The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is the classroom based and clinical education that prepares graduates for entry into the practice of physical therapy. The goal of this entry-level professional education program is to graduate students who are knowledgeable, service-oriented, and reflective practitioners who are able to render independent judgements in people with movement system dysfunction that limits activity and participation. Find out why you should choose UWM to start your career in physical therapy.

The program begins in early June and includes classroom, laboratory, research and clinical learning experiences. Admission to the DPT program is competitive. The faculty values a well-rounded applicant who has demonstrated both academic and personal/professional potential.

For more information, contact Lori Woodburn, DPT Program Assistant, at or 414-251-5797.   

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; e-mail:; website:

Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.


Admission to the program is highly competitive. A snapshot of the typical successful applicant is available on the program website’s Frequently Asked Questions section. The DPT program enrolls students through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Policies and procedures related to consideration of the candidate are published on the PTCAS website and updated annually. Students apply to the UWM Graduate School after being recommended for Admission by the DPT program. Undergraduate degree and prerequisite coursework must be completed by the time the student enrolls in the DPT Program.

An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus these program requirements to be considered for admission to the program:

  1. Completion of an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution with an overall cumulative grade point average (GPA) of a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
  2. Completion of 9 prerequisite courses with a minimum prerequisite grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
    General Biology I 4
    Human Anatomy or Anatomy & Physiology I 14
    Human Physiology or Anatomy & Physiology II 14
    Chemistry I 14
    Chemistry II 14
    Physics I 14
    Physics II 14
    Psychology 3
    Statistics 3

    Courses requiring a lab component.

  3. Submission of scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination taken within the last five years.
  4. Two letters of recommendation, one of which must be an academic reference.
  5. Responses to narrative essay questions.


Admission to the program is competitive. The program enrolls 36 students annually. Students are selected based on GPA, GRE scores, two letters of recommendation (one academic reference, one personal reference), and narratives. The program will give preference during the selection process to candidates with prerequisite requirements completed at the time of application to the program.

Credits and Courses

The program is a sequenced, competency-based curriculum of 106 credits including 24 weeks of internship in the final year of the program. Students will enroll as full-time students for each term of study (Summer, Fall, Spring) including Winterim in both of the first two years in the program. There is no part-time option for students, nor can courses be taken out of sequence in the DPT program.

PRPP 553GPsychological Considerations for Optimizing Health & Performance3
PT 700Introduction to Physical Therapy Practice and Examination Techniques3
PT 701Clinical Foundations of the Physical Therapy Examination5
PT 702Scientific Principles of Interventions5
PT 704Physical Agents2
PT 7072
PT 709Research Practicum 12
PT 711Health Promotion/Wellness for Physical Therapy Practice2
PT 716Clinical Radiology1
PT 720Human Gross Anatomy6
PT 721Medical Physiology3
PT 722Medical Physiology II3
PT 723Physiological Regulation in Exertion & Disease3
PT 731Professional Development 11
PT 732Professional Development 22
PT 733Professional Development 32
PT 734Professional Development 41
PT 735Advanced Clinical Reasoning4
PT 740Kinesiology & Biomechanics of Normal & Abnormal Movement4
PT 750Functional Neuroanatomy3
PT 751Motor Behavior3
PT 820Cardiopulmonary Evaluation & Treatment3
PT 821Integument System2
PT 8444
PT 8454
PT 850Neuromuscular: Adult4
PT 852Neuromuscular: Pediatric4
PT 881Fieldwork II: Basic Skills Experience2
PT 980PT Clinical Internship I8
PT 981PT Clinical Internship II8
Total Credits101

PT 709 should be taken twice, for a total of 4 credits.

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

The Graduate School requires that each student have a major professor to advise, supervise and approve the program of study. Students are assigned faculty advisors in the DPT program. Faculty advisors are core members of the DPT program faculty who are also licensed.

Physical Therapy DPT Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at UWM will be able to:

  • Practice in a manner consistent with the established legal and professional standards and ethical guidelines of practice. 
  • Communicate orally and in writing in ways consistent with needs of the audience and situation. 
  • Adapt delivery of physical therapy services with consideration for patients’ differences in values, preferences and needs.
  • Participate in self-assessment and lifelong commitment to learning.  
  • Make clinical decisions using theory, judgment, and patient’s values. 
  • Evaluate data from varied sources to make sound clinical judgments. 
  • Advance quality of physical therapy services by participating in evidence-based practice. 
  • Utilize evidence in the selection of tests and measures, making diagnoses and prognoses, and designing treatment plans. 
  • Establish and administer a plan of care that is safe, effective, patient-centered and evidence-based. 
  • Demonstrate leadership by participating in clinical education. 
  • Participate in organizational leadership by assuming leadership roles within the organization.