Western University of Health Sciences

Information about Physical Therapist program at Western University of Health Sciences



WesternUniversity of Health Sciences (A4, D6, F1, PR)


Last Updated by Program: 08/08/2005


Address:   Department of Physical Therapy Education

WesternUniversity of Health Sciences

309 E Second Street

Pomona, CA91766-1854


Phone:   (909)469-5294 Fax:   (909)469-5692

Admissions/Student Inquiry Phone:   (909)469-5335 

Financial Aid Phone:   (909)469-5353 


Web Address:   http://www.westernu.edu/xp/edu/cahp/dpt_about.xml 

Program E-mail:   dpte@westernu.edu 



Georgeanne Vlad, PT, MA

Interim Chair



  Accreditor:   Western Association of Schools and Colleges/Accrediting Commission for SeniorColleges and Universities

  Carnegie Classification:   Special Focus Institutions--Medical schools and medical centers



  Date of Initial Accreditation:   Master's degree, May 1994 (no longer offered); DPT degree, November 2002

  Current Accreditation Status:   Accreditation

  Next Visit   2008

  Five Year History:   Accreditation



Doctor of Physical Therapy



The program's format is a 3-year curriculum in a trimester system. Each trimester is between 12 and 18 weeks in length. Four clinical experiences are integrated throughout the program to provide students an opportunity to apply the didactic information at appropriate intervals in the curriculum. The first year consists of two 15-week trimesters and a third 17-week trimester, which includes the first clinical experience of 3 weeks. The second year includes one 15-week trimester, followed by a 12-week clinical experience and a 16-week trimester. The third year begins with a 15-week didactic trimester followed by 18 and 12-week trimesters. The last two trimesters include 6 weeks of didactic course work and 24 weeks of clinical internship. During their time on campus, students are in class or laboratory an average of 23 hours per week. Generally, students have one day or two half days free for reflection, studying, and working on class projects. A variety of teaching methodology is used including patient case scenarios and web-based learning.



There are 39 weeks of integrated clinical education assignment interspersed throughout the 36-month curriculum. The clinical experiences require students to be in the clinic 40 hours per week. First-year DPT students have a 3-week clinical experience based upon previously learned skills from the preceding educational trimesters. Second-year students have a 12-week clinical experience. During the final year (last 24 weeks), students have the last clinical internship of two 12-week or one 24-week period. WesternUniversity has developed contractual agreements with more than 300 clinical education sites. These sites include a wide variety of clinical experiences and are located throughout the US. WesternUniversity students are responsible for living expenses and transportation to clinical education sites for clinical experience. In addition to the formal clinical experiences, students are exposed to real and simulated patients in their laboratory classes. The University established a faculty practice a few miles from campus. This site also provides clinical experiences throughout the program.



There are seven full-time faculty, one half-time and two additional full-time equivalents on the PT education staff. In addition, there are basic science faculty who teach in the College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Department of PT Education. 82% of the full-time faculty (including basic science) hold post-professional doctoral degrees, three are certified as clinical specialists, and four are engaged in clinical practice. The faculty to student ratio is 1:10.



Total enrollment at the Western University of Health Sciences is approximately 1,500 students. The physical therapy program accepts 40-44 students. The curriculum begins in August of each year. The program also accepts a limited number of licensed physical therapists as students with advanced standing who wish to pursue the DPT degree.



Prerequisite courses must be similar in value to courses offered by an accredited 4-year college or university, and grades of C or better are required. Generally, 3 quarters are considered equivalent to 2 semesters. Science courses must have laboratories. Prerequisite coursework must be taken for a letter grade. No more than three prerequisite courses may be in progress during the spring prior to enrollment in the program. All prerequisites must be completed prior to the beginning of the DPT curriculum in August. There must be official documentation of grades prior to registration. The applicant must have an earned BA or BS degree from an accredited college or university by the time he/she matriculates at WesternUniversity. Admissions criteria include two grade point averages (GPA); one in the prerequisite courses and an overall GPA for all undergraduate and post-baccalaureate coursework. We may also consider a GPA based on the last 60 semester/90 quarter units. The following are the required prerequisite courses for application: human anatomy, a full course of lecture and lab; human physiology, a full course of lecture and lab; general college chemistry, a full course sequence of lecture and lab (introductory level courses in anatomy, physiology, or chemistry are not acceptable, and human anatomy/physiology must be out of anatomy, physiology, A&P, biology, or zoology departments); physics, a full course sequence of lecture and lab (does not have to be calculus based); psychology, two courses; statistics, one course, and English composition, one course. WesternUniversity is looking for students who come from a broad, liberal arts background with the baccalaureate degree being obtained from any field of study. A high degree of intellectual curiosity and accomplishment along with excellent verbal and written communication skills need to be evident in the applicant. The graduate of WesternUniversity will be able to problem solve in clinical practice and will also be able to communicate appropriately with the client about the client/patient care plan. In addition to the above prerequisites and GPA, applicants must submit three letters of recommendation and verification of volunteer or paid aide experience under the direct supervision of a physical therapist. See our web site at www.westernu.edu for further explanation of admission criteria.



95% of admitted students graduate from the program (3 year average); 92% of the graduates passed the licensure exam on the first try (3 year average); and 100% of those program graduates responding to surveys are employed (3 year average).



Tuition for 2005-06 is $25,500. Additional costs include health and liability insurance, books, supplies, and uniforms as well as housing and other living expenses. Approximately 99% of the students received some form of financial aid. Students should contact the Office of Financial Aid for information and Student Financial Aid application packets.



The college is located in Pomona, about 35 miles east of Los Angeles. The HealthSciencesCenter houses the Department of Physical Therapy Education, and has state-of-the-art equipment. WesternUniversity has four other large buildings with administrative offices, classrooms, and laboratories for other programs, and a new library that opened in July 2001. The DPT class entering fall 2005 has 33 students. Student enrollment for the College of Medicine is approximately 190-200 students per class, with the first- and second-year students on campus and the third- and fourth-year students off campus for clinical rotations. The physician assistant program has approximately 98 students per class. The Master of Science in health professions education graduate studies course also has approximately 35 students per year. The College of Pharmacy has about 100 students per class. The College of Graduate Nursing matriculates about 25 students in their distance-learning program. A new College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) enrolled its third class of 105 students in fall 2005. The CVM provides free health screening clinics on or close to campus for student, faculty and staff’s pets. There are a wide variety of interdisciplinary student organizations in which students can participate. WesternUniversity does not provide on-campus housing accommodations for its students; however, there is an off-campus housing referral system to help students locate houses, apartments, and roommates, etc. A local map, the real estate sections of local newspapers and information on activities in the surrounding communities are available in the Student Affairs Office. A new apartment complex just south of the campus will open in December 2005. The apartments are primarily for WesternUniversity students. For more information, visit our web site at www.western.edu