Doctor of Physical Therapy Students learning about Anatomy and Physiology of the upper and lower arm.

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

Request Information
Loading…

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 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.

Related Programs

Application Process

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, which 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.

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 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.
  3. Submission of scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination taken within the last five years.
  4. Two letters of recommendation, one of which must be an academic reference.
  5. Responses to narrative essay questions.

The program enrolls 36 students each academic year. We review applications in two phases 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
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 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).

Observation Hour Requirement: UWM does not require 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.

Admission Rates: PTCAS Cycle 2021-2022

CLASS OFTOTAL APPLICANTSNUMBER OF PLACEMENTSACCEPTANCE RATE
2026B207 completed applications
104 met all qualifications
36 matriculated35%*

*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 106 credits, including 30 weeks of full time clinical experiences. You will enroll as a full-time student for eight terms and start in the summer of 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 (12 Weeks)

COURSECONTACT HOURSCREDITS
PT 720: Human Anatomy1206
PT 700: Introduction to Physical Therapy Practice Examination Technique803
PT 721: Medical Physiology I453
PT 731: Professional Development 1151
TOTAL CREDITS:13

Fall I (15 Weeks)

COURSECONTACT HOURSCREDITS
PT 740: Biomechanics/Kinesiology of Human Movement754
PT 701: Clinical Foundations of the Physical Therapy Examination1205
PT 723: Physiological Regulation of Exertion and Exercise453
PT 732: Professional Development 2302
TOTAL CREDITS:14

Winterim (3 weeks)

COURSECONTACT HOURSCREDITS
PT 704: Physical Agents302
TOTAL CREDITS:2

Spring I (15 weeks)

COURSECONTACT HOURSCREDITS
PT 750: Neuroanatomy453
PT 702: Scientific Principles of Interventions1205
PT 716: Clinical Radiology151
PT 722: Medical Physiology II453
PT 733: Professional Development 3302
TOTAL CREDITS:14

Summer II (12 weeks)

COURSECONTACT HOURSCREDITS
PT 821: Integument System452
PT 844: Musculoskeletal – Upper Quarter604
PT 751: Motor Behavior453
PT 707: Innovation and Inquiry302
PT 734: Professional Development 4151
TOTAL CREDITS:12

Fall II (15 weeks)

COURSECONTACT HOURSCREDITS
PT 820: Cardiopulmonary Evaluation and Treatment453
PT 845: Musculoskeletal – Lower Quarter604
PT 850: Neuromuscular – Adult904
PRPP 550: Psychological Considerations for Optimizing Health and Performance453
PT 709: Research Practicum302
TOTAL CREDITS:16

Winterim (3 Weeks plus 3 weeks of spring semester)

COURSECONTACT HOURSCREDITS
PT 881: Clinical Practice I2403
TOTAL CREDITS:3

Spring II (12 weeks)*
*Spring semester starts in week 4 due to winter clinical.

COURSECONTACT HOURSCREDITS
PT 711: Health/Wellness in PT452
PT 852: Neuromuscular – Pediatric904
PT 709: Research Practicum302
PT 735: Advanced Clinical Reasoning904
TOTAL CREDITS:12

Summer III (12 weeks)

COURSECONTACT HOURSCREDITS
PT 980: Clinical Practice 248010
TOTAL CREDITS:10

Fall III (12 weeks)

COURSECONTACT HOURSCREDITS
PT 981: Clinical Practice 348010
TOTAL CREDITS:10

Total Credits (Program) 106

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 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.

Portrait of Carlynn Alt
  • Clinical Associate Professor, Physical Therapy
Portrait of Ann Dietrich
  • Clinical Associate Professor Emerita, Physical Therapy
Melissa Dygulski
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy Program
Portrait of Kyle Ebersole
  • Professor, Athletic Training, Physical Therapy
headshot of yeeilianna hamilton
  • Administrative Assistant II, Physical Therapy
Lauren Hogan, PT, DPT, ATC Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy (OCS), Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT)
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy
Wendy Huddleston 2021 Headshot
  • Associate Professor, Physical Therapy
  • Director, Physical Therapy
Portrait of Renee Mazurek
  • Clinical Associate Professor, Physical Therapy
  • Assistant Director of Clinical Education,, Physical Therapy
  • Director of Admissions, Physical Therapy
Portrait of Victoria Moerchen
  • Associate Professor, Physical Therapy
  • Associate Dean, Graduate School
Stephanie Schrader Portrait
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy
  • Director of Clinical Education, Physical Therapy
Portrait of Lori Woodburn
  • Administrative Assistant II, Physical Therapy

Adjunct Faculty

  • Brian Chapman, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS
  • 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
UWM Graduate School Open House
Thursday, Nov. 7, 2024
Wisconsin Room – located on the second floor of the UWM Student Union.

Visit with representatives from your program of interest anytime between 5 and 7 p.m.

https://uwm.edu/graduateschool/openhouse/

Bonus: The UWM Graduate School will pay the application fee for prospective students who start their application between 8/15/24 and 3/31/25 and follow all instructions on the fee waiver document which will be provided closer to the event. 

This is an in-person Open House and you must physically attend to be eligible for the Graduate School to pay your application fee.

For some helpful tips, see How to make the most of your UWM Graduate School Open House visit. (PDF)
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; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please 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