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PHT 816 Practicum

Connect theory to your professional practice.

Format: Online
Duration: 8 weeks
Credits: 1-2 credits

PHT 816 Capstone Practicum is the transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy program’s capstone course, which you will tailor to your individual needs and professional interests. The type of doctoral project the student carries out can fall into one of four areas: community health projects, professional in-service, education-teaching, or preparation for a clinical specialty. For some projects, the activity and outcomes will focus on the creation of an educational in-service or teaching-learning discovery. 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, students who are interested in obtaining their advanced certification in one of many approved sections have the option to prepare for the specialty examination. The expectation for many of these projects is its eventual publication and/or presentation in a professional forum.

Sample Assignment

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

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

Doctoral Project Areas

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

  1. Preparation for Clinical Specialty
  2. Community Health
  3. Professional In-service
  4. Education-Teaching

Preparation for Clinical Specialty

You focus on working individually to create a personalized plan of study in preparation for a specialty examination. 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.


You’ll serve as a teaching assistant (T.A.) in the tDPT program. During this time, you’ll complete coursework that explores topics that include the teaching philosophy, ethics, paper grading, outcome assessment tools and more. Journaling your experiences as a T.A. throughout the course will provide you with a resource for the final project, a reflective assignment to be shared with your peers and the instructor at the end of the course.

*This thread should be taken by students who have a strong interest and desire to teach in higher academia, particularly online.

Learn More

PHT 816 provides you an opportunity to integrate and demonstrate your knowledge of the physical therapy profession. For more information about this course or other courses in Utica College’s online transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, request more information or call us at 315.732.2640 or toll-free 866.295.3106.

The content presented on this page is representative information for example purposes and is subject to change as course and student needs change over time.