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AU Trojan

YEAR 1, Summer Sessions (16 hours total)

This orientation course provides an introduction to the physical therapy profession including its history and trends, core values, role delineations, and organizational structure. Program policies and procedures are reviewed along with medical terminology, isolation techniques, emergency procedures, and HIPPA regulations. Strategies for effective learning, interpersonal communication, and team-building are also introduced.

This advanced anatomical study allows students to develop an in depth knowledge and appreciation of the intricate design of the human body including the structure of the extremities, spine, thorax, and internal organs and their embryonic derivations. Through gross cadaver dissection, students will also have an opportunity to detect anatomical anomalies or pathological changes and relate these deviations to movement dysfunction.

This course applies previously learned physical and biomechanical principles to the human body to develop a working knowledge of the osteokinematic and arthrokinematic motions that produce functional movement patterns.Students begin to develop the palpation skills needed to locate specific bony or soft tissue landmarks as well as assess joint play, end feels, muscle tone, and postural alignment. Components of the gait cycle are introduced as students also learn to differentiate normal and deviant gait patterns.

This course presents an overview of the normal regulatory function of the skeletal, neuromuscular, autonomic, cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal and urinary, digestive, hepatic and biliary, endocrine, and reproductive systems and how these systems influence human movement. Students learn to assess vital signs and body composition as well as perform basic anthropometric measures.


YEAR 1, Fall Semester (19 hours total)

This course provides a conceptual overview of common pathological processes that affect functional movement including genetic mutations, trauma, infection, neoplasia, autoimmune responses, and degenerative changes. The histological changes, lab values, and clinical signs and symptoms associated with these pathological processes are also introduced.

This course provides an overview of various drug classifications, their mechanism of action, and indications for use.Pharmacokinetics, therapeutic dosages, drug actions and interactions, and common side effects will be examined with an emphasis on how they affect cognitive and motor function.

This course teaches students to accurately, efficiently, and reliably perform basic assessment skills including skin integrity, goniometry, muscle testing, sensory and reflex testing, analysis of posture and balance, and rating scales for pain and activities of daily living (ADL).

This course covers the prescription and application of a variety of orthotic and assistive devices that are commonly used to prevent contractures, facilitate transfers and gait, and improve the mobility of patients with joint deformities or muscle weakness. Progressive functional training and outcome assessment will be emphasized.

This course covers the physiological rationale for designing a progressive exercise intervention to improve muscle strength, motor coordination, cardiovascular endurance, joint and muscle flexibility, and balance. Theories and principles of motor learning are applied to selected patient scenarios.

This course introduces the clinical reasoning process as well as the components of evidence-based practice. Students learn to locate, critique, and apply evidence to support clinical decision making as well as pose relevant clinical questions of their own.

This course teaches students how to conduct a thorough patient interview, formulate functional goals, and properly document all patient interactions. Principles and strategies for effective communications and conflict management are presented along with an overview of health informatics and the ICF model.


YEAR 1, Spring Semester (18 hours total)

This course provides a focused study of the structure and function of the peripheral and central nervous system including the cerebral cortex, brain stem nuclei, spinal tracts, peripheral plexuses and nerves, and autonomic ganglia. Theories of brain organization, information processing, and pain perception are introduced along with screening procedures for cranial nerve and cognitive function.

This course emphasizes relevant information gleaned from the patient history, systems screen, physical exam, laboratory tests, and diagnostic imaging which help distinguish between pathologies of a neuromusculoskeletal versus systemic origin. Lab practice and case studies are used to structure clinical decision-making and discuss appropriate referral mechanisms.

This course covers the physiological rationale, indications, contraindications, and treatment parameters used to safely administer various thermal, mechanical, sound, light, and electrical modalities to augment the effectiveness of other physical therapy interventions. In addition, soft tissue mobilization techniques such as massage, myofascial release, Graston technique (instrument-assisted mobilization), manual traction, and dry needling will be introduced.

This course applies theories of learning and health behavior to patient education. Students will assess the learning style of their patients and design appropriate instructional and motivational strategies to complement their patients’ needs. In addition, students will have an opportunity to develop teaching media and participate in health promotion activities within the local community.

