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Connect theory to your professional practice.


Tailor your study to fit your individual needs and professional interests. In this capstone course, the type of doctoral project you carry out can fall into one of three areas: community health projects, professional in-service, or preparation for a clinical specialty.

For some projects, the activity and outcomes will focus on the creation of an educational in-service. Another potential area is the identification of a public health issue related to a community need, and the generation of a program or mechanism for addressing that issue.

Finally, if you are interested in obtaining an advanced certification in one of many approved sections, you have the option to use the practicum to prepare for the specialty examination. The expectation for many of these projects is eventual publication and/or presentation in a professional forum.

Doctoral Project Areas

Depending on your career goals, you’ll complete your project in one of the following three areas:

  1. Preparation for clinical specialty
  2. Community health
  3. Professional in-service

Sample Assignment

Depending upon which capstone project option you choose (community health, professional in-service, or preparation for clinical specialty) the end product may be a formal presentation to your peers and faculty with additional handouts that reflect:

  • an insightful and well-summarized synopsis of your research or service activity
  • professional literature that supports your rationale for carrying out the research project or service activity
  • a clear understanding of the relevance of the project to physical therapy service

  • Preparation for Clinical Specialty The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties certifies physical therapists in eight areas including cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy, clinical electrophysiology, women’s health, geriatrics, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics and sports. The final project is the culmination and presentation of a professional portfolio that prepares you to sit for any of the specialty examinations.
  • Community Health Program Virtually all communities have unmet public health needs. You’ll identify such a need in your community and use resources discovered through literature searches to design a project that addresses that need. Your project can involve any population or age group, and can entail screening, intervention, or any other aspect of care.
  • Professional In-Service
    As a physical therapist, you understand the value of continuing education for those in the profession. You’ll identify a need in your workplace for an educational in-service for your peers/colleagues. Using literature searches and other tools, you’ll research and design a professional in-service that could be performed at your facility or in your community for other health care providers. Your project can address any topic you feel is of educational value to your colleagues.

Programs that include this course