15 Best Doctorate in Physical Therapy Programs in 2024

January 26, 2024 | Admin

Doctorate in Physical Therapy

Physical therapy colleges are unique colleges that provide years of education and training in areas such as biology, anatomy, kinesiology, and physical fitness. They also train their students’ inpatient psychology to allow them to understand and help their patients cope with the challenges associated with physical ailments. Unlike a diploma or degree, a doctorate in physical therapy helps equip students with the right skills and knowledge to cope up with any issue they may be having. In the last 10 years, physical therapy has evolved so much that there are over 230 accredited physical therapy universities in the US alone.

Why You Should Pursue a Doctorate in Physical Therapy

In the past 50 years, physical therapy has significantly evolved. Therapists and their students have benefited a lot by learning how the body works. By working in hospitals, clinics, universities, consultancies, and physical rehab centers, physical therapists provide advice, customized therapy treatment, and care for patients struggling with health conditions and physical injuries. The most important reason to pursue a degree in physical therapy is that most PT jobs need it. Also for you to get a license and practice, you must have a doctorate.

Top 5 Doctorate in Physical Therapy Programs

Rank School Location
1University of DelawareNewark, Delaware
2Ohio State UniversityColumbus, Ohio
3University of California- San FranciscoSan Francisco, California
4University of WashingtonSeattle, Washington
5University of MinnesotaMinneapolis, Minnesota

Depending on where they work, physical therapists are some of the well-paid people. Plus, a doctorate degree opens for numerous employment jobs. Apart from working in any medical facility, someone with a doctorate in physical therapy can open his own practice or even teach in universities and colleges. Some of them work during the day and teach in the evenings.

Other carrier options that they have include being

  • Acute care physical therapists
  • Cardio physical therapist
  • Occupational physical therapist
  • Pediatric physical therapist
  • Sports therapist
  • Travel therapist

If you need help finding a college or university that offers you a degree of preference we can help. Below are the 15 best schools offering a doctorate in physical therapy.

Best 15 Doctorate in Physical Therapy Programs


University of Delaware

  • Newark, Delaware
  • Points: 95

Founded in 1976, the University of Delaware has one of the best Doctorate of Physical therapy programs in the USA. Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, it provides qualified students the option to learn Clinical Health Science or Master of Science in Anatomy. Rated number one, this program has a 100% student passing rate. Their mission is to advance the practice by providing undergraduate and postgraduate education that translates to quality clinical services and training. The university also has a clinic to provide a unique environment where students, therapists, and researchers can work together to provide the patients with the best services. The best part is that their clinic is open to the general public.

School Overview

Tuition: $43,604
Program Length: 2 ½ years
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Ohio State University

  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Points: 93

Apart from other programs, Ohio State University provides a Doctorate of Physical therapy Program. Having over 60 years of experience, they are known for preparing students for successful careers in physical therapy. They also have several special programs that you can choose from depending on what you want to specialize in. Accredited by Commission on Accreditation in physical therapy, the university offers a Doctor in Allied Health and Physical Sciences. With their doctorate program among the best, you can rest assured you’ll come out as an all-rounded person. With the program taking 2 years, once you are done you can decide to specialize in other programs.

School Overview

Tuition: 43,213
Program Length: 2 years
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University of California- San Francisco

  • San Francisco, California
  • Points: 89

The University of California provides one of the best 3 year Doctor of Physical therapy degree programs. As a joint program with San Francisco State University and UCSF, this program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Highlights of the program include medical and applied science, theoretical foundations, and robust clinical experiences. Having been established in 1864, the University of California is currently one of the best universities out there. Their curriculum is built on a very strong theoretical foundation, clinical reasoning skills, and critical thinking. Those who excel in the National Licensing Examination are normally considered for positions in physical therapy practice.

School Overview

Tuition: $33,660
Program Length: 3 years
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University of Washington

  • Seattle, Washington
  • Points: 86

The University of Washington is an accredited university offering a Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Ranked number 28 by the News and World Report, it’s currently one of the best universities out there. Its program includes courses such as neurophysiology, anatomy, and physiology. In addition, it includes biomechanics basics of exercise, rehabilitation, and kinesiology. Currently, it has an enrollment of 45,000 students and up to 140 academic departments. While it offers a full-time 3-year course during the first 2 years, students take classes within the campus. In the final year, they participate a lot in clinical practice. Once the students are done they become fully qualified and licensed therapists.

School Overview

Tuition: $7,218 per quarter (11 quarters to completion)
Program Length: 3 years
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University of Minnesota

  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Points: 84

Located in Minneapolis, The University of Minnesota offers a doctorate in Physical Therapy Degree. To complete the degree a student must attend a total of 8 semesters. They must also work on coursework encompassing anatomy, musculoskeletal, neurology, internship, and clinical clerkship. If you want a dual program they also provide that. Started in 1851, it’s one of the oldest universities with some of the best programs. Their mission is to create and integrate innovative education, research, and practice to develop collaborative and scholarly physical therapists. With their commitment to research, teaching, and clinical practice they ensure that their graduates are the best.

School Overview

Tuition: $9,163 per semester
Program Length: 3 years
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Duke University

  • Durham, North Carolina
  • Points: 79

As an accredited university, the Duke University Doctor of Physical Therapy Programs is committed to enhancing the health, wellness, and participation in the civic and social lives of people. The university is also focused on producing the next generation of leaders. Consistently rated one of the best universities, most students who join the doctorate program complete within the set duration. With their accomplished faculty, close teacher-student relationship, and clear learning, few universities in the world can provide the kind of opportunities that they offer. Whether you want to pursue physical therapy or you have a desire to learn physical stem this is the right university for you.

