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Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Earn you Doctorate of Physical Therapy and pursue a career providing exceptional care for people of all ages.

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You must be a licensed registered nurse or have completed an associate degree of nursing to apply for the program.

You must be a licensed registered nurse and have completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree or a bachelor's degree in a closely related field to apply for this program.

You must be a licensed registered nurse and have completed a Master of Science in Nursing degree to apply for this program.

You must be a licensed registered nurse and have completed a Master of Science in Nursing degree or a master's degree in a healthcare related field.

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DPT Program Highlights

<p>Earn your doctorate in physical therapy degree in as few as 36 months — that’s just three years!</p>

Earn your doctorate in physical therapy degree in as few as 36 months — that’s just three years!

<p>Classroom theory comes alive through technologically advanced simulations and hands-on experience at clinical sites</p>

Classroom theory comes alive through technologically advanced simulations and hands-on experience at clinical sites

<p>Gain valuable experience through Clinical Internship Opportunities</p>

Gain valuable experience through Clinical Internship Opportunities

<p>Get support after graduation through our Career Services department, from career planning to interview coaching</p>

Get support after graduation through our Career Services department, from career planning to interview coaching

Student Life at WCU

Join a diverse community of passionate, dedicated individuals at WCU.  With a culture that feels like a family, you will have all the support you need to be the best you can be. Join a study group to learn from your classmates or get some guidance through peer tutoring sessions. WCU’s class sizes grant you the opportunity to get to know your professors and get insight into the healthcare industry. Find a community that helps you build on your strengths and reach your academic goals.

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Additional Information About our DPT Program

West Coast University has created a student-centric, three-year DPT program dedicated to developing proficient physical therapists poised to fill an emerging demand.

Support Beyond Graduation

West Coast University supports its students beyond the last day of class. We are committed to helping our Doctor of Physical Therapy program graduates throughout their careers.

Through our Career Service department we provide ongoing assistance with professional and career development through workshops and guidance for our DPT program students and graduates. 

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment.

West Coast University is accredited by WASC Senior College of University Commission (WSCUC), a regional accreditation body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

1001 Marina Village Parkway, Suite 402
Alameda, California 94501
510-748-9001
www.wascsenior.org

Programmatic Accreditation

Graduation from a physical therapist education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at West Coast University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100,  Alexandria, VA,  22305-3085 ; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: www.capteonline.org.

If needing to contract the program/institution directly, please call 323.454.5068 or email CGSGradAdmissions@westcoastuniversity.edu

CAPTE has a mechanism to consider formal complaints about physical therapy education programs that allege a program is not in compliance with one or more of CAPTE’s Evaluative Criteria or has violated any of CAPTE’s expectations related to academic integrity. (www.capteonline.org/Complaints) In reviewing and acting on a complaint, CAPTE cannot and does not function as an arbiter between the complaint and the institution. Should CAPTE find that a complaint has merit and that the program is out of compliance with the Evaluative Criteria or the integrity statement(s), CAPTE can only require the program to come into compliance with the Evaluative Criteria. CAPTE cannot force a program into any specific resolution of the situation that resulted in the complaint. Students or other interested parties may file a formal complaint about a PT program with CAPTE at any time. To obtain the materials necessary for submitting a complaint, contact the APTA Accreditation Department at (703) 706-3245 or email accreditation@apta.org.

Doctor of Physical Therapy Financial Fact Sheet

2020-2021 Doctor of Physical Therapy Financial Fact Sheet

Our Philosophy

The mission of West Coast University's Doctor of Physical Therapy program is to provide a student-centric education that helps prepare graduates for caring, innovative, interdisciplinary, evidence-based approaches to patient-centered care.

Our Mission

The mission of West Coast University's Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is to provide a student-centric education that prepares graduates for caring, innovative, interdisciplinary, evidence-based approaches to patient-centered care.

A student applying for admission to a graduate program at West Coast University must:

  1. Participate in a qualitative admissions interview arranged by a University admissions advisor;
  2. Submit a completed application for admission;
  3. Submit a copy of official transcripts
  4. Complete an enrollment agreement;
  5. Meet program admissions requirements.

Applicants for the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program must:

  1. Have obtained a bachelor's degree and specific prerequisite courses from a regionally accredited institution.
  2. Applicants must have achieved a minimum 3.0 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) in the last 60 semester units at the undergraduate level, and a minimum 3.0 GPA in program prerequisite courses.
  3. Required prerequisite courses:
    • One (1) course in Statistics (three semester credit hours).
    • One (1) course in Human Anatomy (four semester credit hours including a lab, for science majors).
    • One (1) course in Human physiology (four semester credit hours including a lab, for science majors).
    • Two (2) courses in Physics (four semester credit hours each including labs, for science majors).
    • Two (2) courses in Chemistry (four semester credit hours each including labs, for science majors).
    • One (1) course in biology (at least three semester credit hours).
    • Six semester credit hours in the behavioral sciences (Life span development is one of the preferred courses).
  4. Applicants must take the GRE, the CASPer assessment and provide evidence of completion.
  5. Applicants must provide signed proof of having achieved 40 hours of clinical observation in a clinical setting.
  6. Applicants must submit 2 letters of recommendation (one from a faculty member and one from a physical therapist).
  7. Applicants must have an interview with the Admissions Committee.

Additional Requirement
One (1) course in Medical Terminology (certificate acceptable as well) - this is a requirement based upon acceptance into the program, not a prerequisite.

Click here for more information regarding Admissions Requirement.

For questions about admissions, please contact:
Admissions Department
323-284-4376
Send an email

To view the Doctor of Physical Therapy program curriculum, please Click Here!

Click Here to view the Academic Calendar.

