Doctor of Physical Therapy: Admitted Students

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Welcome to Graceland’s DPT program! The hybrid format of instruction is provided through online education and face-to-face onsite lab immersion sessions that allow students to live anywhere in the country. The next step for admitted students is to prepare for the accelerated, hybrid curriculum.

Next Steps

  • Apply for financial aid.
  • Learn more about the goals and expectations of the Graceland DPT program.
  • Learn more about the essential functions and technical standards needed for success in the program.
  • Check that you have the equipment and software needed for online learning.
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Financial Aid

The accelerated program means that you will be in the workforce sooner than a traditional program allows, getting you a paycheck sooner and helping you accrue less student debt. To apply for financial aid, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

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Graceland DPT Goals
  • Program Goal 1: Enroll and graduate a diverse student cohort that contributes to institutional and professional diversity
  • Program Goal 2: Develop graduates who are qualified entry-level movement system experts and demonstrate exemplary professional formation through innovative educational and clinical learning experiences.
  • Faculty Goal: Demonstrate a commitment to excellence and professionalism through lifelong learning, service, and scholarship.
  • Student Goal 1: Develop professional formation and demonstrate professional behaviors of the physical therapy profession.
  • Student Goal 2: Demonstrate a commitment to evidence-informed care in both academic and clinical preparation consistent with the professional scope of physical therapy practice.
  • Graduate Goal: Demonstrate a commitment to professional leadership or service, lifelong learning, and evidence-informed care.
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Technical Standards & Essential Functions

The Technical Standards of Graceland University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program (non- academic prerequisites) define the essential functions that an applicant must be able to perform to be admitted to the DPT Program, to progress satisfactorily, and to graduate. Upon matriculation, students must attest to meeting the Technical Standards and Essential Functions of the physical therapist student.

Essential functions of the physical therapist student refer to all non-academic criteria that are necessary to participate in the educational program. These include basic motor and communication skills, intellectual abilities, behavioral and social attributes, and other requirements. Listed below are considered minimum abilities required in the educational process of a physical therapist. The integrity of the curriculum must be maintained, and those elements deemed essential to the education of a physical therapist must be required and completed. In developing these criteria, the DPT Program faculty affirm the following expectations of our admissions candidates:

  • Observation

    An individual’s observational skills involve the use of one’s senses and cognitive abilities. Individuals must be able to:

    • Observe lectures and laboratory demonstrations
    • Recognize and interpret visual information from patients, clients, classmates, and faculty
    • Perceive information from treatment equipment, environment, and changes in patient condition and responses (i.e., in color of skin and/or body fluids)
    • Notice and interpret variations in auscultation/auditory evaluation for apical pulses, blood pressure, heart, joint nose, lungs, and prostheses
    • Demonstrate sufficient exteroceptive sense (touch, pain, and temperature)
    • Demonstrate sufficient proprioceptive sense (position, pressure, movement, stereognosis, and vibratory)
    • Demonstrate sufficient somatic sensation and the functional use of the senses of vision and hearing
    • Consistently, quickly, and accurately integrate all information received by whatever sense(s) employed, and they must have the intellectual ability to learn, integrate, analyze, and synthesize data
  • Communication

    Individuals must demonstrate appropriate interpersonal skills necessary for effective verbal, nonverbal, and written communications with patients, clients, families, classmates, faculty, staff, and other professionals. Individuals must be able to:

    • Receive, write, interpret, and send written and verbal communication in academic and clinical settings in routine and emergency situations
    • Ask questions, explain procedures, teach exercises/activities, describe conditions/syndromes to peers, faculty, staff, patient/clients, and other health care professionals
    • Obtain a medical history in a timely manner
    • Perceive, acknowledge, and respond to nonverbal communication
    • Clarify information
    • Establish rapport with colleagues
    • Establish therapeutic relationships with patients
    • Possess reading skills at a level to be able to accomplish curricular requirements independently and provide clinical care for patients
    • Answer oral and written exam questions
  • Motor

    Individuals must demonstrate the necessary balance, coordination, endurance, fine and gross motor skills, and strength to dynamically maintain upright posture in the classroom, laboratory and clinical settings for 40 hours/week. Individuals must be able to:

