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Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)

The Marymount University Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) program prepares generalist practitioners to deliver the best available physical therapist practice for improving movement, function, and health across diverse individuals and communities. The program employs a dynamic learning-in-context environment that is warm and welcoming. All classroom, clinic, and community activities are grounded in critical thinking, professionalism, respect for individual differences, and adherence to ethical practices. The program utilizes a modified problem-based curriculum unique to the region.

Upon successful completion of the D.P.T. program, students will be able to

  • function independently, managing patients with a wide variety of simple or complex conditions;
  • perform skilled physical therapist examinations, interventions, and clinical reasoning proficiently and consistently;
  • apply best available scientific evidence, clinical judgment, and patient preferences in physical therapy patient management;
  • manage a full-time physical therapist's caseload to achieve resource-efficient and patient-effective outcomes;
  • exhibit care, compassion, and empathy in delivering physical therapy services sensitive to individual, cultural, and social differences; and
  • create a self-directed plan for professional development and lifelong learning.

The physical therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Admission Requirements and Eligibility: The physical therapy program is a three-year, full-time program. Applicants have a separate admissions process and a notification of admission status shortly after the required interview. Entry into the program is in the fall semester only. Class size is limited to 38 students. The deadline to submit a completed application is October 15th.

Students applying for admission to the graduate program in physical therapy at Marymount University must meet the following minimum standards to be eligible for consideration:

  • bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university prior to entry into the physical therapy program
  • 3.0 or higher cumulative GPA for all college and university coursework
  • 3.0 or higher cumulative GPA for all prerequisite science coursework (see list below under "Prerequisite Coursework")
  • recommended completion of 40 hours of observation or volunteer service work in a physical therapy clinical setting, verified by a physical therapist from the clinical setting (hours may be completed at more than one clinical facility)
  • not more than one prerequisite course with a grade of C or C+; grades of B- or better for all other prerequisite courses
  • Up to 12 credits of prerequisite coursework may remain incomplete at the time of application to the program; any remaining prerequisite coursework must be completed with a grade of B- or better before entering the D.P.T. program.

Prerequisite Coursework: For program consideration, the prerequisite courses below must be completed.

Note: Marymount course equivalencies are listed in parentheses for comparison/informational purposes only.

  • two (2) courses of biological sciences with lab (BIO 151 and BIO 152 General Biology I and II)
  • one (1) course of anatomy/anatomy and physiology I with lab (BIO 161 Anatomy and Physiology I)
  • one (1) course of physiology/anatomy and physiology II with lab (BIO 162 Anatomy and Physiology II)
  • two (2) courses of general chemistry with lab (CHM 151 and CHM 152 Principles of Chemistry I and II)
  • two (2) courses of general physics with lab
  • one (1) course of psychology (PSY 101 General Psychology)
  • one (1) course of statistics (MA 132 Statistical Analysis)

International students for whom English is a second language should review the International Graduate Students page for TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic test score requirements.

Required Application Materials: Marymount University participates in the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS), which is used by the majority of U.S. physical therapy programs. With PTCAS, students complete one central application. PTCAS sends the completed application to the programs that students designate. As part of the process, applicants will need to submit a supplemental fee directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Instructions for sending this fee and more information about the online application process are found on the PTCAS website.

The following materials must be submitted as part of the PTCAS application:

  • PTCAS application form
  • $30 supplemental application fee (in addition to the PTCAS fee) sent directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions, 2807 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22207
  • essay, as described on the PTCAS application
  • official transcripts for all college and university coursework
  • verification of completion of 40 hours of clinical observation or work in a physical therapy setting under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist
  • two letters of recommendation (using the form provided by PTCAS) from faculty, academic advisors, physical therapists, or employers addressing the applicants' ability, motivation, and interest in pursuing graduate studies in physical therapy
  • scores from the GRE; the GRE code for Marymount's Doctor of Physical Therapy program is 7738

The physical therapy program’s admissions committee reviews all applications. Initial evaluation of applicants includes assessment of overall GPA, prerequisite science GPA, GRE scores, applicant’s written statement, community activities, and recommendations.

