Requirements for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) program at the University of Vermont (UVM) consists of 102 graduate credits offered in a 2.5-year full-time program format, over  8 semesters  inclusive of summers, that leads to a Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) degree. The program is well recognized for preparing D.P.T. graduates as  primary care movement system experts who translate evidence into contemporary best practice. Graduates advocate to improve health outcomes and well-being at the individual and community level.

The movement system is the foundation of the curriculum design. Organized in a systems-based model, the curriculum integrates the basic and clinical sciences across the musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiovascular/pulmonary, integumentary and endocrine systems to facilitate student ability to develop as movement system experts. Additionally, the study of evidenced based practice, leadership and professional formation, health policy, business management, and social responsibility shape the students’ professional role and identity as a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

Students engage in an array of active learning experiences with multiple opportunities for interprofessional education and community engagement. Integrated clinical experiences and 32 weeks of full time clinical internships broaden student professional preparation.  Internships are offered throughout the U.S. in a variety of specialty areas and assignments are based on students' educational needs and clinical site availability. Students are responsible for all costs associated with clinical internships.

Exceptional faculty role model clinical and research expertise across each of the specialty areas of physical therapist practice to facilitate student development as movement system experts. 

Comprehensive Examination

The examination takes the form of a small group research project or a systematic review and an individual student portfolio. Both culminate in a written paper and an oral dissemination/defense. The written paper and presentations may take multiple formats and must be satisfactorily completed by the end of the program. Should students not pass the comprehensive examination, they will have one additional opportunity to remediate and provide evidence of achievement of the learning outcomes of the comprehensive examination prior to being able to graduate from the program.

Minimum Degree Requirements

The UVM D.P.T. program requires successful completion of 102 graduate credits. Students will be recommended for graduation by the D.P.T. faculty if they:

  • Receive no more than 2 passing course grades below a B
  • Obtain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher at the end of their didactic course work 
  • Pass their Comprehensive Examination
  • Pass all clinical internships and clinical education coursework expectations during their clinical experience and receive no more than one U grade in a clinical education course (that was successfully retaken for a S grade)
  • Illustrate evidence of professional behaviors commensurate with professional doctoral practice in physical therapy