Doctor of Physical Therapy

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at HSU prepares individuals who demonstrate excellence in the practice of physical therapy and are enlightened by Christian faith and values. Excellence and integrity are developed and demonstrated in our program through lifelong learning, service and faith. Students who are self-motivated, dedicated and self-driven are provided an outstanding education by a highly qualified and engaged faculty who are dedicated to your success.  An excellent, well-equipped facility, and numerous integrative learning experiences within the curriculum result in outstanding, exceptionally qualified practitioners.

Physical therapists (PTs) are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest, who have health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives due to illness, injury, pain or disability. PTs also promote fitness, wellness and active lifestyles.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Hardin-Simmons University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website: If you need to contact the program/institution directly, please call 325-670-5860 or email


In 2018, 100% of HSU’s DPT students are members of the American Physical Therapy Association, earning HSU a Reach100 Platinum Award.

PT Facilities

HSU DPT moved into a new PT building during the summer of 2018! The 22,000 sq. foot facility contains state of the art physical therapy equipment, two expansive classrooms for lecture and hands-on laboratories and a computer facility.  A PT Rehabilitation Lab for student learning and patient treatment houses an Alter-G treadmill, traction table, various aerobic and weight training equipment, and motion analysis. The human cadaver Anatomy Lab is utilized by students during their first two semesters in the program and provides and in-depth learning experience of the human body. Additional facilities include a Conference Room, student and faculty lounges and locker rooms.

Top 10 Reasons to Enroll in the DPT Program at HSU!

10. FIRST entry-level professional Doctor of Physical Therapy program in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma.
9. An opportunity to advance your professional development.
8. Incredible faculty dedicated to teaching: All are licensed, practicing PTs.
7. A state of art PT education facility; including cadaver Anatomy, PT Rehabilitation lab and latest technology.
6. Long tradition of student, alumni, and faculty achievements including numerous local, state and national awards and recognitions.
5. Personalized Clinical Rotations – no random draw/lottery system!
4. 100% placement of graduates in the job market.
3. National board pass rates above the national average.
2. A caring family environment conducive to your developing success as a PT.
1. The DPT degree in 28 months!  Your success is our #1 goal.

Contact Us

Janelle O' Connell-Department Head and Professor, Director of PT Admissions

Dr. Janelle O’Connell

Department Head and Professor, Director of PT Admissions 325-670-5860


  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Why earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy at HSU?

Physical Therapy professor demonstrating process with student volunteer

HSU PT Ministries

The HSU PT Ministries was established in 2000 to provide pro bono health care/outreach activities to people in under-served parts of our community, nation, and world or to individuals unable to obtain needed PT care. The motto of this program is: "To serve Christ by serving others." This motto reflects the program’s mission statement: "To prepare individuals who demonstrate excellence in the practice of physical therapy and are enlightened by Christian faith and values."

Program Outcomes

The two year outcomes for the Classes of 2016 & 2017 are:
-Graduation rate: 98%
-First time pass rates: 91%
-Ultimate pass rates: 100%
-Employment rate: 100% of students who pass the national licensure exam are employed within 6 months of licensure. This has held true since the first graduating class in 1997.

HSU student pointing to pain in back and other student massaging the pain point

HSU DPT Mission Statement

The mission of the Hardin-Simmons University Physical Therapy program is to prepare individuals who demonstrate excellence in the practice of physical therapy and are enlightened by Christian faith and values.

Jacob Hamilton-HSU Doctor of Physical Therapy featured student

Program Details

Clinical Education

Rotation Sequence: Every student in the DPT program must complete clinical rotations in the Acute, Outpatient, and Inpatient Rehabilitation settings. The following clinical rotation sequence is generally followed:

  1. One on campus experience consisting of Campus Clinic
  2. One 3 week affiliation at the end of the first year
  3. Three 8 week and one 10 week affiliation during the last year of the program

Campus Clinic Schedule

HSU PT Campus Clinic is offered most Fridays from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. for HSU students, alumni, and faculty/staff.

