Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Clarkson is ideal for highly qualified and motivated students who want a career in physical therapy.

As a physical therapist, you are a movement scientist who evaluates, diagnoses and treats mobility and pain-related disorders, mitigates disease and disability. Hands-on clinical care is supported by prescriptive exercises and purposeful changes that promote health across the lifespan optimizing physical function and return to the community. 

Physical therapy is a deeply rewarding healthcare profession that improves the lives of people. As a physical therapist you’ll diagnose and treat individuals of all ages with a variety of different health conditions that limit their ability to move and perform tasks. The therapist’s job is to restore pain free movement and the ability to do everyday activities. With physical therapy consistently rated among the top 10 growing professions, physical therapists serve a dynamic and comprehensive role in healthcare, engaging in treatment, consultation, education and research.

Why Earn a DPT From Clarkson?

Clarkson’s physical therapy faculty bring decades of clinical experience and scholarly vision to the classroom.  Faculty members use the master adaptive learning approach to address the various learning styles of the students. Through this approach, students are focused to be patient-centered, flexible and responsive to demographic or geographic differences of patients and colleagues and gain the confidence to synthesize and apply the evidence, and make competent evidence-based decisions. Because classes are small and offer case-based experiential learning, you'll work closely with faculty members, which promotes your professional growth and success.

Our program involves more than 38 weeks of full-time clinical experience and internships, as well as numerous integrated clinical experiences throughout the curriculum.

Our Smart Simulation Lab and Assistive Technology Lab offer simulated experiences and cutting-edge technology. The Simulation Lab allows you to apply strategies learned in lectures to hands-on activities in a realistic environment. Mock hospital rooms allow you to practice patient evaluations and interventions in acute-care settings.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) at Clarkson University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

What You'll Learn

Clarkson's Doctor of Physical Therapy program is a 101-credit-hour, full-time, post-baccalaureate degree that takes two and two-third years to complete.

Our program uses an experiential learning model, which uniquely prepares you to become a lifelong learner and expert clinician using an integrated case based approach to learning. You will participate in 4 full time clinical experiences in addition to hands on integrated clinical experiences (ICE) which are interwoven throughout the didactic portion of the curriculum.

Fall Semester 1

  • PT 505 Foundational Sciences for Physical Therapy (9 credits)
  • PT 506 Professional Foundation for Physical Therapy (2 credits)
  • PT 508 Literature Critique and Review (1 credit)

Spring Semester 2

  • PT 515 Cardiopulmonary/Exercise Science (9 credits)
  • PT 517 Professional Practice I (2 credits)
  • PT 518 Principles of Measurement and Testing (1 credit)

Summer Semester 3

  • PT 525 Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy (9 credits)
  • PT 527 Professional Practice Preparation (2 credits)
  • PT 528 Analytical Methods for Evidence Based Practice (1 credit)

Fall Semester 4

  • PT 537 Professional Practice II (6 credits)
  • PT 604 Physical Therapy for Multiple Systems Disorder I (5 credits)
  • PT 608 Research Methods (1 credit)

Spring Semester 5

  • PT 614 Neuromuscular Physical Therapy (8 credits)
  • PT 613 Professional Practice III (2 credits)
  • PT 617A Professional Practice IVA (1 credit)
  • PT 618 Research Practicum (1 credit)

Summer Semester 6

  • PT 616 Physical Therapy for Multiple System Disorders II (6 credits)
  • PT 617B Professional Practice IVB (1 credit)
  • PT 627A Professional Practice VA (5 credits)

Fall Semester 7

  • PT 627B Professional Practice VB (2 credits)
  • PT 645 Practice Management in the Autonomous Environment (8 credits)
  • PT 648 Writing & Presenting Research (1 credit)
  • PT 657 Advanced Clinical Skills (2 credits)

Spring Semester 8

  • PT 667 Professional Practice VI (8 credits)
  • PT 677 Professional Practice VII (8 credits)

The Department of Physical Therapy offers exceptional clinical experiences that are broad in scope and rich in content. Your clinical experience is tailored to your needs, geographic preferences and the type of practice setting that interests you. We have collaborative relationships coast to coast and internationally, with clinical placements throughout the United States, Peru and Italy. Learn more about clinical education at Clarkson.

The following prerequisite courses must be successfully completed within 10 years in order to be considered for admissions to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program:

(Prerequisites must be completed at a US or Canadian accredited institution.)

