Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name



Physical Therapy


Wei Zhang

Subject Categories

Physical Therapy


PURPOSE: The purpose of the study is to determine the current Doctor of Physical Therapy program curriculum, as it applies to research classes and research projects. We investigated the current research requirements of various DPT programs nationwide to determine DPT graduates’ preparedness to conduct research post-graduation.

METHODS: Participants of the current study were recent DPT college graduates selected from DPT programs across the United States. Subjects were asked to participate in a brief online survey questionnaire in reference to their DPT program research curriculum.

RESULTS: A total of 215 DPT programs contacted, out of which 39 schools were able to participate. A total of 354 participants from 23 of the 50 states were enrolled in the current study. 315 enrolled participants (236 female, 74.9%; 79 male, 25.1%) successfully completed the study. Over 60% of the survey responses came from new graduates. Research was included in the curriculum 98% of the time according to respondents and greater than 50% of respondents claim to have 3 or more classes over the course of the program dedicated to research. Over 88% state a final research project of some kind was needed in order to complete the curriculum for graduation.

CONCLUSION: Almost all of the DPT graduates had courses dedicated to research in their curriculum. A large portion of the population involved in the survey was required to complete a research project in order to graduate. The more research exposure in curriculum and through research projects as a student the more independent in research related skills an individual becomes and thus the more likely they are to continue with research as a professional. This survey or one similar has the potential to direct curriculum in a way that could benefit the Evidence Based Practice and therefore influence the entire field in a positive way. This will be done by pinpointing the circumstances under which a clinician is most likely to continue research as well as guide future surveys and synonymous studies as to where to focus.