Curriculum Features

  • Early and Frequent Clinical Immersion.  At Alvernia, the cornerstone of our program is our emphasis on clinical competence and skill that is facilitated through early and frequent immersion of the student into actual clinical experiences.  Many programs begin clinical internship experiences after the first year of classroom learning or incorporate clinical observation into the coursework.  At Alvernia, we believe that authentic learning transpires when students are able to connect classroom instruction with real patient interaction.  To accomplish our mission of developing clinical competence, students begin their clinical internship experiences within their first semester of the program.  These initial part-time clinical experiences will serve to develop professional behaviors, connect classroom instruction with actual patient scenarios, and prepare students for full-time clinical internship experiences.  Throughout the curriculum, students will engage in 4 part-time and 4 full-time clinical education experiences totaling 39 weeks of clinical education.   

  • Self-Reflection through Hybrid Educational Models:  At Alvernia, we understand that clinical proficiency is developed intentionally through purposeful experiences that require students to engage in continual self- and peer-reflection.  Astute problem-solving can only be facilitated through creating learning experiences that explicitly require introspective, ongoing self-reflection.  Through the use of web-assisted resources, students will optimize their learning during clinical internships and lab experiences by reflecting on their experiences and creating new knowledge.  

  • Evidence-Based Critical Thinking:  Throughout the program, the current best evidence will be emphasized as the primary foundation upon which clinical decisions are made.  Upon the foundation of clinical evidence, students will create decision-making pathways that become integrated with their own clinical experiences.  An emphasis will be explicitly placed on the problem-solving processes that lies behind every clinical decision.  As critical consumers and contributors to the growing body of knowledge, students will develop habits of thought that increase their potential to impact others.      

  • Performance-Based Physical Therapy Education:  Although theoretical constructs are used to guide intervention, it is the “doing” of Physical Therapy that creates results and changes lives.  As a profession that engages individuals emotionally, mentally, and physically, it is important that students develop proficiency not only in the theory of clinical practice but that they also become skilled in the practical application of knowledge.  Inherent within the curriculum are opportunities for students to develop cognitive, affective, and psychomotor skills in the management of physical impairments.  Active learning experiences that engage the student in all three domains and plentiful practical learning and testing scenarios will be explored to maximize each student’s skill in providing hands-on clinical care.

  • Expected Behaviors of a Doctoring Profession:  In addition to the creation and application of knowledge, students will receive explicit instruction in the personal requirements and professional responsibilities associated with their entrance into the doctoring profession of physical therapy.  As citizens of a larger community, graduates will be prepared to practice for the better good of mankind in clinical practice, academic endeavor, and scientific inquiry and dedicated to embracing the art and the science of physical therapy.  Program graduates will be expected to elevate the profile of the profession as autonomous healthcare providers of choice.

  • Community-Conscious and Culturally Competent:  Above all else, is the effort toward helping students to see beyond themselves.  Equipping students with new knowledge and skill and the capacity to accomplish a desirable outcome is applauded only in the context that such resources are ultimately used to benefit others. Viewing disability through the eyes of those whom we serve infiltrates every aspect of the curriculum and demonstration of skill in appreciating and applauding diversity is expected and required.     




Graduation from a physical therapist program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accreditation@apta.org is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states. Alvernia University is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist education program from CAPTE. The program submitted an Application for Candidacy on June 1, 2014, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage and underwent an on-site review on July 29-31, 2014. Submission of this document and on-site review does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the professional phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in professional courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation. All students accepted into the charter DPT class of 2018 will be accepted conditionally and graduation will be contingent upon full accreditation status as granted by CAPTE.