School of Health Sciences

Curricular Philosophy, Outcome Objectives and Themes

Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Curricular Philosophy

Physical therapy is an integral component of health care, and a profession that promotes health and optimal function across the life span. The physical therapist, as an autonomous practitioner and an integral member of the heath care team, is prepared to assist in the dynamic process of patient centered care in a direct access environment.  Using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health enablement (ICFDH) and Patient/Client Management models as the theoretical bases of care, the physical therapist relates therapeutic activities to body functions and structures, while considering the context of individual differences, culture, social setting, psychological influences, and economic constraints.  Focus of care includes attention to ‘best practice’ examination and interventions as well as prevention, health promotion and wellness activities.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program curriculum is based on a liberal studies foundation.  The completion of a baccalaureate degree and required prerequisite courses provide students with the background to function effectively, ethically and humanely within a complex society, and with skills in critical thinking, complex problem solving and communication.  Building on this foundation, professional entry-level education in Doctor of Physical Therapy includes the acquisition of a unique body of knowledge and skills; the application, analysis and integration of theories and therapeutic principles;  the ability to teach, interact and  communicate effectively; the use of evidence to support practice decisions; the ability to function effectively as a member of a team; the ability to solve complex problems and to use discriminatory critical thinking, and the capability to participate in quality improvement activities and appropriately utilize infomatics.  The faculty believes that the development of professional integrity, values and behaviors is an essential element of academic/clinical preparation.  Therefore, emphasis is placed on social responsibility, ethical behavior, professional behavior and professionalism throughout the professional program.  Throughout, the curriculum integrates theoretical and practical knowledge and develops the critical thinking skills required to respond to trends or changes in physical therapy practice, especially within a culturally diverse, urban health care context.   Therefore, there is emphasis on the integration of and continuity with clinical education courses. In addition to the core behavioral and clinical sciences, elective courses enable students to explore areas of special interest.

The faculty expects that students will enter the professional program as adult learners with unique characteristics, life experiences, interests and learning styles.  Therefore, the Program promotes teaching methods that encourage students to be self-directed individuals, active learners and to take responsibility for their own education. Graduates are expected to be reflective practitioners and leaders, as well as to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to the physical therapy profession through the continued professional development and pursuit of life long learning activities.

Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Curricular Outcome Objectives

Upon completion of the program, graduates will practice physical therapy in a variety of settings, in order to promote optimum health across the life span and will:

  1. Apply the ICFDH and Patient/Client Management Models in the delivery of physical therapy services.
  2. Integrate biological, physical, ethical, social an psychological principles and theories to assist the individual to optimize his/her capacity to function within the environment.
  3. Use interaction and communication skills in all professional relationships.
  4. Use critical thinking and discriminatory judgment when making decisions in the practice of physical therapy and within the health care arena.
  5. Value and continuously develop the existing and evolving roles of the physical therapist as a teacher, researcher, consultant, administrator, and advocate.
  6. Practice in a reflective fashion and pursue ongoing professional development and life-long learning experiences.
  7. Demonstrate a sense of responsibility in regards to contemporary health issues and participate in activities that advance physical therapy and serve the community.

Curricular Themes:  The CSU DPT Program emphasizes physical therapy service delivery within a culturally diverse, urban context:

  1. Patient centered care (using ICFDH & Patient Management models)
  2. Life span perspective
  3. Ethical behavior, professional behavior, professionalism (core & program values)
  4. Cultural competency
  5. Effective interactions/communication, including teaching skills
  6. Evidence based practice
  7. Health promotion, prevention & wellness
  8. Professional development & life long learning