School Overview

Tuition: $38,000
Program Length: 5 years
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Northwestern University

  • Evanston, Illinois
  • Points: 79

Northwestern University has a department of Physical Therapy and Human movement Sciences where they offer The Doctorate of Physical Therapy Degree. Their Doctorate of Physical Therapy Degree programs prepares students for the state license and the national physical therapy exam. Apart from movement scientists, they are committed to educating doctors of physical therapy. Boasting a worldwide reputation as premier scientists it has consistently been ranked as one of the best universities. They also provide other challenging individualist programs where students interact with peers, faculty, and patients. Those who want to be part of future discoveries will find it the best.

School Overview

Tuition: $38,073
Program Length: 6 years
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University of Pittsburgh

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Points: 75

The University of Pittsburgh is among the most prestigious universities offering Doctorate of Physical Therapy Degrees. It’s, therefore, the best university for those who are seeking Doctorate Training and Research. Offering several programs the University Encourages its students to explore all the programs that please them. The best part is that their doctor of Physical therapy is one of the oldest programs in the university. Rank as 1 in the USA, they aim to train with the best. They also advance the profession through scholarly activity, education, and professional service.

School Overview

Tuition: $24,348
Program Length: 3 years
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Kansas University Medical Center

  • Kansas City, Kansas
  • Points: 72

Kansas University offers a 2-year program Doctor of Physical Therapy that focuses on anatomy, medical imaging, and physical management procedures. Established in 1943 due to the national polio pandemic, this university not only has the best experience but also provides the best research in the department of physical therapy. With their Doctorate Degree Programs accredited by the Physical therapy Education and Accreditation, you can rest assured that they are the best. As a 3-year full-time graduate program, it prepares general practitioners and enhances long term career development. Since admission is very competitive the university prefers a well-rounded student

School Overview

Tuition: $41,928
Program Length: 2 Years
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Virginia Commonwealth University School of Allied Professions

  • Richmond, Virginia
  • Points: 70

Accredited by the Commission of Accreditation on Physical Therapy Education, Virginia Commonwealth University offers a Doctorate of Physical Therapy Degree which is completed in 3 years. Course work includes units such as anatomy, pharmacology, kinesiology, clinical education, orthopedics, and rehabilitation aspects. Clinical attachment can be completed in any of the 210 sites found in different parts of the country. Since being established in 1941 it has now grown exponentially to become among the best. Located in Richmond Virginia, it currently enrolls up to 31,000 students

School Overview

Tuition: $44,940
Program Length: 3 years
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University of Illinois

  • Urbana/Champaign, Illinois
  • Points: 65

The University of Illinois offers a Doctorate in Physical Therapy with programs including aspects such as gross anatomy, physical therapy, therapeutic appliances, and applied kinesiology among others. As an accredited program, it takes students 8 semesters to finish their programs. It also has a National Board Exam rate of 97.7 pass rate. Started in 1971, it’s a college you can rely on. The students also have access to the university’s hospital which is a world-class facility. Students can develop their clinical experience further by pursuing courses in areas such as gender health, pediatrics, and sports physical therapy. Their program includes a 38 week of full-time clinical education.

School Overview

Tuition: $45,920
Program Length: 3 years
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University of Wisconsin

  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Points: 65

The Doctor of Physical Therapy offered at the University of Wisconsin is perhaps one of the best out there. Unlike other universities, their programs focus on intervention and diagnosis and their curriculum includes neuromuscular mechanics, human anatomy, prosthetics, and physical therapy foundations. Students may also be called upon to complete some causes depending on their previous degrees. Accredited by CAPTE, they have everything you need for your doctorate degree program. They also have a wide range of scholarships for their students.

School Overview

Tuition: $44,320
Program Length: 2 ½ years
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University of Michigan

  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Points: 63

As one of the most recognized universities, the University of Michigan allows every Ph.D. student to spend a sufficient amount of time conducting research, interacting with other students, and completing their course work. After completing the required preliminary examinations a student becomes a Ph.D. candidate. As an accredited institution, they also provide Therapy License and registration. The students require 3 years to complete the program. Unlike other universities, you’ll realize that they always have something amazing.

School Overview

Tuition: $ 43,000
Program Length: 4 years
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The University of North Carolina

  • Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Points: 63

The University of North Carolina provides a Doctorate of Physical Therapy Degree to all interested students. With this program, students get a unique opportunity to diagnose and treat patients of all ages that have conditions affecting their ability to move. Once they are trained they’ll be able to diagnose and restore the physical abilities of their patients. Plus, they have the option of applying and enrolling in the accelerated Exercise Science Ph.D. program. Their 3-year program starts in August. What sets them apart is that they only admit a small number of students.

School Overview

Tuition: $27,454
Program Length: 3 years
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Boston University

  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Points: 59

Boston University Doctorate of Physical Therapy course is designed for students who have already earned a graduate degree. Once enrolled, they get an opportunity to acquire the best competencies in physical therapy and engage in a supervised clinical experience that can help them out. To graduate, the students must have completed a three-year program and up to 40 weeks of clinical experience.

School Overview

Tuition: $52,816
Program Length: $3 years
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Ranking Methodology

This ranking was based on the analysis of best software data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the respective university websites. The schools were ranked based on tuition amounts per year and acceptance rate. Both factors were accorded 50 points and each school was assigned points based on how it compared with others on tuition amounts and graduation rates. The points earned for both ranking factors were then added together to get each school’s total score.

We strive to provide current and accurate information to our readers. If you’re associated with one of the schools we ranked above and you realize an error in the information provided, please feel free to contact us and let us know so we can make any necessary corrections.

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