Physical Therapy

Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at UMass Lowell prepares individuals for entry into the profession of physical therapy. The fully accredited program requires a baccalaureate degree for admission and a three-year full-time commitment, including part of each summer.

The curriculum provides a comprehensive foundation in the art and science of physical therapy. Methods of instruction include classroom lecture and discussion, small group / problem-based learning, and skill development during laboratory and clinical experiences. Emphasis is placed on the development of clinical decision-making and critical inquiry skills across the curriculum, culminating in the completion of a Final Research Project (done in small groups) that meets peer review standards for presentation and/or publication.

The clinical education program consists of four extended clinical education experiences (each eight weeks in length) and two shorter blocks (one and two weeks in length) for a total of 35 weeks. Students experience a variety of practice settings and patient populations in preparation for general practice.

Program Objectives

The graduate of the entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell will be prepared to:

  1. Exhibit attributes, characteristics and behaviors of professionals. 
  2. Practice physical therapy in a safe, effective, ethical, autonomous, reflective, culturally sensitive and legal manner.
  3. Apply the principles of the scientific method and evidence-based practice to interpret and use professional literature in clinical practice; participate in, plan, and conduct research; evaluate outcomes, new concepts/theories and technologies.
  4. Provide skilled planning, direction, organization, and effective management of human, technical, environmental, and financial resources.
  5. Provide effective direction and supervision of personnel essential to the provision of high quality physical therapy.
  6. Provide appropriate wellness screening, prevention and wellness activities, and the promotion of positive health behaviors.
  7. Advocate effectively for patient/clients and facilitate necessary change within the health care delivery system to assure quality health care.
  8. Demonstrate commitment to personal and professional development.
  9. Successfully complete all courses and capstone projects.
  10. Pass the National Physical Therapy Examination.

The program objectives are adapted from the Guide to Physical Therapy Practice, American Physical Therapy Association and Generic Abilities (May et al. Journal of Physical Therapy Education.9:1, Spring 1995).

Minimum Admission Requirements

  1. Baccalaureate Degree from an accredited university of college within past 10 years..
  2. Undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater.
  3. Pre-Requisite Science GPA of 3.0 or greater.
  4. Graduate Record Examination: > 290 combined. 
  5. Computer literacy in word, excel and power point is expected
  6. Documented personal experience in a physical therapy setting (volunteer or paid). Minimum 35 hours
  7. Statement of Purpose
  8. Three (3) letter of recommendation, one (1) of which must be submitted by a licensed physical therapist.
  9. Required prerequisites coursework:
  • General
    • Pharmacology (200 level course > 2 credits
    • Psychology
    • Statistics
  • Science
    • Anatomy and Physiology with labs, 2 semesters
    • Chemistry with labs, 2 semesters
    • Physics with labs, 2 semesters
    • Exercise Physiology (upper-level [300+] course)
    • Kinesiology (upper-level [300+] course)

Important Notes:

The completed application deadline is November 1st for admission to the subsequent academic year' (summer's) class. 

  • All documents in support of an application are due at the deadline, e.g. letters of recommendation, official transcripts, official GRE scores, etc. 
  • No more then two (2) pre-requisite courses may be missing at the time of application. Courses which are "in-Progress" at the time of the application deadline are considered missing. 
  • Students may be asked to provide documentation of equivalent course content proposed to meet admission criteria.
  • Any/All applications deemed incomplete at teh application deadline will be ineligible for a full department review.
  • Meeting the minimum application requirements does not guarantee admission into the program.

All International Applicants:

  • Transcripts must be evaluated: Center for Educational Documentation: www.cedevaluations.com

The DPT class consists of both external and internal (Exercise Physiology graduates from U Mass Lowell) graduates.  Highly qualified juniors in the Exercise Physiology program are accepted into the DPT program under expedited or early admission, pending successful completion of their baccalaureate requirements.

Additional Program Requirements

  1. Proof of yearly physical examination by a physician indicating satisfactory general health status and proof of immunization for measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, polio, diphtheria, tuberculosis, and Hepatitis B is required prior to clinical education experiences.
  2. A CORI check (Criminal Offender Record Information) prior to clinical education experiences is required.
  3. Costs related to clinical education experiences including transportation, housing, meals and tuition/fees are assumed by the student.  Students should expect and plan for out-of-state clinical placements.
  4. Professional behavior (defined as Generic Abilities) is required during all academic and clinical education experiences.

Course of Study

DPT Curriculum (pdf)

DPT Course Checklist (pdf)