University of Pittsburgh - DPT/PhD in Bioengineering Program Department of Physical Therapy
Department of Physical Therapy- Student Services Administrator Bridgeside Point 1 Pittsburgh PA 15219 United States

Please contact Dr. Patrick Sparto, Co-Director of the DPT-PhD in Bioengineering program, at before applying.

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Program Description

The Departments of Physical Therapy and Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh are pleased to offer a dual-degree program leading to a Doctor of Physical Therapy and PhD in Bioengineering. The University of Pittsburgh is one of the few research universities that has highly ranked graduate programs in Physical Therapy (#1 US News and World Report) and Bioengineering (#24 US News and World Report). The program is structured to provide a synergistic environment between the clinical and research training so that students have early engagement in research while they are studying physical therapy, as well as continued skill development while immersed in their research training. Our program will train future clinician-scientists who will have opportunities to attain faculty positions in both Physical Therapy and Bioengineering departments at top-tier research universities, as well as leadership positions in industry. 

The DPT-PhD in Bioengineering program is a six-year (minimum) program that combines the entry-level DPT (leading to licensure as a physical therapist) with a PhD in Bioengineering that will prepare the student to become an independent researcher. The program will integrate clinical and research experiences, with students receiving mentorship from faculty in the departments of Physical Therapy and Bioengineering. 

Applicants to the DPT-PhD in Bioengineering will need to meet the admission requirements of both programs. Applicants must have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree (or higher) in a field of engineering or closely related program (e.g. physics, applied mathematics, or kinesiology), and a strong interest in physical therapy. Students with a non-engineering background will also be considered, and if admitted are required to take extensive prerequisite engineering and math courses as part of their graduate coursework. Applicants must demonstrate evidence of exposure to the field of PT through volunteer or work experience, as well as significant experience in a research setting. Applicants must submit 3 letters of reference: one physical therapist with whom the student has volunteered or worked for, one academic advisor, and one research supervisor. 

*Please visit the PTCAS Directory at for detailed information about the Pitt DPT program's admission requirements.

Visit the Pitt DPT program pages at

Visit the Pitt Bioengineering program pages at

All applications are reviewed by faculty in both departments. By January 15, a joint meeting of both admission committees will be convened to review the applications and make the following determinations for each applicant: 

* Applicant meets admissions criteria for both programs and would be an excellent candidate for the DPT-PhD program. The applicant will be invited for an interview approximately by the first week in March, coinciding with the Department of Bioengineering graduate applicant interviews.

* Applicant meets admissions criteria for both programs, but may not be an ideal candidate for the DPT-PhD program. The applicant will not be invited for an interview, but will be placed on a wait-list. 

* Applicant does not meet admissions criteria for one or both programs. 

After the interviews are conducted, all applicants will be notified by letter of their status by Mid-March. If an offer of admission is made, the applicant will have a deadline of April 15 to accept the offer of admission.

Program offers a guaranteed freshman admission pathway?
Dual Degrees
Dual-degree programs offered in conjunction with the PT degree
This program is specifically for the dual-degree DPT-PhD in Bioengineering program
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?
Is a Deposit Required for Accepted Applicants?
Total cumulative deposit
Deposit Refundable?
Additional Information about Refunds
You may offered admission into the DPT program before a decision is made about the dual-degree DPT-PhD in Bioengineering program. If you make a deposit to accept this offer of admission to the DPT program, and then are declined admission into the dual-degree program, your deposit will be refunded if you choose to enroll at another institution.
Deposits collected on a rolling basis after offer of admission made?
Incoming Class Profile
Anticipated Size of the Next Entering Class
Size of Most Recent Entering Class
% Female 
Additional information about the class profile
No more than 2 students are admitted to the DPT-PhD in Bioengineering program each year. The class size for the DPT curriculum is approximately 60 students.