How to Apply

All application materials must first be submitted through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS).

Once recommended for admission to the Program, you will need to apply to and be accepted by the UWM Graduate School.

For more detailed information on this process, check out the Admission section below. For application deadlines, please refer to the UWM Graduate School website.

Pay for School

Contact Us

Phone: (414) 229-3360
Fax: (414) 229-3366

For admissions questions:
Phone: (414) 229-1740
pt-program@uwm.edu

Kathryn Zalewski, PhD, MPA, PT
Program Director
(414) 229-3367 • zalewski@uwm.edu

Ann Dietrich, PT, MS
Director of Clinical Education
(414) 229-2822 • dietrica@uwm.edu

There’s nothing more rewarding than helping people improve movement and feel better, whether you’re working with a toddler who has a motor delay or an elderly client recovering from a surgery.

At UWM’s College of Health Sciences, our goal is to develop practitioners, researchers and educators who will be leaders in the profession of physical therapy across the lifespan. And it’s a terrific time to join the PT field because physical therapists are in high demand: The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs for PTs will grow 36% between 2012-2022, much faster than average.

Why choose us?

  • As the only public DPT program in the Greater Milwaukee area, we offer an urban, research-intensive experience at a fraction of the cost of private schools.
  • Our class size is one of the smallest in the state, guaranteeing you personalized attention from our award-winning faculty.
  • Our urban location gives you access to fantastic clinical opportunities with health care organizations across Milwaukee and beyond, and you’ll be out in a clinical setting by your second week of class — much earlier than you find with most other PT programs. We partner with nearly 400 clinical sites across the nation.
  • Contribute to cutting-edge research in our Human Performance & Sport Physiology Laboratory, Pediatric Neuromotor Laboratory and Visuomotor Laboratory.
  • Our graduates have a nearly 100 percent first-time pass rate on the national board certification exam — far above the national average. They’re also extremely competitive in the job market, and 100 percent are employed within six months of passing the licensing.

Accreditation

Accreditation
UW-Milwaukee’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the American Physical Therapy Association.

1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
(703) 706-3245
accreditation@apta.org
capteonline.org

Vision & Goals

Vision & Goals

Vision

The UW-Milwaukee (UWM) Doctor of Physical Therapy Program offers a unique education in an urban setting at a research-intensive university. Our focus is to graduate practitioners, researchers and educators to be leaders in the profession of physical therapy across the lifespan.

Goals

  1. Recruit and matriculate the most qualified and diverse students, challenging and supporting them to completion of the program.
  2. Develop a contemporary practitioner whose philosophy is anchored in evidence-based practice, values community and professional engagement, and facilitates patient/client participation through health promotion and disease prevention.
  3. Develop physical therapists who display the core values of professionalism and generic abilities consistent with expectations of a doctorally-educated professional.
  4. Recruit and retain diverse faculty who exemplify excellence in teaching and who serve as professional role models.
  5. Contribute to evidence-based practice through faculty and student scholarly activity.
  6. Facilitate life-long learning within the physical therapy community.
    • Practice in a manner consistent with the established legal and professional standards and ethical guidelines of practice.
    • Communicate orally and in writing in ways consistent with needs of the audience and situation.
    • Adapt delivery of physical therapy services with consideration for patients’ differences values, preferences and needs.
    • Participate in self-assessment and lifelong commitment to learning.
    • Make clinical decisions using theory, judgment and patient’s values.
    • Evaluate data from varied sources to make sound clinical judgments.
    • Advance quality of physical therapy services by participating in evidence-based practice.
    • Utilize evidence in the selection of tests and measures, making diagnoses and prognoses and designing treatment plans.
    • Establish and administer a plan of care that is safe, effective, patient-centered and evidence-based.
    • Demonstrate leadership by participating in clinical education.
    • Participate in organizational leadership by assuming leadership roles within the organization.

Admission

Admission

Application Process

The UWM Doctor of Physical Therapy Program participates in the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) admissions procedure. All application materials should be submitted through PTCAS; go to www.ptcas.org to submit your application. The Program does not accept paper applications, nor will incomplete applications be reviewed by the Selection Committee.

Applications to the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program through PTCAS are due by:

  • Early Admission Deadline (Mid August of each year)
    If the program selects enough competitive applications in the Early Decision cycle to fill an incoming class, the program will do so.
  • Regular Admission Deadline (Early November of each year)
    If the incoming class is not filled by applicants from the Early Decision cycle, the program will utilize the Regular Admission cycle to select students for the incoming class, according to the remaining availability.

Applicants should review the exact deadline dates published for UWM on PTCAS at the start of each new admission year.

All students must apply to the graduate school and pay required admission fees once recommended for admission by the Program.

Physical therapists work with people of diverse backgrounds. UWM values diversity in its student body. No student may be denied admission to, participation in or the benefits of, or discriminated against in any service, program, course or facility of the UW- System or its institutions or centers because of the student’s race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status or parental status.

If you feel you have been discriminated against in the admission process, you are encouraged to follow the policies outlined at www4.uwm.edu/secu/docs/other/S49.7.htm

Admission Requirements

To apply to the UWM Graduate School for graduate studies in physical therapy, you must first meet the admission requirements of the UWM Graduate School.

In addition to UWM Graduate School requirements, those applying into the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program must meet the following minimum departmental requirements by the time of enrollment:

  1. Completion of an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution with an overall cumulative grade point average (GPA) of a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
  2. Completion of 10 prerequisite courses with a minimum prerequisite grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) – See Curriculum section below for full list of courses.
  3. Submission of scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination taken within the last five years.
  4. Completion of at least 40 total hours of clinical observation experiences in both outpatient and inpatient settings, with licensed physical therapist(s).
  5. Two letters of recommendation, one of which must be an academic reference.
  6. Responses to narrative essay questions.

The program will enroll 24 students each academic year. Students are selected based on GPA, GRE scores, two letters of recommendation (including at least one academic reference), and narrative essay responses. The program will give preference to candidates with pre-requisite requirements completed at the time of application to the program.

Required prerequisite courses

Prerequisite CourseUWM Course Number
General Biology (4 cr. with lab) Biological Sciences 150
General Biology (4 cr. with lab)Biological Sciences 152
Human Anatomy (4 cr. with lab)*Biological Sciences 202
Human Physiology (4 cr. with lab)*Biological Sciences 203
Chemistry I (4 cr. with lab)Chemistry 102
Chemistry II (4 cr. with lab)Chemistry 104
Physics I (4 cr. with lab)Physics 120 (lecture) and 121 (lab)
Physics II (4 cr. with lab)Physics 122 (lecture) and 123 (lab)
Introductory Psychology (3 cr.)Psychology 101
Introductory Statistics (3 cr.)Kinesiology 270

*Applicants must complete a 2-semester sequence of anatomy/physiology with lab. This can be a stand-alone anatomy course and a stand-alone physiology course or a 2-semester combined anatomy/physiology course.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program reviews candidate files only at the time of application.

If you are applying from within the University of Wisconsin-System, you should refer to the Transfer Wizard to evaluate courses for a fit with UWM Prerequisites at tis.uwsa.edu/.

If you are taking prerequisite courses outside of the UW-System, you should first meet with an academic advisor in their institution.

The UWM Doctor of Physical Therapy Program has academic advisors. If you have additional questions, make an advising appointment at pt-program@uwm.edu. No pre-application approvals of course substitutions will be made during the advising process.

There will be no substitution of coursework that is not an equivalent course, i.e., a microbiology course will not be substituted for an anatomy course.

