Physical therapy of an infant with parents and practitioner

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 Doctor of Physical Therapy program, our vision is to 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.

Program Type

Doctoral

Program Format

On Campus
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Physical Therapists…

Your work as a physical therapist will take you to a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities, home care, schools, industry, sports, military and performing arts.

Your clients will come from all walks of life and from all age groups.

Sanjeev Knotek, BS Kinesiology and Doctor of Physical Therapy Student
Why kinesiology alumnus and current Doctor of Physical Therapy student Sanjeev Knotek chose UWM
CAPTE Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
  • As the only public Doctor of Physical Therapy 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 gaining experience in the community by your second week of class — much earlier than you find with other physical therapy programs.
  • One hundred 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).
  • UWM is a research-intensive university, and as such, you will have the opportunity to participate in leading-edge, faculty-mentored research as a part of the curriculum with additional opportunities for those interested. 
  • The Doctor of Physical Therapy program has partnered with the Zablocki Veterans Affairs Hospital to offer a post graduate orthopedic residency program allowing you the opportunities to develop specialized clinical skills with board-certified orthopedic master clinicians and to provide unique teaching experiences. Successful completion of the one-year residency allows you to sit for American Physical Therapy Association board specialist certification.

Successful Alumni

The College of Health Sciences has over 10,000 alumni. These alumni have taken their health sciences degrees and have excelled in their careers.

Visit our Alumni page and be inspired by where a health sciences degree can take you.

Updates for the 2021-22 DPT application process due to COVID-19

Please read the following updates to the UWM DPT program’s Class of 2025 application cycle due to the ongoing challenges and restrictions from COVID-19:

Observation Hours: Observation hours are waived for the 2021-22 application cycle due to continued COVID-19 restrictions. In lieu of observation hours, an alternative requirement embedded within PTCAS is available for any applicant not meeting the required 40 hours of observation (20 inpatient and 20 outpatient) prior to the pandemic. An applicant with 40 hours of observation completed before March 15, 2020, should submit their verification on PTCAS as directed in the application.

GRE: GRE scores are required. GRE scores from the ETS home test option or traditional testing center option are acceptable. Please visit the ETS website for additional information.

Pass/Fail Grades for Coursework: Pass/fail graded coursework will be accepted from Spring 2020 coursework, EXCEPT for the required prerequisite courses. All of the required prerequisite courses need a final letter grade. Only courses taken with a grade are factored into the GPA calculations.

Application Process

Applications through PTCAS are due by:

  • Early Priority Admission phase (Mid-August of each year)
    If the program can select 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. A waiver for UWM Graduate School admission fees may be available through attendance of the fall Graduate School Open House.

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 tab above 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 36 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 two-semester sequence of anatomy/physiology with lab. This can be a stand-alone anatomy course and a standalone physiology course or a two-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

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 start in the summer of the first year. The curriculum also includes a Winterim clinical in the first year. There is no part-time option, nor can courses be taken out of sequence. With faculty approval, students may take a leave from the program for up to a year and then re-enter the tracked curriculum.

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 702: 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

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.

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.

Previously unsuccessful applicants who intend to apply to the next admissions cycle can meet with a faculty member in the program to generally discuss their situation by emailing pt-program@uwm.edu.

Admitted Students

Welcome! In the first semester of the program, you will be assigned a program faculty advisor. We will work with you to maximize your academic success and help you achieve your professional goals.

Portrait of Carlynn Alt
  • Clinical Associate Professor, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Caitlyn Anderson
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Ann Dietrich
  • Clinical Associate Professor Emerita, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Kyle Ebersole
  • Associate Professor, Athletic Training, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Yeeilianna Hamilton
  • Administrative Assistant II, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Wendy Huddleston 2021 Headshot
  • Associate Professor, Physical Therapy Program Director, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Renee Mazurek
  • Clinical Associate Professor, Physical Therapy Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Victoria Moerchen
  • Associate Professor, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Stephanie Schrader Portrait
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Director of Clinical Education, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Antoinette Spector Portrait
  • Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology
Portrait of Lori Woodburn
  • Administrative Assistant II, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology

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
  • Renee Moldenhauer, PT, DPT, CHT, Affiliate Clinical Assistant Professor
  • Sam Park, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CMTPT
    Affiliate Clinical Assistant Professor
  • Michael Waller, PT, DPT, OCS, Affiliate Clinical Assistant Professor
Important Dates

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.

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; 703-706-3245accreditation@apta.org
capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, email 
pt-program@uwm.edu.

Contact

Phone: 414-229-3360
Fax: 414-229-3366

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

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