Doctor of Physical Therapy Program (DPT)

Catherine "Cassy" Turner, Program Director
Andrew Baldwin, Brooke Lieske; Co-Directors of Clinical Education
Faculty: Martha Cullaty, Deborah Diaz, Marty Fontenot, Jennifer Hancock, Gregory Hansen, Carolyn Moore, Katherine Wilford


The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program prepares students as an entry-level physical therapist who can work in any practice setting upon graduation and licensure. The DPT program focuses on developing the important skills of critical thinking, and application of evidence-based practice, for optimizing patient outcomes within the context of compassionate care delivery. Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences emphasizes interprofessional education. Students from various health professions work collaboratively in class and lab settings. Interprofessional activities also extend to opportunities for service to local and regional communities.

The DPT is a post-baccalaureate, entry-level, professional doctoral degree. Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree prior to matriculation into the program. Students are required to complete the full-time curriculum over eight semesters. The DPT student must successfully complete each didactic year prior to matriculation to the clinical education course that follows. Students complete one short full-time clinical experience during the program at the completion of the first year of didactic course work to help integrate course content into the clinical setting. Three longer clinical experiences of 8 weeks, 10 weeks, and 10 weeks respectively are completed during the final year of the program leading to the achievement of entry-level practice skills. Students complete clinical experiences in outpatient orthopedics and in a setting treating medically complex patients. There are opportunities for specialty rotations such as pediatrics, sports medicine, manual therapy practice, neurological rehabilitation, and pelvic health. Successful completion of the terminal clinical internship sequence and evidence of meeting the competencies for entry-level physical therapy practice must be met in order to graduate.

Mission of the Physical Therapy Program The mission of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program is to prepare individuals to be compassionate and ethical entry-level physical therapists who optimize movement by utilizing critical thinking skills and evidence-based knowledge for decision making. Students, graduates, and faculty demonstrate strong interprofessional collaboration for patient centered care that enhances function and promotes a healthy society.  Graduates will be lifelong learners who utilize contemporary practice models in a variety of practice settings across the lifespan.

In realizing its mission, the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences is committed to serving the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and beyond by:

  • Preparing health professionals who demonstrate the ability to respond effectively to an ever-changing global environment;
  • Conducting engaged scholarship through exploration and discovery of knowledge meaningful to teaching and health;
  • Providing a dynamic and student-centered teaching and learning environment that fosters interprofessional collaboration and the development of compassionate and ethical health professionals; and
  • Striving for excellence among students and faculty through community service, life-long learning, advocacy, and leadership with a focus on enhancing the well-being of the individual and society.


The information below is current as of printing; however, our most current accreditation information can be found on our website:


The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Mary Baldwin University/Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave, Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085;  telephone: 703-706-3245; email:;


If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 540-887-4046 or e-mail

How to file a complaint with CAPTE

Complaints about the Program or University related to compliance with accreditation standards must be submitted in writing to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). These complaints should be addressed as follows:

Director of Accreditation
Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100
Alexandria, Virginia  22305-3085
Phone: (800) 999-2782

Admission Requirements/Process for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Applications for admission will be accepted online through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) once the application cycle has begun.

Application cycle and deadline dates will be published on the DPT program website for each cycle.

There are two options for admission into the DPT program: junior admit; or graduate admit.

  • The junior admit option is available to students who have completed three years of undergraduate work at Mary Baldwin University. A major and a minor or a dual major must be declared and all General Education, major, and minor requirements must be completed before entering the DPT program. This includes completion of at least 95 credit hours. MBU students applying for the junior admit option should have achieved an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher and prerequisite GPA of 3.5 or higher throughout the first three academic years. MBU students who do not meet these criteria as a junior should consider applying as a graduate admit applicant.
  • The graduate admit option is available to students who will have an earned bachelor’s degree from an MBU approved, regionally accredited institution before entering the Physical Therapy program. Applicants may begin the application process during the application cycle before the conferral date of the bachelor’s degree. If accepted for admission, the applicant will be given conditional acceptance until proof of completion of the baccalaureate degree and program prerequisites are confirmed. If the applicant does not have the required baccalaureate degree and program prerequisites before the program start date, the status of conditional acceptance will be revoked.

