Academics

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Duke aims for the highest possible academic achievement. With our 100 percent employment rate, DPT graduates can expect to enter the profession knowing that their degree is second to none—thanks to our accomplished faculty and unique academic opportunities.

The new Duke curriculum builds on Duke DPT’s long tradition of producing leaders in our profession.  Through three phases of education, the curriculum produces physical therapists who have the foundation to practice in any setting, along with the additional skills to launch an early career in self-selected focus areas. Throughout the student’s education, success will be measured across five domains, selected by the faculty as hallmarks of a Duke Doctor of Physical Therapy: 

  • Professionalism in Action
  • Integration of Evidence into Practice
  • Commitment to Health Equity 
  • Management of Function and Quality of Life
  • Patient Management in the Health System

By integrating these domains across all courses in the three phases of the curriculum, our program seeks to ensure that Duke DPTs are prepared to lead the profession.

Phase 1:  Foundations for Practice

In phase 1 of the curriculum, students learn the basic science, foundational clinical science, foundational clinical skills, and professional behaviors necessary for practice in today’s healthcare system. Students participate in Team-based learning (TBL) throughout all the courses, enabling them to gain the important skills of team-work, conflict negotiation, and communication key to collaborative interprofessional practice. Courses are in blocked format, allowing students to focus on fewer subjects at a time.  Additionally, students complete STEPs®, our integrated team-based clinical education experience. Throughout the curriculum, students engage in a professional practice course centered on regular case-based scenarios integrating content from current and previous coursework.

Phase 2: Student-Centered Advancement  

Students learn best when they can engage in the content that is most meaningful to them. Additionally, students have the highest potential to develop into leaders by exploring areas of the profession they have a passion to pursue. Phase 2 allows students to have an active role in choosing their educational experiences. Through “Advanced Practice Courses” (APCs) students will learn from Duke DPT faculty, as well as national and international experts, in focused areas of practice.  Students may opt to complete 2, 4, or 6 course series on focused topics or select from a variety of courses to explore a variety of areas. Potential APC series may include: 

  • Global Health
  • Sports
  • Pediatrics
  • Professional Leadership and Advocacy
  • Neurology 
  • Orthopedics 
  • Manual Therapy 
  • Research 
  • Women’s Health 

Additionally, during Phase 2, students participate in “Comprehensive Assessment and Patient Management” (CAMP), courses further developing clinical reasoning and the ability to plan and deliver physical therapy care.  During CAMP, DPT program faculty mentor student as they work in small groups to deliver care to community members having a variety of diagnosis causing movement dysfunction or pain.  

Phase 3: Clinical Education

In the final phase of the curriculum, students complete two clinical internships in clinical sites around the country.  Each student completes one internship in an inpatient practice setting and one internship in outpatient practice setting. Each internship is 12 weeks in length.  Additionally, these internships include a curriculum delivered in collaboration with their clinical site helping students continue to advance their leadership potentials and professional identities in self-selected ways.

Apply

Applications must be submitted through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Learn more about the application process.

Contact Us

If you have questions regarding our program, contact us at 919-681-4380.