Jun 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 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
  • meeting and maintaining clinical requirements
  • clinical site specific requirements
  • 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 Requirements

Consideration for admission to the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program requires the following: 

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution by matriculation. 
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (out of 4.00) in stated prerequisite courses. 
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (out of 4.00) in the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate courses. 
  • Documentation of 30 verified observation hours in a physical therapy setting. 
  • GRE scores. 
  • Three letters of recommendation. 
  • Invited Interview. 

To be considered for admission, applicants must submit all application material by October 2 through PTCAS. A supplemental application to NIU’s Graduate School must also be submitted by October 2. At the time of application, official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and documentation of observation hours should be submitted only to PTCAS. Admitted students will send NIU official transcripts certifying bachelor’s degree and GRE scores. When students accept their admission offer, they will enter into a matriculation agreement with NIU. The agreement requires a $100 non-refundable deposit to hold a spot in the program. The amount of the deposit will be applied to the first year’s tuition unless the agreement is broken, which will result in forfeiture of the deposit.

Prerequisite Courses

Achievement of a cumulative minimum GPA of 3.00 (out of 4.00) in the following courses. Courses must be completed before program enrollment. 

  • 3 semester hours of general psychology 
  • 6 semester hours of social science courses  
  • 3 semester hours of statistics 
  • 8 semester hours of human anatomy and physiology with laboratory  
  • 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 (1 to 3 credit hours) 

Observation Hours

Documentation of at least 30 verified hours of observation, volunteer or paid physical therapy work within the last five years. These hours can be from a single setting or from multiple settings.

Letters of Recommendation

The application must include at least three letters of recommendation.  One letter must be from a physical therapist, one from either an academic or employment source, and the third from the applicant’s choice (a person with whom the applicant has a professional relationship). 

Program Requirements

Students must complete a total of 107 semester hours.

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.