Special consideration is given to current Marymount students who have completed at least two full-time semesters at Marymount prior to applying, Marymount University graduates, and persons from minority groups that are underrepresented in the profession.

Applicants are selected based on their qualifications and potential to contribute to the profession and their community. The program also aims to have students who represent a broad diversity of backgrounds.

After the initial review of applicants’ preliminary materials, all individuals being considered for admission are invited to participate in an interview with Physical Therapy faculty, typically a Saturday in late November. Interview Day consists of a personal interview, group activity, and facility tour. Please check the university website or call the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services to find out the date of Interview Day for the upcoming year. Admission decisions are announced to applicants within 30 days following their scheduled interview. All accepted students must confirm acceptance within three weeks of notification.

Clinical Education: Clinical activities are integrated throughout the three-year curriculum. Integrated part-time clinical experiences take place in local physical therapy clinics and coincide directly with didactic learning activities. Clinical full-time practicums take place in clinics locally and nationally. The majority of full-time clinical placements occur within the greater metropolitan Washington area and nearby states. Students complete three (3) full-time practicums in 10- or 12-week rotations at three different clinic sites. 

Clinical Requirements: For admission to the program, students must submit the items below.

  • medical examination
  • criminal background check, which is a federal requirement for all persons working with vulnerable populations
  • drug screen, required by clinical agencies
  • written verification of testing for tuberculosis or screening (If PPD is positive, a clear chest X-ray is required.)
  • written verification of the following immunizations: hepatitis B, MMR, varicella titer, and Tdap
  • documentation of health insurance coverage
  • documentation of American Heart Association CPR for health care providers

Clinical Education Transportation: Students provide their own transportation to and from courses and clinical experiences. The university’s free shuttle service connects the Main Campus, Ballston Center, and the Ballston-MU Metro station.

Comprehensive Examination: Each student must pass a comprehensive written examination in order to graduate.

Minimum Grade and Academic Progression Requirements: Physical therapy students must meet all of the university academic standards for graduate students. In addition, physical therapy students are expected to receive a minimum grade of B in all required courses. However, students may be allowed to continue in the program without interruption with up to two course grades of B-. Course grades lower than a B- are considered unsatisfactory. Students who receive three course grades of B- or any course grade lower than a B- are dismissed from the program.

Degree Requirements — Physical Therapy

102 credits

Year One — Fall

PT 700Clinical Neuroscience


PT 701Applied Pathophysiology


PT 702Health Care Delivery and Contemporary Society


Year One — Spring

PT 710Gross Anatomy


PT 711Foundations of Physical Therapy Examination, Evaluation, and Diagnosis


IPE 715Critical Assessment and Research Methods I for Evidence-Based Health Care Practice


Year One — Summer

PT 713Therapeutic and Scientific Principles of Exercise


Year Two — Fall

PT 714Foundations of Physical Agents and Therapeutic Technologies in the Physical Therapist Practice


PT 720Evaluation and Management of Patients with Orthopedic Disorders


PT 721Clinical Applications of Physical Therapy Management of Patients with Orthopedic Disorders


IPE 716Research Methods II for Evidence Based Practice


Year Two — Spring

PT 730Evaluation and Management of Patients in Acute Care


PT 731Clinical Application of Physical Therapy Management of Patients in Acute Care


PT 732The Physical Therapist as a Manager


PT 735Physical Therapy and the Older Adult


Year Two — Summer

PT 800Clinical Practicum I


Year Three — Fall

PT 740Evaluation and Management of Patients with Neurological Disorders


PT 741Clinical Applications of Physical Therapy Management of Patients with Neurological Disorders


PT 744Case Report I: Foundations


PT 745Clinical Practice Synthesis


PT 746Physical Therapy in Pediatrics


Year Three — Spring

PT 757Leadership, Professional Development, and Expert Practice


PT 801Clinical Practicum II


PT 803Clinical Case Reports


Year Three — Summer

PT 802Clinical Practicum III