An evaluation can be performed without a physician referral, but a physician referral is necessary for treatment.

Cost is free for HSU students. A $20/visit donation for alumni and faculty/staff is recommended and used to support the HSU PT Ministries Mission Program.  Please call the PT office at 670-5860 to schedule an appointment.

Continuing Competency Opportunities

September 15-16 Management and Treatment of Cervicogenic Headaches
November 2-3, 2018 IPA Course
November 16-18, 2018 Dry Needling I Course
Lunch and Learn Series 12-1 p.m.

Fall 2018


Curriculum (curricular sequence & timeline)

Hardin-Simmons University
Department of Physical Therapy
Curriculum by Semester
Fall I Fall II
Number Course Title Hrs Credit Number Course Title Hrs Credit
7101 Orientation to the Physical Therapy Profession 1 7134 Pharmacology 1
7142 Professional Seminar I 1 7184 Professional Project I 1
7281 Critical Inquiry I 2 7208 Neuroscience II 2
7303 Applied Physiology I 3 7229 Clinical Diagnosis & Management VI: Integumentary 2
7305 Clinical Kinesiology I 3 7244 Professional Seminar III 2
7401 Clinical Anatomy I 4 7324 Clinical Diagnosis & Management IV: Musculoskeletal II 3
7421 Introduction to Clinical Diagnosis & Management I 4 7334 Clinical Diagnosis & Management VII: Pediatrics & Geriatrics 3
18 7427 Clinical Diagnosis & Management V: Neurological II 4
Spring I Spring II
Number Course Title Hrs Credit Number Course Title Hrs Credit
7204 Applied Physiology II 2 7170 Experiential Professional Activity – Campus Clinic 1
7222 Introduction to Clinical Diagnosis & Management II 2 7185 Professional Project II 1
7232 Diagnostic Screening 2 7230 Clinical Diagnosis & Management VIII: Multiple Systems 2
7302 Clinical Anatomy II 3 7283 Critical Inquiry III 2
7306 Clinical Kinesiology II 3 7428 Healthcare  Management 4
7307 Neuroscience I 3 7872 Experiential Professional Activity II 8
7382 Critical Inquiry II 3 18
Summer I Summer II
Number Course Title Hrs Credit Number Course Title Hrs Credit
7133 Diagnostic Imaging 1 7102 Professional  Development 1
7343 Professional Seminar II 2-3 7873 Experiential Professional Activity III 8
7326 Clinical Diagnosis & Management III: Neurological I 3 7874 Experiential Professional Activity IV 8
7371 Experiential Professional Activity I 3 17
7423 Clinical Diagnosis & Management I: Musculoskeletal I 4
7425 Clinical Diagnosis & Management II: Cardiovascular & Pulmonary 4 Fall III
18 Number Course Title Hrs Credit
7245 Professional Seminar IV 2
7875 Experiential Professional Activity V 10
Total Curriculum Credit Hours:   118-119

Additional Hands-On Learning Opportunities

  • Family Retreat- Short Term Missionary
  • Annual Mission Trip
  • PT Ministries Clinic
  • Kinesiotaping Seminars
  • Manual Therapy Courses
  • Dry Needling Courses
  • Community Service


 Course subject Course level Lab Hours Acceptable courses Course description
Two Lower Level Biology Courses


Lower Division

100-200 Level

Required SH: 4 Biology: General I

Biology: General II




Either A&P I & II sequence OR

Bio I & II sequence are required.

One Upper Level Biology Course Upper Division

300-400 Level

Optional SH: 3-4 A&P: Advanced

A&P: Human

A&P: Neurophysiology

A&P: Pathophysiology

A&P: Physiology

A&P: Comparative

A&P: Mammalian

A&P: Neuroanatomy

A&P: Vertebrate

Biology: Advanced

Biology: Cell

Biology: Embryology

Biology: Genetics

Biology: Histology

Biology: Immunology

Biology: Microbiology

Biology: Molecular

Biology: Nutrition

Other upper division human biology courses may be accepted.
Chemistry I & II Lower Division

100-200 Level

Required SH: 4 Chemistry I & II

Chemistry: Biochemistry

Chemistry: Organic

Minimum requirement of General Chemistry I & II for science majors with respective laboratories.
Physics I & II 100-200 Level Required SH: 4 Physics I & II Course is not required to be calculus-based.
Statistics 100-400 Level Not Required SH: 3 Biology: Biostatistics

Business: Statistics

Mathematics: Statistics

Psychology: Statistics

Statistics from other discipline may be accepted.
Psychology 100-400 Level Not Required SH: 3 Psychology: Abnormal

Psychology: Adolescent

Psychology: Advanced

Psychology: Child

Psychology: Death & Dying Psychology: Developmental

Psychology: General

Psychology: General I

Psychology: General II

Psychology: Growth & Development Psychology: Human Behavior Psychology: Life Span Development Psychology: Rehabilitation

Two human psychology courses are required.

Coursework older than 10 years not accepted.

The latest two-year outcomes for the Classes of 2016 and 2017 are:

  • Graduation Rate: 98%
  • Ultimate Pass Rate: 100%
  • First-Time Pass Rate: 90%
  • Employment Rate: 100%  (100% of students who pass the national licensure exam are employed as PTs within 12 months of graduation. This has held true since the first graduating class in 1997.)

Prepare for your future in Physical Therapy. Qualified invited applicants and others interested in learning more the Hardin-Simmons University DPT program will have the opportunity to attend one of these tentative dates held on Fridays during the 2018-2019 school year:

  1. September 28, 2018
  2. November 9, 2018
  3. November 30, 2018
  4. February 8, 2019

Great reasons to attend a HSU PT Preview Day:

  • Gain knowledge of the PT profession
  • Observe the HSU PT clinic offered to HSU employees and students
  • Learn about HSU & Abilene
  • Learn the requirements to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree
  • Meet faculty & students
  • Tour our state-of-the-art facilities
  • If qualified, interview for a seat in the DPT program

PT Program Mission

The mission of the Hardin-Simmons University Physical Therapy program is to prepare individuals who demonstrate excellence in the practice of physical therapy and are enlightened by Christian faith and values.

The Program Philosophy

Physical therapy may be defined as the care and services provided by or under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist including:

  1. Examining (history, systems review, and tests and measures) individuals with impairment, functional limitations, and disability or other health-related conditions in order to determine a diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention;
  2. Alleviating impairment and functional limitation by designing, implementing, and modifying therapeutic interventions;
  3. Preventing injury, impairment, functional limitation, and disability including promotion and maintenance of fitness, health, and quality of life in all age populations; and
  4. Engaging in consultation, education and research.

In acceptance of this definition and the mission statement, the Faculty of the Professional Graduate Program in the Department of Physical Therapy at Hardin-Simmons University holds to the following beliefs:

All members of society have the right to access quality health care which includes the provision of physical therapy services. Physical therapy is an integral component of our dynamic and changing health care system and may serve as the patient’s point of entry. The practice of physical therapy is a continuum ranging from promotion of health and prevention of physical dysfunction to restoration of function that has been compromised.

Physical therapists are health care professionals who function interdependently in a broad range of settings. In providing service, consultation, and referral, physical therapists use an evidence-based approach to address the physical, psychological, spiritual, and socio-economic needs of their patients. This approach combines the clinical expertise of the therapist with published research evidence and the patient’s values and preferences to determine the optimal plan of care. Other roles of the physical therapist include educator/consultant (patient, family, caregivers, colleagues, students) and advocate (patients, profession, and public welfare).

Preparation for the practice of physical therapy is a challenging interpersonal and intellectual process that builds upon a foundation of academic preparation in the liberal arts and sciences. It requires positive commitment and the practice of professional core values from both faculty and students to generate and sustain a stimulating learning environment conducive to professional, personal and spiritual growth. The graduate educational environment supports innovations that reflect a variety of teaching and learning styles. Within this environment, the learner is encouraged to achieve a high level of competence in the profession and adopt an attitude of service consistent with Christian faith and values.

