Overview

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 surgery. In the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, our vision is to develop practitioners, researchers and educators who will be leaders in the profession of physical therapy across the lifespan.

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.
  • You’ll be out in a clinical setting by your second week of class — much earlier than you find with other PT programs.
  • 100 percent of our students are employed within six months of passing the licensing exam. See our graduation rates, licensure exam pass rates, and employment rates (PDF).

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, see the Admission section below. For application deadlines, please refer to the UWM Graduate School website

Cost

UWM offers the following Tuition Reduction Programs for out-of-state residents:

For out-of-state applicants, The State of Wisconsin has strict residency requirements. Please refer to uwm.edu/admissionsresidency for more information.

The American Physical Therapy Association has excellent resources related to student finances at apta.org/FinancialSolutions.

Aid

UWM Fellowships & Awards

UWM & CHS Scholarships

Complete the FAFSA then go to the UWM Panther Scholarship Portal . Sign in using your PAWS credentials and complete the General Application and the CHS application. You may save your work and return to the portal at a later time. Additional information can be found at uwm.edu/scholarships .

State & National Scholarships/Awards

UWM Emergency Grant

The UWM Emergency Grant is funded by several private contributions and is available to students when they have unforeseen circumstances that may negatively influence their academic success. You can be awarded up to $1,000 for non-academic expenses (e.g., car repairs, medical bills, rent, utilities, child care, food, etc.). Learn more at uwm.edu/emergencygrant .

Other Financial Support

Resources

Contact

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

For admissions questions, email pt-program@uwm.edu

Wendy E. Huddleston, PT, PhD
Program Director
414-251-9336huddlest@uwm.edu

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

Accreditation

Accreditation
The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; 703-706-3245; accreditation@apta.org; capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, email pt-program@uwm.edu.

Mission, Vision & Values

Mission, Vision & Values

Mission

The UWM Doctor of Physical Therapy faculty and students, together with our clinical community, enhance health outcomes for Southeastern Wisconsin and beyond by optimizing human movement, achieving a representative physical therapy workforce, and promoting excellence in education, scholarship, and service.


Vision

The UWM Doctor of Physical Therapy program will be recognized as a national leader in Physical Therapy education, graduating physical therapists who strive for excellence as clinician-scholars and leaders practicing in diverse, collaborative and innovative settings to promote healthy communities.


We value…

  1. Commitment to evidence-based Physical Therapist education, encompassing an affordable and accessible student-centered approach in an urban environment, to develop excellent clinician-scholars.
  2. Representation and inclusion in a culture of flexibility, resilience, curiosity, and innovation.
  3. Integrity and respect in our relationships with students, colleagues, and our valued clinical and community partners.
  4. Collaboration within the University and with our clinical and community partners to improve population heath, health equity, social justice, and the human experience.
  5. Engagement through service, scholarship and leadership to shape future physical therapists with social responsibility.

Admission

Admission

Application Process

To apply to the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, you must submit all application materials through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) . We do not accept paper applications, nor will incomplete applications be reviewed by the Selection Committee.

Applications through PTCAS are due by:

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

You should review the exact deadline dates on PTCAS at the start of each admission year.

Once recommended for admission by the Program, you must apply to the UWM Graduate School and pay the required admission fees.

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.


Admission Requirements

You must first meet the admission requirements of the UWM Graduate School. In addition to UWM Graduate School requirements, you must be prepared to meet the following departmental requirements:

  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 the Curriculum section below for the 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 enrolls 24 students each academic year. We review candidate files only at the time of application and give preference to candidates with prerequisite 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 II (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)
Psychology (3 cr.)Any Psychology course
Introductory Statistics (3 cr.)Kinesiology 270

*You 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.

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

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

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 2020-2021

Class ofTotal applicantsNumber of placementsAcceptance rate
2024162 completed applications

152 met all qualifications
2617%*

*Approximately 50 applicants are placed on an active wait list.

Transfers to the UWM DPT Program

We will consider student transfers from another CAPTE accredited DPT program through a special admission process. You must meet or exceed the admission scores of the cohort you intend to join. You must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in the professional DPT program you are transferring from, must submit a letter of recommendation from your current DPT Program Director, and submit a letter of recommendation from someone who has observed you in clinical practice. Transfer consideration is dependent on space availability. Transfer students are admitted on probation. Consistent with graduate school policies, you cannot transfer more than 20% of the credits from your prior program. If you are considering a request to transfer, please contact pt-program@uwm.edu

Advising

Advising

Prospective Students

If you have questions about pursuing physical therapy you are encouraged to seek advising from Torry Rufer, the Pre-Physical Therapy advisor in the College of Health Sciences. We encourage you to carefully review this website and information packet (PDF) prior to scheduling an advising appointment.

Completed Baccalaureate Degree: If you have already completed a bachelor’s degree and are interested in taking courses at UWM to satisfy DPT program prerequisites, you should apply for admission to UWM . On the application, identify your reason for applying as “Undergraduate courses as a visitor/guest student” and your “applying as” status as “Undergraduate non-degree student with a bachelor’s degree.” You should apply as a second degree student only if you 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

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

Curriculum

Curriculum

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is a sequenced, competency-based curriculum of 110 credits including 36 weeks of internship in the final year of the program. You will enroll as a full-time student for each term of study (Summer, Fall, Spring) and will enroll during Winterim of your first year in the program. There is no part-time option nor can courses be taken out of sequence.

Download the curriculum (PDF)


Summer I (10 Weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
PT 720: Human Anatomy1206
PT 700: Introduction to Physical Therapy Practice Examination Technique803
PT 721: Medical Physiology I453
Total Credits:12

Fall I (15 Weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
PT 740: Biomechanics/Kinesiology of Human Movement754
PT 701: Clinical Foundations of the Physical Therapy Examination1205
PT 781: Introduction to Clinical Education and Professional Development151
PT 710: Ethics in Healthcare151
PT 760: Foundations of Interprofessional Practice151
PT 723: Physiological Regulation of Exertion and Exercise453
Total Credits:15

Winterim (2 weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
PT 880: Fieldwork I801
Total Credits:1

Spring I (15 weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
PT 750: Neuroanatomy453
PT 820: Scientific Principles of Interventions1205
PT 708: Research Methods302
PT 722: Medical Physiology II453
PT 704: Physical Agents302
Total Credits:15

Summer II (8 weeks instruction & 4 weeks fieldwork)

CourseContact HoursCredits
PT 821: Integument System452
PT 840: Musculoskeletal - Lower Extremities603
PT 881: Fieldwork II602
PT 751: Motor Behavior453
PT 716: Clinical Radiology151
Total Credits:11

Fall II (15 weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
PT 820: Cardiopulmonary Evaluation and Treatment453
PT 841: Musculoskeletal - Upper Extremities603
PT 850: Neuromuscular - Adult904
KIN 550: Psych Aspects of Human Movement453
PT 709: Research Practicum302
Total Credits:15

Spring II (15 weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
PT 711: Health/Wellness in PT452
PT 842: Musculoskeletal - Spine603
PT 852: Neuromuscular - Pediatric904
PT 712: Case-based Clinical Decision Making (CDM)452
PT 713: Healthcare System and Administration603
PT 709: Research Practicum302
Total Credits:16

Summer III (12 weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
PT 980: Internship I4808
Total Credits:8

Fall III (12 weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
PT 714: Professionalism and Leadership in Healthcare151
PT 981: Internship II4808
Total Credits:9

Spring III (12 weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
PT 982: Internship III4808
Total Credits:8

Get Involved

Get Involved

Doctor of Physical Therapy Student Association

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Student Association 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


Volunteer Service

The UWM Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research provides the campus with different opportunities to volunteer throughout the city and beyond. There are opportunities to make a real difference 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 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 United States.

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 the 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. You 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 year 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 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 Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Education
414-229-2822
dietrica@uwm.edu

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


Clinical Education Curriculum

Courses

Helpful Documents


Student Compliance Requirements

CPR: Prior to enrollment in the program we require CPR certification in Basic Life support for the Healthcare Provider provided by the American Heart Association (AHA). We do not accept CPR certification from any provider other than AHA. Only courses that are taught face-to-face or those taught in a hybrid manner (content is taught online and skills are assessed face-to-face) are accepted. Courses taught in a fully online format are not accepted. It is your responsibility to maintain CPR certification at all times during enrollment in the program or you will be ineligible to participate in the clinical courses or community-based activities.

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
  • 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, you will complete a third year which involves three, twelve week clinical rotations.

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

Graduation

Graduation
  • Payment of graduation fee in PAWS
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Completed KIN 881 with a B or better
  • Completed KIN 882 with a B or better
  • Completed KIN 889 with a B or better
  • 110 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 $89,440 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $62,120, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $124,740.


Expected Growth

Employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 18 percent from 2019 to 2029, 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, Physical Therapists .

Professional Organizations

Professional Organizations

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Preparing to Apply for Admission to a Physical Therapy Program (PDF)

When do classes for the DPT Program 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 you will participate in 3, 12-week clinical experiences; one during each of the three final semesters in the program.

When do I apply for admission?
There are two application windows; the early priority admission application deadline is mid-August and the rolling admission application deadline is early November for the upcoming summer admission. Please see the Admission section above for additional information.

How do I decide which application window is best for me?
Strong applicants are encouraged to use the early priority admission window, as acceptance at this time will eliminate your need to apply to several programs during the admission window in November. You will receive notice of the early priority admission decision by October 15.

For UWM, if I apply in the early priority admission phase and am not offered a position, do I need to reapply in November to be reconsidered?
No, you do not need to reapply. If you do not receive an offer in the early priority admission phase, your application will be moved to the rolling admission phase for consideration.

What are the prerequisites required to apply and when do they need to be completed?
Prerequisites are listed under the Admission section above. One or two outstanding prerequisite 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. Admissions preference is given to those that have completed the prerequisites.

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 have had an average cumulative GPA of 3.50, average prerequisite GPA of 3.43, and average GRE score of 61% quantitative and 64% verbal, with the writing score 4.13. You 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. We 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?
Please refer to the DPT Program Tuition (PDF) document for the cost of the program. Tuition is set by the Board of Regents every two years and should be expected to change. You will participate in clinical experiences located outside of southeast Wisconsin. Therefore, you should plan for living and transportation expenses during the clinical experiences, in addition to your 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 you not be employed during the program. This is particularly true during the first two semesters in the program.

Is there financial aid available?
Yes! Check out the Aid section on this page for more information.

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

Adjunct Faculty 

  • Brian Chapman, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS
  • Lauren Hogan, PT, DPT, OCS, ATC, FAAOMPT
  • Mark Lydecker, PT, MPT, ATC, OCS
  • Connie Kittleson, PT, DPT
  • Sam Park, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CMTPT
    Affiliate Clinical Assistant Professor
  • Michael Waller, PT, DPT, OCS, Affiliate Clinical Assistant Professor