Leveraging innovative learning strategies, West Coast University's Doctor of Physical Therapy program places experience and collaboration at the cornerstone of student achievement.

Ongoing Experiential Education - classroom theory comes alive with a progression of dynamic clinical experiences — developing skills through simulated training and at approved clinical sites. Three end-of-program clinical internships will help students practice skills and establish the self-confidence graduates will need as they begin their careers.

A variety of clinical internship opportunities – DPT students will have a total of 48 weeks of full-time clinical internships during the academic program at WCU. These will take place in a minimum of three different practice settings to help ensure that students are equipped to work in a range of clinical settings.

Student-focused approach - WCU helps prepare graduates to practice physical therapy with both compassion and competence, while reinforcing essential, evidence-based skills.

The student will have the opportunity to develop the following knowledge, skills, and professional behaviors:

  1. Provide professional physical therapy services to diverse populations consistent with American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) standards.
  2. Perform autonomous entry-level physical therapy skills in a safe manner.
  3. Facilitate culturally sensitive communication using consultative and collaborative skills as a part of the health care team.
  4. Design evidence-based physical therapy treatment plans using clinical reasoning for optimal patient-centered care.
  5. Exercise professional conduct that is consistent with the ethical and legal practice of physical therapy.

Employment Rate Averaged over 2 Years

For the class of 2019 and 2020, 92% of graduates who sought employment have been employed as physical therapists within one year of graduation, as determined by the career services department verification.

Graduation Rate Averaged over 2 Years

For the Class of 2019 and Class of 2020, the two-year average graduation rate is 98.8%.

Graduation Year Graduation Rate
Class of 2019 90%
Class of 2020 100 %
Class of 2021 97.7%

NPTE Pass Rates (As of February 2022)

For the Class of 2020 and 2021, the two year average first time pass rate was 80.7%.  The average two year ultimate pass rate was 89.1%

Graduation Year Group Number of Candidates Number of Passing Candidates Pass Rate
2021 First Time 43 32 74.4%
2021 Ultimate 43 35 81.4%
2020 First Time 40 35 87.5%
2020 Ultimate 40 39
97.5%
Graduation Year: 2021
Group First Time
Number of Candidates 43
Number of Passing Candidates 32
Pass Rate 74.4%
Graduation Year: 2021
Group Ultimate
Number of Candidates 43
Number of Passing Candidates 35
Pass Rate 81.4%
Graduation Year: 2020
Group First Time
Number of Candidates 40
Number of Passing Candidates 35
Pass Rate 87.5%
Graduation Year: 2020
Group Ultimate
Number of Candidates 40
Number of Passing Candidates 39
Pass Rate 97.5%

Learn more about Tuition and Fees for this program by clicking here.

To apply for financial aid assistance or scholarships, we recommend applying alongside your admissions application in order for your consideration to be processed on your intended timeline. Learn More.

Every detail of the West Coast University's campus is designed to create a rich experience and sense of place that stimulates student learning and supports academic excellence. If that sounds like a tall order, it is!

When students enter the WCU campus they experience an inviting, vibrant and welcoming space. Our facilities evoke the feelings, "I can learn here, I can study here - this is a place where I can grow and succeed."

WCU puts extensive thought into the design of our campus facilities. Our philosophy is that our buildings - just like every other aspect of the University - must support, promote and encourage student success and academic excellence. At WCU, students learn various skills and procedures by using the wide range of modern equipment provided for our physical therapy program.

The physical therapy program is located at the Vermont campus in Los Angeles, CA. The 80,000 square foot facility houses the departments of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and pharmacy.

The physical therapy program has approximately 16,000 square feet which includes three lecture classrooms, a skills clinic, a faculty and student research lab, three dedicated laboratories, and four private student study and meeting rooms. Industry standard equipment is provided in this modern facility to implement optimal physical therapy teaching and instruction as well as student comfort. A rehabilitative ultrasound imaging unit is available for student and faculty directed research as well as improving clinical information instruction. All didactic classrooms and labs contain full integrated computer/video systems, wi-fi enabled, interactive white boards and overhead projectors.

Lecture Classroom

Dedicated lecture classrooms have ergonomic chairs, outlet placements for laptops, integrated computer/video system, interactive white board, overhead projector, and additional flat screens on room pillars for added student visual comfort.

Teaching Laboratory

Dedicated teaching laboratory areas are equipped with an integrated computer/video system, interactive white board, overhead projector, and adjustable hi-lo tables for optimal ergonomic positions for presentations and laboratory techniques and procedures. Labs are equipped with cameras with the ability to record practical examinations, instructor techniques, for group/class participation, discussion and feedback.

Research Laboratory

A research laboratory which is approximately 1,160 square feet that will support the scholarly agenda of the core faculty.

Skills Clinic

Dedicated skills clinic for students to learn the physical therapy diagnosis and therapeutic approaches to patient care with the use of an integrated computer/video system to achieve an entry-level autonomous practitioner.

The program encourages and solicits ongoing feedback from enrolled students, faculty members, patients, clinical faculty, and employers of WCU graduates.

Every student has the right to file a grievance. If a student believes a University official, faculty member, administrator or student has acted improperly or inconsistently with WCU policies and/or procedures, the student may file a grievance. This may include, but is not limited to, misapplication or misinterpretation of policy, procedures, practices, unfair treatment or conduct, etc. All grievances must be filed within 30 days of the incident. The Grievance Policy and Procedures found in the University Catalog is designed to support and foster a fair, objective, respectful and ethical set of policies and procedures for resolution of disputes. The policies and procedures are designed to provide students with a process in which to protect the University and its students. Students, faculty or administrators who submit or support a filed grievance may not be subjected to retaliation. Incidents of retaliation should be immediately reported to the Campus Director of Student Affairs or Campus Executive Director. Frivolous or malicious grievances and matters that have been or are in litigation will not be reviewed/considered. Any person(s) submitting a frivolous or malicious grievance will be referred to the Conduct Committee for possible disciplinary action. These policies and procedures are internal to WCU. If a student does have a complaint or concern about the program they should contact the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Contact information for CAPTE can be accessed through the APTA website or by calling the Department of Accreditation of APTA at 703-706-3245. CAPTE can only respond to specifically PT accreditation criterion violations. If a student chooses to file a complaint with CAPTE they should address the complaint to CAPTE.

