Program Requirements

Related Links:
La Crosse Medical Health Science Consortium

Physical therapists are health professionals educated at the doctoral level with expertise in the area of diagnosing and treating patients who have movement disorders. A professional doctoral degree involves extensive study over a wide range of courses integrating basic sciences with skilled professional practice. The practitioner must exhibit strong clinical skills and reasoning based on evidence-based rationale. Graduates will be able to enter practice with skills required to independently examine, evaluate, diagnose, render a prognosis, and assess outcomes for interventions in the management of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities of the cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and integumentary systems. Graduates will also be able to advocate and negotiate on behalf of high-quality health care, the consumer, and the profession.

 The Doctor in Physical Therapy degree represents a partnership between the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. This collaborative inter-institutional relationship is designed to maximize educational opportunities, promote the use of shared resources for research and scholarly activities, and enhance creative endeavors for students, program graduates and faculty.

 The graduate-level professional curriculum is nine semesters long. Six semesters will emphasize classroom and laboratory learning and take place on the UW-L campus. The final three semesters (36 weeks) will be comprised of internships that take place off-campus and culminate with students returning to campus for a one-week debriefing session where they will present an assigned clinical project. The purpose of the internship is to allow students to mentor under a master clinician to ensure that didactic knowledge translates into skill. Internship sites are selected based upon their learning environment and clinical instructors and are located nationwide. To be licensed to practice as a physical therapist, program graduates must also pass the National Physical Therapy Examination administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

Entrance into the program is competitive. Students will be selected based upon their application portfolio. Students seeking admission to DPT program must have:

·         Completed all pre-requisite coursework at time of entry into the program.
Submitted scores on the general test portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE); test taken within the last five years.
Achieved an undergraduate cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0.
Completed undergraduate degree by the time of entry into the program.*
Completed at least two 20-hour clinical experiences under the supervision of a licensed PT with clinical letters of

Prior acceptance into the Graduate School under a separate admissions process.

*Select students may be able to enter the program prior to receiving their undergraduate degree under dual-degree agreements. At UW-L such agreements exist with the Departments of Physics and Biology.

Degree Completion Requirements
All applicants must successfully complete the following prerequisite courses:

Prerequisite Courses: Credits
General Biology 4 (Lab)
Human Anatomy 4 (Lab)
Physiology 4 (Lab)
Chemistry 8 (Lab)
Physics 8 (Lab)
Statistics 3
Psychology 3
Sociology 3

The program has a rolling admissions policy and students are accepted until the class is filled. Students are accepted during the months of November and January.

Admission to the Physical Therapy Program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is based on academic and personal qualifications considered necessary for a successful and competent entry level physical therapist and is therefore competitive. The UW-L Physical Therapy Program grants the privilege of admission to applicants who have met the criteria set by the Physical Therapy Admission Committee.

Professional Curriculum
Summer I
  (10 weeks) 

PTS 511 Human Anatomy 6
PTS 512 Medical Physiology 4
PTS 520 Introduction to Physical Therapy Practice and Evaluation Techniques 3
Total Credits 13
Fall I    Credits
PTS 513 Biomechanics and Kinesiology of Movement 3
PTS 515 Functional Neuroanatomy 3
PTS 516 Physiological Regulation of Exertion and Disease 2
PTS 541 Foundations of Clinical Research 2
PTS 522 Examination course 5
PTS 523 Physical Agents 3
Total Credits 18
Winter Intersession   Credits
PTS 651 Fieldwork: Introduction to Clinical Learning 1
  Total Credits 1
Spring I    Credits
PTS 514 Motor Behavior 2
PTS 611 Applied Pathological Physiology 2
PTS 621 Scientific Principles of Intervention 5
PTS 622 Physical Therapy Management of the Cardiovascular/Pulmonary System 4
PTS 631 Professionalism and the Ethos of Care 3
  Total Credits 16
Summer II (8 weeks instruction and 5 weeks fieldwork) Credits
PTS 623 Integument System 2
PTS 721 Musculoskeletal Evaluation and Treatment: Spine 3
PTS 542 Research and Applied Statistics 3
PTS 543 Instrumentation 2
PTS 751 Fieldwork: General Practice 2
  Total Credits 12
Fall II   Credits
PTS 711 Pharmacology 2
PTS 712 Clinical Radiology 1
PTS 722 Musculoskeletal Evaluation and Treatment: Lower Extremity 3
PTS 723 Adult Neurorehabilitative Physical Therapy 4
PTS 732 Clinical Teaching and Patient Education 2
PTS 741 Evidence-based Practice: Interventions 1
PTS 742 Research Practicum 1
  Total Credits  14
Spring II   Credits
PTS 724 Survey of Health and Wellness in Physical Therapy Practice 2 
PTS 725 Musculoskeletal Evaluation and Treatment: Upper Extremity 3
PTS 726 Pediatric Neurorehabilitative Physical Therapy 4
PTS 727 Case-based Clinical Decision Making – Interventions 2
PTS 733 Health Care Systems and Administration 3
PTS 742 Research Practicum 1
PTS 743 Evidence-based Practice: Tests and Measures 1
  Total Credits 16  
Summer III   Credits
PTS 851 Internship: Inpatient-acute/rehab 6
  Total Credits  6
Fall III   Credits
PTS 852  Internship: Outpatient Orthopedic 6
PTS 832 Clinical Decision Making in an Inpatient Acute Care/Rehab Setting 1
  Total Credits   7
Spring III   Credits
PTS 853 Internship: Autonomous Practice 6
PTS 854  Internship Debriefing 1
  Total Credits 7
  Total required credits for program 111