The DPT core curricula tracks consist of basic science, applied science, leadership and professional development, critical inquiry, and patient and practice management courses.
The DPT curricula integrates course content using signature pedagogies (team-based learning and case-based learning) to ensure that students’ learning experience emphasizes collaboration, critical thinking, research, and student accountability. Our dynamic faculty are experts committed to providing the best learning experience with a balance of theoretical, practical, and analytical instruction that prepares students to be practitioners and change agents dedicated to resolving healthcare's unique challenges.
Our programs optimize technology and evidence-based teaching and assessment strategies to capitalize best online learning practices/methods. Tufts DPT provides students with online learning tools to best incorporate a mix of virtual and blended learning. Students engage in the curriculum through interactive virtual online coursework, eight onsite clinical skill lab sessions, and clinical education to become Doctors of Physical Therapy.
Plans of Study
The collection and interconnectedness of the body systems allow for human movement to occur. The knowledge and integration of body systems is necessary for students to view the patient comprehensively. These systems are integrated in the Tufts DPT coursework through planned learning activities and assessments. The curriculum plans are divided into five categories or tracks rooted in the human movement system (e.g. cardiovascular, pulmonary, endocrine, integumentary, nervous, and musculoskeletal). The integration of these systems is taught within the scope of examination through management for the populations we serve.
- Course Descriptions
- Plan of Study for 2022 Cohort
- Plan of Study for 2023 Cohort
Asynchronous Online Work
Students are offered the flexibility to complete portions of asynchronous content according to their schedule. Course content includes a blend of asynchronous pre-recorded lectures, videos, scholarly readings, podcasts, and active learning assignments.
Synchronous Online Classes
Tufts DPT faculty engage students in weekly synchronous sessions, where students dive into rich discussions surrounding weekly content. Students engage in team-based learning strategies, small group discussions, and application of principles through case-based discussions.
Clinical Skills Labs and Hands-On Training
Students engage in eight on-campus clinical skills labs during the duration of the program. Lab sessions range anywhere from 8-12 days in length, depending on the semester courses.
Preparation for Physical Therapy Licensure
The hybrid curricula prepare graduates to pursue licensure and sit for the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) from Day 1 of the program's start. Exams are designed with time limits to reflect similar times of that of the NPTE. Students also engage in a formal NPTE preparatory training course in Semester 5 of the program before sitting for the NPTE Practice Exam & Assessment Tool (PEAT) while in the program.
Clinical education is a critical component of the DPT curriculum at Tufts University that supports our student-centered mission by identifying and aligning students' professional goals with their clinical education plan. Through our preferred partnerships, Tufts provides innovative educational and clinical learning experiences.
Clinical education provides students with exposure to various physical therapy practice settings that provide care to patients throughout the life spectrum. These full-time experiences occur during the second year of study and immerse students into clinical settings as they learn to function as a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Clinical education experiences allow students to apply their knowledge and skills to clinical situations under the direct supervision and guidance of experienced physical therapist clinicians. In clinical learning environments, students develop safe and effective skills in all aspects of patient care, professional behaviors, and the ability to work as an integral part of the interprofessional healthcare team.
In the second year of each program, students complete a total of 31 weeks of full-time clinical education. Clinical education is a critical component of any physical therapy education program. At Tufts, we are committed to preparing our graduates to be market ready as they enter the physical therapy profession. We provide high-quality clinical education with placements all over the country, in a wide variety of settings to meet their post-professional goals.
Didactic courses taken concurrently during clinical education promote critical inquiry and excellence in patient management through direct application of the concepts during professional interactions in the clinic and with peers during case-based discussions and learning activities.
Integrated clinical education courses allow our students to build and refine their interprofessional and collaborative practice competencies.
The clinical education team aligns a student's clinical education with consideration of their individual professional practice goals while meeting the requirements of entry-level DPT education.
All physical therapy education programs, including their clinical partners, are accountable for meeting quality standards. The individual and collective efforts of academic programs and clinical partners shall strive to ensure excellence in education.
Clinical faculty are an integral part of our clinical experiences for students. So we invest in those faculty by offering them access to library resources and the opportunity to structure your hands-on clinical experiences to complement your online curriculum. Many of your clinical faculty are specialists in their field, have completed residency or fellowship training, and are chosen for their expertise and eagerness to work with students.
Clinical Education Components
Students complete all foundational patient management coursework before the first clinical education experience. Our DPT students have the necessary preparation to treat patients with human movement system dysfunctions before being sent out to various clinical settings used in our program.
Students are concurrently enrolled in didactic coursework during clinical education to integrate didactic learning and clinical experiences.
Students must complete an inpatient/medically complex (acute care, post-acute, inpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing, long-term acute care, neurologic day programs, and some home health settings) and outpatient (hospital-based or private practice) experience within the clinical education curriculum. The Tufts DPT programs prepare students to be generalists in physical therapy practice.
While opportunities may exist to participate in specialized settings, the DPT programs intend to expose students to various patient populations (diagnoses and lifespan) representative of those commonly seen in physical therapy practice. Specialty clinical placements may be available; however, specialization is not the primary focus of entry-level DPT education and may be pursued by the student upon completions of their program.
Will I be required to travel for Clinical Education experience?
While the Clinical Education Team takes your professional goals and personal factors into consideration when developing your clinical education plan, final placements are dependent upon many factors. The program cannot guarantee that you will not be required to travel.
Will we have the opportunity to add/request sites?
Yes. Before admission to the program, students receive a Clinical Education Survey that allows the Clinical Education Team to get to know you, your interests, any personal situations that may impact your clinical education experiences. Once you begin the program, we use EXXAT to continue to gather site request information throughout the program.
I am considering moving at the start or possibly during the program, but I am not sure where yet. Can I provide that information at a later date?
We work with our students to ensure ongoing communication regarding clinical education and the life factors that may come up.
I have not received the Clinical Education Survey yet.
Once students have submitted their deposit, a DPT Program Welcome Letter is sent to them, followed by a clinical education survey. If enrolling in DPT-Boston, email firstname.lastname@example.org regarding survey questions or concerns. If enrolling in DPT-Phoenix, email email@example.com.
Does Tufts have specialty contracts with sports teams or other specialty sites?
We are continuing to build our clinical experience options, and we will take students’ interest areas into consideration as we develop new contracts. We do have several sites with experts that have worked in specialty areas or settings.