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. 

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: accreditation@apta.org; website: www.capteonline.org.

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

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 10 prerequisite courses with a minimum prerequisite grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
    General Biology I 4
    General Biology II4
    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
  3. Submission of scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination taken within the last five years.
  4. Completion of two, 20-hour-each observational experiences with a licensed physical therapist.
  5. Two letters of recommendation, one of which must be an academic reference.
  6. Responses to narrative essay questions.

Selection

Admission to the program is competitive. The program enrolls 26 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 pre-requisite requirements completed at the time of application to the program.

Credits and Courses

The program is a sequenced, competency-based curriculum of 110 credits including 36 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) and will enroll during UWinteriM of their first year in the program. There is no part-time option for students, nor can courses be taken out of sequence in the DPT program.

KIN 550Psychological Aspects of Human Movement3
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 708Foundations of Clinical Research2-3
PT 709Research Practicum 12
PT 710Ethics in Healthcare1
PT 711Health Promotion/Wellness for Physical Therapy Practice2
PT 712Case-Based Clinical Decision Making2
PT 713Healthcare Systems and Administration3
PT 714Professionalism and Leadership in Healthcare1
PT 716Clinical Radiology1-2
PT 720Human Gross Anatomy6
PT 721Medical Physiology3
PT 722Medical Physiology II3
PT 723Physiological Regulation in Exertion & Disease3
PT 740Kinesiology & Biomechanics of Normal & Abnormal Movement4
PT 750Functional Neuroanatomy3
PT 751Motor Behavior3
PT 760Foundations of Interprofessional Practice1
PT 781Introduction to Clinical Education and Professional Development1
PT 820Cardiopulmonary Evaluation & Treatment3
PT 821Integument System2
PT 840Musculoskeletal System: Lower Extremities3
PT 841Musculoskeletal: Upper Extremities3
PT 842Musculoskeletal: Spine3
PT 850Neuromuscular: Adult4
PT 852Neuromuscular: Pediatric4
PT 880Clinical Fieldwork I1
PT 881Fieldwork II: Basic Skills Experience2
PT 980PT Clinical Internship I8
PT 981PT Clinical Internship II8
PT 982PT Clinical Internship III8
Comprehensive Practical Examinations
CPE 1, Fall Year 1
CPE 2, Spring Year 1
CPE 3, Fall Year 2
CPE 4, Spring Year 2
Total Credits110-112

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 or eligible for licensure in the state of Wisconsin.