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Physical Therapy Program

Saint Louis University's program in physical therapy offers an early-assurance (freshman-entry) Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) six-year curriculum, including two summers. Students receive a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science - Physical Therapy (B.S.E.S.-P.T.) after completion of the first four years, and the D.P.T. degree after successful completion of the additional two post-baccalaureate years. As space allows, students may enter the program as transfer students or as post-baccalaureate students.

Physical therapists work with people across the lifespan to optimize movement and improve health. Physical therapists are responsible for the examination and evaluation of patients/clients, the development and implementation of intervention programs, patient education and the supervision of other health care practitioners. In addition to patient care, physical therapists may also serve as administrators, teachers, researchers and consultants.

Curriculum Overview

SLU's PT curriculum is divided into the pre-professional (freshman–junior years) and the professional phase (senior year–second post-baccalaureate year). Progression to the professional phase of the program provides a seamless entry from foundational coursework to practical labs and clinical experiences.

Once accepted into the program, a student will progress through the entire program without the need for reapplying or taking a graduate entrance exam provided the student meets the program's academic and professional behavior standards.

During the professional phase, students enroll in coursework specific to the physical therapy profession and complete 38 weeks of full-time clinical experiences. Students begin their clinical experiences in the spring of the senior year.

Elective courses in the physical therapy curriculum and clinical exposure help students gain advanced knowledge and skills in specialty areas. In addition to the PT curriculum, students are required to complete a minor.

Upon graduation, students must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination to obtain a license to practice physical therapy.

Clinical and Research Opportunities

SLU's program in physical therapy is affiliated with more than 250 clinical sites locally, nationally and internationally.

The faculty and clinical staff provide clinical services at a variety of locations including the Saint Louis University Physical Therapy Clinic at Student Health, the Physical Therapy Clinic at the Health Resource Clinic, SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital, consultative services to Fusz Pavilion for Senior Jesuits at Jesuit Hall and the SLUCare Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Clinic.


Graduates from SLU's PT program enjoy employment in a variety of settings, including hospitals, out-patient clinics, long-term rehabilitation facilities, collegiate and professional sports, schools, patient homes and fitness centers.

Physical therapists typically work in full-time positions and receive benefits. The 2020 median annual wage of physical therapists was $91,010 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Specific salary depends on location and experience level.

Graduates of our Doctor of Physical Therapy program report a 100% employment rate within the profession within one year of graduation.

Admission Requirements

High school seniors applying for admission are reviewed on an individual basis. The best-qualified students are selected from the application pool with a required minimum high school GPA of 3.20 on a 4.00 scale, with an emphasis on math and science. Standardized test scores are now optional. When evaluating whether to apply test-optional or with a test score, applicants should note that students accepted in previous years had an average composite 29 ACT or an average total 1330 SAT.

The following high school courses are required for admission:
•            One year of biology; one year of chemistry
•            College prep courses equivalent to algebra, geometry, advanced algebra and/or trigonometry
Strong applicants will have:
•            Four years of math, including a course equivalent to pre-calculus
•            Four years of science, including physics and anatomy/physiology
•            Activities demonstrating leadership and community service
•            An interest in the profession of physical therapy as demonstrated through observation, school activities, or personal experience

The deadline for completed program in physical therapy applications and financial aid consideration for all freshmen is Dec. 1.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are two principal ways to help finance a Saint Louis University education:

  • Scholarships: Awarded based on academic achievement, service, leadership and financial need. In addition to University scholarships, the Doisy College of Health Sciences offers a scholarship to sophomores, juniors and seniors.
  • Financial Aid: Provided in the form of grants and loans, some of which require repayment.

For priority consideration for merit-based scholarships, applicants should apply for admission by Dec. 1 and complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1.

For more information, visit the student financial services office online at


The Program in Physical Therapy at Saint Louis University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy (CAPTE).

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy (CAPTE)
3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100
Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085
If you need to contact SLU's program directly, please call 314-977-8505 or email

For more information about the SLU physical therapy program's outcomes, matriculation rate, graduate rate, employment rate, NPTE pass rates and technical standards, please see Additional Accreditation Information.

View Additional Accreditation Information

Technical Standards

Complaint Policy and Instructions

  1. Graduates will be able to serve others by advocating for the health of society.
  2. Graduates will be able to communicate in a way that optimizes patient-centered care.
  3. Graduates will be able to apply principles of evidence-based practice in patient care.
  4. Graduates will be able to evaluate typical versus atypical physical movement.