The core faculty are physical therapists who are qualified by both educational and professional experience. They serve as positive role models through their participation in ongoing personal and professional development and commitment to service.

Selected students have made an informed decision to pursue physical therapy as a career and are committed to being self-directed, responsible, and active participants in the educational process. Students display characteristics of intellectual curiosity, academic competence, creativity, sensitivity, and professional core values.

Graduates are competent in entry-level evidence-based practice and function as primary care providers and life-long learners who contribute to the advancement of the profession. They are also prepared to fulfill their roles as teachers, consultants, and advocates for their patients.

Program Goals

As members of the faculty at HSU and within the physical therapy program, we strongly believe that our primary responsibility is to serve others. In that respect, our mission is accomplished through SERVICE to our students, university, community/church, and profession. Within each of these areas, we have clearly defined goals and measurable outcomes as outlined below.

Service to Students

Goal 1: Provide students with a professional education that will successfully prepare them for entry-level employment as licensed physical therapists.

Outcomes for Goal 1:

  1. Provide students with a professional education that will successfully prepare them for entry-level employment as licensed physical therapists.
    1. 100% of students will achieve a rating of “entry level” on the PT MACS visual analog scale (i.e. > 50%) during their final clinical rotation.
    2. 100% will be at entry-level, as measured on the Visual Analog Scale, following their final rotation.
    3. >95% of students who enter the program will graduate within 42 months of starting their PT education.
    4. > 95% of students will pass the licensure exam on their initial attempt, while > 98% percent will ultimately pass the exam in the first year following graduation.
    5. > 98% of graduates seeking employment will have a job within 6 months of passing the licensure exam.

Goal 2: Mentor students in the development of professional core values.

Outcomes for Goal 2:

  1. 100% of students will document a minimum of 45 contact hours of pro-bono service throughout the curriculum as recorded in their professional development logs/journals.
  2. Graduating students will rate “The HSU PT program encouraged the development of professional core values” as a 4 of 5 on a Likert scale during their focus group session.
  3. Mentor students in the development of professional core values.
    1. 100% of students will provide evidence of attaining 90% or more of goals related to development of their core values by the completion of their PT education.
  4. Provide opportunities for students to grow in their Christian faith and values.
    1. At the completion of their PT education, at least 85% of focus groups will report that the professional development process was either “very helpful” or “extremely helpful” in shaping and refining their professional core values.

Goal 3: Provide opportunities for students to grow in their Christian faith and values.

Outcomes for Goal 3:

  1. One hundred percent (100%) of students will document achievement of their professional development goals during years I and II through documentation in their journals completed submitted during Professional Seminar 1 and 2.
  2. One hundred percent (100%) of students will participate in a minimum of 40 hours of professional development activities throughout the curriculum as recorded in their professional development logs/journals required to meet the Professional Development elective.
  3. Clients participating in Campus Clinic will rate their overall satisfaction with the HSU Campus Clinic as 8 out of 10.
  4. Graduating students will rate “The HSU PT program helped me grow in my Christian faith and values” as a 4 out of 5 on a Likert scale during their focus group session.

Service to the University, Community, and Profession:

Goal 4: The faculty will develop scholarly products that will contribute to the body of knowledge in physical therapy.

Outcomes for Goal 4

  1. In aggregate, core faculty will produce at least 12 peer-reviewed scholarly products per year.

Goal 5: Advocate for the public, profession, and university through a variety of service activities.

Outcomes for Goal 5:

  1. One-hundred percent (100%) of core faculty will be active members of at least one professional organization on an ongoing basis.
  2. Seventy-five percent (75%) of core faculty will serve on appointed university or department committee each year.
  3. One-hundred percent (100%) of core faculty will participate in at least 2 pro bono service activities per year.
  4. Fifty percent (50%) of core faculty will serve in elected or appointed positions/committees at the district, state or national level per year.

