Jun 19, 2021  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog

Doctor of Physical Therapy

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 and maintain 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 Student Handbook.

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
  • Meet and maintain clinical requirements
  • clinical site specific requirements
  • maintenance of American Heart Association BLS Provider 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. These clinical experiences are located regionally and nationally, and provide depth and breadth to each student’s unique educational experience. The clinical experiences are scheduled by NIU-DPT program faculty.

To be engaged in any clinical practicum experience, students will be required to meet program requirements.  See the Clinical Requirements HERE

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 all required documentation to Physical Therapy Centralized Application System (PTCAS) and Graduate School application portals no later than September 15 for the following summer session. NIU Health Sciences majors with Pre-PT emphasis who are interested in guaranteed admission should check with the DPT program. Interested students should view the PTCAS and D.P.T. admission websites. Admission to the professional physical therapy program is based on the following criteria:

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 course work with a minimum 3.00 GPA prior to matriculation
  • Completion of a minimum of 50 hours of observation/volunteer/paid work in a physical therapy setting. These hours must be obtained in at least two different settings within four years of the time of application
  • Competitive scores on the GRE General Test
  • Professional essay
  • Letters of reference
  • An interview may be required as part of the admission process

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

Program Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 107 semester hours from the following:

Grading Policies 

Students must make satisfactory progress in physical therapy graduate courses and meet all defined benchmarks for clinical practice.  Retention in the program requires adherence to Graduate School and DPT Program Requirements and Regulations. Please refer to the Graduate School “General Regulations” and the NIU DPT Student Handbook and Clinical Education Manual.