Physical Therapy (DPT)

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Physical Therapy (DPT) Overview

Chatham University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program produces highly-skilled physical therapists by emphasizing critical thinking and self-directed learning using a hybrid problem-based learning approach. We graduate PTs who will meet the challenges of a dynamic healthcare environment and support scholarly activity that bridges science and clinical practice.

Degrees Offered
  • DPT
Program School
Application Deadline

October 1

Applications must be e-submitted to PTCAS by October 1st. It is strongly recommended that applicants complete their application including submission of recommendations and transcripts by September 15th. Additional information can be found in the below Admission Requirements section.

Credits Required

107 (7 terms)

This full-time cohort program begins each fall and is completed in only 28 months.

Cost Per Term


Cost consists of program tuition (cost per term times number of terms) as well as any applicable University and degree-specific fees. Students are subject to tuition increases.

Student Success

Licensing and Employment

The DPT program enjoys a 97.4% graduation rate, with 99% of graduates passing their licensure examination (95% on the first attempt) and 100% becoming employed within six months of graduation. Average over 2016, 2017 and 2018. 

Explore the Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree: 

Chatham University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is a 107-credit, entry-level program designed for students who want to become skilled practitioners of evidence-based physical therapy. The program requires seven terms of study, including 36 weeks of supervised clinical practice. This full-time cohort program begins each fall term.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, several requirements have been updated for the 2020-21 application cycle and are noted in the "Admission Requirements" section below. 

How to Apply

Applicants to Chatham University’s entry-level physical therapy program must use the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Beginning in mid-June, applications may be submitted through the PTCAS application with all relevant materials: official transcripts, PT volunteer experience, and references. Please note official GRE scores are required, but there is not a supplemental application requirement.

Important Dates for Fall 2021 Admission

Application Deadline: October 1*
Admission Interview Date: TBD (by invitation only)

In order to be eligible for invite to the admission interview:

  1. Applicants need to have at least 60% (24 credits) of the ten prerequisites complete by August 31
  2. PTCAS applications must be e-submitted by October 1*
  3. Applications must be complete and include all other Chatham admission requirements (see below) by October 15

*It is highly recommended that you submit your application to PTCAS on or before September 15. PTCAS’s verification process occurs once an applicant e-submits the application and all official transcripts have been received. Verification involves some processing time, so it is in your best interest to submit all materials as early as possible to ensure your complete, verified application is available for us to review.

Admission Requirements

  • A completed baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution prior to the beginning of classes.
  • Official transcripts from all institutions attended sent directly to PTCAS
  • Overall combined GPA of 3.0 or better on a scale of 4.0 as calculated by PTCAS
  • Prerequisite GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. Additionally, grades less than a “C” are not acceptable, and prerequisite courses must have been completed no more than ten years prior to the anticipated start date of the program.

2020-21 CYCLE UPDATE: A "Pass" or “Satisfactory” grade for prerequisites will be accepted for coursework completed during the Spring 2020 semester. However, such grades do not impact GPA calculation. 

  • At least six of ten completed prerequisite courses by August 31st of the application year. Prerequisite courses:
    • Biology with lab - two terms
    • Chemistry with lab - two terms
    • Physics with lab - two terms
    • Physiology with lab (prefer human) - one term**
    • Human Anatomy with lab - one term**
      • **If taking anatomy with physiology, both anatomy & physiology I and II with labs are necessary to fulfill the anatomy and physiology requirements.
    • Statistics or Research Methods – one term
    • Developmental Psychology or Lifespan Development – one term
      • A combination of developmental psychology courses that cover the lifespan —birth to death— are also acceptable
  • Official GRE scores sent directly to PTCAS using school code 0412
    • GRE scores will only be accepted if taken within three years of the application date. 
    • There is not a cutoff or minimum GRE score; however, a competitive score is considered a 300 combined with an analytical writing score of 4.0.
    • Chatham will use your highest section—quantitative, verbal, writing—scores across all GRE test dates.

2020-21 CYCLE UPDATE: The GRE General Test at Home Option will be accepted.

  • Evidence of volunteer/work experience in a minimum of two different physical therapy locations OR two different physical therapy settings included in the PTCAS application. Please note verification of this experience is not required. Examples of different settings include:
    • Inpatient 
      • Acute Care/Hospital Nursing
      • Home/Skilled Nursing Facility/Extended Care
      • FacilityAcute/Sub-acute Rehabilitation
    • Outpatient 
      • Free-standing PT Clinic/Hospital-based Clinic
      • Industrial/Occupational Health
    • Home Health
    • School/Pre-school

2020-21 CYCLE UPDATE: We understand volunteer/work experience may not be accessible due to COVID-19 and are advising affected students to develop insight into the PT profession through alternative ways: interview a PT (may be virtual) or research the field via the American Physical Therapy Association website. Students will not be required to verify their interview or research experiences.  