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

In order for CAPTE to address a complaint, they require that the student sign the letter of complaint.

Complaints that are not related to accreditation issues should be addressed by following the procedures outlined in the University Catalog.

Physical therapy is an intellectually, physically, and psychologically demanding profession. Students acquire the foundation of knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviors needed throughout the physical therapist's career. Those abilities that physical therapists must possess to practice safely are reflected in the technical standards that follow.

For successful completion of degree requirements, students must be able to meet minimum technical standards with or without reasonable accommodation.

Observation Skills

Observation requires the functional use of vision, hearing, somatic sensations, and the use of common sense. Students must have visual perception which includes depth and acuity. A student must be able to observe lectures, laboratory dissection of cadavers, and lecture and laboratory demonstrations. The student must be able to observe a patient accurately, observe digital and waveform readings and other graphic images to determine a patient's condition. Students must be able to observe patients and be able to obtain an appropriate medical history directly from the patient or guardian. Examples in which these observational skills are required include: palpation of peripheral pulses, bony prominences and ligamentous structures; visual and tactile evaluation for areas of inflammation and visual and tactile assessment of the presence and degree of edema. A student must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand, noting nonverbal as well as verbal signals.

Communication Skills

Communication includes: speech, language, reading, writing and computer literacy. Students must be able to communicate effectively, sensitively, and convey a sense of compassion and empathy with patients to elicit information regarding mood and activities, as well as perceive non-verbal communications. Physical Therapy education presents exceptional challenges in the volume and breadth of required reading and the necessity to impart information to others. Students must be able to communicate quickly, effectively and efficiently in oral and written English with all members of the healthcare team. Students must be able to complete forms according to directions in a complete and timely fashion.

Motor/Psychomotor Skills

Students must possess sufficient motor function to elicit information from the patient examination, by palpation, auscultation, tapping and other evaluation maneuvers. Students must be able to execute movements required to provide general and therapeutic care, such as positioning large or immobile patients, gait training using therapeutic aids and orthotics, positioning, and performing manual mobilization techniques, performing non-surgical wound debridement, and placing electromyographic electrodes. Students must have the physical strength to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency treatment to patients. These skills require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movement, equilibrium, and the integrated use of touch and vision.

Intellectual – Conceptual Integrative and Quantitative Analysis Abilities

To effectively solve problems, students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate and synthesize information in a timely fashion. For example, the student must be able to synthesize knowledge and integrate the relevant aspects of a patient's history, physical examination, and laboratory data, provide a reasoned explanation for likely therapy, recalling and retaining information in an efficient and timely manner. The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature in formulating treatment and plans is essential. In addition, students must be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and to understand spatial relationships of structures. Candidates must have the ability to use computers for searching, recording, storing, and retrieving information.

Behavioral/Social Attributes and Professionalism

Students must possess the psychological ability required for the full utilization of their intellectual abilities, for the exercise of good judgment, for the prompt completion of all responsibilities inherent to diagnosis and care of patients, and for the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Students must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to a changing environment, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients. As a component of their education, students must demonstrate ethical behavior.

Specifically, students must be able to:

  1. Attend and participate in classes for 30 or more hours per week during each academic semester. Classes consist of a combination of lecture, discussion, laboratory, and clinical activities.
  2. Use auditory, tactile, and visual senses to receive classroom instruction and to evaluate and treat patients.
  3. Read, write, speak, and understand English at a level consistent with successful course completion and development of positive patient-therapist relationships.
  4. Complete readings, assignments, and other activities outside of class hours.
  5. Apply critical thinking processes to their work in the classroom and the clinic.
  6. Exercise sound judgment in class and in the clinic.
  7. Participate in clinical experiences which typically require students to be present 40 or more hours per week on a schedule that corresponds to the operating hours of the clinic.
  8. Gather decision-making pieces of information during patient assessment activities in class or in the clinical setting without the use of an intermediary (classmate, aide, etc.)
  9. Perform treatment activities in class or in the clinical setting by direct performance or by instruction and supervision of intermediaries.
  10. Sit for two to 10 hours daily, stand for one to two hours daily, and walk or travel for two hours daily
  11. Frequently lift weights less than 10 pounds and occasionally lift weights between 10 and 100 pounds.
  12. Occasionally carry up to 25 pounds while walking up to 50 feet.
  13. Frequently exert 75 pounds of push/pull forces to objects up to 50 feet and occasionally exert 150 pounds of push/pull forces for this distance.
  14. Frequently twist, bend and stoop.
  15. Occasionally squat, crawl, climb stools, reach above shoulder level, and kneel.
  16. Frequently move from place to place and position to position and must do so at a speed that permits safe handling of classmates and patients.
  17. Frequently stand and walk while providing support to a classmate simulating a disability or while supporting a patient with a disability.
  18. Occasionally climb stairs and rarely negotiate uneven terrain.
  19. Frequently use their hands repetitively with a simple grasp and frequently use a firm grasp and manual dexterity skills.
  20. Frequently coordinate verbal and manual activities with gross motor activities.

If you are considering getting your Doctor of Physical Therapy – we invite you to attend an Information Session.