Goal 6: Provide opportunities for post-professional education and development.

Outcome for Goal 6

  1. The HSU Physical Therapy Department will host at least 3 continuing competency programs or professional development workshops per year.
  2. The HSU Physical Therapy Department will offer at least one post-professional, degree-granting program per year.

Program Cost for Class Beginning Fall 2019

Non-refundable seat deposit: $1,200
The deposit is due at the time the applicant accepts the offer of a position in the program and will go toward the first semester’s tuition. The deposit is forfeited if the applicant accepts and later relinquishes a seat in the program prior to the start of classes.

Projected Tuition per Semester = $9,360 (7 terms from start to completion of the degree) *Tuition Per Year $28,080
Projected Total Program Cost = $65,520 (28 months)

Additional Costs

Textbooks (estimated)
Year 1: Fall Semester = $1,500
Spring Semester = $500
Summer Semester = $500

Year 2: Fall Semester = $500
Spring Semester = $500
Summer Semester = $0

Year 3: Fall Semester = $500

Supplemental Supplies/Materials

  • PT Tool Kit & Shirt/Liability/Malpractice Insurance/CPR/
  • Background Check/Drug Check = $450
  • PT Macs = $60
  • APTA & Texas Student Membership (annual) = $90
  • Immunizations (depends on what student currently has) = $5 – $200
  • General University Fee (Spring and Fall) = $600
  • General University Fee (Summer) = $250
  • Housing and Living Expense = Variable

Financial aid is limited for graduate students. However, additional information concerning financial aid may be obtained by contacting the Financial Aid Office at (325) 670-1205 or (800) 568-2692.

Listed below is a brief description of most of the financial assistance programs available to students pursuing graduate degrees.

For additional specific information, consult with the Office of Financial Aid or other office listed. Name of Program Type Administrative Office/ Area Amount
Abilene Chapter AAUW Jewel Davis Scarborough Scholarship Scholarship for female graduate students attending Abilene colleges Application available through the Financial Aid offices at all Abilene colleges
(325) 670-1206
American Academy of Physical Therapy Scholarship Scholarships for minorities enrolled in an entry-level degree PT program American Academy of Physical Therapy Scholarship
P.O. Box 196
Hazel Crest, Ill 60429
888-717-AAPT (2278)
$1,000/ yr
AMBUCS Scholarships for PT Students enrolled in a masters or doctorate program AMBUCS
P.O. Box 5127
High Point, NC 27262
(800) 838-1845

$6,000 2-yr. award

APTA Minority Scholarship Award Minority PT students enrolled in the final year of their professional program (Member of APTA) APTA
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-1488
(800) 999-2782
Minimum $1,500
APTA Student Assembly Outstanding PT Student Award Award

(Member of APTA)

1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-1488
(800) 999-2782
$1,000 + trip to the APTA Conference
Campanella PT Professional Education Scholarship Scholarship for PT students in second to last year of PT education California Physical Therapy Fund, Inc.
Roy and Roxie Campanella Foundation
7657 Winnetka Avenue, Suite 534
Canoga Park, CA 91306
818-716-0206; 818-783-8787
Harlan Barbanell, Scholarship Chair
$2,000 for last year of PT Program
McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals (Tylenol Future Care Scholarship) Health-related areas of study Applications available through February – May.
Citizens Scholarship Foundation of America, Inc.
1505 Riverview Rd., P.O. Box 88
St. Peter, MN 56082
National Society Daughters of the American Revolution The Occupational/Physical Therapy Scholarship is awarded to students who are in financial need and have been accepted or are attending an accredited school of occupational/physical therapy. Deadline: February 15 DAR SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE, Sharon Cothern Nettles, National Chairman
P.O. Box 2906, Ridgeland, MS 39158–2906
Taylor, Jones, Haskell County Medical Scholarship Scholarship for those in health career programs who have lived in Taylor, Jones, Haskell county for 2.5 years Application available through the Financial Aid office
Hardin-Simmons University
(325) 670-1206
Maximum $1,000/yr
Mann Scholarship Scholarship for 2 incoming DPT students who demonstrate exceptional GPA, service and leadership. Application available through the Financial Aid office
Hardin-Simmons University
(325) 670-1206
Maximum $30,000 toward tuition

The Department of Physical Therapy at Hardin-Simmons University participates in the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service, known as PTCAS. Applicants applying to the HSU entry-level physical therapist education program for the 2019 entering class should apply online using the PTCAS application.

