Doctor of Physical Therapy

Major: Physical Therapy
Degree Awarded: Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Minimum Required Credits: 128.0
Co-op Option: None
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 51.2308
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 29-1123

About the Program

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) curriculum produces broadly educated physical therapists, while being sensitive to the needs of the health care community and the students’ interests. The program strives to foster both intellectual and professional growth in students and is reflective of contemporary practice to prepare graduates for the ongoing changes in health care delivery.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program prepares students for autonomous practice in physical therapy. As a science, physical therapy examines human motion at the tissue, organ, and systems levels. In the clinical environment, physical therapists (PTs) examine and evaluate patients/clients and implement procedural interventions that restore physical function for all people across the life span. As essential practitioners in the health care delivery system, PTs assume roles in rehabilitation services, prevention and health maintenance programs, and professional and community programs. As professional members of the health care team, PTs supervise support personnel, serve as consultants to other health care personnel, serve as consultants to families and caregivers, participate in administrative services, and conduct clinical research. PTs also serve as advocates for health policy and standards of care that help ensure optimum care for their patients/clients.

Graduates of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program are prepared to fulfill their professional obligations, provide leadership to the profession, and use their knowledge and skills to contribute to the health care of society.

The regular program is 2.5 years in length and spans ten academic quarters. There is a decelerated program for individuals who want to progress at a slower pace and a combined DPT/Masters in Business Administration (MBA) that can be completed in 3.5 years. All versions of the curricula consist of integrated didactic and clinical study with an emphasis on adult learning methodology. Foundational courses are emphasized during the first year, with subsequent quarters sequenced to progress through the hierarchy of educational objectives from simple to complex. All didactic material is organized for synthesis and application to professional practice.

Additional Information

For more information, visit the Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science page on the College of Nursing and Health Professions website.

For application instructions, visit the Drexel's Graduate Admission page for the Doctor of Physical Therapy.

Degree Requirements

The DPT curriculum occurs in a 10-week quarter format over ten quarters: fall, winter, spring, and summer I; fall, winter, spring, and summer II; and fall, winter, and spring III. Classes begin in late September for first-year students. The curriculum is subject to modification.

PTRS 507Neuroscience I3.0
PTRS 508Neuroscience II2.0
PTRS 530Kinesiology I4.0
PTRS 531Kinesiology II3.0
PTRS 532Human Gross Anatomy I4.0
PTRS 533Human Gross Anatomy II4.0
PTRS 534Physical Therapy Exam & Intervention I3.0
PTRS 535Physical Therapy Exam & Intervention II3.0
PTRS 539Topics in Pathophysiology I2.0
PTRS 540Topics in Pathophysiology II4.0
PTRS 600Clinical Reasoning4.0
PTRS 610Issues in Pharmacotherapy3.0
PTRS 613Integrated Clinical Experience I0.5
PTRS 614Integrated Clinical Experience II0.5
PTRS 615Integrated Clinical Experience III0.5
PTRS 616Integrated Clinical Experience IV0.5
PTRS 620Orthopedic Physical Therapy: Upper Extremity4.0
PTRS 621Orthopedic Physical Therapy: Lower Extremity4.0
PTRS 622Orthopedic Physical Therapy: Spine4.0
PTRS 623Physical Agents3.0
PTRS 624Functional Mobility3.0
PTRS 627Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy I4.0
PTRS 630Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy II3.0
PTRS 639Motor Learning2.0
PTRS 641Neurological Exam and Intervention I4.0
PTRS 642Neurological Exam and Intervention II5.0
PTRS 644Integumentary Physical Therapy1.5
PTRS 648Prosthetics and Orthotics3.0
PTRS 649Culture, Ethics and Interprofessionalism in Healthcare2.5
PTRS 654Topics in Health Policy & Services3.0
PTRS 655Health Administration2.5
PTRS 656Motor Control and Rehabilitation2.0
PTRS 733Advanced Clinical Reasoning2.0
PTRS 751Evidence-Based Practice3.0
PTRS 752Research and Measurement in Physical Therapy2.0
PTRS 663Pediatric Physical Therapy I3.5
PTRS 665Pediatric Physical Therapy II3.5
PTRS 791Clinical Experience I4.5
PTRS 792Terminal Clinical Experience II4.5
PTRS 793Terminal Clinical Experience III4.5
PTRS 680Geriatric Physical Therapy3.0
Electives (600 and 700 level PTRS)6.0
Total Credits128.0

Sample Plan of Study

Traditional 2.5 Year Plan of Study

First Year
PTRS 5304.0PTRS 5313.0PTRS 5073.0PTRS 5082.0
PTRS 5324.0PTRS 5334.0PTRS 6150.5PTRS 6160.5
PTRS 5343.0PTRS 5353.0PTRS 6204.0PTRS 6214.0
PTRS 6004.0PTRS 5392.0PTRS 6233.0PTRS 6274.0
PTRS 6130.5PTRS 6140.5PTRS 6243.0PTRS 6414.0
 PTRS 7513.0PTRS 6392.0PTRS 7522.0
 15.5 15.5 15.5 16.5
Second Year
PTRS 7914.5PTRS 6224.0PTRS 5404.0PTRS 7332.0
 PTRS 6303.0PTRS 6441.5PTRS 6653.5
 PTRS 6483.0PTRS 6492.5PTRS 6552.5
 PTRS 6425.0PTRS 6633.5PTRS 6803.0
 Elective3.0PTRS 6103.0PTRS 6543.0
  PTRS 6562.0Elective3.0
 4.5 18 16.5 17
Third Year
PTRS 7924.5PTRS 7934.5  
 4.5 4.5  
Total Credits 128