News & Events

WCU aims to encourage our students to get involved in their community by providing opportunities to give back and network with fellow physical therapy professionals. Take a look at some of our most recent events and announcements.

Supporting Runners at the LA Marathon

On November 7, 2021, a group of first year DPT students joined our Assistant Director of Clinical Education to help at the LA marathon as “hot walkers.” Their responsibilities included physically assisting runners suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, cramping and/or delirium after completing the marathon.

Our students showed great initiative, assisting runners and preventing many from falling or suffering injury.

Physical Therapy Day of Service

Every year in October, Global PT Day of Service encourages physical therapists around the world to give back to their communities. In 2021, the WCU DPT 2024 cohort participated through two events. The first was a beach clean-up in Santa Monica. The second was volunteering at the Animal Wellness Center of Orange County, assisting a veterinarian with canine rehabilitation.

We are so proud of our students in their efforts to represent the PT profession in our community!

The American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting

APTA’s CMS conference is held every year in February and attracts between 12,000 and 16,000 physical therapy professionals from around the country. WCU’s DPT Program Dean Dr. Annie Burke-Doe, and clinical education faculty members Dr. Nicole Rodriguez and Dr. Greg Aysecue presented a poster on their study titled “Doctor of Physical Therapy Students’ Self-Assessment of Interprofessional Interactions and Values: A Comparison of Clinical Experience Setting Type” at the 2021 APTA CMS Conference and World Physiotherapy Congress.

Faculty goals for the program are consistent with the institutional expectations such as excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service:

  1. Faculty will demonstrate excellence in teaching.
  2. Faculty will be actively engaged in service to the department, the university or the profession.
  3. Faculty will be actively engaged in scholarship adding to the body of knowledge in physical therapy.
  4. Faculty will maintain expertise/clinical competence by improving academic credentials, as related to teaching/research expectations.

The goals of the program seek to encompass those that have been set for students and faculty as well as the institution: 

  1. The program will have qualified faculty, including associated and clinical faculty and resources to consistently offer a curriculum that is evidence-based and reflects contemporary physical therapy practice.
  2. The program will contribute to, and advocate for, the health and wellness of society both in the United States and internationally.
  3. The program will offer a curriculum that is sensitive to the complex and ever-changing needs of the healthcare environment.
Core Faculty

Annie Burke-Doe, PT, MPT, PhD

Program Director/ Dean, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Program Director/ Dean, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Contact Information
Phone: 323.454.5068
Email: aBurke-Doe@westcoastuniversity.edu

Dr. Burke-Doe is currently a professor at West Coast University (WCU) Department of Physical Therapy.  After completing her MPT in 1992 she practiced physical therapy in the areas of geriatric rehabilitation, acute care and acute inpatient rehabilitation.  She was Director of Rehabilitation for Regency Health Services and then transitioned to California Children’s Services; completing her PhD in pharmaceutical sciences.  She joined the core faculty at California State University for Fresno until 2007, University of St. Augustine until 2017 and currently works for WCU in Los Angeles, California.  Dr. Burke-Doe holds a California Physical Therapy License and is a California Children’s Services paneled physical therapist, certified grant writer, and certified grant reviewer. She is also certified by Flinders University in Chronic Condition Self-Management. Dr. Burke-Doe has received awards including “Excellence in Teaching and Innovation”, “NDT Treatment Association Faculty Award”, “Excellence in Research and Education Award”, and “Excellence in Rehabilitating Department Leadership.   She has served on committees for the APTA and CPTA for multiple terms and is currently on the education committee, serves at House of Delegates and is the chief representative for the San Diego district.  Dr. Burke-Doe has published Physical Therapy Case Files: Neurological Rehabilitation (McGraw-Hill, 2013), and contributed most recently to several works including, Differential Diagnosis for the Physical Therapist (Elsevier 2018), The Color Atlas of Physical Therapy (McGraw-Hill, 2015), Pathology Implications for the Physical Therapist (Saunders Elsevier, 2015), and Neck Pain: Causes, Diagnosis and Management (Nova Science Publishers, Incorporated, 2011). Dr. Burke-Doe currently teach physiology, pathology and pharmacology. 

Education
BA, Sports Medicine, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA 1990
MPT, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 1992
PhD Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA   2003
Fellowship, Central California Health Policy Institute, CSUF, Fresno CA, 2005

Daniel Cipriani, Ph.D., PT

Professor, Physical Therapy Program

Professor, Physical Therapy Program

Contact Information
Phone: (323) 454-5048
Office: Center for Graduate Studies
Email: dcipriani@westcoastuniversity.edu

Biography
Dr. Daniel Cipriani has been a licensed Physical Therapist since 1984 with extensive clinical experiences in the areas of orthopaedic rehabilitation, orthopaedic trauma, and sports medicine. His primary area of clinical expertise focuses on lower extremity biomechanics and injury mechanics, with a special interest in running and cycling related injuries.  He has been involved in academia and research since 1991, beginning his academic career at The Medical College of Ohio (University of Toledo's Health Science campus), moving to San Diego in 2005 to join the faculty at San Diego State University. At SDSU, he helped develop a Masters Degree program in Rehabilitation Science.  Dr. Cipriani also served on the faculty at Chapman University for five years before joining West Coast University.  As a faculty member he has received numerous teaching awards including being a 3-time recipient of the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence at the Medical College of Ohio and the Outstanding Faculty Member at Chapman University.

Dr. Cipriani serves as a manuscript reviewer for numerous professional research journals and he is a member of the International Editorial Board for the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy.  In addition, for several years he served on the main Editorial Board for the Physical Therapy Journal and was awarded Manuscript Reviewer of the Year by the American Physical Therapy Association.