Applications will be accepted between July 1, 2018, and March 1, 2019. Personal interviews are required as part of the application process. Early decision candidates must complete all requirements and be accepted for a September interview. To learn more about the PTCAS application process and to apply, visit

  • Admissions consideration formula: TBA
  • HSU DPT PTCAS GRE code is 0966

Early Admission Option

This option is for the Hardin-Simmons University (HSU) & University of Dallas students who indicate biology as their plan of study when they begin as a freshman. It is also available to students at McMurry or Dallas Baptist University who are either biology majors or pursuing the “pre-professional track” in Kinesiology. To be eligible for this early admission option, the student must take all of the PT prerequisite courses at their designated University.

Students may complete this plan in as little as three years of course work prior to application for admission consideration to the Department of Physical Therapy. The student must follow the core, major and minor requirements of either the B.A. or B.S. degree in biology and/or Kinesiology. In either case, the student must complete, as a part of the degree plan, the PT prerequisite courses for admission consideration.

Basic science course work completed in the first semester of the professional phase of the DPT program will count toward the undergraduate major. This course work will satisfy, in part, the requirements for the baccalaureate degree which will be awarded at the end of the first semester of the DPT program.

Students who elect this early admission option who are not admitted to the DPT program on the occasion of application will be able to complete specified upper level course work in their major to satisfy the baccalaureate degree requirements. The Early Admission option does not guarantee admission to the DPT degree program.

Procedures for the Early Admission Option

  1. Must meet the general admissions requirements for entering as a freshman (less than 30 semester hours completed). All Physical Therapy prerequisite courses must be completed at the University and Department with which HSU maintains an articulation agreement.
  2. The student may apply for Physical Therapy admission consideration via PTCAS the year prior to the PT class start date, if the prerequisite course work, specified courses in the major, core requirement course work and course work for the minor can be completed for the B.A. or B.S. degree prior to the start date of the DPT program.
  3. Meet all the requirements for admission and be offered a seat in the desired class. The Early Admission course of study does not guarantee admission to the DPT program.

Requirements for international applicants to the Graduate Program in Physical Therapy at Hardin-Simmons University are as follows:

  1. Apply to PTCAS
    1. An official copy of the evaluation must be sent directly from the transcript service to PTCAS. The cost of this evaluation is the responsibility of the student. This requirement will be waived if the applicant received a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited Unites States college or university.
    2. An  applicant whose native language is not English must submit an official TOEFL score of 550 on the paper-based exam, a 213 on the computer-based exam or a 75 on the internet-based TOEFL (iBT). TOEFL scores must be sent directly from the testing agency to PTCAS. HSU school codes: TOEFL-6268

International applicants should also be aware of the following:

  1. For qualified students a personal on-campus interview is required.
  2. Applicants offered admission into the program must post a one thousand dollar (US $1,000) deposit with the Office of Financial Affairs. This deposit can be utilized ONLY toward payment of the student’s final semester’s expenses, and will not be released at an earlier date. International applicants will not be admissible until the deposit is recorded on the University ledgers.

Graduates of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program are expected to function effectively with diverse populations and to lead lives of service through active involvement in intellectual, cultural, spiritual, professional and political activities.  A major component of the practice of physical therapy involves assessing and treating movement disorders.

To ensure that the student can complete the essential requirements of the academic program required for physical therapy, the HSU PT Department requires essential abilities in observational, communication, motor, intellectual, conceptual, and behavioral/social skills. Additionally, the student will be utilizing these skills throughout the program as he/she participates in classroom, laboratory, ministerial and clinical experiences.

