Authorization to Implement a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree Program jointly at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee




The Department of Health Professions in the College of Science and Allied Health at UW-La Crosse (UW-L) and the Department of Human Movement Sciences in the College of Health Sciences at UW-Milwaukee (UW-M) are jointly requesting authorization to implement a doctor of physical therapy degree (DPT). In June 2000, The American Physical Therapy Association stated that "By 2020 physical therapy will be provided by physical therapists that are doctors of physical therapy, recognized by consumers and other health professions as practitioners of choice to whom customers have direct access for diagnosis of, interventions for, and prevention of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities related to movement function and health."


The trend for physical therapists to be educated at the doctoral level began in 1988 when Creighton University opened its program. As of July 2004, 111 programs nationwide are offering the DPT with an additional 82 programs in the process of converting to the DPT. The vast majority of these programs are slated to have their programs in place by the 2005-06 admissions cycle. The University of Wisconsin System (UWS) physical therapy programs offered on the La Crosse and Madison campuses, and pending implementation at Milwaukee,  are among only a handful of programs within the Midwest that have not made the transition. It is clear that programs unable to offer the DPT will soon not be viable. Anecdotal information indicates that students are currently choosing physical therapy programs that offer the DPT over graduate masters programs. Extraordinary recruitment efforts allowed the La Crosse campus to recruit a full cohort in 2004; however, 25% of the students offered a slot at UWL declined admission, choosing programs offering the DPT over this nationally ranked program.


The DPT being proposed is a joint degree offered by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Physical Therapy Consortium. A joint degree offered by UW-Milwaukee and UW-La Crosse is an innovative and responsible way to approach educating physical therapy students at a higher level of sophistication using existing resources. The end product is the ability to offer the citizens of Wisconsin affordable and excellent physical therapy education across their career span at public institutions. We view this as an exciting opportunity. Collaboration between the two campuses will allow the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse to educate its existing cohort of 44 physical therapy students at the doctoral level using existing resources. It will also allow the two campuses to partner in the delivery of coursework aimed at those individuals currently engaged in physical therapy practice who wish to return to school in order to upgrade their degree to a doctoral level. At such time that UW-Milwaukee accepts its first cohort of entry-level physical therapy students, those students will benefit from a single physical therapy curriculum where parts of the curriculum can be delivered via distance education, thereby reducing duplication of faculty expertise across the two campuses.






Authorization to Implement a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree Program jointly at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


Physical Therapy Program

Department of Health Professions

College of Science and Allied Health

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse


Physical Therapy Program

Department of Human Movement Sciences

College of Health Sciences

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee





Submitted: 2004



Authorization to Implement a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree Program jointly at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


1.1 Title of Proposed Program

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).


1.2 Department or Functional Equivalent

Department of Health Professions (UW-La Crosse)

Department of Human Movement Sciences (UW-Milwaukee)


1.3 College, School, or Functional Equivalent

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, College of Science and Allied Health

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, College of Health Sciences


1.4 Timetable for Initiation

First cohort to be admitted in the summer of 2005. Program will be fully implemented by 2008.


1.5 Distance Education

Students will be provided two options for obtaining the degree. Students entering the   profession of physical therapy for the first time and seeking a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree (entry-level track) may do so using the residential on-campus program. Students who are already licensed physical therapists and wish to obtain a Doctor of Physical Therapy (transitional track) may do so using web-based coursework, distance education and/or non-traditionally scheduled classes.




2.1 History of the Program

In 1999, UW-Milwaukee's campus received Entitlement to Plan a Master of Physical Therapy program. Implementation was delayed upon the recommendation of a panel of external consultants who reported the profession was transitioning from graduate education at the master's level to graduate education at the professional doctorate level which would eventually render the masters programs obsolete. In place of an MSPT, UW-Milwaukee was encouraged to pursue the implementation of a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree, first for practicing physical therapists interested in seeking equivalent educational preparation to the professional doctoral level (transition or t-DPT), and later to implement the entry level DPT Program.  UWM was also encouraged to simultaneously establish a PhD degree program to prepare physical therapy faculty. The College of Health Sciences PhD Program was approved by UW System in May, 2003 and the first class was admitted in Fall 2004.


Physical therapy education at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse began in 1974

as a Bachelor of Science (BS) program. The first class graduated in the fall of 1976.  The program was founded to address a growing need for physical therapy throughout Wisconsin and a need to provide residents of western Wisconsin with convenient and affordable public education in the field of physical therapy. 


In 1996, the Master of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT) replaced the BS degree in physical therapy and the first MSPT class graduated in 1998. In 2001, in response to health care, professional and educational trends, the UW-L physical therapy faculty voted unanimously to request an entitlement to plan the DPT as the first professional degree. 

Over the years, the volume of scientific technology and literature included in physical therapy educational programs has exceeded the amount that can be reasonably included in a master's degree program.  Physical therapy education at UW-L currently involves completion of an undergraduate degree with an additional 97-101 credits typically completed in thirty months of graduate study. Similarly, professional doctoral programs in physical therapy involve completion of an undergraduate degree followed by 75-137 credits with an average of 112 credits.


Table 1 (on the following page) includes a comparison of DPT programs across the country (using data obtained from the American Physical Therapy Association 2004 Fact Sheet on Physical Therapist Education Programs []), UW-L's existing MSPT curriculum, and the proposed joint DPT curriculum.


The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse entered discussions with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Madison on how the three campuses might collaborate in the education of physical therapists. The three campuses submitted an Entitlement to Plan a jointly offered DPT Spring, 2001. UWS approved The Entitlement to Plan in October 2002. During the planning process, UW-Madison’s physical therapy program requested permission to withdraw from the planning of a jointly offered DPT degree. University of Wisconsin System (UWS) authorized UW-M and UW-L to proceed without Madison’s participation.


Professional Doctorate

The term “professional doctorate” describes a category of degrees associated with a variety of professions not to be confused with the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). The history of doctoral education in the United States is an interesting one. The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), first awarded in 1861, has long been the degree to which scholars in most disciplines aspire. As stated by the Council of Graduate Schools, the Ph.D. is: “Designed to prepare a student for a lifetime of intellectual inquiry that manifests itself in creative scholarship and research.”  In sharp contrast, the Council of Graduate Schools designates the professional doctorate to “recognize completion of academic preparation for professional practice.”  The Council of Graduate Schools recommends awarding the professional doctoral degree in programs with rigorous, high quality curricula; faculty with strong histories of research and graduate level teaching; strong administrative support; and adequate resources including libraries, classroom and laboratory space.



Table 1.  Program Comparisons




Existing DPT  Programs in the US

Current UW-L MSPT  Program

Proposed Joint DPT Program

Number of Credits







Number of weeks between start of program & graduation







Total number of weeks in program







Number of contact hours in didactic portion




1219 – 3944



Number of contact hours in clinical education portion







TOTAL number of contact hours in program









A professional doctoral degree involves extensive study over a wide range of courses integrating basic sciences with skilled professional practice. The practitioner must exhibit strong clinical skills and reasoning based on evidence-based rationale.  Some degree of apprenticeship learning is typical in most professional doctoral programs. The capstone experience typically involves successful completion of a national licensure examination. This model contrasts sharply to the educational emphases of Ph.D. programs, which are focused on a narrow body of knowledge resulting in the ability to create original scholarly work.  The typical culminating experience of a Ph.D. program is completion of a dissertation.

According to Pierce and Peyton (1999), most professional doctorates are modeled after the Doctor of Medicine (MD) that has a long tradition in the educational community. The medical model of doctoral preparation consists of a minimum of 3 years of liberal arts education followed by three years of professional education and a year of clinical apprenticeship. Although medical schools within the United States have expanded their professional preparation to 4 years, this is not the case in other countries.

Professionals entering their field of practice at the doctoral level include the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Doctor of Dentistry (D.D.S.), Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), Doctor of Optometry, Doctor of Podiatry (D.P.M) and the Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.). As knowledge bases change and professions develop increasingly sophisticated practices, more professions are choosing the professional doctorate as the preferred first professional degree. Most recently, the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) and the Doctor of Psychology (PsyhD) have emerged. Audiology (AudD) is also moving toward doctoral- level education (Soderburg, 1989; Pierce and Peyton, 1999). Most of these professions follow the Council of Graduate Schools model of three years of undergraduate education followed by three years of professional education.

