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Top Physical Therapy Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Find out which top schools and colleges in the U.S. offer programs in physical therapy. Learn about the degree options at three top-notch universities, and find a list with facts about other schools in the country that provide training for physical therapists. View article »

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  • 0:03 School Information
  • 0:52 Arcadia University
  • 1:24 Northwestern University
  • 2:00 University of Delaware
  • 2:38 Top Physical Therapy Programs

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Video Transcript

School Information

Physical therapy programs offered by some of the nation's top universities include entry-level doctorates assigned to help students meet state licensing requirements and post-professional programs for therapists who want to pursue additional training in a specialty area. Physical therapy programs teach students how to work with individuals who have physical impairments due to illness, injury, or other medical conditions. Learning outcomes include the ability to diagnose and assess patients' conditions and develop treatment plans, often in a relationship with other medical professionals.

Outstanding physical therapy programs can be found at Arcadia University, Northwestern University, and the University of Delaware. Each was ranked among the top 20 physical therapy schools by U.S. News and World Report in 2016.

Arcadia University

The physical therapy programs at Arcadia University were tied for 20th in U.S. World & News Report's 2016 graduate program rankings. Available programs include an entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Transitional Doctorate of Physical Therapy that allows current professionals to update their credentials by completing coursework online. Also available are orthopedic physical therapy residencies for therapists who want to specialize in this area and a degree program that allows students to earn a dual Doctor of Physical Therapy and Master of Public Health.

Northwestern University

Northwestern University offers a triad of physical therapy degree programs that include a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Doctor of Philosophy program, with a specialization in Movement and Rehabilitation Science. Students interested in developing new rehabilitation techniques can pursue a combined Doctor of Physical Therapy and Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering that incorporates coursework from the university's mechanical, biomedical, and electrical engineering departments. Northwestern University was tied for sixth among physical therapy schools in 2016 per U.S. News and World Report.

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University of Delaware

The University of Delaware was tied for first on U.S. News and World Report's list of the best physical therapy schools in 2016. The school's Doctor of Physical Therapy program includes both basic science coursework and clinical training that can prepare students to continue their education in a specialty area. For students who want to do research in the field, the school offers a Doctor of Philosophy program in biomechanics and movement sciences. There are also clinical fellowship programs available for trained physical therapists interested in sports or orthopedic physical therapy. Geriatric physical therapy fellowships are also available to professionals interested in this specialization.

Top Physical Therapy Programs

These two universities were also among the top 15 on U.S. News and World Report's 2016 list of the best physical therapy schools.

School Name Distinction Location
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Has a Center for Human Movement Science Chapel Hill, NC
University of Pittsburgh Offers a post-professional Master of Science in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences program with neuromuscular and musculoskeletal physical therapy concentrations Pittsburgh, PA

Current and aspiring physical therapy professionals can find relevant graduate programs at both the master's and doctoral levels. Some of the best programs in the field were recognized by U.S. News and World Report in 2016.

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