNG transcripts).

Appeal of Graduate Admission

A candidate who was invited for an interview, but whose application is denied, has the right to appeal the decision. Appeals must be made in written form to the DPT Admissions Committee, Department of Physical Therapy, University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, GA 30597-1001. The letter should clearly state the grounds for appeal. Students whose appeal is accepted will be reconsidered for admission.

Transfer Residency Requirement

Transfer credit for Physical Therapy courses must be equivalent to courses in UNG’s program and must be from a regionally accredited institution. The transfer courses must reflect the content, learning outcomes, and experiences (labs) equivalent to UNG courses. When in doubt, students are requested to submit course syllabi for further evaluation by the program’s faculty. Due to the variability in physical therapy curricula, we rarely accept transfer credits. The maximum allowable credits, if granted, would be 6 credit hours.

DPT Global Expectations of Students

We expect our graduate students to own and to live the professional values and goals professed in the program and its curriculum. New students will be introduced to a method of self-assessment to develop individualized academic and professional goals. Developing self-assessment skills, using the Professional Behaviors and APTA Core Values, will provide a powerful resource that will allow the student to recognize fundamental elements of professional behavior.

Program Description: Minimum Degree Requirements

In addition to the programmatic academic requirements, demonstrating the professional behavior required to be an effective physical therapist is of equal importance in acquiring the knowledge base and psychomotor skills specific to physical therapy. Each student’s progress toward attaining entry-level competence (knowledge base, psychomotor skills, and values) is reviewed by the faculty at the end of each year. To facilitate development of competency in academic and professional behavior, a faculty advisor will be assigned to provide formal and informal feedback to the student on a regular basis. The student will be responsible for ongoing self-assessment and for seeking feedback from faculty and fellow students. Satisfactory progress in all three areas of entry-level competence (knowledge, skills, and values) is required for students to continue in the program.

Professional Behavior Policy

The program of professional behaviors development is a requirement of all courses and an emphasis throughout the curriculum. Satisfactory progress is demonstrated by exhibiting Beginning Level Criteria by the end of the first year, Developing Level Criteria by the end of the second year and Entry Level criteria by the end of the final clinical internship.

Every accepted applicant must read the Professional Behavior policies, sign the accompanying affidavit at the Department of Physical Therapy orientation, and return it to the UNG Physical Therapy Department Office before proceeding further in the program.

Physical Therapy Essential Functions Policy

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures the opportunity to pursue programmatic admission at public institutions for qualified applicants with a disability. To determine whether an individual is a qualified applicant for programs or services, the ADA states that applicants must meet essential eligibility requirements.

Essential Function performance standards are set forth so that students will understand the essential eligibility requirements for participation and progression in the physical therapy curriculum at the University of North Georgia. These performance standards cover interpersonal skills, communication, psychomotor skills, and cognitive skills. The ability to observe, evaluate, and treat a patient independently, while ensuring patient safety at all times, is an expectation and a requirement of the Department of Physical Therapy.

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all Physical Therapy students are able to provide swift, safe and competent evaluation and treatment to patients. All students will be held to the same standards and must be able to perform the essential functions of their positions with or without reasonable accommodation.

These essential functions for Physical Therapy education identify the requirements for admission, retention and graduation of applicants and students respectively from the Physical Therapy program. Graduates are expected to be qualified to enter the Physical Therapy Profession. It is the responsibility of each student with a disability to disclose his/her disability and to request those accommodations he/she feels are reasonable and are needed to execute the essential requirements described.

Upon the request of persons with disabilities, UNG will provide reasonable accommodations. However, the Department of Physical Therapy at UNG is unable to make accommodations that impose an undue burden, present a threat to the health or safety of the individual or others, or fundamentally alter the nature of the curriculum including didactic component, laboratory sessions, and clinical experiences.

Questions about the accommodation process may be directed to UNG’s Director of Student Success Center [Disability Services], 706-867-2782.

Every accepted student must review the Essential Function policies, sign the accompanying affidavit at the Department of Physical Therapy orientation, and return it to the UNG’s Physical Therapy Office before proceeding further in the program.

Process for Filing Disclosure of Disability and Obtaining Program Modifications

Prospective physical therapy students with a disability who have not previously disclosed that disability and requested accommodation but now wish to do so may begin the process submitting a signed and checked affidavit the Department of Physical Therapy. A copy will be made and provided for the student to take/send to the Director of Student Disability Services, Stewart Success Center, University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, GA 30597-1001.

