Academic Experience

The mission of the University of Washington Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum is to graduate outstanding physical therapists capable of specializing in any of the different areas of PT practice. Through your coursework and clinical education experiences, you’ll develop a broad foundation of physical therapy knowledge and skills, as well as the critical thinking and clinical reasoning abilities you’ll need as a physical therapist.

Curriculum and Format

The DPT program is a full-time, three-year (11-quarter) program. The first two years, or eight quarters, are focused primarily on classroom instruction, progressing from developing foundational knowledge to applying skills in clinical evaluations and showing a beginning mastery of examination, evaluation and intervention strategies.

students doing physical therapy

In the summer between the first and second year, you’ll do a four-week clinical experience, which allows you to practice skills you’ve learned in the first year. Between winter quarter of the first year and summer quarter of the second, you’ll also gain PT experience through numerous integrated clinical experiences in a variety of practice settings, including the UW Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center and Hall Health, located on the UW Seattle campus. 

The final three quarters are spent almost entirely on clinical experience. You'll participate in three full-time, 11-week clinical experiences, which can take place at a variety of local, regional and national clinics and institutions. In the final quarter, you'll also complete a capstone project, which involves selecting a patient case and writing a formal case report. You can begin work on your capstone either in your second or third years.