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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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Is the post-professional DPT (t-DPT) program fulltime or part-time?

The program is part-time. It is intended to allow students to take classes following a schedule that will allow them to continue to work full-time as they progress through the program.

How many students can enroll in each course?

Currently, each course enrollment depends on the instructor, but most are capped at 20-30 students.

How many credit hours total in the post-professional (transitional) DPT program? What are the courses in the curriculum?

The program is 26 credit hours for those with a master's degree. Applicants that do not have a master's degree in some field will need an additional 4 graduate credit hours (total of 30 hours). These 4 credit hours can be taken at UTMB or can be transferred from another university.

The core courses in this curriculum include:

  • Evidence-Based Practice (3 credits)
  • Imaging (1 credit)
  • Pharmacology (1 credit)
  • Medical Spanish for Rehabilitation Specialists (2 credits)
  • Differential Diagnosis in Physical Therapy (2 credits)
  • Special Topics in Management (2 credits)

Elective course offerings:

  • Global Health Interprofessional Studies I and II (2 credits each)
  • Educational Theory in Academic and Clinical Practice (3 credits)
  • Evidence-Based Management of Spinal Dysfunction (3 credits)
  • Health Promotion and Wellness (3 credits)
  • Clinically Applied Neuroscience (3 credits)
  • Management of Medically Complex Patients (3 credits)
  • Advanced Orthotics for the Neurological or Musculoskeletal Patient (3 credits)
  • Diagnosis and Management of Vestibular Dysfunction (3 credits)
  • Disability and Physical Activity (3 credits)
  • Grant Writing (3 credits)
  • Geriatric Rehabilitation Across the Health Care Spectrum (3 credits)
  • Systems Approach to Geriatric Rehabilitation (3 credits)
  • Interdisciplinary Approach to Geriatric Health Care (3 credits)

Not all elective courses are offered each year.

What is unique about the UTMB post-professional (transitional) DPT curriculum?

Several post-professional DPT programs are available throughout the U.S. We have designed our program at UTMB to include 'core' courses for all t-DPT students on the new/evolving areas of the profession and an array of electives for students to select based on individual interests. The 'core' courses include: Imaging, Pharmacology, Differential Diagnosis, Evidence Based Practice, Special Topics in Management, and Medical Spanish. We feel that therapists will be more effective with their clients if they have a working knowledge of medical Spanish so they can address the needs of those clients that speak Spanish. These 'core' courses comprise 11 credit hours of the curriculum. Coursework is designed not only to improve clinical knowledge, but also should enhance the therapist's ability to serve as a clinical instructor for entry-level DPT students. The remaining credit hours can be 'tailored' by our post-professional DPT students to meet their unique professional interests. Elective courses enhance clinical areas such as advanced orthopedics, orthotics, management of the medically complex patient, vestibular dysfunction, and include a series on PT in global health settings. The post-professional DPT student will be able to pick from this 'buffet' of elective courses those that meet his/her personal and professional interests.

How long is the program?

We anticipate that most students will complete the post-professional (transitional) DPT in 2 - 3 years. The length of time required will depend on the student. The program is 26 hours in length, or 11 courses. If a student takes one course each semester, it will take about 3.5 years to complete. Some of the courses are only 1-2 credit hours, so students might choose to take more than one course in some semesters.

How long do I have to complete all the required courses?

All students must complete the degree requirements by August, 2018.

Is the university accredited and is the program accredited?

The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The University has degree authority to award the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). The entry-level DPT program at UTMB is accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Post-professional degree programs are not currently accredited by CAPTE; go to for more information. The post-professional DPT program has been approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Is the degree awarded a transitional DPT (t-DPT) or DPT?

The degree awarded is a DPT.

How are the DPT and post-professional (transitional) DPT different?

An entry-level DPT program prepares those new to the profession of physical therapy. A post-professional (transitional) DPT program is designed to provide additional knowledge and training for those persons who are already licensed and want to learn more, at the doctoral level.

Can some of the courses be waived if I have work experience and/or prior similar DPT courses?

Work experience is not acceptable for course waiver. Post-professional graduate courses taken for university credit within the past 5 years may be considered for credit transfer and will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Up to 6-7 credit hours (25% of degree program) may be acceptable for course substitution/credit waiver; students must have made a B or greater in any courses considered for course substitution/credit waiver.

When are courses offered? Is there a sequence of courses? Is there flexibility in taking them? Is there a minimum number of credit hours that must be taken each semester?

The post-professional DPT program is an online educational experience, requiring the successful completion of 11 courses for those with a Master's degree, 13 for those with a Bachelor's degree. Courses are offered each semester, and may be completed in any sequence. It is strongly suggested that students not take more than 2 courses in a semester. If a student takes a 'break' from taking courses in a semester, that student must request a leave of absence from the program and complete required paperwork.

What is a typical course load?

This can vary among students due to work/family responsibilities. Many find that they can take two courses a semester; many have reported that three courses a semester taxed their time management skills. Core courses often require more time and effort since the content is often outside the physical therapist's "comfort zone".

