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.
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.
- 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.
The School of Rehabilitation Sciences & Technology has many successful alumni. These alumni have taken their Athletic Training, Communication Sciences & Disorders, Occupational Therapy, Sciences & Technology and Physical Therapy educations 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 2023-24 DPT application process
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.
Observation Hour Requirement: UWM no longer requires observation hours as part of the application process. Observation, volunteer, and work experiences in different physical therapy settings with different patient populations is not required though they may provide applicants with a better understanding of the physical therapy profession. Such experiences may provide context for the profession they are choosing to pursue.
Applications through PTCAS are due by:
- Early Priority Admission phase: applications are due in mid-August of each year. Competitive applicants who have weighed their options for physical therapy education and have decided UWM is their top choice are encouraged to apply by the early priority deadline.
- Rolling Admission phase: applications due in early November of each year. Applications in the rolling admission phase will be reviewed and decisions made throughout this phase until the class is full. The program will retain a waitlist for strong applicants who do not receive an offer. The list will be active until May 1st.
Applicants 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.
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:
- 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).
- Completion of nine 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.
- Submission of scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination taken within the last five years.
- Two letters of recommendation, one of which must be an academic reference.
- 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 COURSE||UWM COURSE NUMBER|
|General Biology (4 cr. with lab)||Biological Sciences 150|
|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 stand-alone 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 2021-2022
|CLASS OF||TOTAL APPLICANTS||NUMBER OF PLACEMENTS||ACCEPTANCE RATE|
|2026||193 completed applications|
114 met all qualifications
*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 email@example.com
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)
|PT 720: Human Anatomy||120||6|
|PT 700: Introduction to Physical Therapy Practice Examination Technique||80||3|
|PT 721: Medical Physiology I||45||3|
Fall I (15 Weeks)
|PT 740: Biomechanics/Kinesiology of Human Movement||75||4|
|PT 701: Clinical Foundations of the Physical Therapy Examination||120||5|
|PT 781: Introduction to Clinical Education and Professional Development||15||1|
|PT 710: Ethics in Healthcare||15||1|
|PT 760: Foundations of Interprofessional Practice||15||1|
|PT 723: Physiological Regulation of Exertion and Exercise||45||3|
Winterim (2 weeks)
|PT 880: Fieldwork I||80||1|
Spring I (15 weeks)
|PT 750: Neuroanatomy||45||3|
|PT 702: Scientific Principles of Interventions||120||5|
|PT 708: Research Methods||30||2|
|PT 722: Medical Physiology II||45||3|
|PT 704: Physical Agents||30||2|
Summer II (8 weeks instruction & 4 weeks fieldwork)
|PT 821: Integument System||45||2|
|PT 840: Musculoskeletal – Lower Extremities||60||3|
|PT 881: Fieldwork II||60||2|
|PT 751: Motor Behavior||45||3|
|PT 716: Clinical Radiology||15||1|
Fall II (15 weeks)
|PT 820: Cardiopulmonary Evaluation and Treatment||45||3|
|PT 841: Musculoskeletal – Upper Extremities||60||3|
|PT 850: Neuromuscular – Adult||90||4|
|KIN 550: Psych Aspects of Human Movement||45||3|
|PT 709: Research Practicum||30||2|
Spring II (15 weeks)
|PT 711: Health/Wellness in PT||45||2|
|PT 842: Musculoskeletal – Spine||60||3|
|PT 852: Neuromuscular – Pediatric||90||4|
|PT 712: Case-based Clinical Decision Making (CDM)||45||2|
|PT 713: Healthcare System and Administration||60||3|
|PT 709: Research Practicum||30||2|
Summer III (12 weeks)
|PT 980: Internship I||480||8|
Fall III (12 weeks)
|PT 714: Professionalism and Leadership in Healthcare||15||1|
|PT 981: Internship II||480||8|
Spring III (12 weeks)
|PT 982: Internship III||480||8|
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 email@example.com.
Welcome! In the first semester of the Doctor of Physical Therapy 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.
- Clinical Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy Program
- 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