The current breadth and depth of education required of physical therapists is consistent with professional doctoral-level education. A comparison of physical therapy education to other professions prepared at the doctoral level can be found in Table 2. The physical therapy profession encompasses a unique body of knowledge, contributes to that body of knowledge through scholarship, and fills a valued and essential need in society. These elements constitute the essential features of the professional doctoral degree.

Table 2: Comparison of Professions Educating at the Doctoral Level

(National data -











Pre-requisite semester hours

BS (120)

MS (+45)




90 or 120



BS (120)

MS (+45)

Semesters in professional school









Amount of clinical experience

+1 year

+48 weeks



35 wks


20 wks

36 wks

Semester hours in professional school









Total semester hours

220+ internships

213+ externships


247+ residency








Current status of the DPT

In June of 2000, the APTA House of Delegates passed a Vision Sentence stating that, “By 2020, physical therapy will be provided by physical therapists who are doctors of physical therapy, recognized by consumers and other health care professionals as the practitioners of choice to whom consumers have direct access for the diagnosis of, interventions for, and prevention of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities related to movement, function, and health."


Data from the July 2004 Commission for the Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) fact sheet indicate that 111 of the 209 accredited physical therapy programs in the United States currently offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) as their first professional degree. Additionally, 82 programs are formally planning to offer a DPT education.  In summary, 92% of physical therapy programs nationwide are educating students at the DPT level or are in the process of making the transition to doctoral-level education


2.2 Instructional Setting of Program

The proposed Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) will replace the current MSPT degree in the Department of Health Professions within the College of Science and Allied Health at UW-La Crosse, and replace the MSPT degree (authorized, but not implemented) in the Department of Human Movement Sciences in the College of Health Sciences at UW-Milwaukee.


A DPT Curriculum Steering Committee will be formed from the faculties of both campuses to oversee program content and delivery.  It is anticipated this committee will meet once a year, or more as needed.  All decisions regarding curricular content, delivery, and shared program administrative activity will be reviewed and approved by this body prior to implementation.


Offices for faculty/staff, laboratories, and classrooms will continue to be located in the Health Sciences Center on the UWL campus and in Enderis Hall and the Klotsche Center on the UW-Milwaukee campus. As appropriate, portions of the curriculum will be developed for distance delivery.  All laboratory instruction will require onsite delivery.


2.3 Relation to Mission Statement and Academic Plan

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are members of the cluster of institutions known as the UWS). As part of the UWS, these institutions have a shared mission as well as individual missions.  Consistent with the UWS mission the DPT Program is committed to “…develop human resources, to discover and disseminate knowledge, to extend knowledge and its application beyond the boundaries of its campuses, and to serve and stimulate society by developing in students heightened intellectual, cultural, and humane sensitivities; scientific, professional, and technological expertise; and a sense of purpose. Inherent in this mission are methods of instruction, research, extended education, and public service designed to educate people and improve the human condition…”

Elements of the Core Mission of the “University Cluster” relevant to offering the DPT include:


·        offer associate and baccalaureate degree level and selected graduate programs within the context of its approved mission statement.

·        participate in inter-institutional relationships in order to maximize educational opportunity for the people of the state effectively and efficiently through the sharing of resources.

·        support activities designed to promote the economic development of the state.


The UW-L Select Mission Statement states, “The primary purpose of UW-L is to provide education leading to baccalaureate and selected graduate programs” and includes the following goals: 


·        the University shall offer graduate programs and degrees related to areas of emphasis and strength within the institution.

·         the University shall serve as an academic and cultural center, providing service and professional expertise, and meeting the broader educational goals of the region.

Selected unique mission elements of UW-M served by the DPT Program include:

·        offer programs leading to professional degrees at the baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate levels.

·        encourage others in the University of Wisconsin System and in other state and national agencies to seek the benefit of the unique educational and research resources of the doctoral institutions.

·        serve the needs of women, minority, disadvantaged, disabled and non-traditional students and seek racial and ethnic diversification of the student body and the professional faculty and staff.

·        support activities designed to promote the economic development of the state.

·        fulfill its mission as a major urban doctoral university and to meet the diverse needs of Wisconsin's largest metropolitan area, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee must provide a wide array of degree programs, a balanced program of applied and basic research, and a faculty who are active in public service.

·        continue development of a balanced array of high quality doctoral programs in basic disciplines and professional areas.

This proposal is premised on a partnership between UW-La Crosse and UW-Milwaukee.  In keeping with the core mission of the UW-System cluster, this collaborative inter-institutional relationship will maximize educational opportunities, promote the use of shared resources for research and scholarly activities, and enhance creative endeavors. 


3.    NEED


The DPT as the entry-level professional degree will:


·        more accurately reflect the scope, depth, breadth, and rigor of the educational preparation needed for current and future physical therapy practice.

·        allow the graduate to enter clinical practice with skills required to independently examine, evaluate, diagnose, render a prognosis, and assess outcomes for interventions in the management of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities of the cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and integumentary systems.

·        educate physical therapists for clinical practice consistent with Wisconsin’s Medical Practice Act.

·        allow the physical therapist to advocate and negotiate more successfully on behalf of high-quality health care, the consumer, and the profession as health care continues to reform.

·        encourage public recognition of the physical therapist as a fully autonomous health care practitioner who is a point of entry into the health care system.


Curricular changes focus on the practitioner’s ability to provide primary access care. Physical therapists have developed expertise in the area of diagnosing and treating patients who have movement disorders. As a result of the profession’s knowledge base, no other health care practitioner can think as critically or render the same clinical decisions relative to movement disorders as the physical therapist. With such expertise comes increased responsibility for recognition of problems falling outside the physical therapy scope of practice and referral to appropriate resources. This differential diagnostic process will require increased knowledge of pathophysiology, diagnostic imaging, pharmacology, and embryology.  It will also require a longer period of mentoring under a master clinician to ensure that didactic knowledge translates into skill. Perhaps of greatest importance is the need for developing professionals who can gain insight into and assume the attitudes and responsibilities of the expanded role of autonomous practitioner (Threlkeld, et al., 1999).


3.1 Comparable Programs in Wisconsin

There are five accredited physical therapy programs in Wisconsin. The two public education programs are located on the UW-La Crosse and UW-Madison campuses. The three private programs are located on the Marquette, Concordia, and Carroll College campuses.  Marquette University and Concordia University accepted their first classes of doctoral students in the Fall of 2002.  Carroll College is completing the transition and plans to admit its first class of DPT students in 2005. Consequently, physical therapy programs at private institutions not only have a distinct advantage over Wisconsin public institutions to attract some of the best and brightest students, but have a “corner on the market.”


3.2 Comparable Programs Outside Wisconsin

Minnesota has four accredited physical therapy programs, all of which offer doctoral level PT education. The University of Minnesota obtained approval to offer the DPT as the first professional degree and accepted its first class during the Fall of 2003. Mayo School of Physical Therapy received approval and began educating students at the doctoral level in the Fall of 2004   Iowa has four physical therapy programs all of which culminate in the doctoral degree  Illinois currently has seven physical therapy programs. The University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern University, Midwestern University and Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science are educating students at the doctoral level. The remaining programs are in various stages of planning their transition to the DPT.


3.3 Regional, State and National Needs

Trends in the Demand for Physical Therapists.  At present, according to the state of Wisconsin statistics 3270 physical therapists practice in Wisconsin. According to UW system Market Research conducted in January of 2004, there will be a 35% nationwide growth in the need for physical therapists by 2010. In Wisconsin, the shortage is projected to reach 27%. Data on workforce shortages can be found on and


The WI DWD Data Gap Analysis for Health Care Workforce indicates that the State will need 150 new physical therapists every year for the next 10 years.  This number does not take into account the graduates from Marquette University, Concordia University and Carroll College with graduation rates which amount to less than 100 graduates annually, not all of whom stay in the state to practice.


