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Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)



The Program in Physical Therapy at the University of Minnesota began as a certificate program in 1941. It expanded to a baccalaureate program in 1946, a master of science program in 1997 and a professional doctoral degree program in 2002. All students entering the program and completing all requirements graduate with a professional doctoral degree in Physical Therapy. The Program in Physical Therapy at the University of Minnesota is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org.

Mission and Philosophy

Our mission is to improve the physical well-being and quality of life of people in the state of Minnesota and throughout the world by training scholarly physical therapists, developing researchers in rehabilitation science, and discovering new knowledge.  We aim to empower (1) DPT graduates from the Physical Therapy Program with didactic knowledge, clinical skills, and translational abilities to bring prevailing best practice into the clinic, (2) Ph.D. graduates from the Rehabilitation Science Program with the talents to discover and disseminate rehabilitation breakthroughs, and (3) physical therapist graduates from the Geriatric Clinical Residency program with specialized clinical/academic skills to enhance care for the elderly.

The intent of the Program in Physical Therapy is to prepare students with the clinical, professional, and research skills to become capable primary practitioners and to bring new knowledge into practice that best serves the rehabilitation needs of each patient as an individual.  Our curricular philosophy emphasizes an active learning environment in which the individual actively participates in the learning process and adopts this responsibility as a life-long behavior.  From the scientific perspective, the curriculum emphasizes the importance of methodical inquiry into the causes of movement dysfunction, the efficacy of applied interventions, and the physiological mechanisms by which function is improved.  We are furthermore driven to discover and disseminate a deeper understanding of the sciences related to physical therapy.  The Program in Physical Therapy is dedicated to excellence in education and aspires to produce graduates who are effective in serving society not only with the technical skills of physical therapy but also with leadership and advocacy skills and an overall attitude of altruism contributing to the betterment of the world.

Admission Operational Standards and Applying to the DPT Program

Qualified residents, nonresidents, and international students are invited to apply. Also, consistent with the University's and the profession's goals to increase diversity, the Program encourages under-represented and educationally disadvantaged students to apply. A rolling admissions process is used to accept 50 students each year for the program beginning in July.  Prior to applying for admission, prospective applicants should closely review our Admission Operational Standards, which includes important information on prerequisite coursework, test information, letters of recommendation, technical standards, advising, and the Graduate School's Commitment to Diversity.  You may also find helpful a review of our Pre-PT Planning Sheet.  After reviewing the standards, and related materials, interested parties can find information on Applying to the DPT Program here. 

Admission Facts

 Class of
Class of
Class of
Number of Applicants204217202
Class Size505050
Acceptance Rate24.5%23%24.7%
Overall Undergrad GPA3.683.713.73
GRE Verbal469.8*150*152.27
GRE Quantitative663*148*154.55
GRE Analytical Writing4.24.24.13
* New scoring scale of 130-170 points


The DPT Program requires three years of year-round graduate study. Academic coursework and research activity are completed during the first seven semesters. The final two semesters are devoted to clinical internships.  In addition to completing the Physical Therapy curriculum, all graduate students at the University of Minnesota must complete the Graduate School requirement for training in the Responsible Conduct of Research Education.  To complete this requirement, students complete a training module supervised by their research advisor.  To view the three-year DPT curriculum schedule, click here.

Clinical Education

Students complete part-time Clinical Clerkships in the first and second year of their didactic coursework.  During the third year, students complete forty weeks of full-time Clinical Internships.  DPT students have the opportunity to participate in full-time Clinical Internships locally, nationally, and internationally.  For more detailed information regarding clinical education, click here.

Cost - Financial Aid

Many internal and external opportunities exist for students to help offset the cost of education.  For detailed information regarding residency requirements, tuition and fees, non-resident tuition grants, financial aid, and scholarship opportunities, click here.

Graduate Outcomes

Outcomes for DPT students graduating in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Class of 2011
Graduate Rate: 100%
Employment Rate: 100%
National PT Exam Pass Rate: 100% (96% on first attempt).

Class of 2012
Graduate Rate: 91.2% (three students chose to leave the Program).
Employment Rate: 96.8% (one student pursued PhD vs. employment)
National PT Exam Pass Rate: 100% (97.8% on first attempt).

Class of 2013
Graduate Rate: 98% (one student chose to leave the Program). 
Employment Rate: 100% after passing Licensure Exam
National PT Exam Pass Rate: Ultimate pass rate 98% as of November 2014 (91.8% passed on first attempt).

Class of 2014
Graduate Rate: 98% as of August 2014 (one student on medical leave).
Employment Rate: Data not yet available.
National PT Exam Pass Rate: Ultimate Pass Rate not yet determined (August 2014) (97.9% passed on first attempt).

Career Opportunities

Physical therapists work in a wide variety of settings: hospitals, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, acute care facilities, private practice, school systems, industry, sports medicine, home health, and more.  Factors such as an aging population and improved management of chronic conditions have created an increasing need for physical therapists.  Both national and local projections indicate a continued growth in physical therapy jobs through at least 2018.  To view current clinical openings for physical therapists, click here.  Additional information is available at: www.apta.org.

For More Information, Contact

Liz Goebel
Program in Physical Therapy
MMC 388
420 Delaware Street SE
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN  55455
Phone: 612-624-2662
Email: ptquest@umn.edu

What's Inside


Pre-PT Planning Sheet 


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