The goal of the program is to prepare graduates who are self-directed generalists with clinical problem solving skills. Students graduate with a comprehensive foundation of basic principles in the art and science of physical therapy. With 11 full-time faculty and a roster of distinguished adjunct instructors and laboratory assistants from Columbia Medical Center, the New York City area and nation-wide, students are ensured a comprehensive and cutting-edge curriculum.
In recognition of the varied abilities and interests of graduate students, the professional curriculum is designed to be flexible and innovative, using a wide variety of learning styles. Emphasis is on an adult methodology that incorporates clinical decision-making, evidence-based practice and self-directed learning activities. Students design and complete a capstone project and have the option of a research elective with a faculty member in collaboration with scientists and clinicians from many parts of the University.
The curriculum also provides for some specialized skill development through advanced seminars and electives offered during the second and third year of study. The concept that learning is a lifelong process pervades the educational program. Physical therapists with generalist capabilities are prepared to develop specialty skills, contribute to the leadership and growth of physical therapy, and advance the quality of health care through clinical research. All students participate in a White Coat Ceremony to welcome the beginning of their transition in becoming empathetic practitioners, which occurs prior to the start of the Mentorship experience.
The Mentorship is unique to Columbia University and pairs students with physical therapists from the Medical Center and other affiliation sites in New York City. Occurring during the first half of Fall II, and immediately preceding Clinical Education I, students participate in direct patient care activities, attend various rounds, clinics and inservice programs. The therapists serve as the students' clinical mentors and act as professional role models. The students meet with their mentors one-day-a week and during this structured time, students practice skills and procedures presented in past and concurrent lecture and laboratory courses as well as observe more advanced clinical practice techniques. Additionally, students begin to model professional behaviors through observation of patient/client/practitioner and multidisciplinary health care team interactions.