The following list of skills is illustrative and does not represent an all-inclusive listing of the functions of a physical therapist. A student must be able to meet these minimal abilities prior to beginning the classroom aspect of the educational program as well as prior to beginning the clinical affiliations.

Observational Skills

The students must be able to:

  1. Observe and interpret safety hazards.
  2. Receive and interpret visual information from patients including movement, posture, body mechanics, skin conditions (varying colors), changes in appearance and gait for comparison to normal standards.
  3. Receive and interpret aural information from patients including notation of discomfort, pain, or emergent conditions.
  4. Receive and interpret equipment dials, assessment graphs, EKG’s, EMG’s, assistive devices and other information from the evaluation, assessment and treatment environment.
  5. Read and interpret patient charts, professional literature, notes from patients, family members, physicians, and other health care providers.

Communication Skills

The student must be able to:

  1. Communicate clearly with patients, colleagues, physicians, other health care professionals, community or professional groups in all of the following manners: orally, in writing, via telephone, via computer, aurally.
  2. Gather information using verbal, auditory, sensory, visual, olfactory and tactile sources.
  3. Document clearly and legibly in the patient’s record, to physicians and on insurance forms and other required documentation.
  4. Type correctly and effectively in an electronic medical record
  5. Respond to a patient calling from behind a curtain or without viewing the speaker’s face, hear monitors with varying tones, emergency signals, auscultate heart and breath sounds and respond to warning calls or signals from individuals or equipment.
  6. Participate in group meetings/activities by receiving and delivering information and responding to questions or comments from a variety of sources.
  7. Read, write, speak and understand English at a level consistent with successful completion of all physical therapy course and job requirements.

Motor Skills

The student must be able to:

  1. Using proper body mechanics, sit, stand, walk, lift, carry, push, pull and transport patients in bed, wheelchair or transferring from a variety of surfaces to a variety a surfaces; move body parts and heavy equipment.
  2. Measure vital signs.
  3. Assess cognitive/mental status, pulmonary, cardiac, vascular function, wound status, strength, endurance, segmental length, girth and volume, sensation, tone, reflexes, movement patterns, coordination, balance, developmental stage, soft tissue, joint motion/play, pain, cranial and peripheral nerve function, posture, gait, functional abilities and assistive device fit/use.
  4. Complete treatment procedures appropriate to the patient’s status and desired goals including exercise, developmental activities, balance training, gait training, transfer training, functional training, coordination training, positioning techniques, self-care activities and therapeutic modalities.
  5. Demonstrate the manual dexterity to safely operate and adjust buttons and dials on therapeutic modalities and other equipment, as well as type on an electronic medical record or computer.
  6. Walk and balance well enough to assist patients with walking and/or transferring with or without assistive devices while preventing injury to self and the patient.
  7. Perform CPR.
  8. Treat acutely ill patients without disturbing sensitive monitoring instruments and lines.
  9. Safely and effectively position hands and apply mobilization and manipulation techniques or palpate body surfaces, structures, tissues or organs.
  10. Exert 20-50 pounds of force occasionally and 10-25 pounds of force frequently.
  11. Attend classes 30 or more hours per week and sit for 2-10 hours daily, stand for 2-4 hour daily and walk or travel for 2 hours daily. On clinical rotations, stand and walk for 6-8 hours/day and sit for 2-4 hours/day.
  12. Frequently twist, bend, stoop, and occasionally, crawl, squat, climb, kneel, straight-let sit and reach above shoulder level.
  13. Conform to all HIPAA regulations and policies during campus clinic and outside clinical activities.

Intellectual Conceptual Skills

The student must also have cognitive abilities to master relevant content in the required coursework at a post-baccalaureate level.  Necessary skills include:

  • Comprehension of dimensional and spatial structural relationships
  • Reasoning and application skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Mastery of information presented through a variety of mediums including:
  • Lectures
  • Demonstrations
  • Written material including textbooks, journal articles and handouts
  • Anatomical, physiological, neurological, muscular, orthopedic, laboratory work
  • Videotapes
  • CD’s, DVD’s, Blackboard and other software programs/applications
  • Radiographic media and reports
  • Other visual and audio learning aids.

