The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at the University of Southern California (USC) is one of the premier programs in the country. This distinction derives from a mission that includes the advancement of physical therapy education, practice, and research. Because of this, students in our program benefit from a dynamic learning environment where patient care and research are actively integrated into the learning experience. Faculty are national and international leaders engaged in teaching and research with a focus on increasing the quality and understanding of physical therapy practice and science. Our students come from across the US and from diverse cultural, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds and identities. Honoring these diverse perspectives in the classroom and Division culture strengthens our students' ability to provide quality care and serve a diverse society after graduating. The Division has three faculty practice sites and offers four residency programs and two fellowships for specialized training in Orthopedic, Neurologic, Sports, and Pediatric Physical Therapy. It also offers advanced research training culminating in MS and PhD degrees in Biokinesiology, as well as an MS in Biokinesiology with Sports Science emphasis. For more information about our Division, visit our website: https://pt.usc.edu/. Our Diversity, Anti-Racism, Inclusion, and Community Engagement (DARIC) Council guides the Division's strategic priorities to foster diversity in the recruitment and retention of our students, staff, and faculty; provide an inclusive, anti-racist environment where all members of the community are valued and feel welcomed; and to promote population health equity. For updated information visit https://pt.usc.edu/diversity-and-anti-racism/ .
The DPT program at USC provides the required educational preparation for a professional career as a physical therapist. Program graduates are knowledgeable, self-assured, adaptable, reflective, and service-oriented practitioners who by virtue of critical thinking and ethical values render informed and independent judgments concerning patient/client needs, promote the health and quality of life of the client, and enhance the professional foundations for practice. Graduates are prepared to become autonomous practitioners, capable of evaluating and treating patients without the need for referral from another practitioner, but ready to work in collaboration with other health professionals. These practitioners contribute to society and the profession through practice, teaching, administration, and the discovery and application of new knowledge about physical therapy. The educational philosophy of the program is to maximally challenge each student and facilitate their development of skills for life-long learning, professional development, and leadership.
The USC DPT program is offered in a residential and a hybrid format. Both pathways share the same coursework (both online and on-campus) and have the same graduation requirements. Students in the residential pathway meet with faculty on campus most days each week for learning activities. Students in the hybrid pathway meet with faculty online most days each week and come to campus for intensive immersion experiences. Immersions typically occur twice per semester for seven consecutive days, with a range of three to twelve days duration. To learn more about the similarities and differences between these two outstanding options, visit our admissions website: https://dpt.usc.edu/.
The three-year program runs year-round and consists of 115 graduate credits. The curriculum during the first two years is systems-based, with whole semesters focused on musculoskeletal, cardiovascular/pulmonary, and neurologic physical therapy. Eighteen weeks of clinical experiences are interspersed throughout this time. The third year is integrative, reinforcing and building upon concepts introduced in the first two years. It consists of a unique case-based curriculum with a team-based approach designed to help students develop across different practice areas, with coursework integrated with 26 weeks of clinical experiences.
USC was the first program to grant the DPT degree and the second program in the nation to graduate doctorally prepared students. In 2021 we graduated our 24th DPT class and our first to include graduates from the hybrid pathway.
An initial $1,000 Enrollment Commitment Deposit is due 2-4 weeks after notification of an admission offer (depending upon the date of the initial offer), but not before January 15 of the matriculation year. A secondary $500 Enrollment Commitment Deposit is due by mid-May of the matriculation year. Both deposits are non-refundable and will be applied in their entirety to the tuition fee bill after matriculation.