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School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science

Reed Humphrey, Chair

The professional program in physical therapy grants the Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) degree. The program has an entry-level D.P.T. program, an entry-level D.P.T./M.B.A. program, and a post-entry level transitional D.P.T. curriculum leading to the D.P.T. degree. The following section describes the profession and the pre-professional requirements and application procedures. This information also is available on the program website at

The Profession

Physical Therapy is a health care profession concerned with the habilitation and rehabilitation of individuals having limitations resulting from pathological, surgical, or traumatic conditions. The profession is also concerned with health, wellness and prevention of disability in an effort to promote maximal use of an individual's capacities and reduce their risk of illness. Physical therapists are trained to evaluate neurological, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, and integumentary disorders. Exercise and physical agents, such as heat, cold, light, electricity, and massage are used to promote healing, relieve pain, maintain or restore strength, and improve joint range of motion and functional capabilities. Physical therapists play key roles in: 1) the physical therapy diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, 2) wellness and injury prevention, 3) rehabilitating injured workers to return to their jobs, 4) rehabilitating senior citizens after debilitating disease to enable them to remain independent, 5) helping handicapped children to live within the least restrictive environment, 6) preventing and treating sports-related injuries, and 7) conducting research in the basic and clinical sciences. Knowledge of the psychological and social ramifications of disability affecting the individual and his or her family is an integral part of physical therapy intervention.

Physical therapy is practiced in diverse settings, including hospitals, clinics, skilled nursing facilities, sports medicine programs, public schools, and private practices. Legislation in Montana permits direct public access to physical therapists for evaluation and treatment without a physician referral. Even so, physical therapists remain committed to functioning as an integral member of the health care team.

The physical therapy educational program at The University of Montana seeks to prepare physical therapists who have a broad base of skills upon graduation, and who will be able to implement physical therapy services in many settings, especially rural environments. Rural settings require a physical therapist to serve not only as a provider of direct patient care, but also to fulfill the roles of administrator, supervisor, teacher, consultant, and researcher. Students successfully completing the professional program meet the competencies for physical therapy as determined by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association, receive a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, and are prepared for state licensure.

The Physical Therapy Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association through 2018.

High School Preparation:

Specific high school courses are not required but a background is recommended in mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, English, and communication skills.

Pre-Professional Physical Therapy Curriculum and Application Process

Students wishing to apply to the professional physical therapy program at The University of Montana-Missoula may select any major for their undergraduate degree. While pre-physical therapy is not a degree granting major at the University, prospective applicants should list pre-professional physical therapy (PPPT) as their second major. This will allow them also to receive advising from the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science in order to assure adequate preparation for the professional program. In addition to completing a baccalaureate degree, applicants must take the following prerequisite courses and meet the additional application requirements listed. All prerequisite courses must be taken for a traditional letter grade and must be completed with a grade of "C" (2.00) or better.

Prerequisite Courses and Credits

Human Anatomy and Physiology:  minimum of two semesters or two to three quarters of human anatomy and physiology.  This course work must be completed in a Biology, Anatomy and/or Physiology department.  A full sequence must be completed of two semesters or two to three quarters, depending upon what is offered by the institution.  A comparative vertebrate anatomy and an animal physiology course may be substituted for human anatomy and physiology.

Chemistry:  minimum of two semesters or two quarters of chemistry with laboratory.  A full sequence must be completed of two semesters or two to three quarters, depending upon what is offered by the institution.

Physics:  minimum of two semesters or two quarters of physics with laboratory.  A full sequence must be completed of two semesters or two to three quarters, depending upon what is offered by the institution.

Statistics: minimum of one semester or quarter of statistics course work.

Social Sciences: minimum of two semesters or three quarters of social/behavioral science classes.  These classes may include courses offered by Psychology, Educational Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, Cultural Geography and Anthropology departments.

Certification in adult, child, and infant CPR is assumed.

Computer literacy is assumed.  You should be able to utilize email communication, word processing, statistical and spreadsheet programs and be able to complete searches on the Web.

Suggested Prerequisite Courses at The University of Montana-Missoula

BIOH 365, 370 (BIOL 312, 313) Human Anatomy and Physiology I, II for Health Professionals or BIOH 201N, 211N (SCN 201, 202) Human Anatomy and Physiology I, II 8
CHMY 121N, 123N, 124N (CHEM 151N, 152N, 154N) Intro to General Chemistry and Laboratory, Intro to Organic & Biochemistry and Laboratory 8
PHSX 205N/206N, 207N/208N (PHYS 111N/113N, 112N/114N) College Physics I, II and Laboratory 10
PSYX 100S (PSYC 100S) Introduction to Psychology or SOCI 101S (SOC 110) Introduction to Sociology or ANTH 101H Introduction to Anthropology or PSYX 340S (PSYC 330S) Abnormal Psychology or PSYX 230S (PSYC 240S) Developmental Psychology 7
STAT 216 (MATH 241) Introduction to Statistics or PSYX 222  (PSYC 240S) Psychological Statistics or SOCI 202 (SOC 202)Social Statistics or STAT 341 (MATH 341) Intro to Probability and Stat or STAT 421 (MATH 441) Mathematical Statistics or STAT 422 (MATH 442) Advanced Mathematical Statistics, or STAT 451 (MATH 444) Statistical Methods I or STAT 452 (MATH 445) Statistical Methods II, or FOR 201, or HHP 486 43