Dr. Cipriani received his B.S. in Physical Therapy at The Ohio State University. He completed his M.S. (Exercise Science and Applied Biomechanics) and Ph.D. (Applied Measurement/Statistics) at the University of Toledo.  His research interests include applied exercise techniques for the enhancement of movement, assessment of orthoses on joint function, and research focusing on the Clinimetric and Psychometric properties of clinical measures.  Dr. Cipriani has authored and co-authored over 30 peer-reviewed research publications, several book chapters, and numerous invited papers.  Abstracts from his research and that of his students have been presented at State and National Physical Therapy and Biomechanics Professional Conferences.  Dr. Cipriani has presented lectures and workshops across the United States and Puerto Rico mostly on the topics of lower extremity biomechanics and orthotic management of foot pathomechanics.

Education
PhD, University of Toledo, 2003
MS in Exercise Science/Applied Biomechanics, University of Toledo, 1992
BS in Physical Therapy, The Ohio State University, 1984

Links
Publications
Research Gate Publications
LinkedIn Profile

Dustin Willis, PT, DPT, OCS, TPS, FAAOMPT

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Contact Information
Phone: (323) 454-5031
Office: Center for Graduate Studies
Email: DuWillis@westcoastuniversity.edu

Biography
Dr. Willis grew up in the San Bernardino/Redlands areas of the Inland Empire in Southern California. He graduated with his Bachelor of Science (BS) in Exercise and Sports Medicine with an emphasis in Human Performance from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA back in 2007. During his time there he served as a lab assistant in the Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology courses, where they got to use the same 3D equipment that Pixar studies uses to create their amazing films. He then went on to receive his Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) from Loma Linda University in 2014, where he was presented with the Dean’s Award, the Clinical Excellence Award, and the Fred B. Moore Mission Service Award. Immediately after graduating, Dr. Willis completed the Orthopedic Residency Program at Rancho Physical Therapy in Murrieta, CA in 2015, after which Dr. Willis passed his Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) exam.

In 2016, he then completed two fellowships concurrently, both Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s Sports and Manual Therapy Fellowship, as well as the Lower Extremity Biomechanics Fellowship at the Movement Performance Institute, both located in Los Angeles, CA. This led to him becoming distinguished as a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT). The following year, Dr. Willis joined the inaugural cohort for Azusa Pacific University’s Movement Performance Fellowship in 2017, where the focus was on studying the art of movement science using the principles of Movement Systems Impairments (MSI) and Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS). Dr. Willis has also completed the required coursework and mentorship in pain neuroscience in order to become a Therapeutic Pain Specialist (TPS), a certification in applied functional science through the Grey Institute (CAFS), as well as become a performance specialist through EXOS.

Additionally, Dr. Willis is nearing completion of his PhD dissertation, which looks to provide a better understanding of the patient-provider interaction and the underlying mechanisms for the healing power of empathy and compassion.

When not in the classroom, Dr. Willis works for Quantum Performance, where he works with professional and recreational athletes to help keep them healthy, recover from injuries, and perform at an optimal level.

Education
DPT, Loma Linda University
BS, Exercise Science & Sports Medicine, California Lutheran University

Sarah J Gilliland, PT, DPT, PhD, CSCS

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Sarah J Gilliland, PT, DPT, PhD, CSCS is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at West Coast University. She has been a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) since 2005. Dr. Gilliland completed her BA in Human Performance and Health Science at Rice University in 1998. After 6 years as a high school math and science instructor, she returned to school to complete her DPT at Chapman University in 2008. She then completed her MA and PhD in Education at the University of California, Irvine in 2015. Prior to embarking on her full time academic career, Dr. Gilliland worked as a physical therapist at Newport Medical and Wellness in Costa Mesa, CA from 2008-2013. She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and an APTA Credentialed Clinical Instructor.

Dr. Gilliland’s research focuses on how PT students learn, specifically targeting their development of clinical reasoning. Dr. Gilliland hopes to use her research to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in entry-level physical therapist education. In the classroom she consistently encourages DPT students to “think outside the box” and integrate all aspects of evidence based practice into their developing clinical reasoning. In addition to research and teaching, Dr. Gilliland enjoys mentoring new faculty in their development of teaching skills. Her post-professional doctoral studies were supported through PODS I and II scholarships from the Foundation for Physical Therapy, Inc., and an Adopt-a-Doc scholarship from the Education Section of APTA. Dr. Gilliland was recognized as an APTA Emerging Leader in 2015 and received the Dorothy Briggs Memorial Scientific Inquiry Award in 2018. Dr. Gilliland currently serves as the vice-chair of the Scholarship of Education (SOE) SIG for the Education Section of APTA and is a member of the Education Section Research Committee.

Education
PhD, University of California, Irvine, 2015
MA, University of California, Irvine, 2013
DPT, Chapman University, 2008
BA, Rice University, 1998

Cameron Brown, PT, DPT, PCS

Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy

Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy

Contact Information
Phone: (323) 300-5155
Office: Center for Graduate Studies
Email: CaBrown@westcoastuniversity.edu

Biography
Dr. Cameron Brown is an Assistant Professor with the West Coast University Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Biology from the University of California Davis in 2008, while enjoying four years of competing with the Women’s Rugby team. She went on to complete her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at the University of St. Augustine - San Marcos, graduating in 2012. Dr. Brown first joined West Coast University as an adjunct faculty member in 2020, teaching in neuromuscular, pediatric, and cardiopulmonary courses. She joined West Coast University’s core faculty team after 9 years of clinical practice in outpatient pediatrics. She is an APTA credentialed clinical instructor and has served as Site Coordinator of Clinical Education and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Coordinator in her clinical practice.

