Oct 01, 2023  
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog 

Doctor of Physical Therapy

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The Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) program prepares individuals to function as entry-level physical therapists. Successful completion of this accredited academic program in physical therapy will meet one of the eligibility requirements for state licensure.

The faculty of the physical therapy program has determined that for students to successfully complete the professional physical therapy program, they must have abilities and skills in observation, communication, motor function, intellectual performance, and professional behavior. A student must, with or without reasonable accommodation, possess these technical skills upon admission to the physical therapy program. A copy of these technical standards for the physical therapy program can be obtained from the Physical Therapy Program Office.

In addition to the usual costs for a university student, physical therapy majors are responsible for the costs involved with

  • appropriate clinical attire
  • transportation to and from, and room and board at, clinical facilities
  • proof of Hepatitis B, rubella, mumps, rubeola, and varicella immunity
  • annual TB tests
  • student professional liability insurance
  • clinical site specific requirements
  • maintenance of CPR certification
  • professional textbooks and supplies

Full-time clinical experiences are an integral part of the curriculum, providing the student opportunities to apply academic knowledge under the supervision of skilled physical therapists. Clinical experiences, offered throughout the United States, are scheduled by the NIU physical therapy faculty. Students are required to complete two full-time six-week clinical experiences, as well as two full-time eight-week clinical experiences. Specific clinical sites may require background checks and/or drug testing.

The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/clearinghouse/outcomes/index.shtml.


Admission to the D.P.T. is limited and competitive. To be assured consideration for admission to the D.P.T. program, prospective students must submit the documentation of clinical hours to the physical therapy program and all other completed application materials to the Graduate School no later than October 15 for the following fall session. Interested students should view the DPT admission website at http://www.chhs.niu.edu/pt/dpt/admission.asp.

Admission to the professional physical therapy program is based on the following criteria:

  • Completion of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution prior to matriculation
  • Completion of all prerequisite coursework prior to admission
  • Completion of a minimum of 50 hours of observation/volunteer/paid work in a physical therapy setting. These hours must be obtained within four years of the time of application
  • Competitive scores on the GRE General Test
  • On-campus inteview
  • A minimum 3.00 GPA (on a 4.00 scale) in the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate course work
  • A minimum 3.00 GPA (on a 4.00 scale) in the following prerequisite courses:
    • AHPT 405 - Physical Therapy and the Rehabilitation Process (3)
    • 3 semester hours of general psychology
    • 3 semester hours of developmental psychology
    • 3 semester hours of abnormal psychology
    • 3 semester hours of statistics
    • 3 semester hours of research methods
    • 4 semester hours of human physiology
    • 5 - 8 semester hours of anatomy and physiology OR 4 semester hours of human anatomy
    • 8 semester hours of general biology with laboratory
    • 8 semester hours of general chemistry with laboratory
    • 8 semester hours of general physics with laboratory
    • a course in medical terminology

Provisional acceptance may be granted pending completion of admission requirements. Contact the physical therapy program regarding admissions.

Transitional D.P.T. (t-DPT)

The transitional program is designed to provide the course work for licensed physical therapists that meet established D.P.T. program requirements. Two options are available: one for M.P.T. practitioners and one for B.S. practitioners.

The transitional D.P.T. program is designed to waive requirements to PTs and MPTs based upon their recent education and previous learning experiences in the field of physical therapy.

the t-D.P.T. student holding the M.P.T. credential will receive a waiver of 91 semester hours of credit in the following:

the t-D.P.T. student holding the B.S. in P.T. credential will receive a waiver of 82 semester hours of credit in the following:

Waiver for AHPT 744

Physical therapists with the following credentials can request a waiver of up to 2 semester hours in AHPT 744: American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) awarded Specialist Certification; American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) credentialed fellowship program. See adviser for additional information.

Admission to the t-D.P.T.

Applications for admission to the t-D.P.T. will be accepted throughout the year. Applicants must meet the following admission requirements:

  • Current licensure as a Physical Therapist in the United States and graduation from a CAPTE accredited program
  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree in physical therapy with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale

Program Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 106 semester hours that include the following:

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