ANAT 1000Basic Human Anatomy3
BIOL 1240
BIOL 1245
General Biology: Information Flow and Evolution
and Principles of Biology I Laboratory
BIOL 1260
BIOL 1265
General Biology: Transformations of Energy and Matter
and Principles of Biology II Laboratory
ENGL 2000-3900 Literature3
CHEM 1080
CHEM 1085
Principles of Chemistry 1 Lecture
and Principles of Chemistry 1 Lab
CHEM 1480
CHEM 1485
Principles of Chemistry 2 Lecture
and Principles of Chemistry 2 Lab
ENGL 1900Advanced Strategies of Rhetoric and Research3
IPE 1100Introduction to Interprofessional Health Care1
IPE 3500Health Care Systems and Health Promotion3
IPE 4200Applied Decision-Making in Interprofessional Practice3
IPE 4900Interprofessional Community Practicum2
MATH 1400Pre-Calculus3
PHIL 1050Introduction to Philosophy: Self and Reality3
PHIL 2050Ethics3
PHYS 1220
PHYS 1235
General Physics I
and General Physics I Lab
PHYS 1240
PHYS 1255
General Physics II
and General Physics II Lab
PPY 2540Human Physiology4
PSY 1010General Psychology3
PSY 4390Abnormal Psychology3
THEO 1000Theological Foundations3
THEO 2xxxTheology elective3
HIST 1110-4930History elective3
Fine Arts elective 13
Statistics course3
Non-specified electives18
Total Credits94

Fine Arts Elective: Any course specified in the college catalog as accepted as a fine arts elective (for Arts and Sciences) will be accepted as a fine arts elective for Physical Therapy. Courses from Study Abroad experiences will be accepted as per the approval of the Program in Physical Therapy.

Physical Therapy Requirements (for B.S. in Exercise Science, PT)

CORE 1000Ignite First Year Seminar2
CORE 1500Cura Personalis 1: Self in Community1
DPT 2113Student Development III1
DPT 2214Student Development IV1
DPT 3230Exercise Physiology3
DPT 4021Kinesiology I2
DPT 4122Kinesiology II3
DPT 4125Therapeutic Modalities3
DPT 4127Basic Examination3
DPT 4131Survey of Disease3
DPT 4226Therapeutic Exercise2
DPT 4228Basic Procedures2
DPT 4241Clinical Research and Design2
DPT 4247Human Growth and Development3
DPT 4276Documentation1
DPT 4290Skills Practicum1
DPT 5132Pharmacology1
DPT 5133Lab Studies & Imaging2
DPT 5261Musculoskeletal Conditions I2
ANAT 4000Human Gross Anatomy6
ANAT 4300AHP Neurosciences5
Total Credits49

Physical Therapy Requirements (for D.P.T.)

DPT 5123Clinical Gait2
DPT 5134Multi System Management3
DPT 5135Cardiopulmonary Conditions3
DPT 5137Aspects of Nutrition in PT2
DPT 5142Evidence Based Practice2
DPT 5149Applied Neuroscience2
DPT 5162Musculoskeletal Conditions II3
DPT 5215Professional Development I2
DPT 5218Effective Communication and Teaching3
DPT 5251Neurological Conditions I4
DPT 5263Musculoskeletal Conditions III4
DPT 5271Patient Management I3
DPT 5291Clinical Experience IA2
DPT 6072Patient Management II1
DPT 6077Department Administration2
DPT 6091Clinical Experience IB2
DPT 6092Clinical Experience IIA2
DPT 6116Professional Development II2
DPT 6124Biomechanical Interventions3
DPT 6138Concepts of Wellness1
DPT 6152Neurological Conditions II2
DPT 6164Musculoskeletal Conditions IV3
DPT 6173Patient Management III2
DPT 6178Applied Administration and Management2
DPT 6192Clinical Experience IIB2
DPT 6293Clinical Experience III4
DPT 6294Clinical Experience IV3
Total Credits66