Dr. Brown is a board certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist and has worked with patients in early intervention, school-based, and medical models. She has experience in multi-disciplinary developmental group programs, as well as adaptive and therapeutic summer camp programming. Her passions for increasing support for underrepresented minorities in the PT field, along with seeing a need for mentorship and support for Black students and clinicians is what led her to her role as Co-Chair of the Southern California chapter of the National Association of Black Physical Therapists (NABPT). She has a passion for creating inclusive environments where students, faculty, and our community can thrive together. Dr. Brown is thrilled to be a part of West Coast University and the Center for Graduate Studies and hopes to expand her passion and love for the PT profession with all of her students.

Education
DPT, University of St. Augustine San Marcos, 2012
BS -Exercise Biology, UC Davis, 2008

Greg Ayscue, PT, DPT, SCS

Assistant Director of Clinical Education Assistant Professor, DPT Program

Assistant Director of Clinical Education
Assistant Professor, DPT Program

Dr. Ayscue is the Assistant Director of Clinical Education and Assistant Professor in West Coast University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. He graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science from Florida State University in 2006, and earned his Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2011 from the University of Central Florida. Prior to joining West Coast, Dr. Ayscue practiced in the outpatient orthopedic setting for 8 years, and was an adjunct instructor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Marymount University in Arlington, VA.

He is a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy, as well as a Credentialed Clinical Instructor by the APTA. He practiced as a Certified Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist, and is also certified in Blow Flow Restriction Rehabilitation.  During his clinical practice, Dr. Ayscue also carried the responsibilities of Site Coordinator of Clinical Education and Clinic Director. Prior to starting his career in physical therapy, Dr. Ayscue was a strength and conditioning coach at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and University of South Florida. In his free time, Dr. Ayscue enjoys playing basketball, hiking with his dog, and going to the beach.

Najmeh Hoseini, PT, MSPT, PhD

Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor

Contact Information
Phone: (323) 454-5059
Email: nhoseini@westcoastuniversity.edu

Biography
Dr. Najmeh Hosseini joined West Coast University as an assistant professor in Summer of 2019. She Grew up in Iran and received her bachelor of science (2003) and master of science (2006) degree in Physical Therapy from Iran University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran. She moved to the United States in 2009 and attended Indiana University for her doctoral degree. She completed her Ph.D. in Kinesiology with a major in human performance and a minor in neuroscience in 2015 in Bloomington, Indiana and worked as a core faculty at Midwestern University from 2015-2019.

She is a member of American Physical Therapy Association and has practiced physical therapy in Iran, Indiana State, and Arizona State since 2006.

Her research is focused on sensorimotor neurophysiology and neuroplasticity. Since 2011, Dr. Hoseini has published several peer-review articles in PLOS ONE, and Neuroscience letters and has presented her research at Society for Neuroscience, APTA NEXT, NanoFlorida, Brain Mapping and Therapeutics (SBMT), and Brain Stimulation (Canada).

Robert W. Nithman, PT, PhD, DPT, GCS, COS-C

Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Contact Information
Phone: 323-300-5155
Office: Center for Graduate Studies
Email: bnithman@westcoastuniversity.edu

Biography
Dr. Nithman joined WCU in 2021. He was born and raised in Pennsylvania where he graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in Health Sciences and a Master of Physical Therapy from Duquesne University. He then returned for his post-professional Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree (t-DPT) from Chatham University. From there, he went on to achieve Board Certification as a Geriatric Clinical Specialist (GCS) in 2006 (recertified in 2016), as well as own and operate a rehab staffing company and a Medicare-certified home health agency. Dr Nithman began full-time teaching in 2009 which led him to pursuing additional professional development and ultimately earning his PhD from Nova Southeastern University.   

Drawing from his experiences in business start-up, interprofessional practice management, consulting, formal post-professional education, and 23+ years of clinical experience across the healthcare continuum, Dr. Nithman’s teaching focus is in outcomes management, interprofessional education & practice management, healthcare policy, law, and ethics, reimbursement systems including value-based healthcare, geriatric rehabilitation, health & wellness of older adults including fall screening and prevention. Dr. Nithman’s expertise in Prospective Payment System (PPS) and in-home assessment and reimbursement procedures are exemplified by his Certification as an Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) Specialist (COS-C) in 2005 with 3-year re-certifications through 2021.   

Dr Nithman has consulted for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and Harvard Medical School in addition to numerous private healthcare businesses. Dr Nithman has over 40 peer reviewed scholarly products with most recent works focusing on a Clinical Practice Guidance Statement and a Delphi consensus-based document for the physical therapist’s management of patient / clients with low bone mass, the acceptance/feasibility/reliability/validity of remote fall risk screening, value-based health care, the CDC’s STEADI algorithm, and telerehabilitation. Dr. Nithman has presented to national and international audiences on telerehabilitation, fall screening & prevention, interprofessional rehabilitation and prognostic tools, risk and strategic planning with business entity selection, high-fidelity simulation, technology in home healthcare, case management in prospective payment systems, predictive validity of admissions interviews, as well as critical thinking and debate-style learning. 

Dr. Nithman is very engaged professionally. Notably, he is the current Chair of the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) Geriatrics Specialty Council which oversees the Geriatrics Specialty Exam (GCS). He has served the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) as an item writer, coordinator, and was ultimately appointed to the National Physical Therapist Exam (NPTE) Development Committee. Dr Nithman is a former elected and founding Board member of American Council of Academic Physical Therapy’s (ACAPT) National Inter-Professional Education Consortium (NIPEC), and has recently been appointed by ACAPT to the newly formed Advocacy Committee where he represents DPT programs from CA and HI. Dr. Nithman is a member of the APTA’s Education, Geriatrics, and Health Policy & Administration Sections along with a number of academic and clinical special interest groups. 

