DPT Program Overview

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program is a course of study for students who hold baccalaureate degrees in fields of study other than physical therapy. Completion of the program after nine semesters leads to a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree and serves as initial preparation for practice as a physical therapist.

teachThe goal of the program is to prepare a physical therapist as an applied scientist who has the entry-level skills, knowledge, and behaviors to function effectively in clinical practice, consultation, education, administration, and scientific inquiry with a primary focus on clinical practice.


 Satisfactory performance in the experiences provided in the program prepares the student (graduate) to:

  • Integrate the biological, physical, social, and behavioral sciences in providing physical therapy focused on movement dysfunction.
  • Critically evaluate literature and other resources to be an informed practitioner, while applying principles of evidence-based practice to patient/client management.
  • Examine, evaluate, diagnose, establish prognosis and apply intervention for the management of impairments, functional limitations and disabilities of the cardiovascular/pulmonary, musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and integumentary systems.
  • Recognize when a problem is outside the scope of practice of physical therapy and when referral to other resource(s) is appropriate.
  • Demonstrate a personal value system that reflects appreciation of the worth of an individual, recognition of the rights of others, and acknowledgement of responsibility for individual actions.
  • Demonstrate professional competence that embodies professional ethics and accountability.
  • Identify, organize, and utilize appropriate resources to effectively develop and efficiently provide services under the scope of physical therapy practice.
  • Use physical therapy personnel resources in a way that reflects an understanding of their complementary roles.
  • Apply the scientific approach to problem solving in carrying out professional responsibilities.
  • Identify the physical therapy and related health care needs of a community; develop and implement programs that address those needs.
  • Communicate efficiently and effectively with correct usage of verbal (spoken and written) communication methods and appropriate use of nonverbal methods.
  • Interact with other health care practitioners and service providers in a manner that reflects an understanding of complementary roles and that maximizes potential contributions of other providers toward the common goal of optimal patient care and health promotion.
  • Apply appropriate teaching/learning theories in health care, academic, and community environments.
  • Continue self-development, personally and professionally, based on self-assessment of individual needs and on recognition of own strengths and limitations.
  • Maintain identity as a physical therapist and promote the development of the profession of physical therapy through service and scholarly activity.
  • Demonstrate basic skills and knowledge necessary for clinical research in Physical Therapy.

Graduates are eligible for the physical therapist licensure examination. State law regulates the practice of physical therapy.  

You can contact a specific state's board of licensure for physical therapy to obtain information on that state's eligibility requirements.