A Workforce Study prepared for the APTA in 1997 by Vector Research predicted temporary dips in employment opportunities for physical therapists between 1998 and 2005. The report predicted a surplus of as much as 20-30% followed by a deficit of therapists by the year 2011 in response to the graying of America, decreased selection of health professions as a career, a surge in use of physical therapist assistants, the closing of physical therapy educational programs due to low enrollment. As predicted, the physical therapy profession experienced a mild surplus of therapists between 1998 and 2001. The profession did not experience the 20 – 30 % surplus the Vector Study predicted, rather unemployment rates dropped to as little as 1.5% indicating a balance between supply and demand. Consistent with UW Market research, it is likely that a demand for physical therapists will emerge earlier than the estimated 2011 date. In conclusion, the need for physical therapists will always be present.


3.4 Student Demand

A physical therapy program already exists on the UW-L campus. The UW-Milwaukee campus has obtained an authorization to implement a Masters Degree in physical therapy and has chosen to postpone the authorization so that a DPT degree program could be proposed. This proposal is seeking to replace the master's degrees currently offered by the La Crosse campus and authorized on UW-Milwaukee campus with a joint doctoral degree offered by both campuses.


Currently on the UW-La Crosse campus a total of 132 students can potentially be enrolled in physical therapy courses at any given time during the summer and fall semesters with only 88 students enrolled in the spring semester. The decreased enrollment in the spring follows the graduation of one cohort and precedes the enrollment of the entering cohort. This student enrollment pattern will be replaced with 132 students continuously enrolled with an expected May graduation date. 


A 1998 survey of alumni from the physical therapy program at UW-L indicated that 52% reside and work in Wisconsin with an additional 10% working in Minnesota. Approximately 40% of the students enrolled in the current physical therapy class are out-of-state students or Minnesota residents. Although small, these numbers suggest that the UW–L’s physical therapy program is actually attracting and retaining out-of-state students to practice physical therapy in Wisconsin. Presently, there are 207 pre-physical therapy students enrolled on the UW-L campus.

UW-Milwaukee currently has 120 pre-physical therapy students enrolled in its BS Kinesiology Program.  It is anticipated that at least 50% of these students would choose to enroll in the DPT Program. 

By virtue of its location in the population concentrated, Southeastern portion of Wisconsin, UWM is poised to provide opportunity for enhancing the diversity of students and future physical therapists serving Wisconsin residents.  Expanding access to the health professions via public higher education in is a primary mission for the College of Health Sciences at UWM.

Recently, Smalls, and colleagues ( reported that the two most influential factors impacting an applicant’s choice of a physical therapy program were the program’s accreditation status and the educational degree offered. With over 43 % of all accredited programs offering the DPT and an additional 48% making the transition, it is reasonable to assume that students will choose a physical therapy program awarding the DPT.


3.5 Collaborative or Alternative Program Exploration

At the present time, there are no public learning opportunities for Wisconsin students to obtain a DPT. In response, two UW campuses currently offering professional health science degrees, have formed an alliance.  The UW-L/UW-M physical therapy alliance will provide a national model for collaborative physical therapy education. Such collaboration will allow UWS schools to be competitive with private programs while providing the highest quality education to meet the societal needs of the state.  The alliance intends to provide a continuum of educational opportunities from entry level professional degree, to transitional professional degree, to advanced professional degrees as well as the traditional PhD. It is the intention of the UW-L campus to primarily offer the DPT (entry-level track) during this initial phase and to support UW-M in the offering of the DPT (transition track). UW-Milwaukee will add a cohort of DPT (entry-level track) students in the next two to three years.

Collaboration between the two campuses includes:

·        shared admissions criteria.

·        common application process with students indicating campus preference.

·        shared clinical resources.

·        shared faculty resources.

·        shared research facilities, equipment, and expertise.

·        common curricular content.


UW-L is highly regarded as a physical therapy program, holding the rank of 23rd (first tier) nationwide according to the US News & World Report 2002. There is even greater potential for excellence since moving into the newly constructed HSC. The human movement sciences programs at UW-M provide breadth and depth in their Undergraduate and advanced degree offerings.  In summary, the two programs contribute unique strengths that will make the UWS extremely competitive in physical therapy education.


3.6 On-campus program

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree will be offered as a combination of on-campus (didactic), off-campus (clinical), and distance education instruction.  The degree will be awarded by the UW-La Crosse UW-Milwaukee Physical Therapy Consortium.



4.1 Objectives

The UW-L and UW-M programs mutually agreed to adopt the following:


Vision Statement

The University of Wisconsin System will be recognized by society as a premier provider of quality entry-level and transitional doctoral physical therapy education and as a model for other public institutions.


Mission Statement

The mission of the University of Wisconsin System DPT Program is to produce physical therapists who are autonomous practitioners and leaders in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of movement dysfunction, and who enhance the health and functional abilities of the Wisconsin public.


Programmatic Objectives

DPT Education will allow:


·           recruitment and matriculation of the most qualified and diverse students, challenging and supporting them to completion of the Program.

·           development of generalist practitioners who are prepared to assume the roles of clinician, educator, administrator, consultant, and whose practice is shaped by research evidence.

·           recruitment and retention of diverse faculty who exemplify excellence in teaching and who serve as professional role models.

·           contribution to evidence-based practice through faculty and student scholarly activity.

·           facilitation of life-long learning within the physical therapy community.


Academic Objectives

DPT graduates will:


·           practice the art and science of physical therapy as generalists who are recognized as members of a doctoring profession.

·           be the practitioners of choice by clients of all ages for managing movement-related dysfunction, and for developing and implementing health promotion initiatives.

·           enter the profession as autonomous practitioners who engage in evidence-based practice and interdisciplinary collaboration.

·           serve their communities through participation in activities that address issues of cost, quality and access to health care.

·           assume leadership roles and engage in continuous professional development.

·           value and practice professional behaviors through their ethical, moral and legal actions.

·           demonstrate cultural sensitivity through their words and actions.

·           continue the practice of seeking and being informed by relevant scientific research.


4.2 Curriculum

Professional discussions occurring at the national level have led to consensus on what knowledge, skills and behaviors are necessary for DPT entry-level practice. These curricular expectations are outlined in the Normative Model for Physical Therapist Education 2002 Version and closely parallel the accreditation standards and behavioral criteria mandated by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Existing curricula for the UW-L physical therapy program were reviewed by faculty according to these national standards and the following curricular changes were deemed necessary to prepare physical therapy students at the doctoral level:


·        Increased emphasis on differential screening

·        Increased emphasis on applied research to support evidence-based practice

·        Adaptation and lengthening of the current clinical education model to allow more individualized mentoring

·        Added content in professionalism, pharmacology, diagnostic imaging, embryology, and histology.


It is anticipated that these changes will necessitate an increased duration of the program over the current UW-La Crosse MSPT Program from 30 to 34 months and an increase from 97 credits to 112 credits.


Pre-requisite Coursework

The following pre-requisite coursework is required for admission into the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.


4 credits                 Biology

8 credits                 Anatomy/physiology

8 credits                 Chemistry

8 credits                 Physics

3-4 credits              Statistics

3-6 credits              Psychology

3 credits                 Sociology


A 3-credit Sociology course has been added to the pre-requisite courses currently required for the UW-L MSPT degree in order to encourage students to have a basis for understanding the social context of health care and its application to diverse groups within our society. There are currently undergraduate students on the UW-L campus that have declared a pre-physical therapy major who have not been informed of this new pre-requisite course.  Thus, undergraduate students entering UW-L prior to the Fall of 2004 may take an additional 3 credits of Psychology (for a total of 6 credits of Psychology) in lieu of the new Sociology pre-requisite.  Sociology will be a pre-requisite for all undergraduate students entering UW-L in the Fall of 2004 or later who plan to enter the DPT program.


Entrance to the Program

Entrance into the program will be competitive. Students will be selected based upon their application portfolio. 

