Pre-Physical Therapy

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					Pre-Physical Therapy
Program Overview
Creighton University Medical Center is meeting the challenges of educating tomorrow’s professionals by offering the first APTA ac-
credited entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program in the nation. The DPT program at Creighton is designed to prepare
the physical therapist with a strong foundation in the basic sciences and an understanding of the theoretical basis for practice. Stu-
dents are encouraged to develop critical thinking abilities and to be effective at bridging theory with practice. Students are expected to
demonstrate excellence in the performance of general clinical skills. Opportunities for exploring advanced topics in clinical practice,
clinical research, or administration will be included. Students of the DPT program will be educated to meet the needs of patients and
to do so within the context of a changing health care system.

Educational Preparation
A minimum of 90 semester hours or equivalent must be completed prior to enrollment. The professional component consists of eight
additional semesters. While a baccalaureate degree is not required for admissions to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program, students
are advised to work towards completion of an undergraduate degree. Most common fields of study pursued in preparation for applica-
tion to the Physical Therapy Department are biology, exercise science, or psychology. Students with alternative backgrounds such as
sociology, humanities, business or biomedical engineering are also encouraged to apply. Strong academic performance is considered
paramount, the degree of emphasis is secondary. Students may wish to support their plan of study by selecting courses form the fol-
lowing list: psychology, mathematics, anatomy, histology, exercise physiology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, statistics, and medi-
cal terminology.

Pre-physical therapy preparation consists of at least 90 semester hours. All prerequisite coursework must be completed with a grade of
C or better. At Creighton University, these pre-professional hours must include the following specified courses and credits.

Creighton Courses                                                                                      Semester Hours

Biology I and II with labs (BIO 211, 212)                                                                      8
General Chemistry I and II with labs (CHM 203, 204, 205, 206)                                                  8
General Physics I and II with labs (PHY 211, 212)                                                              8
Physiology (BIO 449, BMS 303, or EXS 320)                                                                      3
English (including Composition, e.g., ENG 150)                                                                 6
Statistics (PSY 211, MTH 363, or EXS 407)                                                                      3
Theology                                                                                                       6
Electives (Students are encouraged to take several psychology courses.)                                       48

Total semester hours                                                                                          90

Baccalaureate Degree Track
    1.   Complete a bachelor degree in any academic area.
    2.   Achieve a minimum cumulative QPA of 3.0 and a minimum science prerequisite cumulative QPA of 2.8.

Pre-baccalaureate Degree Track
    1.   Complete a minimum of 90 semester hours prior to matriculation. Students applying to the program who do not hold a bache-
         lor degree must identify their major emphasis of study and satisfactorily complete three upper-level courses (300-level and
         above) that total nine semester credit hours, toward that major prior to matriculation.
    2.   Achieve a minimum cumulative QPA of 3.25 and a minimum science prerequisite cumulative QPA of 3.0.
    3.   Complete a minimum of 14 semester hours each semester. (One semester of no less than 12 semester hours will be allowed.)

Office of Undergraduate Admissions ● 2500 California Plaza ● Omaha, Nebraska ● 68178 ● 800.282.5835 ● 402.280.2703 ●
    4.   Meet all core curriculum requirements for a Creighton University bachelor’s degree. Students will be eligible to receive a
         Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree upon successful completion of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Sixteen of the twenty-seven required science semester hours must be completed by the application deadline.

Students are encouraged to seek out and take courses in human anatomy, embryology, cell biology, neuroanatomy, biomechanics,
kinesiology, ethics, health care policy/systems, medical terminology, psychology, sociology, and the humanities as they plan their pre-
professional preparation. Courses taken by applicants must be equivalent to courses offered by the Creighton University College of
Arts and Sciences or accepted as sequential courses by the originating university. Further, these courses must meet requirements fro
majors in a discipline toward a bachelor’s degree. Survey courses, non-sequential courses without associated laboratories, courses
designed for non-science majors, or abbreviated courses designed for health science majors are not acceptable for meeting prerequisite
requirements. Courses in botany, ecology, entomology, or combined anatomy/physiology will not meet the biology prerequisite re-

Applicants must demonstrate an understanding of the profession gained through work, personal experiences, or other methods. The
Admission Committee will specifically look for evidence of such understanding, along with academic ability, and professionalism as
demonstrated through required personal interviews.

Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (BSHS)
Students now have the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (BSHS) from Creighton University in conjunction
with their doctoral studies in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions.

The BSHS degree may be awarded to students who are admitted and enrolled in the physical therapy doctorate program. Students will
have to successfully complete a minimum of four semesters of study on a full-time basis or its equivalent to be eligible to receive this
degree. The degree will be awarded when students exit the professional program. The receipt of a BSHS degree does not qualify a
student to practice as a physical therapist.