Additional Requirements for Application

Because the professional program is sequential, students must enter the program in the autumn semester of the first professional year.

Online application and information about admissions policies for the professional program are available from the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science website  The online applications are typically available beginning in July for each application cycle.  Application fees are required with one going to PTCAS and another going to the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. Questions about admission should be addressed to

The application documentation must be submitted online by October 15 (PTCAS application and School Supplemental application) and the supporting documents must be forwarded directly to the Chair, Student Selection Committee, School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, arriving no later than October 15, preceding the autumn semester of the year for which admission is requested.  The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) must be completed and the scores sent to The University of Montana.  (Institution code 4489)  Seven of the nine prerequisite courses must be completed at the time of application (October 15), including at least one course from both the chemistry and physics class sequences.

To be considered for admission, an applicant must have obtained a cumulative grade average of at least 3.0 (on a four-point scale) in all college courses for which the applicant has registered, as well as a minimum of 3.0 in the required prerequisite course work. Some preference will be given to Montana residents as well as students from states with no public physical therapy school.  In addition to meeting the minimum grade point average (3.0 for both cumulative and prerequisite GPA) it may be useful for applicants to appreciate that GRE scores below the following thresholds are unlikely to result in admission to our program:

  • GRE Verbal Reasoning score of 146 (formerly 400)
  • GRE Quantitative Reasoning score of 146 (formerly 560)
  • Analytical Writing score of 3.5 

To qualify as a resident applicant, the student must be a Montana resident, or be in the process of establishing residency in Montana. 

In addition to these requirements, applicants must demonstrate an appreciation and knowledge of the practical duties and responsibilities of the physical therapist through direct exposure in a variety of clinical settings (a minimum of 80 hours of work or observation under the direct supervision of a physical therapist before application).  At least 3 different clinical settings are required in the 80 hours of observation - outpatient, inpatient acute care, rehab/sub-acute rehab, skilled nursing/extended care, school/pediatrics, or home health.  Documentation of these hours is included in the PTCAS application. These observation hours must be completed before application submission.  Applicants are expected to participate in activities beyond their academic pursuits; such activities should include employment, volunteer activities (school, sport, community, or church) and employment/volunteer activities interacting with people with disabilities. 

Application documentation includes three letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a licensed physical therapist.  These letters will be submitted electronically through the PTCAS application.

After completed applications have been received, the Selection Committee will screen the applications based on grade point average in prerequisite courses, overall grade point average, GRE scores, evidence of leadership, community service, and letters of recommendation. Based upon the results of this screening, only those applicants who appear best qualified will be invited for a personal interview.  Although an invitation to appear for interview does not assure the applicant a place in the class, the final selection will be made from those interviewed. All applicants will be notified of their status.

Professional Physical Therapy Program

The professional entry-level D.P.T. program is 33 months in length. Enrollment is limited to 34 students in each class. All students pay first-level graduate tuition and fees plus a tuition surcharge each Autumn and Spring semester.  The students will also pay first-level tuition and fees for two summer sessions.

Joint MBA/DPT Program

Students who wish to participate in this joint dual degree program must satisfy the normal admission requirements for both The School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science's entry level DPT program and The School of Business Administration's MBA program.  Students cannot enter the joint program until they have been accepted separately by both schools.  If accepted by both programs, permission to participate in the joint program must be obtained from both the Chair of the DPT program and the Director of the MBA program.  Students completing this dual degree program will receive two separate degrees, the DPT and the MBA.  Requirements consist of competing 32 credits for the MBA including 8 transferred in from the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science and 118 total credits for the DPT including 8 transferred from the School of Business Administration.  Students will work with faculty advisors from both programs to determine an appropriate curricular schedule. 