  • Three letters of reference included in the PTCAS application: two academic (faculty or advisor) and one licensed physical therapist OR one academic and two licensed physical therapists.
  • Attendance at on-campus interview.

Admitted Student Profile

Students Beginning Fall 2019

Number Enrolled: 40
Average Overall GPA: 3.66
Average Prerequisite GPA: 3.62
Average Combined GRE: 302
Average Writing GRE: 3.9
Average Age: 23
Out-of-State Residents: 35%
Females: 70%
Males: 30%

Students Beginning Fall 2018

Number Enrolled: 40
Average Overall GPA: 3.65
Average Prerequisite GPA: 3.62
Average Combined GRE: 303
Average Writing GRE: 3.9
Average Age: 24
Out-of-State Residents: 40%
Females: 68%
Males: 32%

Students Beginning Fall 2017

Number Enrolled: 40
Average Overall GPA: 3.7
Average Prerequisite GPA: 3.68
Average Combined GRE: 304
Average Writing GRE: 3.9
Average Age: 24
Out-of-State Residents: 30%
Females: 55%
Males: 45%

PTH704: Fundamentals of Exercise Physiology

Students will learn the basic principles of exercise physiology using a firm understanding of both anatomy and physiology. These principles stem from how the human body’s normal structure and physiological functioning alters with physical activity. Understanding these adaptations is critical to the understanding of the physiological demands of rehabilitation programs.

PTH703: Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy

This course will provide in-depth preparation required to perform the examination, evaluation, and management of musculoskeletal conditions commonly encountered in physical therapy practice. The course includes the physical therapy diagnostic process, including differential diagnosis and development of evidence-based physical therapy plans of care.

PTH741: Principles of Practice I: Intro to PT Practice

This course introduces the novice professional student to the roles of the physical therapist as a professional, a communicator, and as a scholar. There is a heavy emphasis on patient-practitioner communication skills, especially during the patient interview. Fundamentals of evidence-based practice help students embrace the role of scholarly clinician.

View Full Curriculum

One of the unique aspects of our physical therapy program is the emphasis on critical thinking and clinical decision making. These skills are developed as part of the problem-based learning approach within the curriculum and allow students to be very well prepared for clinical practice.

—JOE SCHREIBER, PT, Ph.D., professor, physical therapy program director

Our Faculty

Faculty members are accomplished teachers, scholars, practitioners, and active leaders in the field.

Full Faculty
Ann Williamson
Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Education
John Dube
Program Director, MA Biomedical Studies

Problem-Based Learning

An innovative problem-based learning (PBL) approach presents the clinical arts and science of physical therapy in an integrated manner organized around body systems.

Learn More

Clinical Experience

DPT clinical experiences occur throughout the curriculum. Students participate in a total of 36 weeks of full-time clinical experiences. Affiliations with over 500 clinical facilities will give you numerous options for experiences here in Pennsylvania and across the United States.

Community Service

Service to a variety of communities is encouraged, and all students participate in service learning as part of the curriculum.

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Program Philosophy

We view learning as an evolving, collaborative and continuous process, one that integrates the learner's needs and goals and that extends beyond the climate of formal education. Learn more about the DPT experience on our student-run Instagram page.

Support a PT Student

In 2017, DPT alumni and faculty Raj Sawhney and Steve Gough created the Sawhney-Gough Clinical Excellence Scholarship. The purpose of this scholarship is to provide recognition and financial assistance to a second-year physical therapy student at Chatham University's School of Health Sciences.

Give Now

News & Stories

Stay updated on recent news and stories for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

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In Touch Newsletters

Learn about DPT student and faculty accomplishments, alumni achievements, and various activities that occurred over the last academic year—in Pittsburgh, and all over the country.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Want more details? Download our PDF for answers to the most frequently asked questions about Chatham's Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Download the PDF

Resources & Partnerships

Our collaborators and community—including preceptors, clinical sites, and guest speakers—are an essential (and highly appreciated!) part of the healthcare education system. Many get involved to give back to the profession, but there are a number of other benefits, too.

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The GoBabyGo! club at Chatham aims to help children with mobility impairments become more mobile by modifying drivable toy cars.

Grand Rounds Presentations

For 10 years, Chatham University's Doctoral of Physical Therapy program has invited clinicians, authors, and researchers to share their expertise at our Grand Rounds presentations. Local Physical Therapists are invited to attend at no cost and receive direct access credits and continuing education credit. A variety of topics are presented using the latest evidence and offering insight into current clinical reasoning and patient care. 

Making an Impact in Ecuador

For many of the School of Health Sciences students, it would be their first time treating patients in such a context—navigating different cultures, different specialties, even different words. And if that weren’t novelty enough, they’d be doing it in Ibarra, Ecuador.