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Physical Therapy, Doctor of

Saint Louis University's program in physical therapy offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) degree. For the early-assurance (freshman-entry), it is a six-year curriculum, including two summers. Students admitted as freshman receive a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science - Physical Therapy (B.S.E.S.-P.T.) concentration after successful completion of the first four years, and the D.P.T. degree after successful completion of the additional two post-baccalaureate years. 

Also, students may enter the D.P.T. program as an undergraduate transfer student or as a post-baccalaureate student. 

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.

Program Highlights

Advantages to earning a D.P.T. at SLU include:

  • Direct admission to the program as a freshman
    • Undergraduate transfer and post-baccalaureate transfer are both possible
  • Opportunities to pursue additional curricular goals such as minors, including interprofessional education, certificates and study abroad programs
  • Student-run pro bono clinics
  • Diversity of clinical education sites
  • Highly qualified and accessible faculty
  • State-of-the-art laboratories and clinical equipment

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.

Careers

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

Every application to the Program in Physical Therapy for admission is reviewed on an individual basis.  (Please note the * below for post baccalaureate admissions.)

For the freshman-entry admission, the best qualified high school seniors are selected from the application pool with a required minimum high school gpa of 3.2 on a 4.00 scale, with an emphasis on math and science. 

The following high school courses are required for admission:

  • One year of biology and 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 physical therapy applications and financial aid consideration for all freshmen is Dec. 1.
*The application deadline varies for transfer and post-baccalaureate applicants.

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, seniors and graduate students.
  • 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, see the Doisy College Scholarship page.

Accreditation

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
703-706-3245
accreditation@apta.org
http://www.capteonline.org
If you need to contact SLU's program directly, please call 314-977-8505 or email sluptat@health.slu.edu

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 the additional accreditation information (PDF).

View Additional Accreditation Information (PDF)

Technical Standards (PDF)

Complaint Policy and Instructions (PDF)

  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.

Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science Requirements

Physical Therapy Requirements (for students admitted as freshman or admitted as transfer undergraduate students after completion of the Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, physical therapy concentration requirements

DPT 5123Clinical Gait2
DPT 5134Multi System Management3
DPT 5135Cardiopulmonary Conditions3
DPT 5137Aspects of Nutrition2
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 III3
DPT 6294Clinical Experience IV3
Total Credits65

Physical Therapy Requirements (for students admitted with a bachelors degree)

ANAT 4000Human Gross Anatomy6
ANAT 4300AHP Neurosciences5
DPT 5121Kinesiology I3
DPT 5123Clinical Gait2
DPT 5125Therapeutic Modalities3
DPT 5127Basic Examination3
DPT 5131Survey of Disease3
DPT 5132Pharmacology1
DPT 5133Lab Studies & Imaging2
DPT 5134Multi System Management3
DPT 5135Cardiopulmonary Conditions3
DPT 5137Aspects of Nutrition2
DPT 5142Evidence Based Practice2
DPT 5147Human Growth and Development3
DPT 5149Applied Neuroscience2
DPT 5162Musculoskeletal Conditions II3
DPT 5215Professional Development I2
DPT 5218Effective Communication and Teaching3
DPT 5222Kinesiology II3
DPT 5226Therapeutic Exercise2
DPT 5228Basic Procedures2
DPT 5241Clinical Research and Design2
DPT 5251Neurological Conditions I4
DPT 5261Musculoskeletal Conditions I2
DPT 5263Musculoskeletal Conditions III4
DPT 5271Patient Management I3
DPT 5276Documentation1
DPT 5290Skills Practicum1
DPT 5291Clinical Experience IA2
DPT 6072Patient Management II1
DPT 6077Department Administration2
DPT 6091Clinical Experience IB2
DPT 6092Clinical Experience IIA2
DPT 6192Clinical Experience IIB2
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 6293Clinical Experience III3
DPT 6294Clinical Experience IV3
Total Credits107

