Qualifying Assessment & Culminating Experience

Qualifying Assessment

The Qualifying Assessment is designed to evaluate the readiness of each student to advance to the final year of study for the DPT degree. This final year of study consists of advanced coursework and a culminating project which challenges the critical and independent reasoning skills of the student. Successful completion of the Qualifying Assessment will advance the student to candidacy for the DPT degree.

Each student must successfully complete the components of the Qualifying Assessment in order to advance to candidacy for the DPT degree. The Qualifying Assessment includes the following components. Students must:

  1. Achieve an overall 3.0 GPA in academic coursework.
  2. Achieve a passing grade on practical examinations in all clinical coursework.
  3. Achieve satisfactory performance in clinical clerkships to date as judged by the achievement of all required milestones on the Clinical Performance Instrument.
  4. Pass clinically-based, board style examinations that demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving skills.

The board style examinations include a series of three examinations that students will take beginning in the second year of the program. These exams are designed to cover knowledge consistent with completed program and clinical coursework in each area. Content areas for these examinations are:

  1. Acute Care (cardiopulmonary, orthopedic, neurologic, multisystem patients) – winter of second year
  2. Orthopedic (musculoskeletal outpatients) – spring of second year
  3. Neurological (neuromusculoskeletal patients, both pediatrics and adults) – fall of third year

To advance to candidacy for the DPT degree students must successfully complete each of the four components of the Qualifying Assessment. Students who do not meet all four requirements will be reviewed by the Academic Review Committee for recommendation for remediation or possible dismissal from the program.

Culminating Experience

The culminating experience for the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree will be answering a clinical question with an in-depth, evidence based systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature. Each student prepares a manuscript following the criteria outlined in PT 910 Evidence Based Practice course.

In order to successfully complete the culminating experience, students must receive a faculty evaluation score of 80% or better on both the written manuscript and the oral presentation. The manuscript must be suitable for publication and the oral presentation is delivered at the annual Spring Symposium before a group of peers, faculty, and clinicians.