Clinical Education

In addition to the clinical education that occurs in the classroom and clinical arts laboratory on campus, remote clinical experiences are interspersed through the curriculum and capped by a continuous clinical experience during the final semester. The student should be aware of the policies and plans for this integral and important part of the student’s professional education.

Students on Academic or Conduct Suspension are not eligible for a clinical education placement and must satisfy any existing conditions of their sanction before being permitted to proceed to clinic. Those on Academic or Conduct Probation may not be eligible depending on their infraction and stipulations of the sanction.

The Director of Clinical Education (DCE) makes clinical assignments after receiving input from the students. Students will not be assigned to a facility in which they have any kind of contractual agreement. While some of the facilities have lodging suitable for students, this cannot be counted on for all facilities, and should not be a limiting factor in requesting a clinical education site assignment. The student is responsible for transportation, room and board expenses during clinical education courses.

Health information must be updated on an annual basis. This requires a physical examination using only the physical exam form for the Physical Therapy Program, laboratory work and a tuberculin test or chest x-ray. The cost for any health care (emergency or otherwise) required by a student while at a clinical facility is the responsibility of the student. Additional immunizations/tests including background/drug screening may be required depending on clinical placements. Health insurance and Student Professional Liability insurance is mandatory as required by the Board of Regents.

During clinical education experiences, students are expected to adhere to the administrative and personnel policies of the clinical facility to which they are assigned. Contacting the Site Coordinator for Clinical Education (SCCE) prior to any unscheduled absence or tardiness is expected. If a planned absence is requested, the student must make arrangements with the SCCE and notify the DCE (see Policy for Class Attendance) to make up the missed time in an acceptable and appropriate manner. Students may be withdrawn from the clinical experience for failure to comply with the rules of the facility and the Academic Department.

Successful completion of each clinical education course is required for progression to the next clinical experience. The SCCE of the facility recommends to the DCE a grade of satisfactory or unsatisfactory based upon the student’s performance in the clinical experience. The DCE will will assist in the development of a formal plan for remediation to be accomplished within the clinical education course if needed.

The determination of the final grade for each clinical education course is the responsibility of the DCE. A final grade of “U” in a Clinical Education Course results in immediate suspension from the program. Decisions about readmission and repeat of the course are the purview of the Promotion and Retention Committee who will consider all the circumstances surrounding the original attempt and the likelihood of success through a subsequent attempt.

DPT Academic Policies

Examinations and Assignments

All scheduled examinations and course assignments are expected to be performed/submitted at the scheduled time. Those students who, for legitimate and verifiable reason(s), are unable to meet these requirements will be provided suitable opportunity to makeup missed work with no penalty. However, work not completed by the end of the semester in which the missed work was assigned will result in a grade of Incomplete or In Progress. If the missed work is not completed by a negotiated date within the following semester, the grade of Incomplete or In Progress will be replaced by a grade of F or U and will result in automatic suspension from the program.

OSCE Examinations

In all clinical skills courses students will take Objective Structured Clinical Exams (OSCE) in the lab portions of those courses to demonstrate mastery of the specific clinical skills learned. This graduate program is obligated to insure each student is well prepared and safe to administer evaluative tests and treatment interventions prior to clinical experiences. Therefore, every student is expected to earn a minimum score of 80 percent on every OSCE in order to “pass” the course and be eligible to proceed in the curriculum or begin a Clinical Education experience. Those who do not earn a score of 80 percent on an OSCE, even though having strong performance in all other components of the course, may be given an arranged OSCE re-exam at the discretion of the course manager. Immediately following a deficient performance on an initial course OSCE, the course manager will provide a letter to the student stating clearly that the student was deficient with the initial attempt, that the student must meet with an advisor and course manager, and that a remediation plan of action needs to be developed. All OSCE re-examinations will be videotaped. Students who are unsuccessful in ultimately achieving a minimum OSCE score of 80 percent through the re-exam process will receive a course grade of F and be dismissed from the program. The re-assessment, if successfully completed, will allow the student to improve the grade received on the initial OSCE to a grade of no higher than 80 percent.