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
FallCredits
BIOL 1240
BIOL 1245
General Biology: Information Flow and Evolution
and Principles of Biology I Laboratory
4
CHEM 1080
CHEM 1085
Principles of Chemistry 1 Lecture
and Principles of Chemistry 1 Lab
4
CORE 1700 Ultimate Questions: Philosophy (satisfies CORE 1700) 3
DPT 1111 Self and Community in PT (satisfies CORE 1500) 1
ENGL 1900 Advanced Strategies of Rhetoric and Research (satisfies CORE 1900) 3
 Credits15
Spring
BIOL 1260
BIOL 1265
General Biology: Transformations of Energy and Matter
and Principles of Biology II Laboratory
4
CHEM 1480
CHEM 1485
Principles of Chemistry 2 Lecture
and Principles of Chemistry 2 Lab
4
DPT 1212 Student Development II: Fueling the Fire, Discovering Your Passion (satisfies CORE 1000) 2
MATH 1400 Pre-Calculus 3
CORE 1200 Eloquentia Perfecta 2: Oral and Visual Communication (satisfies CORE 1200) 3
 Credits16
Year Two
Fall
IPE 2100 Interprofessional Collaboration and Healthcare in Global Context 3
PHYS 1220
PHYS 1235
General Physics I
and General Physics I Lab
4
PPY 2540 Human Physiology 4
PSY 1010 General Psychology 3
XXXXElective (for minor) 3
 Credits17
Spring
ANAT 1000 Basic Human Anatomy 3
DPT 2213 Professionalism and Physical Therapy Thought (satisfies CORE 2500) 1
IPE 4200 Applied Decision-Making in Interprofessional Practice 3
PHYS 1240
PHYS 1255
General Physics II
and General Physics II Lab
4
XXXXElective (for minor) 3
XXXXElective (for minor) 3
 Credits17
Year Three
Fall
Participation in Study Abroad Optional  
CORE 1600 Ultimate Questions: Theology 3
CORE 2800 Eloquentia Perfecta 3: Creative Expression 2-3
CORE 3400 Ways of Thinking: Aesthetics, History, and Culture 3
PHIL 2050
or HCE 2010
Ethics
or Foundations in Clinical Health Care Ethics
3
PSY 3460 Abnormal Psychology 3
XXXXElective (for minor) 3
 Credits17-18
Spring
DPT 3230 Exercise Physiology 3
IPE 4900 Interprofessional Community Practicum (satisfies CORE 4000) 2
STAT 1100 Introduction to Statistics 3
DPT3214Reflections on the Core and the Future satisfies CORE 3500 1
XXXXElective (for minor) 3
XXXXElective (for minor) 3
 Credits15
Summer
ANAT 4000 Human Gross Anatomy 6
 Credits6
Year Four
Fall
DPT 5121 Kinesiology I 3
DPT 5125 Therapeutic Modalities 3
DPT 5127 Basic Examination 3
DPT 5131 Survey of Disease 3
DPT 5132 Pharmacology 1
DPT 5133 Lab Studies & Imaging 2
DPT 5147 Human Growth and Development 3
 Credits18
Spring
Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science - PT awarded upon completion of Semester Eight  
ANAT 4300 AHP Neurosciences 5
DPT 5222 Kinesiology II 3
DPT 5226 Therapeutic Exercise 2
DPT 5228 Basic Procedures 2
DPT 5241 Clinical Research and Design 2
DPT 5261 Musculoskeletal Conditions I 2
DPT 5276 Documentation 1
DPT 5290 Skills Practicum 1
 Credits18
Year Five
Fall
DPT 5123 Clinical Gait 2
DPT 5134 Multi System Management 3
DPT 5135 Cardiopulmonary Conditions 3
DPT 5137 Aspects of Nutrition 2
DPT 5142 Evidence Based Practice 2
DPT 5149 Applied Neuroscience 2
DPT 5162 Musculoskeletal Conditions II 3
 Credits17
Spring
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
 Credits18
Summer
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
 Credits7
Year Six
Fall
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
 Credits18
Spring
Doctor of Physical Therapy awarded upon completion of Semester 12  
DPT 6293 Clinical Experience III 3
DPT 6294 Clinical Experience IV 3
 Credits6
 Total Credits205-206

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

Contact Doisy College of Health Sciences:
Julie Miller
Recruitment Specialist
314-977-2570
dchs@health.slu.edu