Dramatic changes in the health care system have influenced the way health professionals practice. The physical therapist has become
increasingly knowledgeable and skilled in patient care, consultation, education and research. Existing roles in orthopedics, sports, in-
juries, neurological disorders, pediatrics, and cardiovascular disorders are complemented by developing practice in areas of business,
industry, pre- and post-operative evaluations, wellness programs, geriatrics, and consultation in school, private, and government agen-
cies. Physical therapists maintain close working relationships with other health care professionals including physicians, dentists,
nurses, occupational therapists, speech/language pathologists, rehabilitation engineers and vocational counselors.

Practice in physical therapy can be described in terms of examination, alleviation of impairment and functional limitation and disabil-
ity. The physical therapy examination is done to determine a diagnosis, prognosis and intervention. It may include, but is not limited
to, testing a muscle function, joint flexibility, patterns of movement including walking, balance, and endurance. Physical therapists are
particularly skilled in evaluating and treating patients with movement dysfunction from a variety of causes.

After practicing in general care settings, many clinicians choose to specialize. APTA, through the American Board of Clinical Special-
ists, offers clinicians the opportunity to become board certified in specialty areas. While certification is a relatively new process, the
number of therapists pursuing this recognition is increasing. Steps to achieve certification are initiated after the physical therapist has
acquired clinical experience in the specialty area. Certification is currently available in seven areas: cardiopulmonary, orthopedics,
pediatrics, neurology, sports, clinical electrophysiology, and geriatrics.

Opportunities for career development are expected to be excellent because of the need for physical therapists in practice and academic
settings, and the availability of supervisory positions. Upon completion of an education program, graduates can anticipate having a
wide selection of opportunities in patient care or other settings.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment of physical therapists is expected to grow much faster than the average for
all occupations through 2014. Visit for more information. Connect to the American Physical
Therapy Association website, for specific PT careers.

Office of Undergraduate Admissions ● 2500 California Plaza ● Omaha, Nebraska ● 68178 ● 800.282.5835 ● 402.280.2703 ●
Creighton Preference
The Physical Therapy Admission Committee has a strong preference for Creighton undergraduate students who complete the majority
of their undergraduate coursework at Creighton, including all prerequisites. All Creighton undergraduate students who have achieved
a minimum overall quality point average (QPA) of 3.25 at the end of the semester in which the student applies will be guaranteed an

Guaranteed Admission Policy
Creighton students who began undergraduate studies prior to and including fall 2007 who meet the following criteria will be guaran-
teed admission to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Each student must:
    1.   Be enrolled and complete all pre-physical therapy requirements at Creighton University prior to entry. Courses taken for col-
         lege credit (e.g., Advanced Placement) prior to high school graduation will not result in ineligibility.
    2.   Achieve a minimum cumulative and science prerequisite QPA as outlined in the baccalaureate and pre-baccalaureate degree
         track requirements at the end of the semester in which the student applies.
    3.   Complete an interview expressing an appropriate rationale and demonstrating interpersonal skills for the study and practice of
         physical therapy.
    4.   Submit an online application, including three satisfactory recommendations (one that must be from a physical therapist) and a
         personal statement, to the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions Admission Office by December 1 of the academic
         year prior to enrollment in the professional program.
    5.   Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores from the general test must be submitted and be competitive with the applicant pool.
    6.   Demonstrate professional behaviors when interacting with faculty, staff, students, clients, and patients. These behaviors are
         important for success in the professional program and reflect the capacity to deliver a high standard of health service. These
         behaviors are as important as traditional academic standards in determining criteria for matriculation.
    7.   Present a satisfactory record of participation in physical therapy pre-professional formation activities for a minimum of two
         semesters at the time of application. Satisfactory participation will be determined by meeting each of the following:
              a. Attendance at four scheduled activities over the course of two semesters.
              b. Satisfactory participation in a Pre-Physical Therapy Club service project over the course of two semesters.
              c. Satisfactory attendance/participation in 20 hours of clinical observation over the course of two semesters. (A total of
                  60 hours of clinical observation is required for admission.)

Students unable to meet one or more of the above criteria are encouraged to apply for admission through the standard admission pro-

Physical Therapy Administration
J. Chris Bradberry, Pharm,D., Dean
Robert Sandstrom, Ph.D., Chair
Teresa Cochran, Dpr, Vice Chair

For More Information
Creighton University School of Pharmacy and                                         Creighton University Office of Admission
 Health Professions Office of Admission                                             2500 California Plaza
2500 California Plaza                                                               Omaha, NE 68178
Omaha, NE 68178                                                                     402.280.2703 or 800.282.5835
402.280.2662 or 800.325.2830, ext 1                                                 Fax 402.280.2685
Fax 402.280.5739                                                                    e-mail
the five-story atrium.

Office of Undergraduate Admissions ● 2500 California Plaza ● Omaha, Nebraska ● 68178 ● 800.282.5835 ● 402.280.2703 ●