There are two paths for entrance into the program. Students who are seeking an entry-level degree in physical therapy will enter the program using the entry-level track. Students, who are already licensed physical therapists (educated at either the baccalaureate or master’s level) and are seeking degree parity, will enter the program using the transitional track.


Entry-level Track.  Students seeking admission to the entry-level track of the DPT program must have:


·           completed all pre-requisite coursework at time of entry into the program.

·           submitted scores on the general test portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE); test taken within the last five years.

·           achieved a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0.

·           completed undergraduate degree by the time of entry into the program.*

·           completed at least two 20-hour clinical experiences under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist with clinical letters of recommendation.

·           submitted two letters of recommendation from former instructors.


* Early admission option: Select students may be able to enter the program prior to receiving their undergraduate degree under dual-degree agreements. At UW-L, such dual-degree agreements exist between the Physical Therapy Program and the Departments of Physics and Biology. At UW-M the “Pathways to PT” agreements formalized with physical therapy programs in Wisconsin for Pre-PT students in the BS Kinesiology Program will be evaluated as an equivalent mechanism for early admission.


Transfer opportunities:

  • Students will be admitted to the UWS Physical Therapy Consortium DPT Program (entry level) to either the UWL or UWM campus.  On a “space available” basis a student may apply to move to the other campus.  Because there is a single curriculum, coursework will be identical, and typical rules for inter-institutional transfer of credit do not apply.
  • Students who begin study in other DPT programs may apply to the UWS program, and be admitted on a “space available” basis.  Normal procedures for evaluation of transfer course/credit equivalency will be followed.


Transitional Track.  Students seeking admissions to the transitional track of the DPT program must have:


·        a physical therapy degree from an accredited physical therapy program.

·        a valid license to practice physical therapy.

·        submitted their professional credentials for review using the Physical Therapist Evaluation Tool  (PTET )(exceptions to the PTET may be allowed for recent graduates holding a Masters in PT from select programs where a PTET analysis has been completed.

·        submitted scores on the general test portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE); test taken within the last five years.


Degree Completion Requirements

Prior to granting the degree, students will be expected to:


·           maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the professional program. Should the cumulative GPA fall below 3.0 the student will be permitted to continue on “probation” for one semester.  A second semester of cumulative GPA below 3.0 will results in dismissal from the program.

·           complete all didactic coursework requirements.

·           complete 36 weeks of terminal clinical internships, obtaining "Entry-level" marks on all 24 performance dimensions of The Physical Therapy Clinical Performance Instrument by their final internship. (Transitional-track students are exempt from this requirement).

·           obtain "Entry-level" status on the PT-specific Core Abilities assessment form (Transitional-track students are exempt from this requirement).

·           present a capstone project during one of the debriefing sessions. An example of a capstone project might be a document of publishable quality directed at making a contribution to the evidence supporting practice (e.g., a case report, a meta-analysis, a single-subject designed research project, an annotated bibliography, or a review of the literature).





Joint Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree

Professional Curriculum

(revised 2/01/05)


Summer I  (10 weeks)

DPT 411/511          130 contact hrs                       Human Anatomy                                    6 credits                 

DPT 412/512          56 contact hrs                        Medical Physiology                4 credits                 

DPT 421/521          28 contact hrs                        Applied Anat Assess             1 credits                                 

DPT 431/531          40 contact hrs                        Intro to PT Practice                                2 credits

254 contact hrs or 25 hrs/wk                                                  13 credits


Fall I 

DPT 413/513          56 contact hrs                         Biomech/Kinesiology              3 credits                 

DPT 414/514          56 contact hrs                         Functional Neuoranatomy      3 credits                 

DPT 415/515          42 contact hrs                         Motor  Behavior                     2 credits                 

DPT 416/516          42 contact hrs                         Phys Reg of Exert and Exer    2 credits                 

DPT 422/522          98 contact hrs                         Examination course                 5 credits                 

DPT 423/523          56 contact hrs                         Physical Agents                      3 credits 

350 contact hrs or 25 hrs per week                                        18 credits


DPT 651                 80 CONTACT HRS               FIELDWORK: INTRO          1 credit   


Spring I 

DPT 611                 28 contact hrs                         Pathophysiology                    2 credits 

DPT 621                 98 contact hrs                         Princ of intervention               5 credits                 

DPT 622                 56 contact hrs                         PT Mgmt of the Cardio sys   3 credits 

DPT 631                 56 contact hrs                         Profes. & Ethos of Care          3 credits 

DPT 541                 28 contact hrs                         Found of Clinical Res             2 credits

266 contact hrs or 22 hrs/wk                                                  15 credits

Summer II (8 weeks instruction & 5 weeks fieldwork)

DPT 623                 42 contact hrs                         Integument System                 2 credits 

DPT 721                 56 contact hrs                         MS I:  Spine                            3 credits                 

DPT 442/542          42 contact hrs                         Research & App Stats            3 credits                 

DPT 443/543          40 contact hrs                         Instrumentation                      2 credits                 

DPT 641                 16 contact hrs                         EBP: Levels of Evidence         1 credits

DPT 751                 160 CONTACT HRS             FIELDWORK: RP                 2 credits

                                206 contact hrs or 25 hrs/wk  for 8 wks + FLDWRK           13 credits


Fall II

DPT 711                 28 contact hrs                         Pharmacology                         2 credits                 

DPT 712                 14 contact hrs                         Clinical Radiography              1 credit                   

DPT 722                 56 contact hrs                         MS II:  LE                               3 credits                 

DPT 723                 84 contact hrs                         Adult Neuro                            4 credits

DPT 732                 42 contact hrs                         Clinical Teaching                     2 credits 

DPT 741                 14 contact hrs                         EBP: Interventions                 1 credit   

DPT 742                 28 contact hrs                         Research practicum                 1 credit   

266 contact hrs or 19 hrs/wk                                                  14 credits


Spring II

DPT 724                 42 contact hrs                         Health/Wellness in PT            2 credits 

DPT 725                 56 contact hrs                         MS III:  UE                             3 credits                 

DPT 726                 84 contact hrs                         Pediatric Neuro                       4 credits                 

DPT 727                 42 contact hrs                         Case-based CDM                   2 credits                 

DPT 733                 42 contact hrs                         Health Care Sys and Admin   3 credits                 

DPT 742                 28 contact hrs                         Research practicum                 1 credit                   

DPT 743                 14 contact hrs                         EBP: Tests & Measures         1 credit   

308  contact hrs or 22 hrs/wk                                                                 16 credits



Summer III

DPT 851                 520  CONTACT HRS            INTERN: INPATIENT                        6 credits                                 

DPT 831                 24 contact hrs                         CDM:  Inpatient (acute/rehab)               1 credits 

                                                                                                                                                7 credits


Fall III

DPT 852                 520 CONTACT HRS             INTERN: OUTPATIENT                     6 credits                                 

DPT 832                 24 contact hrs                         CDM: Outpatient - ortho                       1 credits



Spring III

DPT 853                 520 CONTACT HRS             INTERN: AUTONOM  PRACTICE    6 Credits                                

DPT 833                 24 contact hrs                         CDM:  Autonomous Practice                 1 credits                                 

DPT 854                 24 contact hrs                         Internship Debriefing                              1 credit

                                                                                                                                                8 credits



COHORT SIZE = 44 (La Crosse)                       24 (Milwaukee)









Curricular Threads:

·         Physical therapists have direct access to the patient/client they serve.

·         Physical therapists are autonomous practitioners.

·         Patient/client management occurs across the life span.

·         Guide to PT Practice will drive terminology used throughout the curriculum.

·         The disablement model as described in the Guide to PT Practice  (Disease; impairment, functional limitation; disability) will be the basis for how students will approach patient/client management.

·         Primary, secondary & tertiary roles of the PT will be emphasized in all clinical science and clinical education courses.

·         Diversity & cultural competence will be an element of all clinical science and clinical education courses. 

·         6 tenets of professionalism will be an element of all clinical science and clinical education courses.

·         Professional behaviors as described by May, et al. (1995) will be an element of all coursework.

·         Documentation will be an element of all clinical science and clinical education courses.


