Curriculum

The Columbia University Doctor of Physical Therapy program invites you to explore our unique and innovative curriculum. Students can personalize their educational path through research opportunities, teaching practicums, an advanced seminar, electives, and service and experiential learning.

Year 1

Fall Courses

  • Gross Anatomy (7)
  • Applied Physiology (2)
  • Kinesiology & Biomechanics I (5)
  • Professional Leadership & Practice I (2)
  • Examination & Evaluation (3)
  • Evidence-Based Practice I (2)

Total Credits: 21

Spring Courses

  • Clinical Education Seminar I (0)
  • Neuroscience (4)
  • Medical Screening I (2)
  • Kinesiology & Biomechanics II (3)
  • Movement Science (2)
  • Physical Therapy Procedures (3)
  • Concepts in Therapeutic Exercise (2)  (½ semester)
  • PT Management of Orthopedic Conditions I (2)  (½ semester)
  • Professional Leadership & Practice II (2)
  • Evidence-Based Practice II (2)

Possible Elective: 

  • Service Learning Elective in Guatemala (2)


Total Credits: 20 (22)

Summer Courses

  • Physical Modalities (1)
  • Soft Tissue Mobilization (2)
  • PT Management of Orthopedic Conditions II (4)
  • Clinical Geriatrics (3)
  • Evidence-Based Practice III (1)
  • Medical Screening II (2)
     

Possible Elective:

  • Medical Spanish (0)


Total Credits: 13

Year 2

Fall Courses

  • Clinical Education Seminar II (0)
  • PT Management of Cardiopulmonary Conditions (3)
  • PT Management of Orthopedic Conditions III (4)
  • PT Management of the Adult with Neurological Conditions I (3)
  • Orthotics (2) 


Possible Elective:

  • Research Practicum I (1)
  • PART B: First Clinical Education Experience (0)

Total credits: 12-13

Spring Courses

  • Clinical Education Seminar III (0)
  • Professional Leadership & Practice III (2)
  • PT Management of Integumentary Impairments (½ semester) (2)
  • PT Management of Orthopedic Conditions IV (5)
  • PT Management of the Adult with Neurological Conditions II (5)
  • PT Management of Pediatric Conditions (5)
  • Prosthetics (½ semester) (2)    

                           
Possible Electives:

  • Service Learning I (2)
  • Service Learning II (Repeat Experience) (2)
  • Research Practicum II (1)

Total credits: 23-28

Summer Courses

  • Intermediate Clinical Education Experience II (0)

Total Credits: 0

Year 3

Fall Courses

  • Medical Screening III (2)
  • Clinical Education Seminar IV (0)
  • Professional Leadership & Practice IV (5)                       
  • Clinical Case Management Seminar (2)                           
  • Complex Medical Conditions (2)      

               
Advanced Seminar Courses: (students Select 1):               

  • Orthopedics                                                               
  • Adult Neuro-Rehabilitation                                    
  • Pediatrics


Possible Elective:

  • Research Practicum III (0)         

Total credits: 14

Spring Course(s)

  • Terminal Clinical Education Experience(s) (0)

Program Strengths

  1. Student Body - Our classes are ethnically diverse, with students from numerous states and undergraduate and graduate institutions show a wide variety of individual and dual undergraduate and graduate majors. Students who take the research elective have presented at national meetings, have published with their faculty mentors, and have been nominated for scientific and research poster awards. See About Us: Who We Are and Composites of the Classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022.
  2. The Faculty - The program faculty is both seasoned and contemporary, with an average of 11 years teaching at Columbia. They provide a deep, broad, and challenging education directly linked to their own pursuit of excellence and commitment to teaching. The faculty has been listed, first and foremost, on Year I, Year II, and Year III surveys as “knowledgeable professors who care about students’ learning experiences, their openness to effect change and the feeling of family that outweighs the difficulty of the curriculum.”
  3. Sequencing of courses around the seven domains of learning.
  4. Development of advanced topic courses, teaching and research practicums, and electives allowing students to take ownership of their own learning to meet their individualized goals in more focused areas of practice.
  5. Resources of the medical center.
  6. Breadth and depth of clinical affiliation sites, nationwide and abroad.

Unique Features of the Program

  1. White Coat Ceremony - The White Coat is a “rite of passage” for first-year students, inspired by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, in recognition of the importance of fostering humanism in health care. Before family, significant others, friends, faculty, and honored guests, students don a white coat, which acknowledges the students’ beginning transition into competent clinicians. It is a personally delivered gift of faith, confidence, and compassion and reflects the belief in the students’ ability to carry on the honorable tradition of physical therapy.
  2. Terminal Clinical Education Experience Model - This experience is the pinnacle of the clinical education progression, which occurs during the spring semester of the final year of study. The clinical education experience gives each student the opportunity to hone advanced clinical practice skills in a specialty area under the tutelage of a seasoned clinician. A primary goal of the experience is to expose students to the continuum of care in a chosen specialty track. The sequence of clinical experiences is designed to facilitate students’ development from novice to entry-level practitioner.
  3. A curriculum that reflects hours of instruction to afford a more independent learning environment.
  4. An adult-learning pedagogy that focuses on student-directed learning activities and questions.
  5. Sequential Curriculum - Courses are designed to progress from simple knowledge to complex integration and application involving critical thinking and clinical decision-making.
  6. Course objectives that illustrate a hierarchy of learning with each semester and throughout the curriculum.
  7. The development of courses that reflect taxonomy of expected student behaviors in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (attitudes and values) domains of learning.
  8. The option to take a medical Spanish course during Summer I.