Admission Rates: PTCAS Cycle 2013-2014

Admission windowTotal applicantsNumber of placementsPercentage
Early Decision361542%
Regular Admit40992.2%
Overall445245.4%

Matriculation Rates: AY 2013-2014

 Class of 2017Class of 2016
TermNumber of students% of admitted cohortNumber of students% of admitted cohort
Summer 2013-Fall 2013n/an/a24100%
Fall 2013-Spring 2014n/an/a24100%
Spring 2014-Summer 2014n/an/a2396%
Summer 2014-Fall 20142292%2396%

Meet With Your Advisor

Meet With Your Advisor

Prospective Students

Prospective applicants who have questions about pursuing physical therapy are encouraged to seek advising from the Pre-Physical Therapy advisor in the College of Health Sciences Office of Student Affairs. Prospective applicants are encouraged to carefully review the entirety of this website and the program’s information packet prior to scheduling an advising appointment.

Completed Baccalaureate Degree: Prospective applicants who have already completed a bachelor’s degree and are interested in taking courses at UWM to satisfy DPT program prerequisites should apply for admission to UWM. On the application, applicants should identify their reason for applying as “Undergraduate courses as a visitor/guest student” and their “applying as” status as “Undergraduate non-degree student with a bachelor’s degree.” Applicants should apply as a second degree student only if they plan to complete a second bachelor’s degree. Questions regarding financial aid for non-degree students should be directed to Gayla Jenkins (jenkinsg@uwm.edu) in the UWM Department of Financial Aid.

Admitted Students

Admitted students receive advising from designated program faculty. Additional information will be made available to you after admission.

Curriculum

Curriculum

The program is a sequenced, competency-based curriculum of 121 credits including 36 weeks of internship in the final year of the program. Students will enroll as full time students for each term of study (Summer, Fall, Spring) and will enroll during UWinteriM of their first year in the program. There is no part-time option for students, nor can courses be taken out of sequence in the DPT program.

Summer I (10 Weeks)

CourseCredits
Total Credits:13
KIN 525: Human Anatomy6
KIN 526: Introduction to Physical Therapy Practice Examination Technique3
KIN 553: Medical Physiology I4

Fall I (15 Weeks)

CourseCredits
Total Credits:19
KIN 527: Biomechanics/Kinesiology of Human Movement4
KIN 590: Introduction to Clinical Education and Professional Development1
KIN 642: Ethos of Care3
KIN 566: Neuroanatomy3
KIN 536: Physiological Regulation of Exertion and Exercise3
KIN 541: Clinical Foundations of the Physical Therapy Examination5

UWinteriM (2 weeks)

CourseCredits
Total Credits:1
KIN 680: FIELDWORK: INTRO1

Spring I (15 weeks)

CourseCredits
Total Credits:18
KIN 753: Medical Physiology II4
KIN 640: Scientific Principles of Interventions5
KIN 542: Physical Agents3
KIN 705: Foundations of Clinical Research3
KIN 702: Statistical Analysis in the Health Sciences3

Summer II (8 weeks instruction & 4 weeks fieldwork)

CourseCredits
Total Credits:13
KIN 565: Motor Behavior3
KIN 643: Integument System2
KIN 741: Musculoskeletal: LE3
KIN 708: Clinical Gait Analysis3
KIN 681: FIELDWORK: GENERAL PRACTICE2

Fall II (15 weeks)

CourseCredits
Total Credits:16
KIN 641: Cardiopulmonary Evaluation and Treatment3
KIN 718: Clinical Radiology1
KIN 742: Musculoskeletal: UE3
KIN 765: Neuromuscular: Adult4
KIN 780: Clinical Teaching2
KIN 709: Research Practicum3

Spring II (15 weeks)

CourseCredits
Total Credits:17
KIN 745: Health/Wellness in PT2
KIN 740: Musculoskeletal: Spine3
KIN 766: Neuromuscular: Pediatric4
KIN 746: Care-based Clinical Decision Making (CDM)2
KIN 744: Healthcare Systems and Administration3
KIN 709: Research Practicum3

Summer III (12 weeks)

CourseCredits
Total Credits:8
KIN 880: INTERNSHIP I8

Fall III (12 weeks)

CourseCredits
Total Credits:8
KIN 881: INTERNSHIP II8

Spring III (12 weeks)

CourseCredits
Total Credits:9
KIN 882: INTERNSHIP III8
KIN 889: Internship Debriefing1

Get Involved

Get Involved

Doctor of Physical Therapy Student Association

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Student Association is an organization that promotes student involvement, physical therapy research, teamwork, and cooperation among UWM students and faculty, and it educates and serves the community through its knowledge of physical therapy.

Contact

Carlynn Alt, Faculty Advisor
Clinical Associate Professor
(414) 229-1742
altc@uwm.edu

For more information about the Doctor of Physical Therapy Student Association, please visit https://orgsync.com/24372/chapter

Volunteer Service

The Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research provides the UW-Milwaukee campus with different opportunities to volunteer throughout the city and beyond. Each week of the year there are opportunities to make a real difference in Milwaukee and beyond by working to improve the environment, mentoring local kids, stocking shelves at a food pantry, serving breakfast to Milwaukee’s homeless community, engaging in an alternative spring break, and helping older adults.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities at uwm.edu/community/students/

Clinical Education

Clinical Education

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program has clinical education contracts with nearly 400 clinical sites throughout the U.S.

The number and types of affiliations vary each year depending on the level of affiliation (1st, 2nd, or 3rd internship) and the staffing patterns at a particular clinical site.

Types of clinical settings

  • Hospitals (acute care, sub-acute, ICU/critical care)
  • Out-patient clinics or offices
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Skilled nursing facilities (SNF) (long term/extended care and acute)
  • Home care
  • Schools (preschool, primary and secondary)
  • Hospices
  • Corporate or industrial health centers
  • Industrial, workplace or other occupational environments
  • Athletic facilities (collegiate, amateur and professional)
  • Fitness centers and sports training facilities

Clinical education experiences are planned to reflect a variety of practice settings and experiences. The clinical education program offers collaborative learning experiences to engage students, instructors, practitioners, administrators and faculty.

The program includes 5 formal clinical experiences. Students participate in 2 formal full time clinical education experiences that are integrated into the didactic portion of the curriculum.

  • The first occurs during the WinteriM session between your first fall and spring semesters. This clinical experience lasts 2 weeks and is completed using a collaborative education model.
  • The second integrated clinical experience is a 4-week experience that occurs in the summer between your 1st and 2nd years of the program.
  • Three 12-week full time internships occur at the conclusion of the didactic curriculum.

The clinical education curriculum is designed to provide a broad clinical preparation, including experience in various practice settings (acute, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient), with different populations (neurological, musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary), and includes an additional focus in experience at one end of the life spectrum (pediatric or geriatric).

New Clinical Education Sites

If you would like to become a clinical education site affiliated with the UWM Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, please complete this survey and/or contact the following faculty members:

Ann Dietrich
Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Education
(414) 229-2822
dietrica@uwm.edu

Renee Mazurek
Clinical Assistant Professor and Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education
(414) 229-1741
mazurekr@uwm.edu

Student Compliance Requirements

UWM requires the following of all Doctor of Physical Therapy students:

  • TB skin test or chest x-ray (annual)
  • Titers indicating immunity to:
    • Varicella
    • Mumps
    • Rubella
    • Rubeola
  • Vaccines for:
    • Tetanus/Diphtheria (within last ten years)
    • Hepatitis B (or signed statement of declination)
    • Flu (annual)
  • Physical Exam (annual)
  • Current health insurance
  • Current professional liability insurance coverage
  • Current CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers and Health Care Providers
  • Annual infection control training (including blood pathogen)
  • Annual HIPAA training
  • Screening of student in EPL and OIG websites
  • Caregiver Background Check and Criminal History (one completed for all students upon enrollment in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program).

Timeline to Completion

Timeline to Completion

In addition to formal coursework, students complete a third year which involves three, twelve week clinical rotations.

It is expected that the DPT degree will take a full-time student at least three years to successfully complete.

Graduation

Graduation
  • Payment of graduation fee on the PAWS system
  • GPA 3.0 or higher
  • Completed KIN 881 with a B or better
  • Completed KIN 882 with a B or better
  • Completed KIN 889 with a B or better
  • 121 degree credits required

Use UWM’s Graduation website to review campus-wide graduation requirements, graduation application deadlines, applying for graduation, and ordering your cap and gown.