Mastery should be demonstrated by passing written, oral and practical examinations.

Ability to:

  • Comprehend
  • Memorize
  • Analyze
  • Synthesize
  • Apply knowledge
  • Understanding and application of the basic ethical content of the physical therapy
  • Utilization of the process of scientific inquiry in the decision-making process.

Behavioral/Social Attributes

Physical therapy students at Hardin-Simmons University are required to engage in essential professional behaviors throughout their program of study.  These behaviors include:

  1. Commitment to Learning
  2. Communication Skills
  3. Use of Constructive Feedback
  4. Professionalism
  5. Critical Thinking
  6. Interpersonal Skills
  7. Effective Use of Time and Resources
  8. Problem-Solving
  9. Responsibility
  10. Stress Management

More specifically, the student must:

  1. Demonstrate the emotional stability to function effectively in order to not jeopardize the emotional, physical, mental and behavioral safety of clients and other individuals with whom one interacts in academic and clinical settings.
  2. Appropriately and effectively cope with stress of heavy workloads, demanding patient loads, patient morbidity/mortality and life-threatening clinical situations.
  3. Recognize and respond appropriately to individuals of all ages, genders, races, socio-economic, religious and cultural backgrounds.
  4. Acknowledge and respect individual values and opinions in order to foster harmonious working relationships with colleagues, peers, and patient/clients.
  5. Demonstrate attributes of compassion, empathy, integrity and concern for others.
  6. Demonstrate ability to be assertive, delegate responsibilities appropriately, and function as part of a physical therapy team.
  7. Demonstrate motivation and interest in coursework and clinical affiliations.
  8. Maintain personal appearance and hygiene conducive to classroom and clinical settings.

Does HSU use the PTCAS?
Yes!  Apply online at  HSU DOES NOT require a supplemental application or supplemental application fee.

Should my bachelor’s degree be in a specific major?
No. A bachelor’s degree in any major, from an accredited university, along with the PT prerequisite courses, is acceptable.

What is the average GPA of students admitted to your program?
Prerequisite, overall, and last 60 hour GPAs averages range from 3.5-3.6.

What type of clinical observations are required?
A minimum of 40 observation/work/volunteer hours under two different licensed physical therapists in two different settings, and two different facilities for a minimum of 80 hours. However, the average number of observation hours of admitted students is about 400.

Is the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) required?
Yes. Verbal, quantitative and writing scores will be considered as part of your application. Recommended scores to be competitive are 150 on verbal/quantitative and 4 on the writing. The HSU PTCAS code for the GRE is 0966.

What other qualities are considered in the application process?
The HSU PT program strives to build leaders who are committed to service. Therefore, specific questions on the PTCAS related to Leadership and Service (community, school, church, etc.) are important in the selection process. Other factors include a personal on-campus interview, your prerequisite & overall GPA, GRE scores, personal skills/talents, shadowing, and academic record of success.

Dr. Janelle O’Connell
Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults
Licensed and Certified Athletic Trainer
Professor and Program Director, Director of Admissions



Mark Armstrong
Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy



Dr. Jacob Brewer
PT, Ph.D., DPT
Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy
Associate Professor of Physical Therapy



Jill Jumper
Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Geriatric Physical Therapy
Certified Lymphedema Therapist
Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy



Joe McCormick
Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy
Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist
Certified Specialist in Dry Needling
Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy


Dr. Dennis O’Connell
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist
Professor of Physical Therapy



Dr. Marsha Rutland
PT, ScD.
Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy
Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist
Certified Specialist in Dry Needling
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Professor of Physical Therapy


Dr. Elizabeth (Beth)  Schaeffer
Certified Vestibular Rehabilitation Specialist
Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy



Justin Tammany
Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy
Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist
Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy