Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

In keeping with the growth and advancement of the profession, Andrews University offers the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) as its entry-level degree. The DPT curriculum better prepares students for independent practice by emphasizing areas such as differential diagnosis, pharmacology, radiology, health promotion & wellness and practice management.

More Information About the DPT Degree

Historically, patients have been required to have a physician referral in order to see a physical therapist for treatment. However, increased recognition of a physical therapist's skills in diagnosing, treating, and preventing illness and injury has led the profession to re-evaluate its goals for the future and move toward more autonomy in patient care.

According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), "the vision for the future of the profession is that by 2020, physical therapy will be provided by physical therapists who are doctors of physical therapy, recognized by consumers and other health care professionals as practitioners of choice to whom consumers have direct access for the diagnosis of, interventions for, and prevention of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities related to movement, function, and health."

At Andrews, we are proud to be on the cutting edge of this trend toward more autonomy in patient care. A clinical doctorate degree in physical therapy is consistent with professions such as medicine, pharmacy, osteopathy, dentistry, podiatry, and veterinary medicine.

Professional Program Curriculum

Students follow a single track curriculum in classroom, laboratory, and 40 weeks of clinical experience in various settings designed to prepare them to become evidenced-based practitioners.

The professional curriculum begins with the foundational sciences and basic assessment/intervention skills and progresses to the more complex systems approach. Students who do not have a 4-year degree upon admission will receive a Bachelor of Health Science degree at the completion of the first year.

Additional components in the final two years include a graduate research project and four clinical internships. Upon successful completion of the third year in the program students earn the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree and are eligable to take the National Physical Therapy Exam which qualifies them to practice in the state of their choosing. 

DPT Prerequisite Requirements

  • A minimum of 92 semester credits from any accredited college are required. Specific science and general course requirements are identified on the prerequisite list on the Prerequisite Page.

  • Eighty (80) hours observation of physical therapy patient care supervised by a licensed physical therapist in at least 2 distinctly different physical therapy patient care settings.

  • A minimum of 20 hours must be observation in an inpatient setting.

  • Applicants employed in a physical therapy department in direct patient care have fulfilled this requirement as long as at least 20 hours have been inpatient care.

  • Clinical observation hours for admissions criteria must be completed less than three years prior to admission.

The DPT Program

  • Prerequisites: 3 years / 92 semester credits

  • Professional program: 3 year / 9 semesters

  • Clinical education: 40 weeks within the professional program

Enhanced Learning in Areas of:

  • Differential diagnosis

  • Radiology

  • Pharmacology

  • Clinical screening and case management

  • Practice management


DPT Technical Standard of Performance

The intent of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program is to graduate individuals who are prepared for all responsibilities and privileges of autonomous physical therapy practice.  To function as a physical therapist, students must be able to complete certain psychomotor, cognitive, communication and behavioral skills. If a student cannot demonstrate these skills, it is the responsibility of the student to request appropriate accommodation.  The university will provide reasonable accommodation as long as it does not fundamentally alter the nature of the program, and does not impose undue hardship such as would cause significant expense or be disruptive to the educational process.

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