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Tufts University School of Medicine

Curriculum

The DPT core curriculum tracks consist of basic science, applied science, leadership and professional development, critical inquiry, and patient and practice management courses.

The DPT curriculum 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.

Curriculum highlights include accelerated pace, hybrid model with best practices, and 8 onsite clinical skills labs and 31 weeks of clinical education.

Curriculum Plan

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 plan is 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.

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 curriculum prepares 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

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 the program, students complete a total of 31 weeks of full-time clinical education. Our clinical education component is comprised of two eight-week experiences and a 15-week final clinical experience.

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.

Clinical Education Components

Didactic Preparation

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.

Requirements

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 program intends 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 completion the program.