(Updated 2/01/05)




TOTAL = 112

Foundational Sciences

25 credits

Clinical Sciences

40 credits


Professional Issues

    13 credits



12 credits


Clinical Education

22 credits

Summer I (10 wks)

13 credits

DPT511: Anatomy (6)

DPT 512: Medical Physiology (4)

DPT 521: Applied Anatomical Assessment (1)


DPT 531: Introduction to

PT Practice (2)



Fall I


18 credits

DPT 513: Biomechanics and Kinesiology of Movement (3)

DPT 514: Functional Neuroanatomy (3)

DPT 515 Motor development, Motor control and motor learning (2)

DPT 516: Physiological Regulation of Exertion and Exercise (2)

DPT 522: Foundations of the Examination Process (5)

DPT 523:  Physical Agents (3)





Spring I


16 credits

DPT 611: Pathophysiology (2)


DPT 621: Scientific Principles of Intervention (5)

DPT 622: Physical Therapy Management of the Cardiovascular/pulmonary system (3)

DPT 631: Professionalism and the Ethos of Care (3)


DPT 541: Foundations of Clinical Research (2)

DPT 651 Fieldwork: Introduction to clinical learning (1)

Summer II (14 wks)

13 credits


DPT 623: Integument System (2)

DPT 721: Musculoskelatal Eval & Treatment: Spine (3)


DPT 542: Research and Applied Statistics (3)

DPT 543: Instrumentation (2)

DPT 641: Evidence-based practice: Levels of Evidence (1)

DPT 751: Fieldwork : Rural Practice (5 wks – 2 credits)




Fall II


14 credits

DPT 711: Pharmacology (2)

DPT 712: Clinical Radiography (1)


DPT722: Musculoskelatal Evaluation & Treatment: LE (3)

DPT 723: Adult neuro rehab PT (4)


DPT 732: Clinical Teaching and Patient Education (2)


DPT 741: Evidence-based practice: Interventions (1)

DPT 742: Research Practicum  (1)



Spring II


16 credits


DPT 724: Health and wellness in Physical Therapy Practice(2)

DPT 725:  Musculoskeletal Evaluation & Treatment:  UE (3)

DPT 726: Pediatric rehab PT (4)

DPT 727: Case-based clinical decision making (2)


DPT733: Health Care Systems & Administration (3)



DPT 742: Research Practicum (1)

DPT 743: Evidence-based practice: Tests and Measures (1)


Summer III

7 credits (12 wks)


                              DPT 831 CDM:  Inpatient (1)


DPT 851: Internship:  Inpatient  (6) 12 weeks

Fall III

7 credits (13 wks)


                            DPT 832 CDM: Outpatient (1)



DPT 852: Internship:  Outpatient (6) 12 weeks


Spring III

8 credits (12 wks)


                        DPT 833 CDM:  Autonomous Practice (1)




DPT 853:Internship: Autonomous Practice (6) 12 weeks

DPT 854: Debriefing (1 cr.)




Updated  12/9/04




 4.3 Interrelationship with other curricula

Physical therapy education typically involves four phases: selection of the profession, undergraduate education, professional education, and clinical education. General education requirements are closely associated with the expectation that students possess a liberal education upon graduating with an undergraduate degree. Career selection triggers the student's interest in completing pre-requisite coursework. Pre-requisite instruction is not expected to replace knowledge, skills or affective behaviors required of physical therapy program graduates. All content outlined in The Normative Model for Physical Therapist Education will be delivered during either the didactic or clinical phases of professional studies.  


Students will be allowed to enter the program having received their undergraduate degree from any of the UWS campuses in addition to other academic institutions worldwide. Select students attending UW-L or UW-M may seek early-entrance to the program under specific dual-degree agreements. At UW-L, such agreements exist with the departments of Biology and Physics. UW-M students in the pre-PT track in the BS Kinesiology Program may be eligible through the UW-M Pathways to PT Program to apply for early admission, or to waive specific course requirements in the DPT program of study. Variations exist between these agreements. It is conceivable that students choosing one of these models could decrease their formal education by as much as one year thereby entering the workforce earlier


4.4 Method of Program Assessment

All physical therapy programs are required to develop, conduct and implement comprehensive assessment plans by the national accrediting body (CAPTE). Programmatic assessment currently being used by the physical therapy program at UW-L uses multiple data sources, both quantitative and qualitative. Questions are developed to measure achievement of academic objectives as well as student learning. They are:


·        subjective and objective measures recorded by clinical instructors when completing the Clinical Performance Instrument for physical therapist education (CPI). These data are collected at the mid point and final point of each of the student's four clinical internships. 

·        national physical therapy examination (NPTE) board scores - Data are obtained from the NPTE in the aggregate and programmatic scores are compared with other programs within the state as well as other programs nationwide. National exams are typically taken by program graduates within six months of completing their degree.

·        a breakdown of programmatic data on graduate scores to reveal what broad categories, if any, are weaker or stronger than others. Beginning in 2004, physical therapy programs will be able to purchase these data in March for the preceding calendar year for a fee of $500.00.

·           student surveys completed immediately following completion of all degree requirements, just prior to graduation as to their perceptions of their academic preparation. Surveying students at this time allows the program to gain insight into how well the didactic portion of the curriculum prepared them for the clinical portion of the curriculum. 

·           graduate surveys completed 6-8 months after graduation. This allows graduates to respond to the same set of questions in the context of how compatible their educational preparation is with their work performance expectations.

·        survey of employers - Surveys are also sent to employers of recent graduates 6-8 months post graduation using the same set of questions in an attempt to triangulate the data. Employer perspectives are then correlated with recent graduate perspectives.

·        survey of alumni - Alumni will be surveyed every 5 years to ascertain employment patterns, earned income, the degree to which program graduates demonstrate professional commitment, social commitment and life-long learning.

·        focus groups - Clinical instructors will be asked to participate in focus groups on a bi-annual basis. Groups will be formed according to types of facilities and level of student learning within the curriculum.

·        focus groups - Student focus groups will be added to the assessment process whereby students will be queried upon completion of the didactic phase and once again upon completion of the clinical phase of the program.


4.5 Accreditation Requirement

All physical therapy programs within the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada require accreditation from the Commission of Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). There are currently 188 accredited programs in the United States. Accreditation fees amount to $2000 annually, for cycles of 7-10 years. Additional fees are levied at the beginning of each accreditation cycle involving the preparation and review of a self-study along with a site visit. Graduation from an accredited program is required in order to be licensed in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. Graduation from an accredited program is also required in order to sit for the NPTE (licensing examination). Accreditation is therefore mandatory.


4.6. Strengths or Unique Features

·        educational environment provided by being housed in the HSC (UW-L).

·        collaboration with the Gunderson-Lutheran Sports Physical Therapy clinical residency program (UW-L).

·        collaboration with the UW-L student health center's physical therapy department. (UW-L).

·        collaboration with other health professions within the HSC (UW-L).

·        collaboration between UW-L and  UW-M in offering a joint DPT degree.

·        instructional environment/facilities of the new addition to the Klotsche Center (UW-M).

·        physical proximity to Sports Medicine Clinic and Athletic Training Education facilities and faculty (UW-M).

·        research and instructional laboratory infrastructure of HMS/OT/CLS/CSD laboratories (UW-M).

·        interdisciplinary and research environment created by College of Health Sciences MS Degrees and  PhD in Health Sciences Programs (UW-M)

·        providing convenient and affordable opportunities for career development and continuing education for clinicians throughout the state.

·        creating research opportunities that are strongly linked with clinical practice.


4.7 Career Advising

Pre-professional advising is available on both campuses. The physical therapy program has constructed an admissions committee that oversees the recruitment, advising and admissions process for physical therapy students on the UW-L campus. Students have internet access to the program as well as to faculty. All undeclared pre-physical therapy students on the UW-L campus are assigned a physical therapy advisor who assists them in selecting an undergraduate major. Once an undergraduate major is selected, pre-PT students proceed with their undergraduate careers having both advisors within their major field of study and in physical therapy. Biology is the most frequently selected major by pre-PT students on the UW-L campus. These students are all assigned one of three biology advisors who "specialize" in the needs of biology students who are also planning to apply to the physical therapy program. Frequent communication between the two departments minimizes advising errors for students.