Prerequisite Courses:

All of the listed prerequisite courses must be completed with a "C" or better before enrollment in the professional curriculum.

Required Courses




Human or

Vertebrate Anatomy


Lab recommended

Human or

Vertebrate Physiology


Lab recommended



At least one course; Upper level biology such as cell biology or histology

are recommended, but not required



Must include labs



General physics, must include labs



1 intro and 1 upper or 2 upper level psychology courses; abnormal and

developmental psychology are preferred.



Can be from biology, mathematics, psychology, or business; NOTE: if a

psychology course is used to meet this requirement it cannot also be used for the psychology requirement

*Can be combined A/P.

For ALL applicants, the following admission criteria must be met prior to entering the professional phase of the program:

  • GPA: An overall GPA of 3.0 is preferred. MBU students applying for the junior admit option should have achieved an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher, and a prerequisite GPA of 3.5 or higher. We expect that most accepted students will surpass this minimum. In addition, all prerequisite courses must reflect a "C" or better. MBU students who do not meet the junior admit criteria should apply as a graduate applicant.
  • GRE: You will need to request that your most current Graduate Education Examinations (GRE) score be sent to PTCAS. GRE must have been taken within five years of application to our program. The PTCAS GRE Code for Mary Baldwin University is 3866. There is no minimum GRE score needed to apply.
  • Personal Essay: You will be required to submit a brief personal essay in PTCAS.
  • Two professional references: At least one reference must be from a physical therapist. The PTCAS application will provide a form for you to send to your references.
  • PT Observation Hours: 40 hours are required in at least two different settings, such as hospital inpatient, outpatient, pediatrics, long-term care, etc. Instructions on how to provide this information can be found in PTCAS.
  • Official Transcripts: Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions must be sent to the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). If you are still taking prerequisite courses during the application cycle, please indicate these planned courses in your PTCAS application. Please note, however, that you will not be able to enroll in our program until your official transcript has been received verifying completion of these courses, that you have received a “C” or better, and that you still meet the minimum preferred GPA.
  • Language Proficiency: English proficiency is considered essential to providing quality patient care. Students for whom English is not their primary language, regardless of US citizenship, are required to submit their TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score with their application. The MBU school code is 5397. A minimum score of 570 (paper-based) or 89 (internet-based) is required. A student may be exempted if they have graduated with a bachelors or graduate degree from a 4-year accredited US university.

Application Fees

  • PTCAS Application Fee: A non-refundable PTCAS Application Fee, payable through PTCAS, is required upon application submission.
  • Supplemental Application Fee: In addition to the PTCAS Application fee, a non-refundable Supplemental Application Fee of $45 is required. The Supplemental Application Fee is waived for MBU Junior Admit students.

The Physical Therapy Program

The Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program consists of 33 months of professional study. Program courses begin in the fall semester. MBU students enrolled in the junior admit process will complete the requirements for the baccalaureate degree in Health Sciences or Exercise Science and a declared minor at the end of the first year of the DPT program.

Before registering for classes, students must provide:

  • Criminal background checks (federal requirement for all persons working with vulnerable populations) at student expense.
  • Signed Technical Standards document.
  • Signed Letter of Intent.
  • Written verification of immunizations at student expense.
  • Written verification or proof of health insurance at student expense.
  • Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Providers certification from the American Heart Association at student expense.

After classes start, and in preparation for clinical placements, students must also provide:

  • Any additional requirements as stated by specific health care agencies (such as drug screening, additional criminal background check, etc.) at student expense.

Articulation Agreements: Physical Therapy Program

The Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences PT program has established articulation agreements with partner institutions. Qualified currently enrolled applicants from these partner schools are offered guaranteed admission to the PT program. The details of the articulation agreement for each school can be obtained from the school’s liaison or the MDCHS Office of Admissions. All students must apply through PTCAS. The MDCHS supplemental application fee is waived for qualified applicants from articulation agreement partner schools.

