Clinical Education Overview

Clinical education provides students with exposure to a variety of physical therapy practice settings and a wide range of patient populations across the lifespan. These full-time experiences take place during the second year of study and immerse students into clinical settings as they learn to function as a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Clinical education experiences provide students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to clinical situations under the direct supervision and guidance of experienced physical therapist clinicians. In clinical learning environments, students develop safe and effective skills in all aspects of patient care while also developing the ability to work as part of a healthcare team.

Clinical Education Curriculum

Students complete 31 weeks of full-time clinical education, comprised of an eight-week inpatient experience, an eight-week outpatient experience, and a 15-week specialty-focused experience.

DPT 6810 Physical Therapy Practice I is an integrated 8-week clinical experience conducted in the 4th academic trimester. Clinical placements typically include inpatient acute care, post-acute, and long-term rehabilitation practice settings that provide students with exposure to a variety of patient conditions across the continuum of care.

  • Students complete all foundational patient management coursework prior to DPT 6810 and are fully prepared to treat patients with musculoskeletal, neurologic, and cardiopulmonary dysfunctions in a variety of inpatient practice settings.
  • Students complete the DPT 6530 Management of Complex Patients course concurrently with this clinical experience to closely integrate didactic and clinical education experiences.

DPT 6820 Physical Therapy Practice II is a terminal 8-week clinical experience in the 5th academic trimester. Clinical placements include hospital-based or private practice outpatient facilities that provide students with a variety of patient exposures across the lifespan and diagnostic spectrum.

DPT 6V10 Physical Therapy Practice III is a terminal 15-week clinical experience in the 6th academic trimester. Clinical placements are specialty-focused (e.g. orthopaedics, neurology, geriatrics, pediatrics, etc.) to prepare students for entry-level practice or post-professional residency opportunities that align with their professional goals. Students with an orthopaedic or sports physical therapy concentration may choose to combine their final two clinical education courses into a 23-week terminal internship in a general outpatient clinic.

  • Students complete their remaining didactic courses prior to, or concurrently with, these two terminal clinical experiences.  DPT 6290 Primary Care Physical Therapy is taken concurrently with the outpatient clinical experience to emphasize medical screening and differential diagnosis skills.  In the final trimester, DPT 6270 Professional Competencies II covers professional issues that prepare the student for entry-level clinical practice.

What makes our clinical education program different?

  1. Standardized Placements: Clinical placements are sequenced in inpatient, outpatient, and specialty practice settings to provide the majority of students with similar learning experiences and clinical skill development across all three clinical education courses.
  1. Integrated Curriculum: Didactic courses taken concurrently during clinical education allow students to "bring the classroom into the clinic, and the clinic into the classroom". Students directly apply the concepts learned in these didactic courses to their patients and then share these clinical experiences with their class during case-based discussions and assignments.
  1. Career-Focused: A terminal internship experience in a specialty concentration allows each student to align their clinical education with their professional practice goals. These terminal experiences fully prepare students for post-professional residency opportunities and/or entry-level practice in a clinical practice setting of their choosing.
  1. Post-professional Residency Opportunities: Baylor University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program offers all students the opportunity to easily transition into post professional residencies upon graduation. What does this mean for you?  As a student, you can complete the entire DPT curriculum and residency in three years – the normal timeframe for most DPT programs alone. 
  1. Clinical faculty: Clinical faculty are an integral part of our clinical experiences for students, and so we invest in those faculty by offering them access to library resources as well as the opportunity to structure your clinical hands-on experiences to complement your online curriculum.  Many of your clinical faculty in the final internship are specialists in their field, have completed residency or fellowship training, and are chosen for their expertise and eagerness to work with students. 

Clinical education is a key component in preparing our graduates for successful entry into the profession of physical therapy.  We are committed to providing opportunities that will allow our students to work in a wide variety of settings and ultimately be positioned to transition to a residency position after graduation if desired.  The profession of physical therapy is moving forward, and our clinical education program is focused on keeping our graduates ahead of the curve.

Click here for more information regarding the accreditation status of Baylor's DPT program.