Physical Therapy — Ph.D.
Everett B. Lohman III
The Department of Physical Therapy offers the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in physical therapy. This research-oriented program for physical therapists emphasizes pain and movement sciences as well as lifestyle health and wellness, preparing graduates for research, teaching, and administration. Successful completion of a comprehensive written examination, written dissertation, and an oral defense of the dissertation are required. The diploma will be awarded upon completion of the curriculum and recommendation by the School of Allied Health Professions in conjunction with the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
Designed for the working professional, the Ph.D. in physical therapy resonates with the University's Motto, "To Make Man Whole." Physical therapists who are currently treating or teaching will benefit from a modern, evidence-based curriculum aimed at caring for the whole person. Face-to-face classes, two evenings a week, facilitate the balance of work and study. Aligned closely with our core values, this program provides physical therapy graduates with the skills and experience necessary to pursue careers as researchers and educators.
It is the goal of the program to prepare graduates with:
- Skills to design and conduct novel, original research; provide evidence of an understanding of research design, and the ability to formulate and develop methodologies; collect and reduce data; interpret results; draw defensible conclusions; and effectively disseminate research findings.
- Qualities of lifelong learning and commitment to scholarship following graduation.
- Skills to add to the body of knowledge in physical therapy research literature through publications and presentations.
- Ability to demonstrate a commitment to conducting research in neurology, orthopaedics, pain science, movement science, or lifestyle health and wellness.
- Ability to demonstrate a commitment to providing whole-person care.
- Skills to serve as an educator in entry-level, postprofessional, and graduate-level physical therapy programs.
- Ability to demonstrate personal and group leadership skills at institutional, professional, national, and global levels.
Program learning outcomes
In addition to the stated institutional student learning outcomes, by the end of this program, the graduate should be able to:
- Demonstrate a commitment to discovery.
- Demonstrate a commitment to the dissemination of knowledge through publications and presentations.
- Demonstrate a commitment to developing treatment plans that follow current evidence-based and best practice guidelines.
Students are required to have iPads for courses in the orthopaedic and neurology tracks, as well as for testing activities in all courses. It is highly recommended that students have access to personal computers (minimum: 800 MHz multimedia) with Internet access (minimum: 56 k.b.p.s. [connected at 44+ k.b.p.s.]). A $65 technology fee is charged in years one and two.
Each student will be required to conduct one or more research projects in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in physical therapy. Typical costs for student research projects range from $2,500 to $10,000. The physical therapy department will cover the first $2,500 of approved research expenses. The student and/or sponsor will be required to cover research-related expenses over this amount. When necessary, the program director and dissertation chair will assist the student in attempting to secure funding for unmet research expenses. Additional financial support may be awarded by application for seed-grant funding through the SAHP Research Committee.
For more information about program requirements and practices for graduate students, the student should consult the Policies and General Regulations in Section II and the School of Allied Health Professions in Section III of this CATALOG. The student should also consult the Doctor of Philosophy's 26 elements for program-specific requirements. These elements can be found at http://alliedhealth.llu.edu/academics/physical-therapy/degree-options/physical-therapy-phd.
In addition to Loma Linda University and School of Allied Health Professions admissions requirements, the applicant must also complete the following requirements:
- Bachelors of Science degree in Physical Therapy plus a master’s degree, a Masters of Physical Therapy degree, or a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from an accredited program, or equivalency.
- Minimum grade point average of 3.3 in academic and professional coursework.
- Proof of physical licensure in the U.S. or equivalency in the country of training.
Must also submit:
- At least one example of written work (e.g., personal essay, term paper, publication, master’s thesis or project).
- Curriculum vitae, including work history, formal education, continuing education, licensure and certification, professional organizations, honors, awards, publications, presentations, and grants.
- A formal letter outlining research interests.
- A structured oral interview.
