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Technical Standards

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

Because a Doctor of Physical Therapy 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, it follows that 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. Therefore, the following abilities and expectations must be met by all students admitted to the program.

  1. Observation: The candidate must be able to learn from experiences in the basic sciences and in the clinical physical therapy laboratory that involve performing a visual and tactile examination and interventions while accurately assessing substitution, compensation patterns, and abnormal responses to exercise or activity.
  2. Communication: Communication includes not only speech but reading and writing. The candidate must be able to assimilate information from written sources (e.g., texts, journals, medical/school records, etc.). The candidate must be able to attain, comprehend, retain and utilize new information presented in written formats as well as produce appropriate written documentation. The student must be able to communicate accurately and effectively with patients, caregivers, physicians, other health professionals, clinical facility staff, faculty and staff, peers and the community in general. Communication includes a timely response to emergency/crisis situations, as well as more routine communication as situationally appropriate. Communication includes eliciting information, describing changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceiving non-verbal communications.
  3. Sensorimotor: Candidates must have gross motor, fine motor and equilibrium functions reasonably required to carry out assessments (palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers) and to provide physical therapy interventions. A candidate should be able to execute motor movements required to provide therapeutic intervention (patient transfers, exercise and application of therapeutic modalities) and emergency treatment to patients. Quick reactions are necessary not only for safety but for one to respond therapeutically. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
  4. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative, Quantitative and Problem Solving Skills: Candidates should have cognitive abilities including measurements, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem-solving, the critical skill demanded of physical therapists requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the applicant should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships to understand the spatial relationships of structures.
  5. Judgment: The candidate will be expected to demonstrate judgment in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings which shows an ability to make mature, sensitive and effective decisions in the following areas: 1) relationships with supervisors, peers and patients/clients, 2) professional behavior, 3) the effectiveness of intervention and research strategies. They must demonstrate an understanding of the rationale and justification for their performance.
  6. Behavioral and Social Attributes: Candidates must possess the emotional health required to utilize their intellectual abilities fully, exercise good judgment, complete all responsibilities attendant to the physical therapy diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and their families. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients/clients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal communication skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the education process.

It is the student’s responsibility to notify the DPT program if there is any reason they cannot meet the expectations for the DPT program described above, with or without accommodations. Reasonable accommodation will be considered and may be made to qualified students who disclose a disability, so long as such accommodation does not significantly alter the curriculum and the training program's essential requirements or significantly affect the safety of patient care or others.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply to the program. Applicants whose response indicates that they cannot meet one or more of the expectations will be reviewed further by the University’s Office for Academic Accommodations, with applicant and faculty input, to determine if any reasonable accommodations are possible to facilitate successful completion of the DPT curriculum and preparation for the national registry examination. The contact person is Cyn Ukoko and she can be reached at 913-945-7035 (711 TTY) or

Learning assistance, academic performance enhancement, and psychological services at KU Medical Center are free, confidential, and available at Student Counseling & Educational Support Services by calling 913-588-6580 or making an appointment through their website.

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