Will I have to go to campus for exams?

No, our online students are not expected to come to campus for exams. Some exams are timed, with students having access to the exam for a specified amount of time and completing it online. If an instructor requires that an exam be proctored, it will be the student's responsibility to locate a center/location where they can take their exams. You are responsible for any cost incurred for proctor services outside of campus. Options include "for profit centers" (i.e. Sylvan) or college testing centers. Public libraries are not accepted proctor sites. At this time, we do not have any exams that require proctoring.

I will be juggling many responsibilities (work, family) while enrolled in this program. How much time should I plan to spend on the coursework?

This can vary, depending on the course content, with less time spent on course content the student is familiar with, and more time needed for those courses where the information is foundational and new. A general guideline is that the average student should expect to spend 3 hours a week for a 1 credit course, 6 hours a week for a 2 credit course, and 9 hours a week for a 3 credit course.

Can students take any course in any semester?

Not all courses are offered each semester, so students need to plan their program carefully. Over a one year period of time, all core courses are expected to be offered once, pending sufficient enrollment. Some elective courses may be offered less frequently; students should plan their degree program accordingly.

  Courses Credit Hours Fall Spring Summer
PHYT 6093 or PHYT 6384 Evidence-Based Practice 3 x
(last offered in  fall 2016)
PHYT 6090 Management 2 x    
PHYT 6090 or 6270 Global Health Interprofessional Studies I 2 x    
PHYT 6375 Advanced Orthotics for the Neurological or Musculoskeletal Patient 3 x    
PHYT 6378 Clinically Applied Neuroscience 3 x    
PHYT 6380 Disability and Physical Activity 3 x   x
PHYT 6386 Geriatric Rehabilitation Across the Health Care Spectrum 3 x  
PHYT 6388 Grant Writing 3 x    
PHYT 6090 or 6271 Global Health Interprofessional Studies II 2   x  
PHYT 6371 Evidence-Based Management of Spinal Dysfunction 3 x    
PHYT 6090 Educational Theory in Academic and Clinical Practice 3   x x
PHYT 6112 Pharmacology 1   x
(last offered in spring 2017)
PHYT 6273 Differential Diagnosis 2   x  
PHYT 6379 Diagnosis and Management of Vestibular Dysfunction 3   x  
PHYT 6387 Interdisciplinary Approaches to Geriatric Health Care 3   x  
PHYT 6117 Imaging 1     x
(last offered in summer 2017)
PHYT 6373 Management of Medically Complex Patients 3     x
PHYT 6376 Health Promotion and Wellness 3   x  
PHYT 6224 Medical Spanish 2    

(last offered in summer 2017)

PHYT 6385 Systems Approach to Geriatric Rehabilitation 3     x

Do I need to be on campus in Galveston?

All core courses are designed for online delivery with no 'on campus' course requirements here in Galveston, Texas. That said, we welcome you to come to campus to interact with faculty!

Are courses graded?

Yes. Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average to continue in the program. The academic policies are provided to each student upon entry to the program.

Is it required that I have a Master's degree?

No. The program is designed for all U.S. licensed physical therapists. Those applicants that do not hold a masters degree in some field will need also to take at least 4 post-baccalaureate (i.e. graduate) credit hours. These 4 credit hours can be taken at UTMB or can be taken at another university and transferred to UTMB. These 4 (or more) graduate credit hours need to have been taken since the awarding of the bachelor's degree.

Will I be expected to write a thesis?

This is a clinical doctorate. Evidence-Based Practice is one course and there is a consistent theme throughout the courses requiring students to locate supporting literature. In 'Evidence-Based Practice', students will choose to develop a case report, author a scholarly paper, or design an original project unique to the student's professional interests. These may include performing a clinical research project.

I speak Spanish fluently. Can I 'test out' of the Medical Spanish course?

There is a policy in the University that students may petition to test out of taking a course. You still enroll in the class, pay tuition, and receive a grade. The result of passing the test is that you do not have to do the work of the course. Written requests must be submitted simultaneously to the course instructor/coordinator and the student's department chair at least two weeks before the course begins. Challenge examinations must be completed within the first week of class. A student may take a challenge examination of a course or portion of a course one time only, and must score a minimum grade of 80. The grade from the challenge exam will be the grade for the course. For our Medical Spanish course, students are required to take both a written exam and oral practical for the challenge exam.

What are the program faculty credentials?

All program faculty hold appointments in the Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health Professions at UTMB. The majority are licensed physical therapists and have doctoral degrees. Some have additional expertise and certifications; among them are a pediatric clinical specialist, geriatric clinical specialist, and neurologic clinical specialist.

Will I have a faculty advisor to answer my questions and provide me with guidance?

Yes, each student is assigned an advisor from the departmental faculty.

Are part-time students eligible for recognition on the Dean's List?

Yes, the SHP Dean's Academic Achievement Award is designed to recognize part-time students. To be eligible, part-time graduate students must first have completed 9 semester credit hours. Thereafter, to receive the Dean's Academic Achievement Award, a student must complete at least two courses and/or 6 semester credit hours within a semester or a full summer session, and achieve a GPA of 3.5 or better for all course work completed during that enrollment period.

