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Technical Standards - Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program

The following are the technical standards that apply to all clinical training students in USciences’ Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Technical standards are the non-academic admission criteria that are essential to participation in the University’s programs. These standards are categorized into the following areas: [1] communication; [2] cognition; [3] behavioral/professionalism; and [4] psychomotor skills. Applicants and students must have and maintain the ability to perform or meet these essential tasks, skills and standards with or without reasonable accommodations. By applying to and accepting admission to University of the Sciences (USciences), you acknowledge that you have read and understand the Technical Standards and believe that you have the ability to meet them, with or without reasonable accommodations.   

University of the Sciences recognizes that a diverse campus community is essential to enriching intellectual exchanges and enhancing cultural understanding. The University values equality of opportunity, mutual respect, and an appreciation of diversity. As part of this commitment, the University provides reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities.1 The University is not required to waive these essential standards, because that would be a fundamental alteration of the nature of these programs. Please refer to the Disability Services Policy for more information.

Students with disabilities who believe they require an accommodation(s) to either meet these Technical Standards, to fully access the admissions process, and/or to participate in and benefit from the program curriculum and other programs and services of USciences, are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Accommodations (OSA) at or 215-596-8758 to participate in a confidential consultation. Accommodations are not retroactive; therefore, students are encouraged to contact the OSA as early as possible to allow for adequate time to consider and implement any approved accommodations.


Students must be able to:

  1. Communicate professionally, effectively, and sensitively with patients and all members of the health care team, both in person and in written form, that reflect professional values and those of the University.
  2. Retain, recall, and deliver information in an efficient and timely manner.
  3. Accurately share and record information from patients’ records, through history taking, and through communications with the healthcare team.
  4. Participate in class discussions/group projects/practice labs for the purpose of delivery and receipt of scientific/medical information.
  5. Identify and describe changes in affect, including facial expression, mood, emotions, activity, and posture, of others in the classroom and clinic, and respond appropriately.
  6. Communicate effectively with others from varied social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds.
  7. Explain to other health care professionals, patients, and/or caregivers the reason(s) for treatment, preventative measures, disease process, monitoring plans, and need for referral.
  8. Recognize and promptly respond to emotional communications (e.g., sadness, worry, agitation, pain).


Students must be able to:

  1. Analyze, interpret, and integrate information during patient examinations and throughout patient management to make clinical decisions.
  2. Retrieve, recall, retain, and apply medical, scientific, and professional information and literature in the classroom and in clinical experiences.
  3. Utilize effective clinical judgment and problem-solving skills to address difficulties in a timely manner within all learning environments.
  4. Multi-task, prioritize, and perform tasks in an accurate, logical, and sequential manner.
  5. Accurately perform scientific measurements and calculations in clinical environments.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to learn effectively through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to, classroom instruction, remote learning, asynchronous learning, small group discussions, laboratory experiences, individual study, and preparation and presentation of written and oral reports.
  7. Acknowledge limitations of knowledge and/or performance in order to obtain appropriate supports and provide optimal patient care.


Students must be able to:

  1. Exercise professional judgment to maintain patient safety and well-being.
  2. Display professional behavior, including, but not limited to, punctuality, dependability, organization, and responsibility.
  3. Self-manage to adapt to rapidly changing environments.
  4. Respond promptly and professionally to stressful situations.
  5. Display integrity, interpersonal skills, motivation, compassion, and concern for others.
  6. Self-reflect, be receptive to feedback, and modify behavior to improve skills, patient-client relationships, and patient/client outcomes.
  7. Establish and maintain mature, sensitive, effective relationships with patients, families, students, faculty, staff, preceptors/supervisors, and other professionals under all circumstances.
  8. Demonstrate appropriate assertiveness, delegate responsibilities, and function as part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team.
  9. Identify and take responsibility for one’s own actions and decisions, inclusive of seeking supervision and/or consultation in a timely manner.
  10. Demonstrate respect for differences in cultures, experiences, identities, values, and ethics among others.
  11. Recognize and respond appropriately and in a timely manner to potentially hazardous situations, including those that are life-threatening.
  12. Respect the confidential relationship between healthcare practitioner and patient and not violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or other applicable confidentiality obligations.
  13. Abide by both the USciences’ Code of Conduct2 and the professional standards of practice in accordance to the respective Oaths of Healthcare Professionals.
  14. Meet workloads that may be physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing, while functioning efficiently and effectively.
  15. Utilize sound reasoning and practice physical therapy in an ethical manner.


Students must be able to:

  1. Possess psychomotor skills necessary to provide or assist in holistic physical therapy care and perform or assist with procedures and treatments.
  2. Use technology to accurately record information and convey critical health-related documentation.
  3. Perform a variety of exertional activities during the working period with occasional rest breaks.
  4. Elicit patient information through palpation, auscultation, and perform emergency procedures such as CPR in clinical settings.
  5. Possess sufficient gross motor abilities and manual dexterity, or functional equivalent, to proficiently demonstrate all program-specific competencies, including, but not limited to:
    1. Safely and effectively facilitating movement of the patient’s body during transfers, functional mobility training, positioning, examinations and therapeutic interventions.
    2. Performing systems reviews, including:
      1. the cardiovascular/pulmonary system through the assessment of blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, and edema
      2. the integumentary system through the gross assessment of skin color, turgor, integrity, and the presence of scar
      3. the musculoskeletal system through the gross assessment of range of motion, strength, symmetry, height, and weight
      4. the neuromuscular system through the general assessment of gross coordinated movement and motor function
      5. the gross assessment of communication ability, affect, cognition, language, and learning style, consciousness, orientation, and expected behavioral/emotional responses.
    3. Selecting, and competently administering tests and measures appropriate to the patient’s age, diagnosis and health status. Tests may include, but are not limited to, those that assess:
      1. Aerobic Capacity/Endurance
      2. Anthropometric Characteristics
      3. Assistive Technology
      4. Balance
      5. Circulation (Arterial, Venous, Lymphatic)
      6. Self-Care and Civic, Community, Domestic, Education, Social and Work Life
      7. Cranial and Peripheral Nerve Integrity
      8. Environmental Factors
      9. Gait
      10. Integumentary Integrity
        • Joint Integrity and Mobility
        • Mental Functions
        • Mobility (including Locomotion)
        • Motor Function
        • Muscle Performance (including Strength, Power, Endurance, and Length)
        • Neuromotor Development and Sensory Processing
        • Pain
        • Posture
        • Range of Motion
        • Reflex Integrity
        • Sensory Integrity
        • Skeletal Integrity
        • Ventilation and Respiration or Gas Exchange
    4. Competently and safely perform physical therapy interventions to achieve patient/client goals and outcomes. Interventions include:
      • Airway Clearance Techniques
      • Assistive Technology: Prescription, Application, and, as appropriate, Fabrication or Modification
      • Biophysical Agents
      • Functional Training in Self-Care and in Domestic, Education, Work, Community, Social, and Civic Life
      • Integumentary Repair and Protection
      • Manual Therapy Techniques (including mobilization/manipulation thrust and nonthrust techniques)
      • Motor Function Training (balance, gait, etc.)
      • Patient/Client education
      • Therapeutic Exercise


USciences’ Disability Services Policy
2  USciences' Code of Conduct

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