Biology courses:

Cellular and Molecular Biology/Lab (Clarkson course: BY160/BY162), 5 credits 
Human Anatomy and Physiology I/Lab (Clarkson course: BY 471/BY 473), 5 credits and Human Anatomy & Physiology II/Lab (Clarkson course: BY 472/BY 474) 5 credits

Chemistry courses: 

General Chemistry I with lab (Clarkson course: CM 131 or CM 103/105: Structure and Bonding with lab) 4 or 5 credits 
General Chemistry II with lab (Clarkson course: CM 132 or CM 104/106: Chemical Equilibrium and Dynamics with lab) 4 or 5 credits 

​​​​​​Physics courses: 

Physics I with lab (Clarkson course: PH 131 or PH 141) 4 credits 
Physics II with lab (Clarkson course: PH 132 or PH 142) 4 credits

Statistics course: 

Statistics (Clarkson courses: STAT 282, STAT 284, STAT 318, STAT 383) 3 credits

Psychology Courses:

General Psychology (Clarkson course: PY 151) 3 credits 
Another 3 credit Psychology course, we recommend Developmental Psychology, life span (Clarkson course: PY 370) 3 credits

Medical Terminology:

Not offered through Clarkson University. A Certificate of Completion from the course of your choice is required.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Clarkson University is a full-time graduate program. In order to be considered for admission, students must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Complete a baccalaureate degree with an overall grade point average (GPA) greater than or equal to 3.0.
  • Take all the necessary prerequisite courses (see below) with a GPA greater than or equal to 3.0 in all prerequisite courses and no grade lower than a C in these courses.
  • Submit documentation of a minimum of 50 hours of observation, volunteer or work experience in physical therapy and/or another healthcare setting, of which a minimum of 30 hours must be completed under the supervision of a physical therapist.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation. At least one must be from a physical therapist and one must be from a faculty member. None can be from family, friends or clergy.
  • Meet the technical standards of the Doctorate in Physical Therapy program, with or without reasonable accommodations.

Tuition for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program is based on a flat rate per semester of $12,349. The program runs over the course of three years for a total of eight semesters.

Additional fees and costs include:

  • Resource Fee: $380 per semester
  • CUGSA Activity Fee: $25 per semester
  • APTA Student Membership: $85 per semester
  • CU Mandatory Health Insurance*: $3,868 per year
  • DPT Digital Book: $130 each fall term

*Health Insurance coverage is required during the academic and clinical portions of the curriculum. This insurance is mandatory, but CU health insurance may be waived with proof of other current coverage.

Student Financial Fact Sheet

Additional Cost Information

  • Costs related to clinical education will be variable and on a student-to-student basis. Planning of clinical experiences typically occurs nine months to one year in advance of placements, so students have ample time to consider and plan for any related expenses.
  • For information regarding Graduate Financial Aid, see Graduate Financial Aid.
  • For information regarding student loans, including a comparison of Federal Graduate PLUS loans to Private Student Loans, see Student Achievement Services.
  • The Financial Aid year begins with the summer term, when applicable. Learn more about the application process for Federal Student Loans.
  • Each student is responsible for the purchase of personal textbooks/e-books, course readers, surgical scrubs and incidental supplies.
  • Practice kit, lab coat and DPT patch $158; one time purchase during orientation

Once you apply to the program, you are automatically considered for a graduate assistantship. These assignments reduce tuition costs by 15 percent in exchange for working for the department. Students are not eligible to receive an assistantship during the program's final semester. Recipients will be notified prior to January 15.

Contact Us

Graduate Admissions 
Phone: 518-631-9836

Find out more about the Department of Physical Therapy in the Lewis School of Health Sciences.

Heather Shattuck, Interim Program Director, 315-268-3786

Tom Langen, Interim Chair, 315-268-7933

Lynn Pauly, Graduate Recruiter, 518-631-9836

100% Graduate Placement Rate - Program Specific

Physical Therapy Program in Action

Every year Clarkson University holds a two-week neurology clinic for graduate students in Physical Therapy to get hands-on experience with real people with neurological issues. The two-week program includes a full evaluation and two weeks of physical therapy, complete with discharge orders. The significance of this clinic is explained by Clarkson faculty and students in this short video!

Learn About PT Patient Care Days

How to Apply to Clarkson's DPT Program

Physical Therapy Common Application Service

All applications must be submitted through the Physical Therapy Common Application Service. The deadline for submission of applications is June 3. The Department of Physical Therapy will also review the application of any individual who wishes to transfer from another physical therapy program.


