Physical Therapy (Entry-Level DPT) | Spalding University Catalog

Physical Therapy (Entry-Level DPT)

School of Physical Therapy Program Overview

Spalding University School of Physical Therapy will begin accepting students into its new Doctor of Physical Therapy Program (DPT) in the Fall semester 2022, pending approval by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).*  The Spalding University School of Physical Therapy, with its planned professional and post-professional offerings, continues Spalding University’s long tradition of graduate education and builds on its Research Doctoral graduate status. 

Students holding a bachelor’s degree will be eligible for admission upon completion of prerequisite coursework.

Students can be admitted into the DPT Program after completing 3 years of college, and many prerequisite courses can be completed online.  These students will be awarded a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree at the completion of the first year of the DPT curriculum. 

The DPT Program will use a hybrid/low-residency delivery of its curriculum, building on Spalding University’s tradition of flexible education that meets the needs of the times.  The lecture portion of the 110-credit curriculum will be offered online, and hands-on laboratory courses will be taught in the program’s state-of-the-art on-campus facilities in Downtown Louisville, KY.  Students will complete 32 weeks of full-time clinical education in physical therapy settings in metro Louisville and across the country. 

 I. Admission Criteria

 Applicants for the DPT Program are required to meet or exceed the following criteria: 


  1. Applicants will not be discriminated against because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.
  2. Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university OR admission into Spalding University BS in Health Sciences-DPT track.
  3. Minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a four-point scale.
  4. Minimum prerequisite and science grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a four-point scale.
  5. At least two letters of reference from a professional who can best address the applicant’s ability to be academically successful as well as address personal/professional characteristics. Letters should come from a college/university counselor/advisor/faculty member, a physical therapist that supervised your volunteer/work experience, and/or faculty advisor for college/university club or organization.
  6. GRE (Graduate Record Examination) minimum scores of 150 on each of the verbal and quantitative, and minimum of 3 on the analytical writing section. GRE scores must be taken within the past 5 years.
  7. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) for applicants who are not US citizens; must score at least 550 on the written examination, 213 on the computer-based examination, or 79 on the internet-based examination.
  8. Observation/employment totaling 40 hours under the supervision of a physical therapist signed and verified by a physical therapist OR successful completion of Spalding University’s HS300 Survey of Health Professions.
  9. Prerequisite coursework:
    Applicants must submit evidence of satisfactory completion of the following courses with a minimum of a “C” (courses must be completed within 10 years):       
    No advanced placement or CLEP credit will be accepted in lieu of prerequisite coursework.

                        a.         Science Courses: Each science course must be a course for science majors and be a two-course sequence, except for human anatomy and physiology as noted below. Each science course must include a laboratory component. The number of required credits for prerequisite science courses is as follows:
                        i.          Human Anatomy and Physiology - 6 credits total or one 3-credit course in human anatomy and one three credit course in human physiology 

                        ii.         Chemistry - 8 credits  

                        iii.        Physics - 8 credits 

                        b.         Statistics - 3 credits 

                        c.         English/Psychology/Humanities - 9 credit hours total with one 3-credit course each in English, Psychology and Humanities

                        d.         One writing-intensive course which may also be any prerequisite course

     10. Credit for Prior Learning: No advanced placement or CLEP credit will be accepted in lieu of prerequisites for the Doctor of            Physical Therapy program.
     11. Interview with members of the DPT Program Admissions Committee.
     12. Technical standards and essential functions statement of agreement.
     13. Transfer Credit Policy: Once enrolled in the Doctoral of Physical Therapy Program, no transfer credits will be accepted to fulfill degree requirements.


II. Application Procedures and Admissions Process

A. The DPT Program participates in PTCAS.  Information regarding PTCAS and deadlines can be found on the program website.

B. Application deadlines for each admission cycle are posted on the Spalding University’s website. 

C. Applications received after the stated deadline will NOT be considered.

D. An admission decision will be based on the following:

  • Cumulative GPA
  • Science GPA
  • Prerequisite GPA
  • GRE Verbal Score
  • GRE Quantitative Score
  • GRE Analytical Writing Score
  • Interview
  • References/Observation

E. The DPT Program Admissions Committee will review completed applications from the PTCAS monthly.  Qualified applicants will be invited to participate in the interview process.

F. Notification of accept, deny, or defer will be provided after the completion of the interview process. 

G. The admission process closes when the cohort is filled.  Applicants who decline acceptance or who are not admitted must apply for the following admission cycle.

H. Successfully meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the DPT program.

I. Students will be subject to criminal background checks and drug screening prior to placement for clinical education experiences.


III. Program Policies


Academic Progression

Students progress as a cohort throughout the program, and each semester is a prerequisite for the next.  Progression within the program is dependent upon satisfactory completion of all didactic and clinical coursework.  Professional Practice (clinical education) courses are graded as Pass/Fail.  Students are expected to meet all of the requirements outlined in each course syllabus and are expected to achieve grades of “B” or better in each didactic course in the program.  Students are allowed two course grades of “C” (see further clarification below), but students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.  Dropping below a 3.0 will result in academic probation.

Practical Examination Pass Policy

Students are allowed to retake only one practical exam within a course and must pass all subsequent practical exams in that course. Failure to do so will earn a course grade of F, and the student will be dismissed from the program. No more than 3 total retakes will be allowed during the program. Failure of the fourth practical examination in the curriculum will constitute a failure (F) of the course in which the fourth failure occurred, resulting in the student’s dismissal from the program at the end of the semester. Regardless of the points achieved in a course, students must pass both the didactic and lab portions of the course.

Repeating a Course

Undergraduates admitted into the DPT Program are not permitted to repeat a HS/DPT course toward the bachelor’s degree in health sciences.

Academic Probation and Dismissal

A. Academic Probation:

A graduate student failing to meet the criteria for satisfactory achievement will be placed on academic probation. A student on probation due to failure to meet the cumulative GPA of 3.0 will be allowed one semester to raise the cumulative GPA to a satisfactory level. Failure to achieve a 3.0 after one semester will result in dismissal from the program. Students may be placed on academic probation no more than two times. Students that fail to meet the cumulative GPA of 3.0 for a third time will be dismissed from the program.

B. Academic Dismissal

The following are grounds for dismissal from the program:

  1. A grade below C in any course
  2. A grade of C in more than 2 courses
  3. More than a cumulative total of 3 retakes in courses with a laboratory component
  4. Failure to pass both the lecture and practical exams in a course with a laboratory component
  5. Failure to pass a Professional Practice course

These academic policies are applicable to undergraduates enrolled in the DPT program.

IV. Accreditation Status

*Graduation from a physical therapist education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Avenue, Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; phone 703-706-3245; is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

Spalding University is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist education program from CAPTE. The program is planning to submit an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage, on December 1, 2021. Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the professional phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in professional courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation.


Program Sheets
Doctor of Physical Therapy: Professional Track
Bachelor of Science in Health Science/Physical Therapy