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Progression Standards

What you need to do to progress through the DPT program.


3 year Graduate Program

The design of the graduate curriculum is developmental in nature, with presentation of content, information, and skills becoming increasingly more complex.  As such, students must meet the following minimum progression standards in order to fully matriculate to graduation:

  • Complete all courses in sequential order, with no grade less than C.  Failure of any course (C- or below) will result in dismissal from the program.  Only three C’s in the entirety of the program will be acceptable.  Students dismissed from the graduate program may appeal to the DPT Academic Review Committee (SPC) to be reinstated in the following year in order to repeat any failed course(s).  The decision to readmit the student will be based on the student’s entire academic standing at the time of the dismissal and space availability in the following cohort.
  • Maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in every semester.  GPA’s will be calculated at the end of each semester of the program.  In the event that a student falls below a 3.0 GPA in any semester, he/she will be placed on PT academic probation.  The student will work with PT program faculty, his/her advisor, and the program director to develop a remedial learning contract to address deficit areas.  If the student does not achieve a 3.0 GPA in the following semester or falls below the 3.0 GPA in any other subsequent semester, he/she will be dismissed from the program.  Students are allowed only one academic probation period in the entire graduate program.
  • Demonstrate safe, competent, and professional behavior in all courses with laboratory components by passing all practical examinations with no grade below 80% on any exam.  A grade below 80% on any lab practical exam may result in the student being placed on PT academic probation, followed by an Academic Review Committee decision to determine a remediation plan or dismissal from the program.  No more than two failed lab practical exams will be acceptable in the entire graduate program.
  • Maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA and demonstrate safe, professional behavior prior to participation in any clinical education course.  All clinical education courses must be passed in order to progress in the curriculum.  Course grades in any clinical education rotation are determined collaboratively between the clinical site instructor and the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education.  Failure of any clinical rotation results in dismissal from the program.
  • Maintain satisfactory progress on the Professional Behaviors Assessment Tool and the individual Professional Development Portfolio.


Undergraduate Health Science to DPT 3 + 3 Program

Admission to the graduate curriculum for the 3 + 3 program will be based on the following progression standards:

  • Maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA and a 3.2 mathematics/science GPA while in the undergraduate curriculum.* Academic performance for each student in the undergraduate pathways will be evaluated by the DPT Program Director and faculty at the end of every semester.  Failure to achieve the required single semester 3.0 cumulative GPA or the 3.2 mathematics/science GPA will result in the student being placed on DPT program academic probation.  Failure to meet these requirements in any subsequent semesters will result in academic dismissal from the DPT program.  Undergraduate students are allowed only one academic probation period in the entirety of the undergraduate phase of the DPT curriculum.  Any student in this situation may continue to attend the University, provided he/she meets the University’s academic standards.  The student may reapply to the DPT program after meeting all progression requirements; however, reacceptance is not guaranteed.
  • All undergraduate prerequisite courses to be included in the calculation of the mathematics/science GPA must be taken at DeSales University.
  • Earn no less than a C in any prerequisite course for the DPT program.
  • Only one retake of any prerequisite course will be allowed in the calculation of the mathematics/science GPA.
  • Students admitted in the 3+3 Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Health Science/DPT pathway must complete all major and undergraduate curriculum requirements in three years (six consecutive semesters).
  • For those in either of the 4+3 BS/DPT pathways, all graduate admission requirements must be met prior to matriculation into the professional curriculum. 
  • Present two favorable letters of recommendation from DeSales faculty describing excellence in undergraduate academic and extracurricular activities prior to admission to the graduate curriculum.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the field of physical therapy through completion of 100 hours of volunteer observation and a typed 500-word essay describing those experiences.  Observations must take place in two or more physical therapy facilities representing different healthcare organizations.  Observation in a minimum of two physical therapy practice settings is recommended (e.g., outpatient rehabilitation, pediatrics, acute care/hospital, extended care facility, geriatrics, etc.).  The essay must be submitted prior to the start of the junior year.

*Mathematics/Science GPA will be calculated from a combination of the following courses depending on the undergraduate pathway undertaken by the student:

  • 3+3 Accelerated B.S. in Health Science/DPT:  CH 103, CH 104, BI 151, BI 355, BI 356, MA 111 or SX 285, MA 112, PH 203, PH 204, SX 362.
  • 4+3 Sport and Exercise Science/DPT:   CH 103, CH 104, BI 151, BI 355, BI 356, MA 111 or SX 285, MA 112, PH 221, PH222, SX 362
  • 4+3 Biology/DPT:  CH 101, CH 102, BI 151, BI 355, BI 356, MA 111 or SX 285, MA 121, PH 201, PH 202, SX 362