Grading Policy and Academic Performance Requirements for the DPT Program

The following grades are used to specify levels of academic performance:

Percentile Grade
100 - 90 A
89 - 80 B
79 - 70 C
69 - 60 D
< 60 F

For purposes of retention and promotion in the Physical Therapy program, a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 must be maintained within the professional curriculum. This grade point average is constructed for the average of all courses earned and from which final grades were assigned. Students who do not maintain this level of performance will not be allowed to progress in the curriculum and will be immediately suspended pending results of any approved course re-examination. If not successful with course re-examination, the student will be dismissed and may not be reinstated.

DPT Academic Retention and Remediation Plan

Refer to the UNG DPT Program website for further detail regarding Academic & Professional Remediation Policies & Procedures.


  1. All students enrolled in UNG’s Physical Therapy program must assume responsibility for their personal learning success.
  2. Students enrolled in the Physical Therapy program at UNG should be provided with every reasonable opportunity to succeed in their academic endeavors while in pursuit of the education necessary to become a practicing physical therapist.
  3. The faculty of UNG has the obligation to provide the most appropriate education in terms of both rigor and content to assure that individuals graduating from the UNG DPT program are prepared to meet the demands of the profession of Physical Therapy with the highest degree of competence, ethics, and social obligation.
  4. All individuals enrolled in the Physical Therapy program have been provided a record of required prerequisite courses and other indicators of academic ability that predict they should be able to prosper and learn in the manner required by department objectives.
  5. All students enrolled in the UNG DPT program must successfully obtain a grade of 70 percent or greater on the comprehensive final examination in each course, attain a minimum score of 80 percent on any course OSCE [see OSCE Examination], and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher to remain in Good Standing.
  6. All students enrolled in the UNG DPT program are required to achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 to proceed in any Clinical Education Course to complete the program.

Academic Sanctions for DPT Program

Graduate physical therapy students of the UNG DPT Program whose academic performance is or has been unsatisfactory will be subject to the following academic sanctions:

  1. Academic Letter of Notice: Students who fail to achieve a grade of B or better in any course and who have been afforded the opportunity to take a course re-examination by the course manager will be provided a Letter of Notice from the respective course manager. The intent of the letter is to remind the student that a maximum of one course re-examination within the specified course and maximum of three course re-examinations across the curriculum are allowed.
  2. Academic Final Letter of Warning: Students who have taken three course re-examinations approved by course managers across the curriculum or who have received two final course grades of C will be formally evaluated by the P&R committee and provided a Letter of Final Warning as appropriate indicating that no additional re-examinations will be allowed hence forward.
  3. Academic Dismissal: Students who receive a final course grade of D or F (or U in the case of S/U for clinical education courses) will be dismissed from the program.

Grade Appeal Policy

Students in the Physical Therapy program have the right to appeal all academic sanctions. All appeals must be submitted in writing within three days from grade reporting. Problems within individual courses may be submitted to the instructor of record and follow the chain-of-command thereafter. Problems that are programmatic in scope may be submitted to the Promotion and Retention (P & R) Committee via the Department Head. The P & R Committee will convene and hold a hearing if necessary and make a recommendation to the Department Head within five days of receipt of the grade appeal. If a student wishes to appeal beyond the departmental level, the student may submit an appeal following the grade appeal process outlined in the Graduate Catalog.

DPT Conduct and Professional Behavior Policy

Academic and Professional Integrity Policies

The Academic and Professional Integrity Policies are included in the front section of the Graduate Catalog. Rules and guidelines for understanding what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid unintentional acts of plagiarism will be discussed during the departmental orientation for new students and will be continually emphasized throughout the curriculum in each individual course. All required papers and/or project reports may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to www.turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers and project reports will be included as source documents in the www.turnitin.com reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. Use of the www.turnitin.com service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the www.turnitin.com site. If the student is ever uncertain about how the rules apply, ask before proceeding.

Professional Behavior

Inappropriate behavior toward one’s classmates, academic and clinical faculty, or patients will not be tolerated. Respect for the dignity and worth of the individual is paramount, and integrity should rule in all interactions. Therefore, students must become familiar with standards of professional behavior as represented within Professionalism in Physical Therapy: Core Values and embodied and applied in the APTA Code of Ethics at www.apta.org/Ethics/ and Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy at http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/licensing/plb/39.