The admissions committee prepares an annual report for the physical therapy program, identifying problems and offering solutions as the need arises.

Pre-PT students in the BS Kinesiology major at UW-M are advised by a full-time academic staff advisor in the College of Health Sciences.  During regular advising sessions student’s academic and professional planning and progress are assessed.  Additional advising in course selection and pre-professional volunteer opportunities are provided by the Physical Therapy Program Director (interim).


4.8 Outreach

Pre-physical therapy students and students accepted into the DPT will have an opportunity to participate in several volunteer service-learning activities:


·        students have the opportunity to evaluate and lead exercise interventions for individuals with mental health challenges in a community center in Milwaukee (Our Space).

·        students have the opportunity for volunteer and/or paid employment in assessment and delivery of health, wellness and exercise programming in a collaborative program (Wellness Works) involving UW-M Department of Human Movement Sciences and the Milwaukee Department on Aging at its Senior Centers

·        UW-L students have an opportunity to participate in a faculty supervised bi-annual service learning trip to Mexico. Students assess the physical therapy needs of several rural communities located near Puebla, Mexico and provide education to local residents in response to those identified needs.

·        plans are underway to begin a service learning project with Saint Claire's Mission, a locally sponsored and operated free clinic for the working and non-working poor within the La Crosse community.


4.9 Integration of Appropriate Technology and Instructional Design

Appropriate technology is integrated throughout the curriculum, including information retrieval, communication, and instructional technology.  Students in physical therapy will also have extensive experience with research laboratory instrumentation, data processing technology, and clinical evaluation/treatment instrumentation.


4.10 Collaborative and Distance Education

Portions of the curriculum will take advantage of the technology available at both UW-L and UW-M for the generation and reception of distance learning.  The use of interactive classrooms at both campuses is one of the means by which the DPT Program will maximize faculty expertise.  Distance delivery will be a significant component in delivery of program content to practicing professionals throughout the state who enter via the transitional degree track.


4.11 Access for Individuals with Disabilities

The UW-L and UW-M campuses are committed to providing equal educational opportunities for all students. Students with disabilities on both campuses are offered a variety of services to insure that both facilities and programs are accessible.


Physical Therapy faculty from both campuses will be required to include the following statement on course syllabi: “The University of Wisconsin Consortial Physical Therapy Program does not discriminate against students with disabilities. Please inform the course instructor of any special needs requiring reasonable accommodation in order to have equal access to classroom or clinical learning environment during the first week of classes.” Students requesting accommodation must disclose the nature of their disability with the Disability Resource Services on their respective campuses prior to making any requests in order to ensure that reasonable accommodations can be provided.

All physical therapy students will be assigned a program advisor who provides the student with formal and informal feedback about overall progress in the program. If special accommodations are requested, the faculty advisor will serve as the liaison between the student, the faculty and campus Disability Resource Services.


Multiple resources exist to assist faculty should requests fall outside of the scope of faculty experience and expertise. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has developed a link for easy access regarding physical therapy program descriptions of essential functions nationwide ( The APTA also has an education listserv that allows physical therapy educators to discuss matters such as accommodating students with special needs. Access to the physical therapy education listserv is:




5.1 Faculty Participating Directly in the Program

The current physical therapy faculty members across both campuses are considered leaders in their areas of expertise. There are 9 tenure-track faculty lines directly available to the jointly offered DPT program with three of those lines under recruitment. Of the six positions, five hold Ph.D.s. The remaining faculty member is seeking a doctoral degree, being all but dissertation (ABD).


University of Wisconsin-La Crosse DPT Program Faculty

Dennis Fater, PhD, PT              Professor

Thomas Greiner                                    Assistant Professor

Kimberly Harbst, PhD, PT                    Program Director, Associate Professor

Thomas Kernozek, PhD                       Professor

Gwyneth Straker, MS, PT (ABD)         Assistant Professor

Patricia Wilder, PhD, PT                      Professor

Open line (currently recruiting)  Associate or Full Professor


University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee DPT Program Faculty

Barbara Hart, PhD                               Interim PT Program Director, Associate Professor

Open Line (1)   under recruitment          PT Program Director, Asst, Assoc, or Full Professor

Open Line (2) under recruitment           PT Faculty, Asst., Assoc, or Full Professor


UW_Milwaukee Human Movement Science Faculty (Resources for team-taught and foundational course work in the DPT

Cynthia Hasbrook, PhD                        Department Chair, Professor

Margaret Duncan, PhD             Professor

Jennifer Earl, PhD                                 Assistant Professor

Kyle Ebersole, PhD                              Athletic Training Education Program Director, Assistant                                                                         Professor

Barbara Meyer, PhD                            Associate Professor

Kristian O’Connor, PhD                       Assistant Professor

Erika Sander, PhD                                Associate Professor

Ann Snyder, PhD                                 Professor

Scott Strath, PhD                                 Assistant Professor

Ann Swartz, PhD                                  Assistant Professor


5.2 Advisory Faculty

There are also numerous adjunct faculty that support the curriculum by teaching various units within courses. All of these part-time instructors hold post-professional degrees, professional doctoral degrees, or are board certified clinical specialists.


UW-L Advisory Faculty

Kristi Cadwell, MS, RN

Angie Burns, MS

Christopher Durall, DPT, SCS, ATC

Mary Kerrigan, PT, NCS

Mary Rathgaber, MD

Scott Straker, MS, PT, SCS, ATC

Laura Taylor, RT, PT


UW-Milwaukee Advisory Faculty

The southeastern area of Wisconsin is home to a large number of experienced physical therapists, and other health professionals, whose expertise will be welcomed as we build a group of advisory faculty, academic staff, and adjunct instructors.  Volunteers have already made themselves known to the interim director, expressing the wish to be considered for teaching roles as the program develops.


5.3 Additional Faculty Requirements

No additional faculty will be needed. Open faculty lines in the recruitment phase will provide adequate resources regarding core faculty. Advisory faculty will play a vital role in providing expertise in the laboratory setting as well as providing instruction in areas of expertise that fall outside of the scope of core faculty.  Additional ways of meeting instructional needs without increasing programmatic FTE's include:


·        re-structuring the clinical education portion of the curriculum. Clinical-based instruction in part involves non-remunerated adjunct faculty serving as clinical mentors.  Lengthening each experience while at the same time, decreasing the number of experiences required will enhance pedagogical effectiveness without increasing demands on core faculty.


·        joint appointments with the Student Health Center. The construction of the HSC on the UW-L campus has allowed the classroom and laboratory space for instructing physical therapy students to be housed in the same building as the University's Student Health Center. This has created an opportunity for faculty and students to have convenient access to a clinical setting for training. In addition, a joint appointment between the Student Health Center and the Physical Therapy Program has allowed physical therapy staff to assist with classroom instruction and laboratory support. This arrangement will hopefully enhance continuity of learning for students when transitioning from the classroom to the clinic as staff from the student health center will know what is being taught in the classroom and can reinforce its correct application in the clinic.

·        partnering with Gundersen-Lutheran Sports Physical Therapy's |Clinical Residency Program. In 2002, Gundersen Lutheran's physical therapy sports residency program became one of the first of its kind to be accredited in the United States. Residents are encouraged to partner with UW-L physical therapy faculty when conducting clinical research. Additionally, UW-L will be contracting with Gundersen Lutheran for the services of the resident who will serve a supportive role in the orthopedics classroom and laboratory during the fall and spring semesters. Students are also encouraged to rotate through the sports physical therapy clinic for applied learning.

5.4 Academic Staff

In addition to the tenure-track faculty, the UW-L Physical Therapy Program employs four instructional academic staff members. One instructional academic staff is a nationally recognized leader within the profession and oversees the clinical education portion of the curriculum; one staff member holds his board certification as an orthopedic clinical specialist, and the third staff member is completing his doctoral studies. He anticipates degree completion in 2004. Upon completion of his degree, his position will be converted to a tenure-track position.

