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

As a physical therapist, you are a movement expert who diagnoses mobility and pain-related disorders, prevents disease and disability, and prescribes exercise supported by hands-on techniques to optimize physical function.

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.

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

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Department of Physical Therapy & Our Programs

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Clarkson University is a 101 credit, full-time, post baccalaureate curriculum that takes 2 and 2/3 years to complete.

Physical Therapy Clinical

The Department of Physical Therapy has state-of-the-art technologies for clinical practice and research. Faculty in the department bring decades of clinical experience and scholarly vision to the classroom. Because classes are small and problem-based, you will work closely with faculty members, which promotes professional growth and success.

Our program uses a problem-based learning (PBL) curricular 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 clinical experiences interwoven throughout the didactic portion of the curriculum.

The Department of Physical Therapy also partners with Clarkson's undergraduate bachelor's degree programs to offer a Pre-Physical Therapy Advising Track for undergraduate students interested in pursuing a Doctor of Physical Therapy after earning their bachelor's degree. The benefits of being enrolled in the Pre-Physical Therapy Advising Track include having a Physical Therapy program adviser; special courses that introduce Problem-Based Learning, an essential part of our DPT program; and the fact that at least 50% of the available seats in our DPT program are held for Clarkson Pre-Physical Therapy undergraduate students who successfully complete all of the requirements. 

Admission, Applying and Prerequisites

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 several requirements, including a number of prerequisite courses. 

Learn More about Admission, Applying and Prerequisites 

All applications must be submitted through the Physical Therapy Common Application Service. The deadline for submission of applications is March 1st.  The Department of Physical Therapy will also review the application of any individual who wishes to transfer from other physical therapy programs. 

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Clarkson University Class of 2020 100 percent placement rating
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

Heather Shattuck

Physical Therapy Curriculum & Clinical Education

DPT Program

The Doctorate in Physical Therapy program at Clarkson University is a 101-credit, full-time, post-baccalaureate curriculum that takes two and two-third years to complete.

Doctor of Physical Therapy Curriculum

Semester Course No. Course Title Credits
Fall Semester 1 PT 505 Foundational Sciences for Physical Therapy 9
  PT 506 Professional Foundation for Physical Therapy 2
  PT 508 Literature Critique and Review 1
Spring Semester 2 PT 515 Cardiopulmonary/Exercise Science 9
  PT 517 Professional Practice I 2
  PT 518 Principles of Measurement and Testing 1
Summer Semester 3 PT 525 Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy 9
  PT 527 Professional Practice Preparation 2
  PT 528 Analytical Methods for Evidence Based Practice 1
Fall Semester 4 PT 537 Professional Practice II 6
  PT 604 Physical Therapy for Multiple Systems Disorder I 5
  PT 608 Research Methods 1
Spring Semester 5 PT 614 Neuromuscular Physical Therapy 8
  PT 613 Professional Practice III 2
  PT 617A Professional Practice IVA 1
  PT 618 Research Practicum 1
Summer Semester 6 PT 616 Physical Therapy for Multiple System Disorders II 6
  PT 617B Professional Practice IVB 1
  PT 627A Professional Practice VA 5
Fall Semester 7 PT 627B Professional Practice VB 2
  PT 645 Practice Management in the Autonomous Environment 8
  PT 648 Writing & Presenting Research 1
  PT 657 Advanced Clinical Skills 2
Spring Semester 8 PT 667 Professional Practice VI 8
  PT 677 Professional Practice VII 8
Clinical Education

We strive to produce physical therapists who are effective in clinical practice. This mission informs the entire curriculum which is modular, practice-oriented, evidence-based and problem-based with over 38 weeks of full-time clinical experience/internship and numerous integrated clinical experiences throughout the curriculum, starting at the end of year one.

Learn more about Clinical Education

Costs and Scholarships

Tuition and Associated Costs

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program tuition is based on a flat rate per semester of $16,349. 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.

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 Administrative 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.
Scholarships and Graduate Assistantships

All incoming Physical Therapy students are automatically considered for scholarships and graduate assistantships. 

  • Merit-based Scholarships
    This award amount totals $32,000 and is spread equally across the eight semesters of the program. All incoming students are automatically considered for this scholarship, and there is no extra application process.
  • Presidential Scholarships
    This award amount totals $20,000 and is spread equally across the eight semesters of the program. Eligibility for these scholarships is competitive and assessed after acceptance into the program. 
  • 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.

Undergraduate Physical Therapy Programs

For high school students who already know they're interested in a career as a Physical Therapist, Clarkson offers two programs: direct entry, in which students apply for admission into both an undergraduate bachelor's degree program and the DPT in Physical Therapy at the same time, and the pre-physical therapy professional advising track.

Learn more about Physical Therapy undergraduate program options

Physical Therapy Program in Action

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, accreditation@apta.org; website, http://www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call (315) 268-7622 or email PT@clarkson.edu.

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 the 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 www.fsbpt.org.

Provided Student Outcomes

  • Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) National Physical Therapy Licensure Ultimate Exam Pass Rate: 98% (two year average from 2019, 2020)

  • FSBPT National Physical Therapy Licensure First Time Pass Rate: 95% (two year average from 2019, 2020)
  • Graduation Rate: 90% of admitted students to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program graduated (two year average from 2021, 2020)
  • Employment: Of those program graduates responding to surveys, 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:
    • Barbara Tschoepe, Interim Chair & Program Director, Department of Physical Therapy, Clarkson University, 8 Clarkson Ave, Potsdam, NY 13699, btschoep@clarkson.edu, 315-268-4352
    • Dean, School of Health Sciences, Clarkson University, 8 Clarkson Ave, Potsdam, NY 13699, ljohns@clarkson.edu, 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 accreditation@apta.org For more information on the process of filing a complaint with CAPTE, go to http://www.capteonline.org/Complaints/.

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.

Clarkson University's Physical Therapy Program is among the nation's select institutions to obtain accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) in addition to the University's overall accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

What's your purpose? Achieve it here.