Physical Therapy Department

Physical Therapy Department

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. Part of the physical therapist’s responsibility is to restore movement and the ability to successfully complete everyday tasks.  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.

We offer a graduate level, Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program as well as a pre-physical therapy advising track for undergraduate students.

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.

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Our Programs

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.

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!

Watch the PT hands-on experience video

Our Mission & Philosophy

Our mission is:

for graduates to be entry level physical therapists who emulate the core values of the profession in their physical therapy practice 
for faculty, graduates and students to contribute to the profession, community and society, through education, scholarship, service and practice.

Our Philosophy

Our program and its faculty believe that the program mission can best be accomplished through a professional curriculum based upon a strong liberal arts foundation. Further, we believe that the curriculum of the professional program should place at its center the process of clinical problem solving as a construct for: 1) the acquisition of knowledge, attitudes and skills; and 2) for the process of clinical decision-making in professional practice. The application of the clinical problem solving process is patient-centered and utilizes the ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the profession's body of knowledge through effective use of the professional literature and current information technologies. We believe that the problem-based learning model provides the optimal tools for developing graduates who value self-directed learning, who are prepared for the clinical decision-making demands of professional practice and who anticipate and respond to changes in the health-care delivery system.

We believe that role models who are professionally competent and personally committed to serving the greater community are best able to foster the behaviors of a socially responsible professional. We believe that in order to be effective, graduates must be sensitive to the diversity of individuals with whom they interact, and to regional differences in the practice of physical therapy.

Graduate Assistantships

Students who apply to the program are automatically eligible for consideration for these scholarships. Graduate assistantships provide recipients 15% off tuition for which students work for the department. Students cannot receive a Graduate Assistantship during the final semester in the program. Recipients of the scholarships will be notified prior to January 15.

Additional scholarships may be found through the American Physical Therapy Association.

Financial Aid

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program tuition 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
  • 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 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.

*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

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 & Life 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