This course provides students with experience in the physical therapy examination, diagnosis, management, and outcome assessment of individuals with cardiovascular and pulmonary conditions such as myocardial infarction, valvular dysfunction, peripheral vascular disease, congestive heart failure, and restrictive and obstructive lung diseases. Specific evaluation and treatment procedures include stress testing protocols, auscultation techniques, breathing exercises, cardiac rehab, lymphedema management, airway clearance and resuscitation techniques. Relevant medical, surgical, pharmacological, and imaging procedures will also be presented in relation to the physical therapy management. Case studies will be used to integrate information and enhance the development of clinical problem solving skills and inter-professional collaboration. 

This course provides students with early exposure to a variety of healthcare settings where they have an opportunity to interact with patients and other members of the healthcare team.Through these weekly clinical experiences, students gain knowledge of, and an appreciation for, the variety of patient care services that fall outside the realm of physical therapy.


YEAR 2, Summer Sessions (13 hours total)

Various clinical research methods are described including single subject designs, surveys, experimental designs, cohort studies, and systematic reviews. Measurement theory is reviewed and applied to the interpretation of various statistical procedures.

Students will work in small groups, under the direction of a faculty mentor, to develop a proposal for conducting an original scholarly project related to some aspect of physical therapy practice or education. The proposal will include a comprehensive review of literature and description of methods that will be used to complete the project.

This course explores legal and ethical issues affecting health care delivery in the U.S. Specific topics include ethical principles, duties, and decision making; physical therapy practice regulations in the State of South Carolina; fraud and abuse; negligence and malpractice; ADA legislation. Current ethical issues related to topics such as genetic testing and engineering, stem cell research and regenerative medicine, right-to-life and right-to-die issues, and resource distribution will be debated and discussed.

This course provides students with experience in the physical therapy examination, diagnosis, management, and outcome assessment of individual with musculoskeletal conditions affecting the cervical and thoracic spine and upper extremities such as TMJ dysfunction, disc herniation, facet joint dysfunction, shoulder impingement, fractures, and hand trauma. Specific evaluation and treatment procedures include postural correction, joint mobilization and manipulation techniques, ergonomic modifications, and post-operative orthopedic protocols. Relevant medical, surgical, pharmacological, and imaging procedures will also be presented in relation to the physical therapy management. Case studies will be used to integrate information and enhance the development of clinical problem solving skills and inter-professional collaboration.

This course provides students with experience in the physical therapy examination, diagnosis, management, and outcome assessment of individual with musculoskeletal conditions affecting the lumbar spine and lower extremities such as disc herniation, facet joint dysfunction, spinal stenosis, sacroiliac dysfunction, lower extremity fractures, ligamentous instabilities, osteoarthritis and joint arthroplasty. Specific evaluation and treatment procedures include joint mobilization and manipulation techniques, work hardening, and post-surgical rehab. Relevant medical, surgical, pharmacological, and imaging procedures will also be presented in relation to the physical therapy management. Case studies will be used to integrate information and enhance the development of clinical problem solving skills and inter-professional collaboration.


YEAR 2, Fall Semester (17 hours total)

This full-time, 6-week clinical practicum provides students with an opportunity to apply previously learned knowledge and skills on patients seeking physical therapy care in an out-patient clinical setting. Students will evaluate and treat individuals of all ages, primarily those with simple health conditions, under the direction of a licensed physical therapist.

This full-time, 6-week clinical practicum provides students with an opportunity to apply previously learned knowledge and skills on patients seeking physical therapy care in an acute care, in-patient clinical setting. Students will evaluate and treat individuals of all ages, primarily those with simple health conditions, under the direction of a licensed physical therapist.

This course provides an overview of normal motor development across the lifespan. Students will explore the stages of motor development including developmental milestones and reflexes as well as changes associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and the aging process. Laboratory experiences will provide opportunities to analyze gross motor development, play skills, motor coordination, pelvic floor exercise, and balance.

This course provides students with experience in the physical therapy examination, diagnosis, management, and outcome assessment of individuals with common metabolic and immunologic disorders such as diabetes, hormonal deficiencies, rheumatic diseases, malignancies, chronic liver and renal failure, AIDs, and infectious conditions. Relevant medical, surgical, pharmacological, and imaging procedures will be presented along with options for end-of-life care such as hospice. Case studies will be used to integrate information and enhance the development of clinical problem solving skills and inter-professional collaboration.


