Arcadia’s Hybrid DPT Curriculum

Arcadia’s College of Health Sciences is committed to preparing aspiring physical therapists for real-world practice based on the most current evidence, critical thinking, and problem solving.


credit hours






on-campus immersions


weeks of clinical
education experience

An expansion of the on-campus program, Arcadia’s hybrid DPT program delivers the same patient-centered curriculum to online students. Course content, objectives, and learning outcomes have not been changed from the on-campus experience.

Both on-campus and hybrid DPT students begin and progress through the courses simultaneously.

An Innovative, Hybrid Curriculum

Arcadia’s hybrid DPT curriculum is delivered through a combination of self-guided coursework, live online classes, and hands-on training. Unlike a traditional curriculum structure, Arcadia’s hybrid DPT program is organized into 20 patient-based courses that integrate knowledge from every practice area of physical therapy.

Students will focus on one patient-based course at a time, as opposed to traditional curriculums that teach all of the term’s courses concurrently. Courses build in complexity and depth as students progress through the curriculum.

Students participate in activities and lessons derived from authentic patient scenarios so that they can immediately apply the material to the patient, enabling them to develop their skills as they advance through the program.

Patient-centered activities include:

  • Time in anatomy lab
  • Standardized patient and simulation experiences
  • Virtual patient lab sessions
  • Journal clubs
  • Interprofessional experiences
  • Movement analysis sessions
  • Professional presentations
  • Group interactions
  • Physical therapy practice-based assessments

Preview a detailed list of course descriptions here.

Self-Guided Coursework

Students will complete coursework on their own schedule. Course content includes interactive video recordings featuring demonstrations, mini-lectures, interviews, and case presentations. Students actively engage with the coursework through knowledge checks, application and reflection questions, and other opportunities for formative assessment and feedback.

Live, Collaborative Classes

Led by Arcadia’s DPT faculty, live classes are held in the virtual classroom on a regularly scheduled basis. They occur at least twice per week for most courses. Students participate in case discussions, group presentations, peer reviews, and question-and-answer sessions. Discussion and collaboration are encouraged between peers and faculty.

Hands-On Training

The two in-person components of the hybrid curriculum include on-campus immersions and clinical education experiences. These real-life components are essential for aspiring physical therapists, providing students with opportunities to collaborate with peers and faculty, engage real patients in the field, and reinforce lessons learned via the virtual classroom.

On-campus Immersions

Hosted on Arcadia’s campus, hybrid DPT students attend 8 on-campus immersions. Students focus on practice and assessment of hands-on skills, physical therapy equipment, face-to-face interpersonal skills, and other components of the curriculum that benefit from in-person instruction. To ensure engagement and comprehension, these immersions do not exceed a 1:15 faculty-to-student ratio. Attendance is required for the entirety of the immersion time on campus including weekends, in order to maximize opportunities for in person faculty-student interaction and refinement of hands-on skills.

Year 1

Fall semester

First week of program: 5-day on-campus immersion
Midway through fall semester: 7-day on-campus immersion
End of fall semester: 8-day on-campus immersion

Year 1

Spring semester

Midway through spring semester: 8-day on-campus immersion
End of spring semester:
 8-day on-campus immersion
Midway through summer semester:
 11-day on-campus immersion

Year 2

Fall semester

Midway through fall semester: 8-day on-campus immersion

Year 2

Spring semester

End of spring semester: 8-day on-campus immersion

These scheduled on-campus immersions are subject to change.

Clinical Education Experiences

In addition to on-campus immersions, students will receive hands-on training in clinical settings throughout the entire program, starting in the first year. Totaling 32 weeks, these in-person clinical experiences enable students to directly apply classroom learnings to patients in the field.

Students will work with patients of all ages and backgrounds in general hospitals, rehabilitation settings, private offices, and other facilities that provide specialized care.

Year 1

Fall semester

Integrated Clinical Education Experience (ICE)
Part time, 20 hours, experienced alongside online classes

Year 1

Spring semester

Integrated Clinical Education Experience (ICE)
Part time, 20 hours, experienced alongside online classes

Year 2

Fall semester

Clinical Education Experience (CEE)
Full time, 8 weeks

Year 2

Spring semester

Terminal Clinical Education Experience (TCEE)
Full time, 24 weeks

Service Learning Requirement

Physical therapy is a vocation based on the principles of service and care. In year one, students are required to complete complete a total of 10 hours of community service at two organizations of their choice. This experience will expose students to a wider range of patients and organizational structures in the field.

These hours can be completed at any time throughout the first year of the program and will require reflection assignments.

Student Work Policy

Due to the rigor of Arcadia’s Hybrid DPT, students are strongly discouraged from working full-time or part-time during the program. Our faculty expect students to dedicate the appropriate amount of time to the program in order for them to ensure successful outcomes for all students. Students are required to participate in all program activities during the immersion including weekends, and may need to attend Saturday and/or Sunday obligations during their full-time clinical education experiences.

Student Relocation Policy 

Due to the timeframe needed by our placement team to arrange clinical placements in a student’s area, relocation during the program should only be done in situations that cannot be avoided prior to you entering the program. If you are an admitted student and you do relocate, you must notify your Admissions Counselor (and your Student Success Advisor) at least 6 months prior to your move date to allow our Placement team ample time to find new clinical sites for you.

Preparation for Physical Therapy Licensure

The hybrid curriculum prepares graduates to pursue licensure and sit for the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE). Students are required to sit for the NPTE Practice Exam & Assessment Tool (PEAT) twice while in the program. This allows faculty to track students’ progress toward learning goals and identify any gaps along the way.

Through practice exams, Arcadia’s on-campus DPT students have experienced success when they sit for the NPTE. One hundred percent of on-campus students passed this national licensure exam in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, with greater than 95 percent of students passing on the first attempt.1

Learn more about how Arcadia’s hybrid curriculum can prepare you to become a licensed physical therapist.

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1 Arcadia University’s on-campus DPT student outcome data arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference