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. 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).


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


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.


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



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

For admissions questions email pt-program@uwm.edu

Wendy E. Huddleston, PT, PhD
Program Director

Ann Dietrich, PT, MS
Director of Clinical Education


If needing to contact the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) Doctor of Physical Therapy Program directly, please call 414-229-3360 or email pt-program@uwm.edu. The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at UWM is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; 703-706-3245; accreditation@apta.org; capteonline.org.

Vision & Goals

Vision & Goals


The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 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.


  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, who 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 the 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 design 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.



Application Process

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (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. We do 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 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.

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

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, students applying for 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 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 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 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

*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 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.

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 2019-2020

Admission windowTotal applicantsNumber of placementsPercentage
Early Decision552647%
Regular Admit*6100%

*Low due to the announcement of the class filled in early decision. We had 125 applicants in progress, not submitted.

Note: The 2019-20 cycle was the last cycle to include Early Decision.



Prospective Students

Prospective applicants who have questions about pursuing physical therapy are encouraged to seek advising from Torry Rufer, 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 (PDF) 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, you should 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.” 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.



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. 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.

Download the curriculum (PDF)

Summer I (10 Weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
KIN 525: Human Anatomy1206
KIN 526: Introduction to Physical Therapy Practice Examination Technique803
PRPP 737: Medical Physiology I453
Total Credits:12

Fall I (15 Weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
KIN 527: Biomechanics/Kinesiology of Human Movement754
PRPP 701: Introduction to Clinical Education and Professional Development151
PRPP 702: Ethics in Healthcare151
PRPP 736: Physiological Regulation of Exertion & Disease453
KIN 541: Clinical Foundations of the Physical Therapy Examination1205
PRPP 703: Foundations of Interprofessional Practice151
Total Credits:15

UWinteriM (2 weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
KIN 680: Fieldwork I801
Total Credits:1

Spring I (15 weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
PRPP 753: Medical Physiology II453
KIN 640: Scientific Principles of Interventions1205
PRPP 758: Physical Agents302
KIN 566: Neuroanatomy453
PRPP 705: Research Methods302
Total Credits:15

Summer II (8 weeks instruction & 4 weeks fieldwork)

CourseContact HoursCredits
PRPP 764: Motor Behavior453
KIN 643: Integument System452
KIN 741: Musculoskeletal - Lower Extremities603
KIN 681: Fieldwork II1602
Total Credits:10

Fall II (15 weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
KIN 641: Cardiopulmonary Evaluation and Treatment453
KIN 718: Clinical Radiology151
KIN 742: Musculoskeletal - Upper Extremities603
KIN 765: Neuromuscular - Adult904
KIN 550: Psych Aspects of Human Movement453
PRPP 709: Research Practicum302
Total Credits:16

Spring II (15 weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
KIN 745: Health/Wellness in PT452
KIN 740: Musculoskeletal - Spine603
KIN 766: Neuromuscular - Pediatric904
KIN 746: Case-based Clinical Decision Making (CDM)452
PRPP 744: Healthcare System and Administration603
PRPP 709: Research Practicum302
Total Credits:16

Summer III (12 weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
KIN 880: Internship I4808
Total Credits:8

Fall III (12 weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
PRPP 704: Professionalism and Leadership in Healthcare151
KIN 881: Internship II4808
Total Credits:9

Spring III (12 weeks)

CourseContact HoursCredits
KIN 882: Internship III4808
Total Credits:8

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.


Carlynn Alt, Faculty Advisor
Clinical Associate Professor

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. 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 Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Education

Renee Mazurek
Clinical Associate Professor and Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education

Clinical Education Program Curriculum


Helpful Documents

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.


  • 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
  • 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


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

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

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

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 you 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 priority admission application deadline is mid-August and the rolling admission application deadline is early November for the upcoming summer admission. All application material will be submitted through PTCAS. 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 phase window, as acceptance at this time will eliminate your need to apply to several programs during the admission window in November. Applicants 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?
If you do not receive an offer in the early priority admission phase, your application will be moved for consideration to the rolling admission phase.

What are the prerequisites required to apply and when do they need to be completed?
Prerequisites for application 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. 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?
Please refer to the DPT Program Tuition (PDF) document for the costs of the program.

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! 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