Special Degree Requirements

Once admitted into the professional entry-level Physical Therapy Program, all students must achieve a C grade or higher (or a CR, in credit/no credit) in all required courses in the physical therapy curriculum. Because courses in the curriculum are sequential, a student who fails to achieve a C grade (or a CR, in credit/noncredit courses) in any course may not be allowed to continue in the next semester of the professional program. The student must retake the course at the next offering. Students must maintain a minimum 2.50 grade average while in the professional entry-level D.P.T. program. Students who do not maintain this average will be on academic probation and must achieve the 2.50 grade average in order to graduate. Students who fail to progress in the expected manner for two consecutive years will be dismissed from the Physical Therapy Program subject to review by the Academic Requirements Committee and the Dean of the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences. Students also must comply with all School academic and professional conduct policies as outlined in the Physical Therapy Program Student Handbook. All students enrolled in the program are expected to maintain a full-time academic course load (minimum of 12 semester credits) during each semester of the program.

Professional Physical Therapy Curriculum

First Professional Year A S
PT 503 Physical Therapy and Health Care System 4 -
PT 510 Applied Clinical Anatomy 5 -
PT 516 Movement System Exam and Evaluation  5 -
PT 519 Musculoskeletal Management I  - 4
PT 520 Development Through the Life Span - 2
PT 523 Clinical Medicine I 1 -
PT 524 Clinical Medicine II - 1
PT 526 Foundational Skills and Interventions 4 -
PT 527 Electrophysiological Testing and Interventions - 2
PT 529 Biomechanics 4 -
PT 530 Clinically Applied Exercise Physiology     - 4
PT 536 Neurosciences for the Health Professions - 5
PT 560 Clinical Reasoning I - 1
PT 582 Clinical Experience I - 1
Total 22 20
Summer Session Credits
PT 587 Clinical Internship I 4
Second Professional Year A S
PT 525 Clinical Medicine III: Pathophysiology & Pharmacology for Physical Therapists 2 -
PT 561 Research in Physical Therapy 2 -
PT 563 Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy 3 -
PT 565 Physical Therapy for Children 2 -
PT 567 Neurorehabilitation I 3 -
PT 568 Neurorehabilitation II - 3
PT 569 Musculoskeletal Management II 5 -
PT 572 Practice and Administration - 2
PT 573 Musculoskeletal Management III - 4
PT 576 Clinical Reasoning II - 1
PT 578 Physical Therapy for Select Populations - 6
PT 588 Clinical Internship II - 4
Total 17 20
Summer Session Credits
PT 589 Clinical Internship III 5
Third Professional Year A S
PT 626 Clinical Medicine IV 3 -
PT 627 Prevention, Wellness, and Education 2 -
PT 672 Research in Physical Therapy II 2 -
PT 570 Psychology of Illness and Disability 2 -
PT 676 Reasoning III 3 -
PT 679 Current Trends & Scholarly Activities in Physical Therapy 1-6 -
PT 680 Clinical Internship IV - 12
Total 18 12

Six credits of professional elective course work are required for the D.P.T. These may be satisfied by PT 672 or 679 sections or courses outside the school. Only 6 credits may be independent study.

Total credits required for graduation: 118

Transitional D.P.T. Curriculum

The mission of the transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (tDPT) curriculum is to provide an affordable, practical, and career-enhancing plan of study that allows licensed physical therapists to transition their current entry-level professional degree to the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.  The program of study offers licensed physical therapists with an academic degree in Physical Therapy the opportunity to earn the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. The focus of the program is to bridge the gap between current DPT and prior degree entry-level expectations. The program is delivered in a distance-education format, although students are required to attend a weekend during the course of study for a two-day seminar in concepts of professionalism in an autonomous profession and other requirements as identified in the program of study.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must:

  • Provide evidence of being currently credentialed, licensed, registered, or equivalent to practice physical therapy;
  • Complete an admission application supplied through the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science at The University of Montana;
  • For those in the BS tDPT curricular track, provision of official transcripts and evidence of an entry-level degree in physical therapy from an accredited institution;
  • For those in the MS tDPT curricular track provision of official transcripts of an entry-level or advanced master's degree (MS or higher) from an accredited institution in physical therapy; 
  • In addition to numbers 1-4, for students graduating from a foreign institution, certification of entry-level equivalence through an approved credentialing agency, such as Silvergate ( International Consultants of Delaware ( the Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (www. or World Education Services ( is required;
  • Non-US licensed applicants whose native language is not English must submit qualifying TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery) scores to be admitted into the tDPT curriculum.  If the TOEFL score is below 580 (paper-based test), 237 (computer-based test) or 92 (internet-based test), the IELTS score is below 6.5 or the MELAB score is below 82, applicants are encouraged to complete English as a Second Language course(s) and resubmit TOEFL, IELTS or MELAB scores before they apply to the program;
  • Agree to modifications in the program of study if requested, upon review of the application. 

Important note for non-US licensed foreign applicants: Granting of the DPT degree awarded by the University of Montana is considered a post-professional academic degree.  Granting of the tDPT degree upon successful completion of the tDPT curriculum by the University of Montana does not convey a license to practice, nor eligibility to take the licensure exam in the United States, which is required by law to practice in the United States. To better understand regulations to practice in the United States, visit the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy ( 

Minimum Grade and Academic Progression Requirements

Students must receive a minimum grade of C in all tDPT courses. Students who receive a grade of C- or lower must repeat the course to achieve a grade of B or better to pass the course. Repetition of courses will result in additional tuition charges. Students must achieve a grade point average of 2.5 or greater in the prescribed program of study to graduate from the tDPT curriculum. Only the grades within the tDPT curriculum will be included in the calculation of the GPA. Failure to maintain a 2.5 GPA for two semesters will result in dismissal from the tDPT curriculum.

Degree Requirements

For candidates holding an entry-level master’s degree, successful completion of a 20-credit core curriculum that includes:

Semester One

PT 652 Pharmacology in Rehabilitation (2 cr.)
PT 654 Clinical Decision Making: Guide to PT Practice (1cr)

Semester Two

PT 653 Legal and Ethical Issues for PTs (1 cr.)
PT 655 Business and Marketing (2 cr.)
PT 657 Professionalism: The Doctoring Profession (2 cr.)*

Semester Three

PT 656 Coding and Reimbursement (1 cr.)
PT 651 Medical Imaging and Rehabilitation (2 cr.)
PT 657 Professionalism: The Doctoring Profession (2 cr.)*

Semester Four

PT 650 Screening for Medical Disorders (2 cr.)
PT 658 Critical Assessment and Application of Best Evidence(3 cr.)

Semester Five

PT 659 Capstone Project (4 cr.)
For bachelor’s candidates, semesters 1-4 are the same as above; semesters 5-7 are as follows:

Semester Five

PT 660 Management of Patients with Musculoskeletal Disorders (2 cr.)
PT 661 Management of Patients with Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Disorders (2 cr.)

Semester Six

PT 662 Management of Patients with Neurological Disorders (2 cr.)
PT 663 Management of Patients with Integumentary Disorders (2 cr.)
PT 664 Wellness and Health Promotion (2 cr.)

Semester Seven

PT 659 Capstone Project (4 cr.)

Candidates unable to complete PT 659 by the course completion date will receive an incomplete grade. The incomplete must be resolved within one month of receipt; otherwise a failing grade will be issued and the course must be repeated with an additional tuition charge.

PT 657 Professionalism: The Doctoring Profession might be taken in the 2nd or 3rd semester depending on enrollment date.


R- before the course description indicates the course may be repeated for credit to the maximum indicated after the R. Credits beyond this maximum do not count toward a degree.

Physical Therapy (P T) - Course Descriptions

503. 510, 516, 519, 520, 525, 526, 527, 529, 530, 536, 560, 561, 562, 563, 565, 567, 568, 569, 570, 572, 573, 576, 577, 578, 582, 587, 588, 589, 594, 595, 626, 627, 628, 650, 651, 652, 653, 654, 655, 656, 657, 658, 659, 660, 661, 662, 663, 664, 671, 672, 676, 679, 680, 690, 691, 692, 694, 699



Jennifer Bell, Sc.D., Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. 2013; M.P.T., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 2006

Reed Humphrey, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 1986; P.T., Virginia Commonwealth University, 1994 (Chair)

Beth Ikeda, M.S., D.P.T., Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions, 1989, 2004, P.T., Mayo School of Health Related Science, 1981

Charles Leonard, Ph.D., Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1985; P.T. , Duke University, 1978

Associate Professor

James J. Laskin, Ph.D., University of Alberta, 2001; P.T., University of Saskatchewan, 1987

Assistant Professors

Anthony Kinney, D.P.T., Washington University, 2008; MBA Duke University, 2008; New York Medical College, MSPT, 2002

David L. Levison, M.H.S., Indianapolis Krannert School of Physical Therapy, 1996; P.T., University of Montana, 1986

Ryan Mizner, Ph.D., University of Delaware, 2005; P.T., University of Delaware, 2000

Alex Santos, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 2008; P.T., State University of Londrina (BR), 1998

Nora Staael Evert Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Clinics

UM Sports & Orthopedics, Neurology & the New Directions Wellness Center

Director: Susan Ostertag, D.P.T., Arizona School of Health Sciences, 2007, B.S., P.T., University of Montana, 1993

Brenda Mahlum, D.P.T., Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, 2006; P.T., University of North Carolina, 1984

Mary Coar, D.P.T. The University of Montana, 2011; B.S., P.T., CSU-Northridge, 1993

Jaclyn Carson, D.P.T., The University of Montana, 2010, B.S. The University of Montana, 2005

Molly Blair, B.S., University of Montana, 2002

Registrar's Office

Lommasson Center 201

Phone: (406) 243-2995

Fax: (406) 243-4807