Decelerated 3.5 Year Plan of Study

First Year
PTRS 5324.0PTRS 5334.0PTRS 5073.0PTRS 6274.0
PTRS 5304.0PTRS 5313.0PTRS 6392.0PTRS 5082.0
 PTRS 5392.0PTRS 6243.0PTRS 6414.0
 8 9 8 10
Second Year
PTRS 5343.0PTRS 5353.0PTRS 6204.0PTRS 6653.5
PTRS 6004.0PTRS 6303.0PTRS 6633.5PTRS 7522.0
PTRS 6130.5PTRS 7513.0PTRS 6441.5PTRS 6803.0
 PTRS 6140.5PTRS 6150.5PTRS 6214.0
  PTRS 6233.0PTRS 6160.5
 7.5 9.5 12.5 13
Third Year
PTRS 7914.5PTRS 6224.0PTRS 5404.0PTRS 7332.0
 PTRS 6483.0PTRS 6492.5PTRS 6543.0
 PTRS 6425.0PTRS 6103.0PTRS 6552.5
 Elective3.0PTRS 6562.0Elective3.0
 4.5 15 11.5 10.5
Fourth Year
PTRS 7924.5PTRS 7934.5  
 4.5 4.5  
Total Credits 128

Clinical Education

A strong history of comprehensive clinical education exists for our professional students. The clinical education for the DPT program is integrated into the didactic portions of the curriculum so that knowledge obtained in the classroom is readily put into practice. The DPT program has contracts with hundreds of clinical sites across the nation, representing all facets of professional practice. Students build confidence by participating in part-time integrated clinical experiences (ICEs) during the first year of the program and 33 weeks of full-time clinical experiences that offer various levels of acuity in different clinical environments.

Students may select from clinical sites that offer experiences with all ages across the life span and in a variety of environments including, but not limited to, acute care, pediatrics, adult rehabilitation, geriatrics, orthopedics, sports medicine, and industrial and occupational rehabilitation.

Additional Information

For more information, visit the Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences Overview page on the College of Nursing and Health Professions website.


Teaching Facilities

Classes are held in lecture halls, classrooms, laboratories or in clinical and research facilities on the University City campus of Drexel University.  A brand new Health Sciences Building (HSB) is where the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences (PTRS) is located along with other programs in the College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) and the College of Medicine. PTRS has two state-of-the-art dedicated laboratories where the clinical components of the professional curriculum are taught. In these laboratories, equipment reflects current physical therapy practice and is part of a multi-disciplinary clinical learning and resource center. Included as part of the resource center is a standardized patient lab that utilizes paid actors to simulate various clinical situations while students' interactions with those "patients" are monitored by supervising faculty. This center provides a rich environment for student learning.  

PTRS also maintains a human anatomy lab in the HSB where students dissect human cadavers during the first two terms of the program. Additional elective coursework may be conducted in the anatomy labs. The gross anatomy lab is a modern, fully equipped facility providing a state-of-the-art dissection laboratory with medical visualization technologies. The facility allows DPT students to focus on the anatomy most relevant to physical therapy while making relevant connections to clinical practice and integrating with other courses.

The DPT program uses its own faculty-staffed clinical sites as well as various clinical sites in the area to enhance the educational experience of the student. The department operates outpatient physical therapy sites in the Drexel Recreation Center on the University City campus and a pro-bono practice in the 11th Street Family Health Center. Students rotate through these facilities getting individualized mentoring while connecting classroom content with clinical practice. These experiences are in addition to the 33 weeks of full-time clinical education the student will experience throughout the curriculum.

The entire Drexel campus has wireless capability and all courses are linked to the learning platform, Blackboard Learn.  

Research Facilities

The Department conducts hypothesis-driven research in biomechanics, motor control, neuromuscular plasticity, rehabilitation and functional outcomes, community-based practice, and family-centered care across the lifespan. The research space is a large, multidisciplinary center in the Health Sciences Building close to classrooms and other clinical labs. The facilities include a gait and running lab and a human performance and aging lab each containing a motion capture system with in-floor force plates, neuromuscular performance labs equipped with custom-built force measuring systems, EMG system, and electromagnetic motion tracking systems, and an instrumented treadmill motion analysis lab. 

Research is conducted via partnerships with organizations locally, nationally, and internationally. Other departments involved in research in the College include Nutrition Sciences, Nursing, Counseling and Family Therapy, and Creative Arts Therapy which provides fertile ground for collaboration. DPT students have the opportunity to work with faculty and PhD students on ongoing laboratory projects through elective coursework.