Education
Ph.D. Nova Southeastern University, 2018
t-DPT Chatham University, 2005
MPT Duquesne University, 1997
B.S. Duquesne University, 1996

Nicole Rodriguez, PT, DPT, PhD(c), GCS

Director of Clinical Education and Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Director of Clinical Education and Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Contact Information
Phone: (323) 454-5062
Office: Center for Graduate Studies
Email: NiRodriguez@westcoastuniversity.edu

Biography
Dr. Rodriguez is the Director of Clinical Education and an Assistant Professor for West Coast University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Kinesiology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2008, received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in 2012, and her Master’s of Philosophy in Psychology in 2020. Dr. Rodriguez is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. in Psychology, with an emphasis in Educational Psychology, at Walden University, where she is furthering her expertise in cognitive and behavioral learning theories, specifically as it relates to students’ motivation and self-efficacy in academia, preparation for clinical education, and simulation-based learning experiences. Before joining West Coast University, Dr. Rodriguez was DPT faculty at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences since 2012, and worked in their Clinical Education Department since 2015. Her clinical experience has been in the acute hospital, skilled nursing, and home health settings. Dr. Rodriguez’s primary teaching responsibilities have included clinical education preparation, IP acute, subacute, and neurological rehabilitation, neuroanatomy, and foundational physical therapy courses, which include concepts related to professionalism, communication, and documentation.

She is a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Geriatric Physical Therapy through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties, received her Advanced Competency in Home Health Certification through the APTA, is a Certified Clinical Instructor, and consistently participates in continuing education opportunities, including APTA’s annual Education Leadership Conference and Combined Sections Meeting. Additionally, she has received much training and mentoring in simulation-based learning experiences and is preparing to become a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator through the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. Dr. Rodriguez also serves as a member of the Intercollegiate Academic Clinical Coordinators Council (IACCC) and the National Consortium of Clinical Education (NCCE) to assist in the development and support of collaboration between physical therapy academia and the clinical community.

Her primary research interests include preparation and performance in clinical education, self-efficacy and self-confidence in academia, interprofessional education, and simulation-based learning. Dr. Rodriguez has presented at the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH), the APTA’s Educational Leadership Conference, and the APTA’s Combined Sections Meeting. Her dissertation topic focuses on DPT student’s self-efficacy after simulation-based learning experiences, and looks to compare the moderating effect it has on acute care clinical performance between students who were active versus those who observed during simulation.

Education
PhD in Psychology-Educational Psychology, Walden University. In Progress
DPT, University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences
Masters of Philosophy in Psychology, University of St. Augustine
BS, Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Karen W Sam, PT, DPT, GCS

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Contact Information
Office: Center for Graduate Studies
Email: ksam@westcoastuniversity.edu

Biography
Dr. Karen Sam, PT, DPT, GCS joined West Coast University as an Assistant Professor in 2021.  She received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Columbia University – College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2006, and completed her clinical training at New York-Presbyterian Hospital – Columbia University and Weill Cornell Medicine.  Dr. Sam is an APTA Board Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist since 2011 (recertified in 2021) and APTA Credentialed Clinical Instructor.  Prior to joining WCU, she has been an Adjunct Faculty at the University of Southern California, Azusa Pacific University and Mount Saint Mary’s University since 2014, teaching in cardiopulmonary, pathophysiology and neuromuscular patient management courses.

Dr. Sam has 15 years of extensive and in-depth clinical experience in the acute care setting.  Her primary areas of clinical expertise focused on orthopaedic trauma, orthopaedic oncology, sarcoma and metastatic disease, complex limb salvage reconstructive surgeries, hematology/oncology and hematopoietic stem cell transplants. She has developed Cancer Survivorship and Rehabilitation Program, hospital-based clinical practice guidelines on laboratory values and venous thromboembolism, as well as Multiple Myeloma special interest group at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She has served as presenter and panelist on management of complex trauma at California Physical Therapy Association conference.  Dr. Sam is deeply dedicated to compassionate patient-centered care and empowering patients and clinicians through patient education and clinical training.  She is looking forward to sharing her passion with the students at West Coast University.

Education
DPT, Columbia University
BS, Organizational Communication, Ohio University
BA, Psychology, Ohio University

Adjunct Faculty

Robert Dulay, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, FAAOMPT

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Contact Information
Office: Center for Graduate Studies 
Email: rdulay@westcoastuniversity.edu

Dr. Dulay graduated in 2013 with his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Chapman University. He then pursued advanced training in examination, clinical decision-making and treatment skills by completing the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency. Subsequently, he learned advanced orthopaedic manual therapy techniques combined with advanced skills in movement analysis, motor control and biomechanics for the injured sports population by completing the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Orthopaedic Fellowship and Sports Rehabilitation Program. He currently practices in the outpatient ortho setting at the Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Medical Center and North Hollywood Medical Offices.

Dr. Dulay is an Orthopaedic and Sports Clinical Specialist, certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists. He enjoys spending time with his wife who is a pediatric physical therapist, as well as traveling, hiking, playing basketball, and cheering on the Zags.

Education
DPT, Chapman University, 2013
BS, Gonzaga University, 2010

Mariam P. Butler DPT,OCS,SCS,FAAOMPT

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Mariam Pashtoonwar Butler DPT, OCS, SCS, FAAOMPT received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Southern California in 2006. She completed the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency in 2007 and the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Orthopedic Fellowship and Sports Rehabilitation Program in 2008.

Dr. Butler earned her Orthopedic Certified Specialty (OCS) in 2008 (recertified in 2018), her Sports Certified Specialty (SCS) in 2010, and became a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists in 2015. She became a Schroth Certified Therapist through the Barcelona Scoliosis Physical Therapy School in 2016, and has been educating clinicians and treating patients with Scoliosis since. ​Dr. Butler currently works as a clinician, and mentors in the Kaiser Permanente Ortho PT Residency Program at the South Bay Medical Center. Dr. Butler joined West Coast University as adjunct faculty in 2018.

