Program: Physical Therapy, D.P.T.

Program Description

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree prepares students for licensure as physical therapists. The program requires three academic years and three summers to complete. Full-time enrollment is necessary, including the summers. All students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher throughout the program. To be eligible for licensure, both the didactic and clinical components of the DPT degree must be successfully completed.

Students are required to commute to affiliating hospitals and clinics for some professional courses, and some form of transportation is necessary. Students are also required to provide their own uniforms.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

Admission into programs leading to licensure and credentialing does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or credential. Licensure and credentialing requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the CSU, and requirements can change at any time. For example, licensure or credentialing requirements can include evidence of the right to work in the United States (e.g., Social Security number or taxpayer identification number) or successfully passing a criminal background check. Students are responsible for determining whether they can meet licensure or credentialing requirements. The CSU will not refund tuition, fees, or any associated costs to students who determine subsequent to admission that they cannot meet licensure or credentialing requirements. Information concerning licensure and credentialing requirements is available from the department. See Notice to Students: Licensure and Certification for more information.

Program Requirements

A. Requirements for Admission to the DPT Program

  1. Completion of a bachelor’s degree prior to enrollment in the program.
  2. Admission to graduate studies at CSUN.
  3. Completion of all prerequisite courses or approved substitutions prior to enrollment with a minimum grade of “C” and a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  4. Completion of the Graduate Examination (GRE) prior to filing the application.
  5. The applicant must score at the 50th percentile or higher on at least one area of the GRE if the undergraduate cumulative GPA is less than 3.0.
  6. The applicant must achieve a 3.0 or better on the analytical writing component of the GRE as the direct assessment of writing for the doctoral program. 

B. The following criteria are reviewed by the Selection Committee:

  1. Academic success as reflected by performance in required prerequisites (GPA 3.0 minimum; a “C-” grade or below is not accepted), and performance in undergraduate coursework.
  2. Three letters of recommendation, with at least one from a physical therapist.
  3. Validation of relevant experience (minimum of 200 documented work/volunteer hours). At least two-thirds of validated hours must be in a physical therapist-supervised setting.
  4. GRE (Graduate Record Examination).

Meeting the above criteria does not guarantee acceptance into the DPT program.

The DPT program begins in the Fall semester. The initial filing period to the University and the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) is the previous Fall. The deadline for submitting the supplementary application to the PTCAS for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program is October 1. Applicants are notified by the end of November.

C. Prerequisite Courses

The following courses or approved substitutions (taken at CSUN or another regionally accredited college or university) must be successfully completed prior to enrollment in classes:

CSUN Course

BIOL 101 General Biology (3)
BIOL 101L General Biology Lab (1)
BIOL 211 Human Anatomy (2)
BIOL 212 Laboratory Studies in Human Anatomy (1)
BIOL 281 Human Physiology (3)
BIOL 282 Lab Experiments in Human Physiology (1)
CHEM 101 General Chemistry I (3)
CHEM 101L General Chemistry I Lab (1)
CHEM 102 General Chemistry II (3)
CHEM 102L General Chemistry II Lab (1)
HSCI 390/L Biostatistics and Lab (3/1) (or Statistics)
PHYS 100A General Physics I (3)
PHYS 100AL General Physics I Lab (1)
PHYS 100B General Physics II (3)
PHYS 100BL General Physics II Lab (1)
PSY 150 Introduction to Psychology (3) (or General or Developmental Psychology)
PSY 310 Abnormal Psychology (3)

1. Required DPT Courses (111 units)

a. Courses (108 units)

PT 700/L Applied Human Anatomy for Physical Therapists I and Lab (2/2)
PT 702/L Applied Biomechanics for the Physical Therapist I and Lab (2/1)
PT 703/L Applied Biomechanics for the Physical Therapist II/Lab (2/1)
PT 704/L Applied Physiology and Physiological Assessment and Lab (4/1)
PT 706/L Applied Neuroscience and Lab (3/1)
PT 708 Pathophysiology (3)
PT 711/L Physical Therapy Management and Lab (2/1)
PT 712/L Electrotherapeutics and Lab (2/1)
PT 720/L Musculoskeletal Practice Management I and Lab (3/2)
PT 730/L Musculoskeletal Practice Management II and Lab (2/2)
PT 732/L Neurologic Practice Management I and Lab (2/2)
PT 733/L Neurologic Practice Management II and Lab (2/2)
PT 734/L Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Practice Management and Lab (3/1)
PT 740/L Musculoskeletal Practice Management III and Lab (2/1)
PT 742/L Pediatric Practice Management and Lab (2/1)
PT 744/PT 744L Geriatric Practice Management and Lab (2/1)
PT 746L Applied Therapeutic Exercise Laboratory (1)
PT 750 Evidence-Based Physical Therapy Practice I (2)
PT 752A Evidence-Based Physical Therapy Practice II (2)
PT 752B Evidence-Based Physical Therapy Practice III (2)
PT 752C Supervised Doctoral Project (1/1)
PT 760/L Professional Practice I and Lab (2/1)
PT 770 Pharmacological Interventions (2)
PT 771 Lifespan Sciences (3)
PT 773 Medical Imaging (2)
PT 774 Medical Screening (2)
PT 775/L Pathological Gait, Orthotics and Prosthetics and Lab (3/1)
PT 776/L Movement Impairment and Lab (2/1)
PT 778/L Topics in Wellness and Prevention and Lab (1/1)
PT 780 Professional Practice II (2)
PT 790 Clinical Practice I (1)
PT 792 Clinical Practice II (1)
PT 794 Clinical Education I (1)
PT 794I Clinical Internship I (3)
PT 796 Clinical Education II (2)
PT 796I Clinical Internship II (4)
PT 798 Clinical Education III (2)
PT 798I Clinical Internship III (4)

b. Culminating Experience (3 units)

PT 797 Directed Comprehensive Exam (3)

2. Electives (3 units)

Select at least 3 units from the following or other graduate courses as approved by an advisor:

PT 785A-Z Selected Topics in Physical Therapy (3)
PT 799A Independent Study (1)
PT 799B Independent Study (2)
PT 799C Independent Study (3)

Total Units Required for the D.P.T. Degree: 114


Department of Physical Therapy
Chair: Aimie Kachingwe
Jacaranda Hall (JD) 1537
(818) 677-2203

Graduate Coordinator: Peggy Roller
(818) 677-4684

Program Learning Outcomes

Students receiving a Doctor of Physical Therapy will be able to:

  1. Apply foundational sciences of anatomy, physiology, neurology and pathology to the physical therapy clinical setting.
  2. Communicate in a professional, culturally competent manner to a diverse population in classroom activities and in clinical settings.
  3. Function as an autonomous, skilled physical therapist who is guided by ethical practice standards, reflects on clinical decisions, maintains competence, and collaborates effectively with other professionals in patient management and in advocacy for the profession.
  4. Integrate best scientific evidence with clinical expertise, client-specific needs, and healthcare system values to provide quality therapy services meeting the healthcare needs of patient/clients and society.