Apply Through PTCAS

Transferring from Another DPT Program

The Clarkson University Department of Physical Therapy will review the application of any individual who wishes to transfer from other physical therapy programs. However, we do not accept transfer credits. All students who would like to apply for our physical therapy program, including those who have already taken graduate level physical therapy coursework, must apply through the Physical Therapy Central Application System (PTCAS). Everyone who is accepted into our program, including those who have already taken and successfully passed graduate level physical therapy coursework, must begin at the start of the Clarkson Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum and successfully pass all coursework in order to graduate.

Possible Career Paths

Physical therapists are in high demand. The need for physical therapists is expected to remain strong as the U.S. population ages and the demand for physical therapy services grows. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment of physical therapists will grow 15 percent from 2022 to 2032. During that period, more than 30,000 jobs are predicted to open up. 

Although many physical therapists practice in hospitals, more than 80 percent practice in other settings. After obtaining licensure, our DPT graduates find employment through the leading organizations and successful and rewarding careers.

Possible Job Titles:

  • Advocate
  • Consultant
  • Educator
  • Entrepreneur
  • Physical therapist
  • Manager
  • Researcher
  • Doctors offices
  • Home healthcare services
  • Nursing facilities
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Research settings
  • Sport and fitness facilities
  • Universities

Recent Employers:

  • Access Physical Therapy and Wellness Inc.
  • Adirondack Helping Hands
  • Alice Hyde Medical Center
  • Baycare
  • Cutting Edge Pediatric Therapy
  • EmergeOrtho
  • Jack D. Weiler Hospital of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Kids Express Learning Center
  • Maple City Physical Therapy
  • MedStar National Rehabilitation Network
  • MVPT Physical Therapy
  • Pearl Physical Therapy
  • Pivot Physical Therapy
  • Plattsburgh Primary Care Pediatrics
  • Results Physiotherapy
  • SignatureMD
  • Upstate University Hospital
  • Wilson Physical Therapy

Faculty & Staff

"At Clarkson, we are a tight-knit community, working together towards a common goal. And when that many people are striving to work together, it’s bound to make great things happen."

Heather Shattuck, Clinical Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy

Meet Our Faculty and Staff

CAPTE - PT Accreditation


The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Clarkson University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, American Physical Therapy Association, 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100 Alexandria, VA 22305-3085; telephone, 703-706-3245; email,; website, If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 315-268-7622 or email

The program was originally accredited on Nov. 16, 2001, reaffirmed on Oct. 28, 2009 and reaffirmed again on April 26, 2017. CAPTE is the sole accreditation agency for physical therapy programs in the nation. Licensure through the state is required for practice as a physical therapist. Licensure is gained through successful completion of the National Physical Therapy Examination offered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

The program has determined that its curriculum meets state educational requirements for licensure or certification in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, secondary to its accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, based on the following:

CAPTE accreditation of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant program satisfies state educational requirements in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Thus, students graduating from CAPTE-accredited physical therapist and physical therapist assistant education programs are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination and apply for licensure in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information regarding state qualifications and licensure requirements, refer to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy website at

Provided Student Outcomes

  • Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) National Physical Therapy Licensure Ultimate Exam Pass Rate: 96.45% (two-year average from 2022 and 2023).
  • FSBPT National Physical Therapy Licensure First-Time Pass Rate: 61.05% (two-year average from 2022 and 2023).
  • Graduation Rate: 95 percent of admitted students to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program graduated (two-year average from 2022 and 2023).
  • Employment: Of those program graduates responding to surveys in 2022 and 2023, 100 percent who sought jobs as physical therapists were employed as physical therapists within 12 months.
  • The program and institution are also accredited by:
  • Comments or complaints about the Clarkson University Doctor of Physical Therapy program may be sent to:
    • Heather Shattuck, Interim Program Director, Department of Physical Therapy, Clarkson University, 8 Clarkson Ave., Potsdam, NY 13699,, 315-268-3786
    • Tom Langen, Interim Chair, Department of Physical Therapy, Clarkson University, 8 Clarkson Ave., Potsdam, NY 13699,, 315-268-7933
    • Dean, Lewis School of Health Sciences, Clarkson University, 8 Clarkson Ave., Potsdam, NY 13699,, 315-268-4019
    • Department of Accreditation, American Physical Therapy Association, 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-1488; Fax: 703-684-7343; or emailed to For more information on the process of filing a complaint with CAPTE, go to

Get Started on a Meaningful Career

Learn how Clarkson's DPT program can train you to become a skilled and caring provider in this growing profession.