Doctor of Physical Therapy

Our Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree prepares you to meet the latest demands of a challenging and ever-evolving profession.

As the role of the physical therapist has expanded in recent years to include increased responsibilities in the areas of critical inquiry, clinical decision-making, diagnosis of impairments, and diagnosis of functional limitations and disabilities, our program has adapted. We prepare you to provide direct care to patients following illness or injury, as well as to participate in prevention and wellness, health promotion, and health screening activities. You learn to function as a clinician, educator, consultant, scholar, or potential administrator in the field.

The Program

Our three-year program offers a rigorous curriculum that blends coursework, lab work and three full-time clinical experiences. The coursework focuses initially on the foundational sciences, providing a base of knowledge in normal human structure and function. Next, you engage in evidence-based approaches to the physical therapy management of impairments, functional limitations and disabilities. You learn both the functional and psychosocial impacts of health conditions, relevant medical and surgical interventions, and the physical therapy tests, measures and interventions.

You also study the physical therapist’s role in disease prevention and health promotion, education, consultation, legislation and policy-making and administration. You engage in scholarly inquiry by completing a case report or conducting a research project under the guidance of a faculty member.

Your learning occurs amidst a bustling health sciences community, as our Portland Campus surrounds you with faculty and students representing other health disciplines. You participate in interprofessional learning activities with them, and come to better understand how the work you’ll do will often depend on collaboration with other professionals.

Clinical Experience

As part of the program, you complete three full-time clinical experiences, totaling 36 weeks. These occur during your second and third years when you choose from nearly 400 clinical sites across the United States. These sites represent the continuum of health care settings, including acute care hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient private practices, ambulatory care centers, skilled nursing facilities, school/preschool programs and home care.

Upon finishing the program and earning your degree, you may sit for the National Physical Therapy Exam, and then enter the profession.

To learn more about the program, see Curriculum or visit the Catalog.