Physical Therapy DPT Faculty

Benjamin Binder-Markey, PT, DPT, PhD (Northwestern University, University of Delaware). Assistant Professor. Skeletal muscle adaptations after injury and disease; muscle adaptation effects on physical function; musculoskeletal computational models; neurological rehabilitation.
Heather L. Brossman, DHSC, DPT, MS, CCS, PCS (Temple University) Associate Director of Clinical Education. Assistant Professor. Acute care, preschool and school-based practice, early intervention, cardiovascular and pulmonary disorders, complex conditions, participation of children with multiple disabilities, physical activity.
Sudeshna A. Chatterjee, PT, PhD (University of Florida). Assistant Professor. Aging, Neurorehabilitation, Functional Neuroimaging, Non-invasive Brain Stimulation.
Lisa Ann Chiarello, PT, PhD, PCS, FAPTA (Hahnemann University) Director, Doctor of Health Science in Rehabilitation Sciences and Certificate in Advanced Practice in Pediatric Rehabilitation Programs. Professor. Pediatric community-based practice; family-centered care; determinants of outcomes; and participation of children with physical disabilities.
Heather Cronin, PT, DPT, GCS (Temple University). Adjunct Professor. Geriatrics
Margaret Finley, PT, PhD (University of Maryland). Associate Professor. Upper extremity movement patters in persons with chronic neuromuscular disorders.
Kevin E. Gard, DPT, OCS (Temple University) Vice-Chair, Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences and Director, Professional Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. Clinical Professor. Orthopedics; sports medicine.
Noel Goodstadt, DPT, OCS, CSCS (Temple University) Director of Human Gross Anatomy, Director of Residency Programs. Associate Clinical Professor. Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Orthopaedic injuries of the shoulder, knee, and back, and innovation for human performance and function.
Sarah Leuzzi, PT, DPT, CWS, MLT, FACCWS (Temple University). Adjunct Professor. Regional Vice President of Sales East Coast, American Medical Technologies; manual lymphatic drainage; wound care
Robert Maschi, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS (Temple University). Associate Clinical Professor. Orthopedics, musculoskeletal disorders, lower extremity biomechanics and movement analysis.
Clare Milner, PhD, FACSM (University of Durham, University of Leeds) Director, Graduate Programs in Health Rehabilitation Sciences. Associate Professor. Biomechanics of lower extremity injury, injury prevention, and rehabilitation; overuse injuries in runners; gait in people with knee pathology.
Lynnette Montgomery, PT, PhD. Assistant Professor. Spinal Cord and Neuroscience.
Annalisa Na, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS (University of Delaware). Assistant Research Professor. Interactions of multimorbidity diseases on functional outcomes in older adults
Megan Schaefer, PT, DPT, PCS (Temple University) Director of Clinical Education . Clinical Professor. Clinical Specialist in Pediatric Physical Therapy. Health administration, cerebral palsy, pediatric neuromuscular and neurogenetic disorders, acute care pediatrics and early intervention.
Won Sung, PT, PhD (Arcadia University; Drexel University). Adjunct Professor. Orthopedic spine rehabilitation, movement coordination
Sara Tomaszewski, PT, DPT, OCS (Duke University). Clinical Instructor. Orthopedics and sports physical therapy, injury prevention, and return-to-sport decision making.
Sarah Wenger, PT, DPT, OCS (Arcadia University; Temple University) Coordinator, Professional Practice Lab. Assistant Clinical Professor. Health, wellness and fitness, models for preventative physical therapy, dance medicine.
Glenn Williams, PT, PhD, ATC (University of Delaware) Chair, Department of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences. Associate Professor. Neuromuscular plasticity after joint injury, orthopaedic-sports rehabilitation, human performance, post-traumatic osteoarthritis.

Emeritus Faculty

Maria Benedetto, DTP (University of Puerto Rico, Columbia University). Associate Clinical Professor. Pediatrics, Motor learning and motor control; yoga for children; dance prevention and injury rehabilitation
Margo Orlin, PT, PhD, FAPTA (Drexel University). Associate Professor Emeritus. Walking and running biomechanics and participation in children with developmental disabilities, evaluation of enhancing participation for children and adolescents with cerebral palsy.
Robert J. Palisano, PT, ScD, FAPTA (Boston University). Distinguished Professor. Classification and prognosis for gross motor function in children and youth with cerebral palsy; interventions to improve activity and participation in children with physical disabilities; transition to adulthood for youth with disabilities.
Patricia Rubertone, PT, MPT, MSW, EdD (Widener University) Director of Experiential Learning. Associate Clinical Professor Emerita. Student learning; course design; judgment of physical therapy student clinic performance by novice vs. experienced clinical instructors.
Susan Smith, PT, PhD (University of Connecticut, Texas Woman's University). Associate Professor and Dean Emerita. Geriatrics: health promotion and interventions for manifestations of low bone mass; assessment of fall risk and fall prevention interventions for older adults
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