Neurological Physical Therapy Residency

The Department of Physical Therapy at the UT Southwestern School of Health Professions offers a 12-month residency-based education program that begins each April. The Neurological Physical Therapy Residency Program supports the American Physical Therapy Association’s vision of providing post-professional clinical training. A residency is defined as a planned program of post entry-level clinical and didactic education that will significantly advance a clinician’s skill and knowledge in the delivery of neurologic physical therapy.

The resident will provide patient care in the faculty practice, as well as in other University clinical settings, while working with designated mentors and participating in two intensive educational programs. The curriculum is taught by clinical experts with advanced credentials and extensive teaching and clinical experience.

Clinicians interested in becoming a resident must complete an application. Applications are due by November 30 each year. Applicants selected for participation in the Residency Program will be notified by a faxed or emailed confirmation letter by December 30.

Program Description

This Neurological Physical Therapy Residency Program is based on a structured, comprehensive approach to examination and treatment of children and adults with neurologic dysfunction. The content is based upon the American Physical Therapy Association’s description of advanced clinical practice and includes didactic, laboratory, and clinical practice components under the supervision of accomplished clinical instructors.

The two intensive educational courses, collaborative clinical care time, research opportunities, and journal club experiences provide the resident the opportunity to develop and refine a framework for use in the examination, evaluation, and treatment of patients. The aim of the Neurological Physical Therapy Residency Program is to promote and develop advanced clinical expertise for the resident in the area of neurological rehabilitation

Educational modules are designed to include the core information outlined in the Neurologic Physical Therapy Description of Specialty Practice. The classes include didactic instruction as well as lab experiences.

Program Goal

The goal of the Neurological Physical Therapy Residency Program is to provide the resident with a comprehensive learning experience. The Residency will provide the physical therapist with tools to improve their examination, assessment, and treatment of the neurologic patient. Within three years of completing the Program, the resident is expected to sit for the Neurologic Specialty Examination.

Program Objectives

At the conclusion of the clinical Neurological Physical Therapy Residency Program, the resident will be able to:

  • Explain the clinical reasoning skills necessary for examination, assessment, and treatment techniques. These same skills will help the therapist develop the ability to continue to monitor their own clinical skill level.
  • Conduct an effective and comprehensive patient interview, which will enable development of a working clinical hypothesis as to the patient’s primary problem, a foundation to performing an objective examination
  • Perform an integrated physical examination, including differential diagnosis, for clients with various neurologic conditions
  • Create appropriate specific clinic and home therapeutic exercise program techniques related to all areas of examination noted above and integrate these techniques into the treatment plan as indicated
  • Critically analyze current scientific literature
  • Conduct clinical research projects

General Information

The Neurological Physical Therapy Residency Program runs over a 12-month employment period. The resident treats patients in the Gait Disorders Clinic, as well as at the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit in the University Neuroscience Hospital and works under the supervision of clinical mentors. The resident maintains a patient load of approximately 24 hours/week with an additional four hours reserved for collaborative care with the mentor.

The remaining time each week is devoted to additional learning opportunities at the discretion of the mentor and includes journal club participation, academic teaching in the DPT program, in-service presentations, and research development.

Residency Program Expectations

The Neurological Physical Therapy Residency Program utilizes active learning that requires the resident to participate in independent learning activities and complete assignments in a prompt manner. There are mid-term and final written examples and practical examinations (including live patients) to ensure comprehension of the material and application of specific skills.

Selection Criteria for Residency Assignments

Enrollment is currently limited to two participants. Selection for participation is based on the information and justification comments provided by the applicants and a personal interview. An established residency committee evaluates all applications to ensure that each application is given appropriate consideration. The applications are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Pre-professional academic and post-professional clinical education preparation
  • Clinical experience in neurologic physical therapy
  • Previous mentoring, education, and research experience
  • Community service
  • Letters of recommendation

Program Calendar

The exact start date for each resident will be on a mutually agreeable date between the resident and Residency Director. The didactic content will be delivered in two modules, each of which will span 3½ days. The modules are scheduled for May and September.

  • Module 1: Core Principles of Neurologic Physical Therapy, Gait Analysis, and Principles of Bracing for the Neurologic Client, and Physical Therapy Management of Acquired Brain Injury and Cerebral Vascular Accident
  • Module 2: Physical Therapy Management of Vestibular Dysfunction, Physical Therapy Management of Degenerative Diseases, Physical Therapy Management of Spinal Cord Injury and Lower Motor Neuron Injury, and Physical Therapy Management of Pediatric Neurologic Diagnoses

There is a strict attendance policy with the possibility for residency. Failure to comply with all policies may result in termination from the Residency Program. Make-up activities and opportunities are at the discretion of the Residency Director and Residency Advisory Committee.

Independent Learning

Topics including physiology of motor control, neuroplasticity, research design and basic statistics, normal and pathological gait review, electrical stimulation review, pain, upper extremity interventions, postural control, motor milestones, neuromotor development, pharmacology review, learning styles, sensory testing overview, airway clearance techniques, aerobic testing procedures, diagnostic testing procedures, vestibular anatomy, and function review will all be done in independent studies that are separate from the weekend learning modules.

Resident Prerequisites

  • Valid, current licensed physical therapist in the State of Texas
  • Current CPR/BLS certification


The Neurological Physical Therapy Residency Program consists of 104 hours of educational content (approximately 51 of which will be through independent learning experiences and 12 hours of testing for residents only), a minimum of 150 hours of direct collaborative learning with the supervising mentor, and at least 1,200 hours of direct patient care. This Residency Program is credentialed by the American Physical Therapy Association as a post-professional residency program for physical therapists in neurologic physical therapy.

Financial Information

UT Southwestern employs the residents from April of the first year through March of the next year and compensates the residents. Standard benefits for the job description apply and includes things such as continuing education, full medical and liability insurance coverage, and accrued paid time off.

Benefits to the Participant

The future of physical therapy depends upon our increasing professional stature and ability to function on an independent level as an autonomous profession. UT Southwestern School of Physical Therapy is interested in helping the APTA attain its vision of providing thorough post-professional curricula that result in highly trained clinicians. The Neurological Physical Therapy Residency Program is being offered to accommodate those licensed clinicians who are motivated to achieve this level of training and expertise. Successful completion of the Residency Program will fulfill the educational and credentialing requirements for future fellowship opportunities.

Completion of this Residency will give the therapist clinical tools and problem-solving ability needed to be on the leading edge of where our profession is advancing. It will also equip the therapist to be a resource for developing clinical excellence in other therapists. Our profession is moving toward residency-based training as a standard and this Residency Program provides an opportunity to participate in that standard.

Instructional Level: Advanced

Education Program CEU Accreditation:  Educational programming has been approved by the Texas Board of Physical Therapy for continuing education approval.

ADA Compliance: The UT Southwestern Neurological Physical Therapy Residency Program will take all reasonable measures to guarantee equal access to learning opportunities for clinicians with disabilities. Educational programming will be sensitive to any sensory or physical impairment that requires special arrangements on behalf of the participant. Please indicate on your registration form if you should be contacted regarding any impairment that would require special accommodation to ensure a satisfactory learning experience.