Colleges with Master Programs in Physical Therapy: How to Choose

Physical therapy schools with master's degree programs teach students to work with patients to increase physical strength and ability, which may have been lost as a result of an illness or injury. A graduate degree is required to become a state-licensed physical therapist in the U.S.

Physical therapy is a division of the health industry that specializes in the maximization of mobility. Physical therapy master's degree programs are rare; doctoral degree programs in the field are more commonly offered for aspiring physical therapists.

Top Physical Therapy Schools

These schools offer physical therapy programs, and typically prepare students to become licensed physical therapists.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit Doctoral $40,670
University of Delaware Newark, DE 4-year, public Doctoral $30,924
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, public Master's, Doctoral $22,060 in-state, $35,744 out-of-state
Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, MO 4-year, private not-for-profit Doctoral $47,620
University of Iowa Iowa City, IA 4-year, public Doctoral $9,693 in-state, $26,871 out-of-state
Emory University Atlanta, GA 4-year, private not-for-profit Doctoral $41,940
MGH Institute of Health Professions Boston, MA 4-year, private not-for-profit Doctoral $42,685
Northwestern University Evanston, IL 4-year, private not-for-profit Doctoral $49,064
University of Miami Coral Gables, FL 4-year, private not-for-profit Doctoral $34,248

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students seeking education in physical therapy should consider the following points when selecting a school and program:

  • Students may want to consider prerequisites when choosing a program in physical therapy.
  • Admission rates of prospective schools should be considered, because some schools are more selective than others are and will admit only a small number of students each year.
  • Students with specific physical therapy careers in mind may want to research the internships offered by prospective colleges.
  • Programs should prepare students for licensure eligibility.

Master of Physical Therapy

The Master of Physical Therapy program relies on a background in chemistry, physics and anatomy and combines studies in many aspects of the human body. Programs typically include 30 weeks of supervised internships and clinical experience. At some schools, large projects may be substituted for thesis work.

Physical therapy programs prepare students for work as physical therapists through clinical experience and internships. Students should choose accredited schools that prepare them for licensure.


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