Jennifer Lučarević, PT, DPT

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Biography
Dr. Lučarević is an Assistant Professor at West Coast University where she teaches the Prosthetic & Orthotics course. She has a dual academic appointment at California State University Dominguez Hills in the Department of Prosthetics and Orthotics. Dr. Lučarević has diverse clinical experience with certifications in Vestibular Rehabilitation, Cervicogenic Dizziness, and as an Adaptive Recreation and Sports Specialist.

Dr. Lučarević is an active member of several professional organizations, including the APTA and CPTA. Currently, she serves as leadership of the Adaptive Sports Special Interest Group. Dr. Lučarević has a long history of service and remains active with multiple community organizations including Angel City Sports and Adaptive Sports USA. In her spare time, she volunteers her medical expertise to provide rehabilitation in developing nations and as a Medical Classifier for Paralympic Table Tennis and Athletics (Track & Field).

After years in clinical practice, Dr. Lučarević became interested in academics and research. Her PhD research focused on Postural Steadiness in People with Lower Limb Amputation. She is the recipient of the AAOP Howard R. Thranhardt Lecture Series Award and the ISPO Best Paper Award in category of Advancing Clinical Treatment.

Education
PhD Candidate (ABD), University of Miami, expected graduation 2019
DPT, College of St. Catherine
BS, Exercise & Sports Science, College of St. Catherine

Jenn Wickenkamp, PT, DPT, NCS, MFDc

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Dr. Wickenkamp is originally from Chicago, Illinois and completed her B.S. at University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in Psychology and Sociology.  She completed the PT program at University of Illinois Chicago in 2001.  She has extensive clinical experience working in acute care, acute rehabilitation, skilled nursing facilities and neurologic and orthopedic outpatient clinics. She has had the privilege of participating in a medical mission in Peru and working with disabled children at a summer camp in Michigan. She worked for over two years as a travel therapist and gained diverse experiences while working in six different states.  Travel therapy brought to her California 13 years ago and she has made it her home.  Her interests are in treating the neurological population while integrating her background in manual therapy techniques.  She has worked for the Providence Health System for over 10 years.

Dr. Wickenkamp completed her DPT in 2017.  She is an APTA Board Certified Neurological Clinical Specialist.  She is certified in Myofascial Decompression Techniques and is an APTA credentialed clinical instructor.

Dr. Wickenkamp also has an interest in wellness with a certification as a yoga instructor and level 1 Ayurveda wellness counselor.   She enjoys yoga, hiking, biking and traveling in her free time.

Education
Evidence in Motion, DPT 2017
University of Illinois, Chicago  PT 2001
University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana  B.S.

FAQs
Can I take a combined Anatomy & Physiology Course?

Yes, as long as you meet the minimum 8 semester unit requirement, including labs.

What if my prerequisite GPA is below a 3.0?

Prerequisites courses are allowed to be retaken; the highest grade earned will be used for the GPA calculation. All coursework must be completed/verified before the deadline in order to be considered.

What if the last 60 semester unit GPA of my undergraduate degree is under 3.0?

Applicants with a GPA lower than 3.0 in the last 60 semester units of their undergraduate degree are ineligible for admission. Post- baccalaureate coursework is not considered when calculating this GPA.

Can I have pending coursework when I apply?

Yes, but only if you are going to have the coursework and all admissions requirements completed and submitted by the deadline. Coursework must be verified by PTCAS by the deadline, in order to be reviewed/accepted.

Do I need to submit the transcripts/references to the school as well?

No, only to the PTCAS.

Do I need to pay PTCAS & WCU?

Yes, the PTCAS fee and our application fee are separate fees.

Do you accept coursework/transcripts/references/hours/undergraduate degree to be submitted after the deadline?

No, deadlines are firm.

When does the program start?

Fall of each year.

How do I know my application status?

Please click here to email the admissions department and include your PTCAS ID.

What is the allowed timeframe for prerequisites courses?

All required prerequisite coursework must be completed with a grade of a C or better, meet our semester unit requirements, be completed within the last ten years, and through a regionally accredited college or university.

What is a CASPer test and is it required for admission?

All applicants are required to complete Altus Suite as part of their application for the 2022/2023 admissions cycle. Altus Suite - admissions assessments of non-cognitive skills.To complete Altus Suite visit TakeAltus.com to create an account and complete the following assessments and submit them prior to the PTCAS application closing deadline:

  • Casper: 60-90 minute online, open-response situational judgment test (SJT)
  • Snapshot: 10-minute one-way video interview with standardized questions
How long does it take to become a DPT?

Our DPT program allows you to earn your DPT degree in as few as 36 months.

What is the difference between a PT and a DPT?

You must hold a Doctorate in Physical Therapy degree to practice physical therapy in the U.S. from an accredited physical therapist education program and pass a state licensure exam.

What does being waitlisted mean?

Receiving a waitlist notice means you have met all admissions requirements, however, we are unable to offer you admission at this time. Waitlisted candidates are placed on a list which ranks candidates based on the admissions requirements, using specific holding patterns. A student's ranking on the waitlist may change at any time depending on other students who are added or removed.

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IMPORTANT NOTE: In order for a candidate’s application to be considered, all requirements must be submitted and met. The candidate’s CAS application must be complete and in verified status through the centralized application service system by the application cycle closing date/deadline in order to be reviewed. Documents/transcripts may not be submitted after the deadline/application closing date. For questions, please contact cgsgradadmissions@westcoastuniversity.edu.