Continuation Standards

For a complete list of continuation standards, see the Program in Physical Therapy Student Handbook located on the program web page.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester.  Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
BIOL 1240
BIOL 1245
General Biology: Information Flow and Evolution
and Principles of Biology I Laboratory
CORE 1500 Cura Personalis 1: Self in Community 1
CHEM 1080
CHEM 1085
Principles of Chemistry 1 Lecture
and Principles of Chemistry 1 Lab
ENGL 1900 Advanced Strategies of Rhetoric and Research 3
IPE 1100 Introduction to Interprofessional Health Care 1
BIOL 1260
BIOL 1265
General Biology: Transformations of Energy and Matter
and Principles of Biology II Laboratory
CHEM 1480
CHEM 1485
Principles of Chemistry 2 Lecture
and Principles of Chemistry 2 Lab
CORE 1000 Ignite First Year Seminar 2
MATH 1400 Pre-Calculus 3
PHIL 1050 Introduction to Philosophy: Self and Reality 3
THEO 1000 Theological Foundations 3
Year Two
DPT 2113 Student Development III 1
PPY 2540 Human Physiology 4
PHYS 1220
PHYS 1235
General Physics I
and General Physics I Lab
IPE 4200 Applied Decision-Making in Interprofessional Practice 3
PHIL 2050 Ethics 3
PSY 1010 General Psychology 3
ANAT 1000 Basic Human Anatomy 3
DPT 2214 Student Development IV 1
PHYS 1240
PHYS 1255
General Physics II
and General Physics II Lab
IPE 3500 Health Care Systems and Health Promotion 3
PSY 4390 Abnormal Psychology 3
XXXXElective 1 3
Year Three
Participation in Study Abroad Optional  
ENGL 2000-3900Literature Elective 3
HIST XXXXHistory Elective 3
THEO XXXXTheology Elective 3
XXXXFine Arts Elective 3
XXXXElective 1 3
XXXXElective 1 3
DPT 3230 Exercise Physiology 3
IPE 4900 Interprofessional Community Practicum 2
STAT 1100
or OPM 2070
or MATH 1300
Introduction to Statistics
or Introduction to Business Statistics
or Elementary Statistics with Computers
XXXXElective 1 3
XXXXElective 1 3
XXXXElective 1 3
ANAT 4000 Human Gross Anatomy 6
DPT 4021 Kinesiology I 2
Year Four
DPT 4122 Kinesiology II 3
DPT 4125 Therapeutic Modalities 3
DPT 4127 Basic Examination 3
DPT 4131 Survey of Disease 3
DPT 5132 Pharmacology 1
DPT 5133 Lab Studies & Imaging 2
Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science - PT awarded upon completion of Semester Eight  
ANAT 4300 AHP Neurosciences 5
DPT 4226 Therapeutic Exercise 2
DPT 4228 Basic Procedures 2
DPT 4241 Clinical Research and Design 2
DPT 4247 Human Growth and Development 3
DPT 4276 Documentation 1
DPT 4290 Skills Practicum 1
DPT 5261 Musculoskeletal Conditions I 2
Year Five
DPT 5123 Clinical Gait 2
DPT 5134 Multi System Management 3
DPT 5135 Cardiopulmonary Conditions 3
DPT 5137 Aspects of Nutrition in PT 2
DPT 5142 Evidence Based Practice 2
DPT 5149 Applied Neuroscience 2
DPT 5162 Musculoskeletal Conditions II 3
DPT 5215 Professional Development I 2
DPT 5218 Effective Communication and Teaching 3
DPT 5251 Neurological Conditions I 4
DPT 5263 Musculoskeletal Conditions III 4
DPT 5271 Patient Management I 3
DPT 5291 Clinical Experience IA 2
DPT 6072 Patient Management II (Online course taken during clinical rotations) 1
DPT 6077 Department Administration (Online course taken during clinical rotations) 2
DPT 6091 Clinical Experience IB 2
DPT 6092 Clinical Experience IIA 2
Year Six
DPT 6116 Professional Development II 2
DPT 6124 Biomechanical Interventions 3
DPT 6138 Concepts of Wellness 1
DPT 6152 Neurological Conditions II 2
DPT 6164 Musculoskeletal Conditions IV 3
DPT 6173 Patient Management III 2
DPT 6178 Applied Administration and Management 2
DPT 618XPhysical Therapy Elective (optional) 1
DPT 6192 Clinical Experience IIB 2
Doctor of Physical Therapy awarded upon completion of Semester 12  
DPT 6293 Clinical Experience III 4
DPT 6294 Clinical Experience IV 3
 Total Credits210

18 Elective Credits are required that may be used to complete a minor by the end of the junior year

Program Notes

The curriculum is divided into the pre-professional (freshman – junior years; semesters 1-6) and the professional phase (senior year – second post-baccalaureate year; summer semesters 1 and 2; semesters 7-12). Progression to the professional phase of the program provides a seamless entry from foundational coursework to practical labs and clinical experiences.

Apply for Admission

For additional admission questions please contact:
Julie Miller
Recruitment Specialist