Which Schools Offer Doctorate Degrees in Physical Therapy?

A doctorate degree program in physical therapy can prepare individuals for careers as physical therapists, professors and researchers. Read on to learn about some well-known schools that offer doctorate degrees in physical therapy. Schools offering Physical Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree Programs

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) education programs are typically three years in length and include a combination of both classroom lectures and clinical training. The first year often includes general courses in areas like anatomy, kinesiology and professional development. The second year may include courses in areas like musculoskeletal or neurological dysfunctions, medical screens and emerging technologies, and the third year is mostly clinical training. These programs may also include multiple internships or capstone projects.

As of December 2015, there were 228 Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs in the U.S. that were accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Completion of one of these programs prepares students for the exam needed to become a licensed physical therapist, though additional requirements may vary slightly by state.

Important Facts About Doctorate Degrees in Physical Therapy

Prerequisites Undergraduate degree required; graduate degree recommended
Online Availability Fully online programs are available
Concentrations Orthopedics, pediatrics, geriatrics
Continuing Education Required to maintain licensure

School Options

Below is information for a few schools that offer DPT programs that are accredited by CAPTE:

Northwestern University

The Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University offers a program that leads to a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. The program combines classroom and clinical experience to provide students with a comprehensive educational experience. The curriculum emphasizes movement science and covers related topics such as musculoskeletal dysfunction and neuroscience. All students must participate in an ongoing project known as the Synthesis Project which, through faculty-guided research, helps them learn important physical therapy inquiry techniques. The physical therapy program was ranked #9 in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report in 2012.

University of Miami

The University of Miami's Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine offers both a traditional DPT and a Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Therapy. The Ph.D. program is designed to prepare students for positions in academic and research settings. Scientific thinking and analysis are emphasized and students are encouraged to conduct original research that will advance the field of physical therapy. The DPT program can be completed in 36 months and includes 32 weeks of clinicals that begin at the end of the second year.

New York University

The Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University offers a program leading to a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. Students learn both theoretical and clinical physical therapy topics and gain hands-on experience working in hospitals and rehabilitation centers. The school encourages applicants with bachelor's degrees in any field to apply, which makes for a diverse student body. Three years of full-time study are required to complete the program, including three summers of clinical rotations.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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