Grading, Student Standing, and Academic Probation for the PT, and Entry-Level OT Graduate Programs

The health sciences Entry-Level OT and PT graduate programs are full-time programs. Students will not be permitted to reduce the course load in a semester as the professional programs are sequential and require the student to complete them in a specific period of time. Any special circumstances related to course work for students will be addressed on a case-by- case basis with the Accessibility Services Program Coordinator, the program director, and the faculty.

Courses will be taken in semesters and assigned appropriate credit hours for contact time for lecture, lab, and clinical activities as appropriate. A course may be offered as a pass/fail grading option; however, students may not choose to take a regular, graded course for pass/fail.

Graduate courses in the school must be passed with a grade of “C” or better. A student receiving a grade of “D” or “F” in any course will be dismissed from the program in which they are enrolled. Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or better to continue in the program and graduate. Students falling below a GPA of 3.0 in any given semester will be placed on academic probation. A student may remain on academic probation for one additional semester in order to reach a 3.0 overall GPA. If the 3.0 GPA is not met at that time the student will be dismissed from the program.

For students in the Entry-Level OT or PT Programs:

A student on probation at the completion of the first spring semester academic year may be permitted to proceed to Clinical Education 1 or Fieldwork 1B if the student has completed all course work with no grade lower than a “C,” has successfully passed all practical examinations, and has demonstrated appropriate professional behaviors in class and clinical settings. Faculty will meet to discuss the student’s performance and determine the student’s readiness to proceed to the full-time clinical experience.

If a student is permitted to proceed to Clinical Education 1 or Fieldwork 1B and successfully completes it, the student will then have one full- time semester (11 credit hours or more) in which to improve their GPA to a 3.0 or better.

Students must be at a 3.0 GPA or better at the completion of the second spring academic semester in order to proceed to Clinical Education 2 or Fieldwork Level 2 experiences. Students must also be at a 3.0 or better in order to proceed to the terminal clinical internship experiences for the third year and must maintain the 3.0 GPA in order to graduate.

Students on academic probation should meet with their faculty advisor and course instructors on a regular basis to facilitate their academic improvement.

Students on academic probation are not eligible for academic and programmatic awards.

For more information, please see the previous section, “Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences Graduate Academic Policies.”

Program Matriculation and Completion: DPT and Entry-Level OTD Programs

At the end of each semester, faculty review the academic performance of all students. In order to progress to the next semester, students must successfully complete all courses in a particular semester with a grade of “C” or better and maintain a 3.0 GPA. All practical testing during that semester must be passed. The student must demonstrate appropriate professional behaviors as expected in all courses. The student will be permitted to progress to the second year and beyond only if all course work and full-time clinical experiences have been successfully completed.

A comprehensive examination is required for entry-level OT students. The exam must be successfully completed at the end of the Level 2 full-time clinical experiences to progress to the Capstone Experience.

PT students are enrolled in PTH 835 during the third summer of the program. This course prepares students to complete the Practice Examination (PEAT) of the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy as the written examination. This written examination must be completed at a satisfactory level, as determined by class performance and faculty assessment, to progress to the final terminal clinical experiences that begin in fall of the third year.

Successful completion and meeting of entry-level competencies is required in the full-time terminal clinical internship experiences in order to graduate as scheduled. If a student fails a clinical internship experience, he/she may be offered the opportunity to repeat the clinical internship.

The MDCHS timeframe for completion of all program requirements is specified as five years from the date of initial enrollment.

Specific procedures are further outlined in the Clinical Education and Fieldwork Education Manuals, which will be provided prior to clinical placement.

Pre-Requisites – Because the curriculum is a full time, pre-set program of study with no ability to re-arrange course sequencing students must have successfully completed all prior academic and clinical coursework in the professional PT program in order to enroll in subsequent courses in the curriculum.

Doctor of Physical Therapy Curriculum


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