The George Washington University

Information about Physical Therapist program at The George Washington University



The George Washington University (A4, D6, F1, PR)

Last Updated by Program: 02/22/2005
Address:   Program in Physical Therapy
The George Washington University
School of Medicine and Health Sciences
900 23rd Street, NW
Suite 6145
Washington, DC 20037
Phone:   (202)994-8184
Fax:   (202)994-8400
Web Address:
Program E-mail:
Margaret M Plack, PT, EdD
Program Director
  Accreditor:   Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  Carnegie Classification:   Research Universities (high research activity)
  Date of Initial Accreditation:   Masters degree, May 2001 DPT degree, February 2005
  Current Accreditation Status:   Accreditation
  Next Visit   2008
  Five Year History:   Probation 5/01-4/02; Accreditation
DEGREE CONFERRED: Master of Science in Health Sciences, with a concentration in Physical Therapy (no longer admitting students); Doctor of Physical Therapy
The design of the Program in Physical Therapy reflects The George Washington University's vision for excellence in education. The program has stated a commitment to the education of physical therapists who will be highly regarded in the community because they are well-qualified and compassionate practitioners, demonstrate expert clinical skills, and contribute significantly to the lives of their clients, the physical therapy profession, and the health care system. A key element of our mission is to educate physical therapists who are reflective practitioners and who demonstrate the ability to apply professional skills in critical inquiry and clinical reasoning. Our students and graduates demonstrate maturity, effective communication skills, a commitment to lifelong learning, and a strong desire to work with patients and clients in health care. The DPT program consists of 102 credits of professional course work requiring three calendar years of full-time study beginning in the fall semester. The curriculum is built in a hierarchical fashion; moving from simple to complex, requiring both vertical and horizontal integration as well as application of course material throughout. The curriculum combines content from the foundational sciences, behavioral sciences, clinical sciences, professional practice expectations, practice management expectations, and critical inquiry. It is built around four major practice patterns: musculoskeletal, neuromotor, cardiopulmonary and integumentary systems. Students begin by identifying and describing clinical observations. Students end with the skills to examine, evaluate, diagnose, prognose, develop a plan of care; and implement and re-evaluate that plan of care for patients with dysfunction in the cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal, neuromotor and integumentary systems across the lifespan. Information is integrated and applied through a series of six integrative units entitled Clinical Conference I-VI. Skills in the use of best evidence in making clinical decisions and predicting outcomes in physical therapy practice are developed throughout. In the early phase of this course work patient/actors are hired to enhance the authenticity of applying their knowledge to “standardized patients” prior to entering the clinical setting. Faculty also feels strongly that clinical practice is essential for learning and integration; as a result, students are in the clinical setting every semester beginning with the second semester. Clinical experiences begin with three part-time Clinical Immersions, progress to a full-time Transition to the Clinic, and culminate in three full-time Clinical Internships. A comprehensive examination in the sixth semester validates the student’s readiness for the full-time clinical internships, and helps the student begin to prepare for the national board examinations.
Students are introduced to the clinical environment beginning their second semester through weekly clinical immersions. In the fifth semester students make the transition to full-time practice through a four-week introductory internship. This is followed by three diverse internships which provide students with both a depth and breadth of experiences. Each of these internships runs from 8 to 12 weeks in length.
The program has six full-time and two part-time core faculty members. The faculty-to-student ratio averages 1:5. The program also draws teaching expertise from PhD faculty in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the School of Public Health and Health Services. Faculty members are all actively involved in a broad array of collaborative research endeavors as well as many other clinical and professional activities.
The on-campus enrollment of The George Washington University is just over 14,000 students: approximately 9,500 are undergraduate students, and 11,000 are graduate and professional students. In addition, approximately 1,600 students are enrolled in non-degree programs. The GW Program in Physical Therapy has the capacity to admit 24 students each fall.
Applications for admission are available year round from the Office of Admissions of the Health Science Programs (School of Medicine and Health Sciences) ( Applicants requesting ‘early admission’ decisions may submit a completed application anytime between August and November for a December decision. All other applications should be received in March for a spring decision. All classes begin in the fall semester. Applicants are required to submit a completed application form, application fees, official transcripts, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation. Each student is also required to provide a statement of purpose which defines his/her understanding of the role of the physical therapist, and his/her personal goals and objectives in pursuing a degree in physical therapy. Qualified applicants will be offered an interview. Minimum academic requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and a minimum 3.0 GPA is preferred. The following prerequisite courses must be completed: 2 semesters each of biology, chemistry, and physics (for science majors, with laboratory); 2 semesters of anatomy and physiology (human focus preferred); 2 semesters of social sciences including upper division psychology; 2 semesters of English; and 1 semester of statistics.
Graduation: 90.2% of the students enrolled in the Physical Therapy Program over the last 4 years have graduated. Licensure: 90.7% of program graduates from the last 4 years have passed the national licensure exam. This pass rate is higher than the national pass rate as well as that of the District of Columbia. Employment: 100% of the Program graduates seeking employment over the past 4 years have been employed; many graduates were offered jobs prior to graduation.
Tuition and fees per semester for the 2004-05 academic year totals approximately $9,636. Tuition is capped at a 12 credit per semester rate. Tuition rates are subject to increase each year.