YEAR 2, Spring Semester (14 hours total)

Following approval of the Institutional Review Board, students will work in small groups, under the direction of a faculty mentor, to collect data related to the previously proposed scholarly project.

This course provides students with experience in the physical therapy examination, diagnosis, management, and outcome assessment of children with congenital disabilities, traumatic injuries, or other pathologies that impair normal development. Relevant medical, surgical, pharmacological, and imaging procedures will also be presented along with information related to genetic counseling. Case studies will be used to integrate information and enhance the development of clinical problem solving skills and inter-professional collaboration.

This course provides students with experience in the physical therapy examination, diagnosis, management, and outcome assessment of adults with brain trauma, stroke, and progressive neuromuscular conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinsonism, and dementia. Relevant medical, surgical, pharmacological, and imaging procedures will also be presented in relation to the physical therapy management. Case studies will be used to integrate information and enhance the development of clinical problem solving skills and inter-professional collaboration. 

The course provides students with an opportunity to discuss assessment and support strategies for interacting effectively with patients who exhibit stress, anxiety, depression, changes in body image, chronic pain, dementia, loss and grief. In addition, students will learn how to recognize and report signs of abuse, addiction, and caregiver stress including referrals to counselors, social workers, clergy, and support groups.

This course introduces various marketing strategies and management principles and applied them to a variety of physical therapy practice settings. Specific topics include regulatory policies and procedures, billing and reimbursement, personnel management, advertising, budgeting and equipment purchasing, strategic planning, liability and risk management.

This course provides students with an opportunity to pursue advanced knowledge and skill in a specialized area of clinical practice. Courses will be taught in a concentrated, continuing education format; topics may vary from year to year, depending on student interest.

This course focuses on the epidemiology and social determinants of population health problems affecting the U.S. and other countries. Emphasis is placed on health education and health promotion initiatives that physical therapists can engage in at the community level.


YEAR 3, Summer Sessions (15 hours total)

Working in small groups under the direction of a faculty mentor, students will use the appropriate quantitative or qualitative data analysis software to analyze their previously collected data and interpret the results.

This course provides students with experience in the physical therapy examination, diagnosis, management, and outcome assessment of individuals with spinal cord and peripheral nerve injuries and compression syndromes. Students will learn how to prescribe wheelchairs, orthotics, and other adaptive equipment to maximize functional movement. Relevant medical, surgical, imaging, and electrodiagnostic procedures will also be presented, and the implications of new developments in regenerative medicine will be discussed.

This course provides students with experience in the physical therapy examination, diagnosis, management, and outcome assessment of individuals with integumentary conditions such as burn trauma, vascular ulcers. Relevant medical, surgical, pharmacological, and imaging procedures will also be presented in relation to the physical therapy management. Case studies will be used to integrate information and enhance the development of clinical problem solving skills and inter-professional collaboration. 

This full-time, 10-week clinical practicum provides students with an opportunity to apply previously learned knowledge and skills on patients seeking physical therapy care in a long-term care setting. Students will evaluate and treat individuals of all ages with simple and complex health conditions under the direction of a licensed physical therapist.


YEAR 3, Fall Semester (14 hours total)

Students will participate as volunteers in a week-long summer camp, mission trip, or community-based service learning experience which allows them to interact directly with children or adults who have special needs. A reflective journal will be used to assess the outcomes of this practicum.

This full-time, 10-week clinical practicum provides students with an opportunity to obtain clinical exposure and experience in a specialized area of physical therapy practice such as advanced manual therapy, sports medicine, women’s health, wound care, school-based therapy, geriatric wellness, vestibular rehabilitation, aquatic therapy, etc. Students will evaluate and treat individuals with both simple and complex health conditions under the direction of a licensed physical therapist.

Students will work in small groups under the direction of a faculty mentor to develop a platform or poster presentation that will be presented to their peers, faculty, and other invited guests during a formal scholarly forum.

This course provides students with multiple opportunities to engage in professional development and community service activities outside the classroom to demonstrate the core values of the physical therapy profession. Classroom experiences are designed to facilitate students’ transition to a professional role by preparing for the national licensure exam, formulating a career development plan, exploring professional service and leadership opportunities, and advocating for current issues affecting the physical therapy profession.