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Technical Standards

Requirements for admission, retention and graduation for students in KU's Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Kansas Medical Center continually strives to develop caring physical therapists who exemplify the highest level of clinical expertise and knowledge and who are prepared to enrich the dignity and quality of the human experience by optimizing movement and maximizing functional potential.

Because a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree signifies that the holder is eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination and signifies that the holder is prepared for entry into the profession of physical therapy, graduates must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical, private, community, or school-based situations and to render a wide spectrum of physical therapy services.

The following technical standards, in conjunction with the academic standards, are requirements for admission, retention and graduation of applicants and students, respectively.

The term "candidate" refers to candidates for admission to the physical therapy program as well as current physical therapy students who are candidates for retention and graduation. The KU DPT program maintains a strong commitment to equal educational opportunities for qualified students with disabilities who apply for admission to the program or who are already enrolled.

The technical standards are not intended to deter any candidate for whom reasonable accommodation will allow the fulfillment of the complete curriculum. Candidates with disabilities are encouraged to contact the office below early in the application process to begin a confidential conversation about what accommodations they may need to meet these standards. This process is informed by the knowledge that students with varied types of disabilities have the ability to become successful health professionals.

Academic Accommodation Services
913-945-7035 (711 TTY)
Room 1006 Dykes Library

Observation: Candidates must acquire information as presented through demonstrations and experiences in the foundational sciences. Candidates must also:

  • Evaluate patients accurately and assess their relevant health, behavioral, and medical information.
  • Obtain and interpret information through a comprehensive assessment of patients, correctly interpret diagnostic representations of patients' physiologic data, and accurately evaluate patients' conditions and responses.

Communication: Candidates must exhibit interpersonal skills to enable effective caregiving of patients/clients. Candidates must also:

  • Communicate effectively, with all members of a multidisciplinary health care team, patients/clients, and those supporting patients/clients, in person and in writing.
  • Clearly and accurately record information and accurately interpret verbal and nonverbal communication.
  • Use computers and technology for communication as they are essential for manipulating electronic health records, assimilating information, producing documentation and interpreting data. 

Clinical Skills: Candidates must perform physical examinations and diagnostic maneuvers. These activities require some physical mobility, coordination of both gross and fine motor neuromuscular function, balance, and equilibrium. Candidates must also:

  • Provide general care and emergency treatment for patients and respond to emergency situations in a timely manner.
  • Meet applicable safety standards for the environment and follow universal precaution procedures. 

Clinical Reasoning: Candidates must effectively interpret, assimilate, and understand complex information required to function within the physical therapy curriculum. Candidates must also:

  • Comprehend three‐dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.
  • Effectively participate in individual, small‐group, and lecture learning modalities in the classroom, clinical, and community settings.
  • Learn, participate, collaborate, and contribute as a part of a team.
  • Synthesize information both in person and via remote technology.
  • Interpret causal connections and make accurate, fact‐based conclusions based on available data and information.
  • Formulate a hypothesis and investigate potential answers and outcomes.
  • Reach appropriate and accurate conclusions.

Judgment:  Candidates must exercise good judgment; promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients; and develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Candidates must also:

  • Effectively handle and manage heavy workloads, function effectively under stress.
  • Adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of the uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients.
  • Self-assess behavior and performance and an understanding of the rationale and justification for their performance. 

Behavioral and Social Attributes:  Candidates are expected to exhibit professionalism, personal accountability, compassion, integrity, concern for others, and interpersonal skills. Candidates must:

  • Accept and apply feedback and to respect boundaries.
  • Care for all individuals in a respectful and effective manner regardless of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or any other protected status.

Professional Expectations:  Candidates must understand, and function within, the legal and ethical aspects of the practice of physical therapy. Candidates must also:

  • Maintain and display ethical and moral behaviors commensurate with the role of physical therapist in all interactions with patients, faculty, staff, students, and the public.
  • Maintain interest and motivation throughout the educational processes.


KU School of Health Professions

Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Science, and Athletic Training
University of Kansas Medical Center
Mail Stop 2002
3901 Rainbow Blvd.
Kansas City, KS 66160