Physical therapists serve a dynamic and comprehensive role in healthcare, engaging in treatment, consultation, education and research.

Physical therapy is the application of human movement science to maintain or enhance activity levels and social participation. It is a health profession that includes evaluating, alleviating and preventing impairments, functional limitations, and disability from injuries, disease and other causes.

The program uses a problem-based learning (PBL) curricular model, which uniquely prepares students to become lifelong learners and expert clinicians through an integrated case-based approach to learning. The philosophy behind PBL is simple: the best way to learn a new concept is to experience it firsthand. At Clarkson, we introduce doctor of physical therapy students to a wide variety of clinical scenarios, some involving “paper patients,” and some with real clients. Textbook knowledge is important, but the goal of PBL is to stimulate the development of real-world problem-solving skills. Students are trained to ask three questions: “What do I know?” “What don’t I know?” and “How will I find the answer?”

Students in a PBL learning environment

  • Know where to find answers by listening closely to the patient and by searching peer-reviewed journals for the latest and best information.
  • Ask more and better questions. Their mental framework is higher-level and contextual and reflects better preparation. PBL students can easily frame questions to clarify clinical dilemmas.
  • Develop lifelong learning skills that allow them to seek answers independently.
  • Expect and integrate ongoing feedback to improve their professional skills.
  • Practice evaluation and intervention strategies to experience what patients experience and develop competency under the capable supervision of physical therapists.
  • See the patient in a broader context and consider the economic and cultural issues that influence intervention and care.


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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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General Admission Requirements

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 3.2.
  • Take all the necessary prerequisite courses (see below) with a GPA greater than or equal to 3.2 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.
Applying to the Program

All applications must be submitted through the Physical Therapy Common Application Service.  The deadline for submission of applications is March 1st. The department uses a rolling admissions process; applications are reviewed and students offered admission on an on-going basis.

The department follows all applicable laws and guidelines to ensure that all prospective students' rights are protected.

Transferring from Another Physical Therapy 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.

Pre-Requisite Courses

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

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Statistics course: 
    • Statistics (Clarkson courses: STAT 282, STAT 284, STAT 318, STAT 383) 3 credits
  5. 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
  6. Medical Terminology

See For Yourself


The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Clarkson University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). 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. It is our policy to maintain accreditation, and our next site visit is scheduled for the fall of 2026. 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.

CAPTE — 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website:

Provided Student Outcomes
  • Graduation Rate: 89.9 percent of admitted students to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program graduated (two year average from 2017-2018)
  • Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy National Physical Therapy Licensure Exam Pass Rate: 95.5 percent (two year average from 2017-2018)
  • 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,, 315-268-4352
    • Dean, School of Arts & Sciences, Clarkson University, 8 Clarkson Ave, Potsdam, NY 13699,, 315-268-6738
  • Comments or complaints about the Clarkson University doctor of physical therapy program or Clarkson University  in relation to the CAPTE evaluative criteria can also 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

Contact Us

Interested in learning more?

Contact: Brittany Ashley
Administrative Assistant for 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.

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