Employment Outlook

Employment Outlook

Earnings

The median annual wage for physical therapists was $82,390 in May 2014. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $56,800, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $116,090.

Expected Growth

Employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 34 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for physical therapy services will come in part from the large number of aging baby boomers, who are staying more active later in life than their counterparts of previous generations. Older people are more likely to experience heart attacks, strokes, and mobility-related injuries that require physical therapy for rehabilitation.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Physical Therapists.

Professional Organizations

Professional Organizations

There are many resources available for DPT students. Below are links to some professional organizations. For additional assistance, please use the advising process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

When do classes for the DPT Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) begin?

Classes begin at the start of the summer semester following your admission and run full-time in a tracked program for six consecutive semesters, including summers, on campus. During the third year of the program, the student will participate in 3, 12-week clinical experiences; one during each of the three final semesters in the program. The program only operates on a full-time student basis.

When do I apply for admission?

There are two application windows; the early admission application deadline is August 15 and the regular admission application deadline is November 1st for the upcoming summer admission. All application material will be submitted through PTCAS. Please see our admissions website for additional information.

How do I decide which application window is best for me?

Strong applicants are encouraged to use the early admission window, as acceptance at this time will eliminate your need to apply to several programs during the regular admission window, in November. Applicants will receive notice of early admission decision well in advance of the November application process.

If I apply in early admission and am not offered a position, do I need to reapply in November to be reconsidered?

If you received a denial notice in PTCAS during the early admissions window, then you go into the regular admissions window and can apply to any program.

What are the prerequisites required to apply and do they need to be within a certain time window from my time of application?

Prerequisites for application are listed separately and in detail on this website under the Admission area. Courses may be in progress at the time of application and acceptance is conditional, upon grades for those classes not completed. All coursework must be completed by the time the DPT program begins. Students with prerequisites completed will be given preference on admissions.

What are the minimum requirements for application to the program?

The overall cumulative GPA and prerequisite GPA need to be a minimum of 3.0 in order for your application to be qualified for review by the selection committee. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) must be taken and the score submitted to UWM by the application deadline. The GRE must be within the past 5 years, to reflect current student performance. For non-traditional students the coursework, including prerequisite science courses, are often more than 5 years old. This is accepted, but keep in mind that science is a dynamic field and if you feel that your knowledge is not current or the coursework content is dated, we encourage you to retake any prerequisite coursework. Time since completion of the prerequisite courses is considered by the selection committee in offering placements.

Academically, what does the average student who has been accepted to the program look like?

Over the past few years students who have successfully been admitted to the DPT program at UWM have had an average cumulative GPA of 3.50, average prerequisite GPA of 3.43, and average GRE score is 61% quantitative and 64% verbal, with the writing score 4.13. Students should achieve a 3.30 cumulative GPA and prerequisites GPA to be competitive.

If I am not accepted at the time of application, what can I do to improve my chances to be reconsidered?

If you are being reconsidered in November, any additional coursework that is completed may be submitted. Retaking the GRE and improving your score is also an option. If you reapply the following year, an entire new application must be resubmitted. The DPT program will not pull letters of recommendation, GRE scores, or clinical observation forms from old application files.

What can I expect the typical costs of the program to be?

Wisconsin residents should assume books and tuition costs for the entire three years in the program will be approximately $45,000. For more details visit the tuition and fees website. Tuition is set by the Board of Regents every two years and should be expected to change. All students will participate in clinical experiences located outside of southeast Wisconsin. Therefore, all students should plan for living and transportation expenses during the clinical experiences, in addition to their time on campus.

Can I work while attending the program?

Most students find the DPT program coursework very rigorous and time consuming. Therefore, we recommend that students do not attempt to be employed during the DPT program. This is particularly true during the first two semesters in the program.

Is there financial aid available?

Yes, visit UWM’s Financial Aid website for more details.

Is there housing available on campus for graduate students?

Typically graduate students live off campus, but visit the University Housing website for more information.

Faculty & Staff

Faculty & Staff