Service Learning Experience

The service learning experience (SLE) is an educational opportunity in which you will learn about social responsibility, advocacy and the importance of lifelong civic engagement through active participation in purposeful volunteer community service. The importance of the SLE in the education of physical therapy students is demonstrated by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education’s (CAPTE) Practice Management Expectations for Social Responsibility and Advocacy, which indicates that students should advocate for the health and wellness needs of society and participate and show leadership in community organizations and volunteer service.

A formal SLE is required of all USC DPT students in fulfillment of the DPT degree and the CAPTE Practice Management Expectations. Specifics of the SLE requirement are outlined below.


After completing the SLE, you will be able to:

  • Respectfully appraise the populations served and understand the challenges they face.
  • Critically examine how the SLE experience affected or stimulated your professional and personal growth. For example, did the experience allow acquisition of new skills or enhancement of existing skills? If so, what skills and how?
  • Identify and appreciate the personal challenges associated with your participation in the SLE.
  • Investigate how the SLE influenced your view of community service and its role in PT education.

Time Requirement

A minimum of 12 hours of volunteer service must be completed by the first day of PT 561e.

Reflective Assignment

You will complete a reflective assignment at the conclusion of the SLE. The reflective assignment will include a summary of the SLE activity and review of the SLE objectives.

SLE Credit

You will receive credit for the SLE experience in PT 561e. You must satisfactorily complete the SLE in order to pass PT 561e.

Service Learning Forms

New Site Approval Form 
Student Reflections – General 
Student Reflections – Fit Families 
Student Reflections – Life Rolls On 
Student Reflections – Special Olympics 
Student Reflections – ARC 
Adelante SLE Form  
UCLA Mobile Clinic Responsibilities and Objectives  
Emeriti Event SLE Form  
Festival of Life Form 
Jumpman Athletic Recovery Day – SLE Form 
PTMLA Community Outreach SLE Form

Interested in applying to the USC DPT Program – residential pathway?

Learn More — Application Requirements