- 89 – for students with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy plus a Masters of Physical Therapy (M.P.T.) degree or another appropriate master's degree
- 72 – for students with a Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) degree
|Domain 1: Core courses|
|PTGR 550||Introduction to Psychoneuroimmunology: The Science of Whole Person Care||3|
|PTGR 552||Pain Science: Interactions of the Brain and Body||3|
|PTGR 580||Movement Science: Bio-control||3|
|PTGR 591||Biomechanics I||3|
|PTGR 599||Comprehensive Examination||0|
|STAT 515||Grant- and Contract-Proposal Writing||3|
|Domain 2: Clinical and applied sciences 1||12-24|
|Select from the following: (12 units required for students with a prior D.P.T. degree and 24 units required for students with a prior M.S./M.P.T. degree) 2|
|Advanced Orthopaedic Specialty Tracks I|
|Advanced Orthopaedic Specialty Tracks II|
|Science and Biomechanics of the Fascia and the Art of Myofascial Release|
|Orthopaedic Intervention: Regional Interdependency of the Cervical Spine & Upper Extremities|
|Current Topics in Neurological Rehabilitation|
|Neurologic Upper Extremity Management|
|Advanced Clinical Practice I: Orthopaedic Rehabilitation|
|Advanced Clinical Practice II|
|Advanced Clinical Practice III|
|Cardiopulmonary Approaches to Assessment, Wellness, and Disease|
|Movement Science of the Upper Quarter 3|
|Movement Science: Lower Quarter Biomechanical Relationships 3|
|Topics in Rehabilitation 4|
|Home Health Physical Therapy for the Post-Acute Patient|
|Assessment and Management of the Knee|
|Advanced Neurological Rehabilitation|
|Women's Health Issues I|
|Integumentary and Lymphatic Systems: Evaluation and Intervention|
|Advanced Orthopaedic Procedures I|
|Advanced Orthopaedic Procedures II|
|Advanced Orthopaedic Procedures III|
|Sensory Integration Disorders|
|Sensory Integration Disorders II|
|Sensory Integration Disorders III|
|Clinical Translation of Pain Science|
|Advanced Physiology I: Neurobiology|
|Pathokinesiology of Gait|
|Pharmacology in Physical Therapy|
|Medical Screening for Physical Therapists|
|Clinical Imaging for Physical Therapist|
|Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging|
|Three-dimension Medical Imaging Quantitation|
|Domain 3: Lifestyle health and wellness||3-6|
|Select from the following: (3 units required for students with a prior D.P.T. degree and 6 units required for students with a prior M.S./M.P.T. degree)|
|Lifestyle Health and Wholeness|
|Therapeutic Humor in Health Care|
|Spirituality and Health: The Wholeness Connection|
|Mind-Body Interactions and Health Outcomes|
|Domain 4: Education, administration, and leadership||9|
|Select from the following:|
|Educational Evaluation and Clinical Assessment|
|Transformational Teaching and Learning|
|Curriculum Development in Higher Education|
|Administration in Higher Education|
|Collaborative Learning in Higher Education|
|Professional Systems in Management I|
|Domain 5: Religion|
|One course from each area (RELE, RELR, & RELT) required:|
|RELR 540||Wholeness and Health 7||3|
|Choose one course from the followings:||3|
|Bioethics and Society|
|Ethics for Scientists|
|Ethical Issues in Public Health|
|Ethics and Health Disparities|
|World Religions and Bioethics|
|Bioethics and the Law|
|Choose one course from the followings:||3|
|World Religions and Human Health|
|Theology of Human Suffering|
|Seminar in Religion and the Sciences|
|Domain 6: Research and statistics (24-26 units)|
|Not required of all students. See footnotes for details.||0-3|
|AHRM 581||Research and Statistics I||3|
|AHRM 582||Research and Statistics II||3|
|PTGR 594||Evidence-Based Practice in Physical Therapy 5||2|
|PTGR 693||Research and Statistics III: Development and Approval of Research Topic and Questions||3|
|PTGR 694||Proposal Development and Institutional Review Board Approval||3|
|PTGR 695||Research and Statistics V: Data Collection (3) 6||6|
|PTGR 696||Research and Statistics VI: Data Analysis||3|
|PTGR 699||Research and Statistics VII - Dissertation||3|
All courses will be focused toward research topic.
Courses to be selected in consultation with program director and dissertation chair to enhance the student's knowledge base in regards to their research topic.
PTGR 516 Movement Science of the Upper Quarter and/or PTGR 517 Movement Science: Lower Quarter Biomechanical Relationships (or equivalency) required for students who have not taken these courses in prior M.P.T. or D.P.T. program.
PTGR 518 Topics in Rehabilitation are courses related to special topics in rehabilitation (e.g., Sports Medicine, Manual Therapy, Neurological).
Required for M.S./M.P.T. Required for D.P.T. if course, or equivalent, not taken prior to entrance into the program.
Course to be taken twice – each registration (3 units) pertains to the data collection for one of the two required papers.
Fulfills service learning requirement
PTGR 599 Comprehensive Examination is designed to establish that the student has a broad understanding of physical therapy, research biostatistics and basic research methodology, education, bioethics, and professionalism. Since education is a component of the comprehensive exam, students are encouraged to select a minimum of 9 units of teaching/education-related courses from Domain 5. The written comprehensive examination will be administered after students have successfully completed the majority of required courses in Domains 1-6. The comprehensive examination will typically occur during the summer quarter of the student’s second year in the Ph.D. in Physical Therapy program.
Advancement to Candidacy
The student may apply for advancement to candidacy after a) passing the comprehensive examination, b) securing support from their research guidance committee, and c) successfully defending their research topic and questions. The candidate’s capacity for original, independent investigation and scholarly achievements must be demonstrated by the presentation and oral defense of an acceptable dissertation in order to participate in the commencement ceremony. The candidate must submit a written dissertation to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. The candidate must also submit a minimum of two papers for publication. One paper must be accepted for publication to fulfill program completion requirements.
Normal time to complete the program
Four (4) years (16 academic quarters) — full-time enrollment required