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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Our Department & 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. DPT student Nicole Steward wrote an article about her experience with PBL in our program and it was published on the American Physical Therapy Association website. Check it out here.

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. 

Spotlight On: Prof. Ali Boolani
Ali Boolani and Matt Manierre

Associate Prof. Ali Boolani (left) published a study with Assistant Prof. of Sociology Matthew Manierre that shows the associations between trait energy and fatigue with state energy fatigue, as well as exploring if these relationships interacted with sex and/or sleep quality. 

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Spotlight On: Profs. Vicki LaFay and Stacey Zeigler
Vicki LaFay and Stacey Zeigler

Clinical Associate Professor Vicki LaFay and Clinical Professor Stacey Zeigler recently published research focused on practices of exemplary leaders in physical therapist clinical education in the Journal of Physical Therapy Education.

Read more

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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Curriculum & Clinical Education

Doctor of Physical Therapy 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

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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

Accreditation

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Clarkson University 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. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call (315) 268-7622 or email pthealth@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: 100% (two year average from 2018, 2019)
  • FSBPT National Physical Therapy Licensure First Time Pass Rate: 88.4% (two year average from 2018, 2019)
  • Graduation Rate: 88.0% of admitted students to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program graduated (two year average from 2018, 2019)
  • 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 should be sent to the chair of the program or the dean of the School of Arts & Sciences:
    • Chair, Department of Physical Therapy, Clarkson University, 8 Clarkson Ave, Potsdam, NY 13699, vlafay@clarkson.edu, 315-268-3786
    • Dean, School of Arts & Sciences, Clarkson University, 8 Clarkson Ave, Potsdam, NY 13699, cthorpe@clarkson.edu, 315-268-6738
  • Comments or complaints about the Clarkson University doctor of physical therapy program or Clarkson University can be mailed to the 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.

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.