Physical Therapy — D.P.T. (Entry Level)

Program director
Lawrence E. Chinnock

Academic coordinator of clinical education
Theresa Joseph

The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) degree is for individuals who have no previous degree in physical therapy or who have an associate degree in the field of physical therapy. The D.P.T. degree curriculum lasts for three years. Individuals must have an earned bachelor degree in any field prior to entering the program.

Clinical experience

Supervised experience is obtained in a variety of settings and at different times during the course of study. First-year students complete a two-week clinical assignment during the Spring Quarter. Second-year students complete a four-week clinical assignment following the Spring Quarter. The major clinical assignments are required during the third year. The student will be assigned a ten-week affiliation during the Summer Quarter, an eleven-week affiliation during the Winter Quarter, and a ten-week affiliation during the Spring Quarter.

The academic coordinator of clinical education or a designee plans and schedules all clinical assignments. Because of the limited number of local facilities available, assignments cannot be made on the basis of the student's family/marital status or personal preference. Although the department makes an effort to accommodate the student's preference, the student agrees to accept the clinical assignments made by the department at any of the affiliated facilities, whether local or out of state.  Students should expect that at least one rotation will be beyond commuting distance from Loma Linda University. Many clinical sites will require the student to have a current flu vaccine if the rotation is during the "flu season."  Therefore, the University requires that all students receive the flu vaccine on a yearly basis.

Student learning outcomes

Upon completion of the degree, graduates should be qualified to demonstrate:

  • Entry-level knowledge and clinical skills appropriate for safe and effective physical therapy practice.
  • Multicultural competence, i.e., compassion and respect during interactions with individuals from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
  • Clinical reasoning evidenced by the ability to think critically and integrate evidence-based practice into their clinical decision-making skill set.
  • Awareness and application of the ethical and legal parameters surrounding the profession of physical therapy.
  • Understanding of evidence-based clinical care utilizing collaborative relationships among the patient, physical therapist, and other health-care practitioners.
  • Effective verbal and nonverbal communication with instructors, classmates, and clinical personnel as needed to work effectively as a member of a health-care team.

The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Loma Linda University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; Telephone 703-706-3245; Email:; website: <>.

Admission is based on a selective process. Criteria used include: G.P.A., completion of subject requirements, interview, and recommendations. In addition to Loma Linda University and School of Allied Health Professions admissions requirements, the applicant must also complete the following requirements:

  • a minimum prerequisite G.P.A. of 3.4.
  • Anatomy and Physiology, complete sequence with laboratory
  • General Chemistry, complete sequence with laboratory
  • General Physics, complete sequence with laboratory
  • Two additional biological science courses (e.g. cell biology, microbiology, upper division anatomy and/or physiology)
  • Statistics
  • Medical Terminology
  • General Psychology
  • Human Growth and Development
  • One course in basis communication (Speech)
  • Work/observation experience—A minimum of 80 hours of work /observation experience is required prior to beginning the degree. Of the 80 hours, a minimum of 20 hours must be in an inpatient physical therapy setting and a minimum of 20 hours must be in an outpatient physical therapy setting.

Technology requirement

Students are required to have an iPad that can be brought to class with them as the majority of quizzes and tests are completed on the device.  A $65 technology fee is charged each year.

First YearUnits
AHCJ 510Human Gross Anatomy9
AHCJ 538Histology3
AHCJ 542Pathology I4
AHCJ 543Pathology II3
AHCJ 560Physiology4
AHCJ 561Neuroscience I: Neuroanatomy4
AHCJ 562Neuroscience II: Neurophysiology3
AHCJ 563Neuroscience III: Clinical Neurology2
AHCJ 705Infectious Disease and the Health Care Provider1
AHCJ 721Wholeness Portfolio I1
PHTH 505Integrated Clinical Experience0
PHTH 506Exercise Physiology3
PHTH 508PT Communication and Documentation2
PHTH 509Physical Therapy Modalities3
PHTH 510Kinesiology3
PHTH 513Therapeutic Procedures3
PHTH 514Manual Muscle Testing3
PHTH 519Locomotion Studies3
PHTH 521AOrthopaedics 1A3
PHTH 528Therapeutic Exercise I3
PHTH 557Life Span Studies I: Infant through Adolescent3
PHTH 563Scientific Inquiry I2
PHTH 564AScientific Inquiry II A1
PHTH 564BScientific Inquiry II B1
PHTH 571Physical Therapy Practicum I1
RELR 709Christian Perspectives on Death and Dying2
RELT 718Adventist Heritage and Health2
Second Year
AHCJ 516Clinical Imaging3
AHCJ 524Pharmacology2
AHCJ 722Wholeness Portfolio II1
PHTH 501Neurology I3
PHTH 502Neurology II3
PHTH 503Neurology III3
PHTH 505Integrated Clinical Experience0
PHTH 511Clinical Orthopaedics2
PHTH 512Clinical Psychiatry2
PHTH 517Movement Science2
PHTH 518Aspects of Health Promotion2
PHTH 521BOrthopaedics 1B3
PHTH 522Orthopaedics II3
PHTH 523Orthopaedics III3
PHTH 525General Medicine3
PHTH 526ACardiopulmonary I2
PHTH 526BCardiopulmonary II2
PHTH 530Therapeutic Exercise II3
PHTH 534Soft Tissue Techniques2
PHTH 540Concepts of Acute Care2
PHTH 555Differential Diagnosis2
PHTH 558Life Span Studies II: Developmental Disabilities3
PHTH 559Life Span Studies III: Geriatrics2
PHTH 561Physical Therapy Administration4
PHTH 575Orthopaedics IV1
RELE 707Ethics for Allied Health Professionals2
RELT 740World Religions and Human Health3
Third Year
PHTH 505Integrated Clinical Experience0
PHTH 567Pain Science2
PHTH 572Physical Therapy Practicum II2
PHTH 701Physical Therapy Affiliation I5
PHTH 702Physical Therapy Affiliation II5
PHTH 703Physical Therapy Affiliation III5
PHTH 731Advanced Orthopaedic Studies3
PHTH 732Advanced Neurologic Studies3
PHTH 733Advanced General Medicine Studies3
 Total Units: 163

Normal time to complete the program

3 years (12 academic quarters) — full-time enrollment required