Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Physical Therapy & Human Movement Sciences

Technical Standards

The Doctor of Physical Therapy education program in the Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences (DPTHMS), Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, prepares physical therapists to serve as generalist practitioners. In order to function as a physical therapist with generalist skills in a variety of clinical, classroom, and community situations, an individual must have abilities and skills in the following areas: behavior, social skills, and professionalism; communication; cognitive/integrative abilities; and psychomotor skills. Also inherent in performance expectations is providing services in a timeframe appropriate to the context of care.

 Overall, the purpose of technical standards is to delineate the skills deemed essential for continuation in and completion of the educational program. Technical standards are necessary to identify and communicate specific expectations for student performance in the academic and clinical environments. Reflected in the standards are those behaviors, knowledge, and skills that degree candidates must possess to engage safely and competently in required learning activities and in clinical practice to ensure the well-being of the patient/client, self, and others. Skills fundamental to Physical Therapist practice and to the curriculum at DPTHMS include but are not limited to the following:

Behavior, Social Skills, and Professionalism


Cognitive/Integrative Abilities


It is Northwestern’s University policy to ensure that no qualified student with a disability is denied the benefits of, excluded from participation, or otherwise subjected to discrimination in any University program or activity.  In response to a request made by a qualified student with a documented disability, the University will arrange, at no cost to the student, for the provision of reasonable academic and programmatic accommodations and supports which are determined by the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities to be necessary to afford the student with the opportunity for full participation in University programs.

If any student needs assistance with regards to any disability, the student must register with AccessibleNU to seek the appropriate accommodations. The Chicago campus AccessibleNU office can be reached at (312) 503-4042 or