    • Attend and participate in all classes, groups, and activities in the curriculum
    • Safely and efficiently guard, maneuver, transfer, position, resist, and administer exercises and activities to another individual
    • Administer general and emergency patient care, to include CPR in accordance with the American Heart Association guidelines for professional rescuers
    • Examine patients
    • Perform tests and measures, diagnostic procedures
    • Demonstrate sufficient manual dexterity and sensation to palpate soft tissue structures, bony landmarks, muscle tone, and temperature changes in individuals
    • Function in all patient/client settings
    • Perform in a reasonable independent and competent way in a sometimes chaotic clinical environment
    • Demonstrate sufficient use of examination instruments (goniometers, reflex hammers, rulers, etc.)
    • Demonstrate sufficient ability to lift, carry, pull, and/or push an adult sized patient or medical equipment
    • Demonstrate sufficient ability to grasp objects or apply forces through hands or fingers
    • Sustain prolonged positioning (standing, sitting, squatting, etc.)
  • Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative

    Individuals must be able to collect and utilize information obtained during classroom, laboratory, clinical assessment, and physical therapy practice activities independently to formulate physical therapy diagnoses. Individuals must be able to:

    • Apply critical thinking skills in all settings to determine behavioral, biomechanical, environmental, pathological, and physical influences on a patient’s/client’s function
    • Maintain information from examination to formulate, execute, reassess, and modify treatment and intervention plans
    • Engage in the scientific inquiry process and utilize theories of teaching and learning in all settings through the application of published evidence to clinical practice
    • Process and understand information presented in written, verbal, and visual formats
    • Synthesize large amounts of material
    • Successfully pass oral, written, and laboratory exams
    • Understand ethical issues related to the practice of medicine
    • Exhibit sound judgement in a variety of clinical settings, including emergency situations
    • Effectively interpret, assimilate, and understand the complex information required to function within the physical therapy curriculum
  • Professionalism (Behavioral Attributes, Social Skills, Professional Expectations, Ethical/Legal Standards)

    Individuals must possess the maturity, emotional health, and stability required for the full utilization of their intellectual abilities, and exercise good judgement for all responsibilities of patient care. Individuals must be able to:

    • Exhibit the ability to tolerate physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging environments and function effectively under stress
    • Exhibit flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills in changing environments
    • Perform self-evaluation and self-learning skills assessment
    • Incorporate the roles of a physical therapist
    • Comply with the ethical standards of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)
    • Demonstrate the ability to optimize health and hygiene
    • Acknowledge and respect the values and options of colleagues/patients in order to sustain safe and balanced interactions with others
    • Value professionalism in physical therapy
    • Consistently display academic integrity, fairness, and respect for others
    • Complete all assignments and responsibilities in the classroom and clinic
    • Communicate with, examine, and provide care for all patients – including those who gender, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, or spiritual beliefs – are different from the individual’s own
    • Take responsibility for one’s own self and behaviors
    • Demonstrate empathy, integrity, and concern for others
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Computer/Technology Requirements

Students are required to have a laptop computer and a mobile device that meet the following specifications.

Laptop Computer. A laptop computer, with Windows or Apple/Macintosh operating systems, is acceptable. The following is a list of minimum requirements:

Hardware Windows Mac
Processor i5 or faster i5 or faster
Display 13-inch display (or larger recommended) 13-inch display (or larger recommended)
Hardware Webcam capabilities required Webcam capabilities required
Operating System Windows 10 or higher Apple OS 10.10 or higher
RAM 8GB (or larger) 8GB (or larger)
Hard Drive 256GB (or larger) 256GB (or larger)
Networking Wireless: 802.11g (or higher) Wireless: 802.11g (or higher)
Carrying Case Quality case suggested for your protection Quality case suggested for your protection
Warranty 3 Yr. Limited Warranty with Next Business Day On-Site Service is suggested AppleCare Protection Plan for up to 3 years is suggested
Flash Drive 32GB (or larger) USB Flash Drive 32GB (or larger) USB Flash Drive

Microsoft Office 365 (Available for free download from GU student email account.) Microsoft Office 365 (Available for free download from GU student email account.)
Anti-Virus & Malware Software Anti-Virus & Malware Software
Acrobat Reader Acrobat Reader
Other computer software/ applications required by the program Other computer software/ applications required by the program


Mobile Device. Android and Apple products are acceptable and must have mobile broadband capabilities. Please see below for example products:

  • Android – Example products include phones and tablets from Acer, ASUS, Google, HTC, and Samsung. Android operating system version 6.0 or newer required.
  • Apple – Example products include the iPhone and iPad of various generations. Apple operating system version 9.0 or newer required.
  • Microsoft – Products such as Surface, Surface Pro, and Lumia devices are NOT supported as multiple software applications required for the program are not currently compatible with Windows operating systems.
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