Ethical professional behavior, as a concept, as well as the Core Values and the Physical Therapy Code of Ethics, will be presented and thoroughly explored in the Professional Socialization series of courses. Additionally, students will be expected to manifest the standards of professional behavior as embodied in the Generic Abilities and Core Values.

Observed violations of the standards for Professional Behavior should be presented directly to the jurisdictional faculty or the Department Head or indirectly to these individuals through the duly elected student liaisons to the faculty from each class.

Core Assumptions

  1. Members of the profession of physical therapy are guided in the development of professional behavior by a list of core values adopted by the American Physical Therapy Association: Accountability; Altruism; Compassion/Caring; Excellence; Integrity; Professional Duty and Social Responsibility.
  2. Guidelines for ethical practice of physical therapy are set forth by the American Physical Therapy Association in the Physical Therapy Code of Ethics and by the Georgia Legislature and the Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy in the Laws and Rules as governed and regulated by the State Board.
  3. Faculty of the Physical Therapy Department of UNG embraces the Core Values and the ethical practice of physical therapy. Students are expected to learn, understand, and exhibit these values: APTA Professionalism & Core Values
  1. Students will abide by the departmental and institutional expectations: the current UNG-Physical Therapy Student Handbook and Activities Calendar.
  2. Usual and customary application of common sense, courtesy, and mutual respect is also expected.
  3. Inappropriate professional behavior toward one’s classmates, academic and clinical faculty, or patients will not be tolerated in any manner. Inappropriate professional behavior is defined as anything that shows disregard for the items listed above in 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Respect for the dignity and worth of the individual is paramount.
  4. Disregard for Conduct Policy demeans the violator and assaults the character and good name of the group, the faculty, the program, the institution, and the profession of physical therapy. Failure to exhibit the expected professional behavior and violations of the Conduct Policy in any form will be grounds for programmatic sanctions including conduct remediation, probation, suspension or dismissal from the program.

Code of Conduct Sanctions for DPT Program

Allegations of Code of Conduct violations (Academic & Professional Integrity) should be presented directly to the jurisdictional faculty or the program coordinator, or, indirectly to these same individuals through the duly elected officers of each class.  Physical Therapy students whose conduct is judged to be unsatisfactory will be subject to the sanctions described below. However, breeches of academic, ethical, legal or professional conduct may also constitute grounds for immediate suspension from the program with no prior sanctions. Failure to comply with the standards of Professional Behavior as previously described may also result in the application of the Code of Conduct Sanctions.

  1. Conduct Letter of Notice: Students whose conduct, within a given term or event, is deficient, declines significantly, or otherwise indicates the potential for subsequent behavioral problems, as determined by the faculty, will receive a written notice.
  2. Conduct Letter of Final Warning: Students who are on Conduct Notice, or who repeat previously sanctioned behavior(s) will receive a Letter of Final Warning. All students so stipulated will negotiate a formal written contract with the faculty for professional growth. Failure to comply with terms of this contract will result in more serious sanctions.
  3. Conduct Dismissal: Students who have been previously sanctioned with Final Warning may be dismissed should they again be guilty of a conduct violation that could otherwise result in suspension.

Any student receiving a Conduct Sanction is required to seek the assistance of his/her faculty advisor. The advisor can guide the student in formulating a workable plan of action that will enhance future success in the identified area(s) of behavioral deficiency. Students who successfully resolve their conduct issue(s) will be restored to conduct good standing. Those for whom unsatisfactory performance continues will have further sanctions imposed.

Students have the right to appeal all Conduct Sanctions. The appeal process is addressed on the UNG website, Dean of Students, Student Conduct, Appeals Process. Academic and professional integrity appeals by students in the Physical Therapy program at UNG will follow the appeal process addressed on the UNG website, Dean of Students, Student Conduct, Appeals Process.

DPT Degree Requirements

Graduation requirements for the Doctor of Physical Therapy student include:

  1. Completion of 143 designated semester hours of study with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher with no grade of less than a B.
  2. Completion of all graduate degree requirements in residence.
  3. Completion of all degree-related course requirements within a four-year period.

DPT Curriculum by Term

UNG’s Physical Therapy professional education curriculum requires students to complete a total of 143 semester hours of classroom and clinical experience during nine consecutive semesters, including three summer semesters.

Semester 9-Spring, Year 3: 16 Semester Hours

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