John Greany, MS, PT (ABD)                          

Paul Reuteman, MS, PT, OCS, ATC               

Michele Thorman, PT, MBA

Open line (currently recruiting)


UW-M currently has one academic staff member serving the Physical Therapy Program in the capacity of academic advisor.  A second position will be under recruitment Spring 2005.  The position is an instructional academic staff member to support curricular development for the transitional track, clinical and instructional site development, and to support faculty recruitment.

Susan Gruzis, BS

(open line), MS, PT


During the third year of the program (FY 08), the UW-L program will contract with some area clinicians to provide instructional support for the integrated clinical experiences.  This extra expense will be funded by the additional differential tuition dollars that will be available in FY 08.


5.5 Classified Staff

The physical therapy program at UW-L is housed within the Department of Health Professions. The classified staff positions are part of the department and services are shared across the four health professional programs of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physicians' Assistant, and Radiation Therapy. The department has 3.34 FTE's. Those positions are filled by four personnel with four distinct job descriptions.

Donna Finn                   Program Assistant III

Rita Kirchoff                 Program Assistant II

Nicole Dennler Program Assistant II

Marge Falls                  Program Assistant I 

The physical therapy program at UW-M is housed in the Department of Human Movement Sciences.  The current classified staff member supports the faculty of the department with the assistance of student workers.  An additional classified staff member will be recruited in year one of implementation.

Wendy Pribbanow        Program Assistant III

(open line)                    Program Assistant III


5.6 Training and support

The UW-L HSC contracts for audio-visual services.  The individuals working under this contract provide training, equipment, and on-site support staff for HSC audio and video technology. General training sessions are scheduled periodically and personalized training is available upon request.

The technology available within the HSC supports interactive, real-time linkages between UW campuses participating in the joint degree program.  Courses could be taught using distance education video and audio equipment to link classrooms at both campuses facilitating student and faculty interaction between sites.

An example of an available link is the DS3 fiber optic Codec, which provides a direct link among UW campuses and other members of the Badger Network for real-time interaction.  Being a member of the Badger Network provides unlimited usage at no charge.  Appropriate pre-planning allows for unlimited access to these technological links.  Additionally, an ISDN Codec is available to provide real-time interaction throughout the world with parties having a similar connection.  This linkage can be provided at a cost dependent on the parties involved, speed of connections, etc.

UW-M enjoys similar campus technology support that allows two-way interactions in real time for offering classes simultaneously on our two campuses, or on one or more additional UW campuses (e.g., Superior, or Stevens Point).  The post-professional education of physical therapists who live and work at a distance from the primary campuses may enjoy the greatest benefit of distance and/or hybrid delivery.





6.1 Library Resources

By cooperative agreement, UW-L students can also use the libraries of Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, Viterbo University, WWTC, and the La Crosse Public Library.   These resources, in addition to those housed at Murphy Library, are adequate for the needs of the proposed DPT program.  An online computer catalog allows easy and rapid access to not only Murphy’s holdings, but also the holdings of Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, WWTC, Viterbo University, and the VA Medical Center in Tomah.  Electronic journal databases to which UW-L is subscribed can also be accessed through this web-based periodicals list. 

A representative of the physical therapy department collaborated with the director of the library to recommend appropriate electronic journals to be made available on-line.  Many journals are currently available as full text, online journals or through aggregator databases.  At this point, Murphy library has a web page of resources dedicated to physical therapy students. 

Finally, a cooperative arrangement has recently been completed among the UWS institutions allowing joint licensing of databases and universal borrowing by which students will be able to search other UWS campuses library and borrow resources. 

Faculty and students at UW-M have access to the Golda Meir Library as well and privileges at Marquette University and the Medical College of Wisconsin libraries.  Extensive electronic access to other libraries and the Interlibrary Loan system facilitates timely acquisition of materials supportive of the DPT Program.  Library representatives from each program have the opportunity to periodically review and request changes in library holdings/acquisitions.


6.2 Additional Support Resources

The proposed program will not require any additional support resources at UW-L. Students enrolled in the entry-level program will have access to the technology available within the HSC . The building is equipped with a computer lab where students have access until 9:00 pm. Students can check their email accounts, access the internet and complete Desire to Learn discussions and other web-based assignments using existing technology.

Classroom laboratories are also accessible to students from 6:00 am until 11:00 pm Monday through Friday. All physical therapy laboratory classrooms have keypad access. Students enrolled in the program are issued keypad codes that allow them entrance into all physical therapy labs while they are enrolled in the program. Keypad access allows them to practice on equipment and with their classmates. After-hours access is facilitated as appropriate.

UW-M students will have access to the CHS Computer Laboratory in Enderis Hall, as well as computer access in several locations throughout campus (e.g., library, student union).  Laboratories in the Klotsche Center will have electronic security allowing registered students pass card access for after hours practice and study.  The Human Movement Sciences Laboratories are open for instruction and research activity daily.  After-hours access is facilitated as appropriate.


6.3 Access to library and learning resources

Students will have access to library resources electronically as described in section 6.1.


6.4 Access to student services

Students enrolled in the transitional DPT track (track II) will need computer access in order to purchase textbooks on-line, access Desire to Learn instructional units, have access to faculty WebPages and interact with classmates and faculty using their university email accounts. Technology will allow students access to admissions materials, application forms, financial aid and academic advising. Students will also be able to register on-line.




7.1 Capital Resources

The recently completed construction of the HSC provides the department of physical therapy with ideal teaching and research space and state-of-the-art equipment. The new HSC is also equipped with the latest in teaching technology, creating new opportunities for delivering the material non-traditionally. There would not be any increased burden on the institution related to teaching space or equipment.

The UW-L physical therapy program shares the entire third floor of the building with the WWTC physical therapist assistant program. The area includes a dedicated anatomy laboratory with an additional small lab for prosected materials and four clinical labs. In addition, there are two combination teaching/research laboratories, one for biomechanics and one for exercise physiology.  There are also large student locker rooms.

The second floor of the building houses nine lecture classrooms, two large distance education auditoriums and one small distance education seminar room. All of the programs using the building share the classrooms on this floor. Approximately 50% of the fourth floor is dedicated to office space for faculty and staff.

At UW-M, the current facilities include the Human Movement Sciences Laboratories (i.e., Biomechanics, Exercise Physiology, Human Performance, Motor Control/Learning, Psychology/Sociology of Physical Activity, and Neuromechanics) totaling approximately 6000 sq. feet.  Other instructional/research space in the College of Health Sciences that may provide collaborative opportunities for physical therapy include the Assistive Technology and Accessibility Lab, Ergonomics Training and Demonstration Lab, Action Perception Skills Lab, Clinical Laboratory Sciences Laboratories, Communication Sciences and Disorders Laboratories.

The new Klotsche Center instructional/research space under construction (scheduled opening Fall, 2005) includes Human Anatomy, Neurology/Gerontolgy/Pediatrics, Orthopedics, Cardio-Pulmonary and General Research Laboratory Space, Conference/Seminar, Locker, and Faculty/Staff offices.

Classrooms (including interactive rooms) are assigned at the campus level.  Two such facilities exist within Enderis Hall.


7.2 Capital Budget Needs: No increased capital budget needs are anticipated for the La Crosse cohort related to the proposed transition to a DPT degree. Revenue generated by differential tuition will be used to provide the program with one additional FTE as described in section 5.3. (See tables below)

Capital budget needs at UW-M will largely depend on the research start-up requests of new faculty.


7.3 Clinical Facilities

The DPT program will make every attempt to ensure that its students are exposed to a variety of patient populations in diverse practice settings. This is a challenging goal under the present health care system. Alternative configurations of clinical education will be constructed between the two campuses to maximize scarce clinical education resources. Proposed structures are intended to improve students’ ability to provide evidence-based care and assume appropriate roles associated with autonomous practice. It is the intent of the two campuses that clinical education resources be shared and clinical faculty developed to mentor a more sophisticated learner. This will benefit the patients treated by the student as well as advantage the clinical facility in its recruitment efforts of program graduates.