Do I have to be a UTMB graduate to enroll in the post-professional (transitional) DPT program?

No, the post-professional DPT program is designed for all U.S. licensed physical therapists.

Will the t-DPT degree give me the credentials I need to be eligible to teach in a university PT program?

While the DPT (and specialist certification) may possibly get your foot in the door, many DPT programs will expect you to have a higher degree (PhD, EdD, etc.). The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) has adopted a position statement regarding the credentialing requirements for faculty who teach in professional (entry level) programs. CAPTE's position is that the DPT degree alone is not considered an adequate credential for faculty members. So while it may open some doors, some may not accept it as the final academic degree. You may want to look at job postings in the PT education realm to see what the requirements are; that may help you make the decision that is the best one for you.

Costs/Financial Aid

What are the costs for students in the program? How do these differ for in-state vs. out-of-state students?

Using , 2017-2018 fee rates, Texas residents can expect to pay approximately $12,000 for the 26-credit-hour program; non-residents can expect to pay approximately $21,000. Books and other supplies will be an additional expense. More details regarding fees, tuitions and expected costs can be found in the SHP Tuition and Fees Handbook:

What are my options for financing this post-professional degree? Does the university offer financial aid?

Some employers offer tuition reimbursement for graduate coursework. Students must be enrolled in at least 5 credit hours of graduate coursework per semester to be eligible for UTMB Financial Aid.


Which health forms and immunizations are needed?

Students should refer to the Student Health webpage for details: The immunization requirements comply with the State of Texas Higher Education Mandatory Immunizations Requirements and the recommendations of the Texas Department of State Health and the CDC. It is your responsibility to ensure that you complete the immunization requirements. Proof must be provided of MMR and varicella (chicken pox) vaccines (or proof of illnesses), and tetanus/diphtheria and tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis, and hepatitis B vaccines. A TB skin test (PPD) must be within 6 months of enrollment. Submission of the Bacterial Meningitis acknowledgement form (found on the Student Wellness website) is also required. There is a legislative mandate effective January 2012 that every student who is under 30 years of age and attending on-campus courses be required to have the bacterial meningitis vaccine; the consequence for not getting the vaccine is that they will not be allowed to register or be on campus. Our online post-professional DPT students should be exempt from this requirement because these students do not attend classes here in Galveston. Students must upload proof of medical insurance coverage each semester.

What computer skills are needed?

It is recommended that students have basic knowledge of programs such as MS Word, PowerPoint, and email.

Will I need a certain type of computer in order to take this course?

Blackboard supports the commonly-used web browsers for Windows and Macintosh computers. See the Blackboard login page ( or Browser Checker for specific information on browsers and configuring your computer.

What technologies will I need for the interactive course activities/assignments?

Many courses require students to present case studies, reports or other course projects to their instructors and classmates using Skype, Adobe Connect, WIMBA, or Lync. Students will need to have a microphone, headset, and camera for these activities. Most can be purchased at local retailers such as Walmart, etc.

I'm not very computer savvy; is there assistance for students like me?

UTMB provides free 24/7 help desk support to academic students and faculty members teaching online. The Help Desk can provide answers to questions about using internet connectivity and browser configuration, as well as general computer support. Blackboard issues and problems will be routed by the Help Desk to Academic Computing support for resolution of these specific problems. The UTMB Help Desk is available at:

  • 409-772-5200
  • 281-557-7777
  • 888-898-2401

For more specific Blackboard problems, Academic Computing provides free 8:00 am. to 5:00 p.m. (M-F) support at 855-661-7967 (toll free).

Do I have 'the right stuff' to be successful in an online post-professional program?

You will need to make that decision for yourself. Ask yourself: Can I set a personal schedule and meet the deadlines for assigned work? Are my writing and communication skills average or better? Can I solve problems and work through difficulties independently? Can I read and follow detailed instructions on my own? Am I comfortable using the Internet as a means of communication and research? Do I have regular access to the Internet and email? [source: an article by Julie Young, Duke Gifted Letter, issue 2, 2009]

Can I get Continuing Competence Units (CCUs)? And will the course instructor complete the paperwork for me to get my professional CCUs?

These university course credits can be submitted by the therapist/student for continuing competence (CC) or continuing education (CE) credit to a professional state licensing agency; and many agencies will provide CCUs/CEUs for the successful completion of graduate coursework. It is the responsibility of the enrolled student to determine the requirements for CCU credit in their state and to submit the needed paperwork to that agency. Typically, proof of course completion (i.e. university transcript) and a copy of the course syllabus are required for CCU credit to be awarded. Official UTMB transcripts are available at

What are the start and end dates for the next semesters?

Semester Start End Fee Payment Deadline
Summer 2016 May 2, 2016 August 5, 2016 May 1, 2016
Fall 2016 August 29, 2016 December 9, 2016 August 28, 2016
Spring 2017 January 5, 2017 April 21, 2017 January 4, 2017