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 table with at-a-glance facts about other schools in the country that provide training for physical therapists.

School Information

Physical therapists must earn a postbaccalaureate degree and meet other requirements to qualify for state licensing. Master's and/or doctoral programs can be found at Arcadia University, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and Washington University. In general, the programs are designed to 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 collegial relationship with other medical professionals.

Top U.S. Schools and Colleges with Physical Therapy Programs

1. University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA

The University of Southern California (USC) placed 23rd on U.S. News & World Report's list of national universities in 2011, as well as first for its physical therapy program in 2008. The school's Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy offers accredited, research-based physical therapy programs that culminate in a Master of Science (M.S.) in Biokinesiology, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Biokinesiology or DPT. The department also offers post-professional residencies in sports, orthopedic and neurological physical therapy.

2. Washington University in St. Louis in St. Louis, MO

In 2011, Washington University was named a Best Value College for 2011 - Private by The Princeton Review. As of 2008, Washington University in St. Louis tied for second place among schools offering accredited physical therapy programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. Available physical therapy programs include an entry-level DPT, a fellowship in orthopedics that addresses movement impairment syndromes and a residency in women's health. Those interested in teaching and research can pursue a Ph.D. in Movement Science.

3. Arcadia University in Glenside, PA

Arcadia University is a small, private nonprofit college that U.S. News & World Report ranked seventh among physical therapy schools accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education for 2008. The university offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program that can be completed in 2 1/2 years and an online transitional DPT program for licensed working professionals that can be completed in 1-3 years.

List of Ten Good Schools with Physical Therapy Programs

School Name Distinction Location
Arcadia University Experiential learning trips to Guatemala, Jamaica and Peru Glenside, PA
Emory University Joint DPT/Master of Business Administration program Atlanta, GA
Northwestern University Joint DPT/Ph.D. in Engineering program Chicago, IL
University of Delaware DTP students can work with the university's sports, orthopedic, neurologic and older adult clinics Newark, DE
University of Iowa Claims its students have a 100% pass rate on the national licensure exam Iowa City, IA
University of Miami DPT and Ph.D. programs in physical therapy Coral Gables, FL
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for Human Movement Science Chapel Hill, NC
University of Pittsburgh M.S. in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences program with neuromuscular and musculoskeletal physical therapy concentrations Pittsburgh, PA
University of Southern California Orthopedic and neurologic physical therapy residencies Los Angeles, CA
Washington University in St. Louis 11 physical therapy research programs and facilities St. Louis, MO

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