Samuel Merritt University Department of Physical Therapy
3100 Telegraph Avenue Office of Admission, Suite 1000 Oakland CA 94609 United States
Program Description

Program Overview:

The entry-level DPT program is designed around several important approaches to learning so that graduates excel in serving patients and clients as practitioners capable of autonomous decisions as part of a health care team. Courses are designed to progressively build critical thinking, clinical reasoning and decision-making skills with increasingly complex patient presentations. Courses that focus on learning the practice of physical therapy are closely integrated with the foundational and applied sciences such as anatomy, kinesiology, and biomechanics. 

Pharmacology, imaging and the medical management courses are simultaneously covered with the clinical practice application and skills courses. Reflective of a holistic approach to practice, students learn to focus their attention on physical as well as psychological and sociocultural factors that impact individuals' physical movement abilities, including social and structural determinants of health. Practice considerations for physical therapy services through the lifespan are interwoven in the patient/client management course series, focused on patients with musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiopulmonary systems involvement, pediatric patients/clients, and acute complex medical conditions. 

There is additional, specific course content that address the unique needs of other patient populations served by physical therapists, including older adults and patients with amputations, wounds, and pelvic health concerns. Students have integrated simulated and real clinical experiences during their first and second year coursework under the mentorship of faculty and community-based physical therapists during which they are able to see patients who have conditions similar to those being covered in the classroom, so that classroom learning is immediately reinforced with clinical experience, and students are well-prepared for each clinical placement ahead of time. Students also provide free services to underserved community members under faculty supervision during three of their on-campus patient/client management courses, and in addition participate in a series of four Pro bono experiences courses threaded through the curriculum, where they also work side by side with faculty, providing free services to a variety of underserved populations in our local community. 

The importance of communication and relationship between the physical therapist and patients in a culturally diverse environment, and the multiple roles of physical therapists in the health care system and as part of health care teams are also addressed throughout the program. Students finish the program by completing a longer final clinical experience, enabling them to graduate as skilled and confident physical therapist contributors to the health care teams they join as they begin their careers.

There are many distinguishing features of the DPT program at Samuel Merritt University.

* You will have multiple opportunities for hands-on active learning during the classroom portions of the curriculum. This includes extensive opportunities for simulated clinical practice in our state of the art Health Sciences Simulation Center.

* You will work with excellent faculty who are nationally recognized in their areas of expertise, which extend to not only specialty clinical practice areas but also include experts in best practices for optimal teaching and learning of graduate health professions students. These faculty have as their primary focus a dedication to work with our students to achieve their goal of becoming the best physical therapists they can be, and to provide the best care possible to their future patients.

* Students are introduced to evidence-based practice in their first term in the program and these skills are developed and reinforced in all courses. 

* You will join a program, a faculty, and a University community dedicated to transforming the experience of health and health care for diverse populations.

Program offers a guaranteed freshman admission pathway?
Dual Degrees
Will the professional (entry-level) PT program offer a satellite or branch campus to applicants during the upcoming admissions cycle?
Admission Interviews
Program conducts interviews as part of the admissions process?
Additional information about interviews

In order to complete a holistic review of all qualified applicants, we have chosen to pay close attention to our school specific essay questions, to learn about each individual who applies to our program. We have also chosen not to conduct interviews, as they introduce a limit to the number of qualified applicants we can consider. Each applicant who meets all minimum requirements will receive a complete review by our DPT faculty for admission consideration. In this way we are able to holistically evaluate ALL applicants who are eligible for admission to our program.

Is a Deposit Required for Accepted Applicants?
Total cumulative deposit
Deposit Refundable?
Deposits collected on a rolling basis after offer of admission made?
Due Date of First Required Deposit
Total Cost of Education for In-State Students
Total Cost of Education for out of State Students
Incoming Class Profile
Anticipated Size of the Next Entering Class
Size of Most Recent Entering Class
% of students from IN-STATE
% of WICHE (Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education) students
% of students from OUT-OF-STATE
% of CANADIAN students
% of INTERNATIONAL (non-U.S/non-Canadian) students
% Male
% Female 
% Declining to State
% Hispanic 
% American Indian/Alaskan Native
% Asian
% African-American/Black (Non-Hispanic)
% Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
% White (Not of Hispanic Origin) 
% Two or More Races 
% Declining to State 
Additional information about the class profile
Samuel Merritt University does not give preference to in-state applicants. We do provide incentive to those who attend an on-campus or virtual DPT Interactive Information Session at ANY time during their application process.
Minority-Serving Institution (MSI) Status
Program housed at a Minority-Serving Institution No
Employees100 to 500
  • Anne Seed
    Primary Contact
    Assistant Dean of Admission
    +1 510.879.9200