8.1 Operating Budget Requirements:

All budgets currently associated with the MSPT will be redirected to the DPT program.  In FY 05, an additional 1.0 FTE academic staff member with an annual appointment will be added to the Physical Therapy program as Assistant Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education.  This position is being funded by the additional dollars generated from physical therapy students paying differential tuition.  Over the past few years, differential tuition dollars have increased because 1) the differential rate is set at 20% of graduate tuition and overall tuition rates have increased and 2) the entering cohort size has increased from 30 to 44 students.


Table 3.  Expenses for Current and Projected Physical Therapy Program


Budgetary Category


First Year

FY 06


Second Year

FY 07


Third year

FY 08








Assumes a 2% annual increase; actual increases will be whatever is given as part of the pay plan




Unclassified Salary

4 FTE with annual appointments

6 FTE with academic-year appointments




(includes additional $18,844 for area clinicians to support integrated clinicals)

Classified Staff-





Student Help





Fringe Benefits










Travel (102-02-363150 & 363151)





Supplies & expenses (102-02-363150 & 363151)





Capital Equipment





Library resources





Computing resources
















Assumes a 2% annual increase due to pay plan





Existing MSPT program



















Additional Tuition Differential

Based on 112 Credits and 9 semesters

















* The Physical Therapy Program shares four program assistants (3.6 FTE) with the other four programs in the Department of Health Professions of Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant, Radiation Therapy and Dosimetry. Their salaries are accounted for in the Department of Health Professions budget.


**Graduate students in the second year of the curriculum are hired to assist with first year laboratory competency checks as a form of peer mentoring.                                    

Table 4.  Estimated Total Costs and Revenue Sources Doctor of Physical Therapy Program










Anticipated Costs







Personnel 1














Academic Staff


 $  79,800




$  87,143

Support Staff

(Asst/Assoc researcher)


$  59,850




$  65,358

Graduate Assistants






 $  53,676

Classified Staff


$  40,460




$ 44,183

Provisional 2


$  15,000




$  35,000





S&E 3

 $  45,000

$  75,000

$  75,000

Capital Equipment

$  0

$  50,000

$  50,000


$  10,000

$  10,000

  $  10,000


New faculty start-up


$ 150,000

$  0






Existing Resources




Current GPR




Outside Gifts/Grants





Indirect Cost Return

$ 0

$  0

$  0

 Subtotal:  Current resources

$ 715,127


$ 464,416


New Revenue





$  0

$  0

$  0

Anticipated Additional Gifts/Grants

$ 20,000

$ 30,000

$ 40,000

Additional Indirect Cost Return




Fees 4 

$ 0

$ 0


Tuition Revenue5




Entry level








Subtotal: New Revenue



$ 489,238







Notes to Table 4 (UW-M)


1 Personnel:  Faculty salaries are C basis.  (First year: Director at $85K, Faculty#1 at $70K, Faculty # 2 at $65K)  (Second year Faculty #3 at $70K and Faculty # 4 at $70k)

Summer salaries to deliver proposed 3-session 36-month curriculum are not included.  Academic staff (Clinical Coordinator) is A basis ($60k).  Support staff (asst researcher) is A basis ($45k).

Annual percent increases 4% included. 

Faculty and staff fringe benefits (33%) Increased 0.5%/yr

Classified Staff fringe benefits (44.5%) Increased 0.5%/yr

TA salaries and fringes based on April, 2004 rates….but not increased over time.


2 Provisional: Ad hoc instructors will provide instruction and laboratory support for clinical courses.  These will be part-time appointments made to experienced, practicing PT Clinicians from the community, and appropriate other health care professionals, e.g., physicians, pharmacologists.


3S & E expenses will include > $2000/yr accreditation fees (perhaps double during review periods), service contracts on key equipment, laboratory expendables, laundry service, and costs related to cadaver acquisition.


4 Fees:  For liability insurance, background checks, etc…total $250. Similar to UW-L)


* One-time capital equipment budget associated with new construction of KCPE addition (unit    20/PT).


** Current UWM Foundation balance (PT)


5 Tuition Revenue:  Years one, two, and three represent offering a limited number of post-professional courses (3cr) to 10,  20, then 30 students per year at 2004 tuition of $538.88 per credit).  Year three represents the admission of 24 first year entry level students at the 2004 tuition rates for summer, fall, spring semesters ($14,010). Years 4 and 5 would accommodate 48 then 72 students at $14,010 and $10,238 for the 2nd and 3rd years at 2004 UWM tuition rates.

Year totals from the entry level program: 1st - $336,240; 2nd - $672,480; 3rd – $682,718.

With a full cohort in 2009-2010 total annual tuition revenue would be $1,287,768.

8.6 Commitment to Maintain Program:

UW-LaCrosse: The economic burden of increasing the credits associated with the degree will be met through the tuition differential amounting to $152,869.20 for a cohort size of 44 in-state students. Each in-state student will pay $3,474.30 in differential tuition with non-resident students paying $11,855.70. It is unlikely that the program will attract significant numbers of non-resident students secondary to the fee structure. Attempts are being made to increase international applicants to offset the decline in non-resident students historically enrolled in the program.


UW-Milwaukee:  Tuition revenue calculations as detailed in the notes to Table 4, initially use the 2004-05 Graduate Tuition charged to masters students in Occupational Therapy and Communication Sciences and Disorders, i.e., with the Health Sciences tuition surcharge.  Future projections do not include estimates of tuition rate increase.






APTA Vision Sentence. Retrieved on June 19, 2000 from the World Wide Web:

American Physical Therapy Association. American Physical Therapy Association. (1998). Thinking in the future tense: A consensus conference on post-professional education. Education Division. Alexandria, VA.

American Physical Therapy Association. Highest earned academic degree. Retrieved March 3, 2000 from the World Wide Web: http//­­­_stat/pt_hdegree

Comparing the DPT with other doctorate level health professions. Retrieved March 3, 2000 from the World Wide Web:

Doctor of physical therapy. Retrieved on February 9, 2000 from the World Wide Web:

Hummer, L. A., Hunt, K.S., Figuers, C.C. (1994). Predominant thoughts regarding entry-level doctor of physical therapy programs. Journal of Physical Therapy Education, 8 (2) 60-66.

Office of Academic Affairs. OAA SVM curriculum. Retrieved on May 12, 2000 from the World Wide Web:

Pierce, D., Peyton, C. (1998). A historical cross-disciplinary perspective on the professional doctorate in occupational therapy. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 53 (1) 64-70.

Rothstein, J.M. (1998). Education at the crossroads: For Today’s Practice, the DPT. Physical Therapy 78 (4) 358-360.

Rothstein, J.M. (1998). Education at the crossroads: Which paths for the DPT? Physical therapy 78 (5) 454-457.

Rothstein, J.M. (1999). The future we want; the future we get. Physical Therapy

79 (6) 544-545.

            Smalls, P. A., Hagan, A., Kalbach, D., (2000). Factors important in physical therapist applicants’ choice of a physical therapist program. Journal of Physical Therapy Education 14 (2) 9-14.

            Soderberg, G. L., (1993). Twenty-seventh Mary McMillan lecture: on passing from ignorance to knowledge. Physical Therapy 73(11), 797-807.

Soderberg, G.L., (1989). The future of physical therapy doctoral education. Journal of Physical Therapy Education 3 (1) 15 - 19.

The Council of Graduate Schools in the United States: The nature and naming of graduate and professional degree programs. In: Policy Statements by the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States. Washington D.C.

The Doctor of P.T. Retrieved on February 9, 2000 from the World Wide Web:

The strategic plan: A progress report. Retrieved on May 8, 2000 from the World Wide Web:

Threlkeld, A.J., Jensen, G.M., Royeen, C.B. (1999). The clinical doctorate: A framework of analysis in physical therapist education. Physical Therapy 79 (6) 567 - 581.

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse mission statement. Retrieved on March 8, 2000 from the World Wide Web:

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee mission statement.

UW System Office of Academic Affairs. (1998). Guidelines for academic program planning and approval. The University of Wisconsin System. Madison, WI.