Physical Therapy Degrees in Boston, MA with School Options

The Boston area has seven schools that offer physical therapy programs. Learn about the degree programs, admission info and program requirements for three schools within five miles of downtown Boston to make an informed education decision.

Physical Therapy School Options in Boston

Students interested in Boston-area physical therapy programs have a number of schools to choose from. This article highlights three of those schools, which are all just a short drive from downtown Boston. Check out the table for information on enrollment figures, tuition rates and more. There is also a short section discussing another nearby school that offers physical therapy programs.

  • Boston University is located about less than two miles from downtown and offers a Bachelor of Science in Health Studies/Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Doctor of Physical Therapy.
  • Another option for students is Northeastern University, which is also less than two miles from downtown. The university features three physical therapy doctoral programs, including entry-level and transitional degree options.
  • Located roughly 1.5 miles from downtown Boston, MGH Institute of Health Professions offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy and an entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program.

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Comparison of Schools

The table below makes it easy to compare the three schools and choose the right one.

Boston University Northeastern University MGH Institute of Health Professions
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017)* 33,355 21,489 1,215
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)* $52,082 undergraduate;
$51,716 graduate
$23,688 graduate $50,565 graduate
% of Undergraduates Receiving Grant or Scholarship Aid (2016-2017)* 55% 75% 23% for grant or scholarship aid, 73% federal student loans
Undergraduate Acceptance Rate (2017)* 25% 27% N/A
Retention Rate (2016-2017)* 93% 97% N/A
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (those who began their studies in Fall 2011)* 87% 87% N/A

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

Boston University

Boston University (BU) was founded in 1839 and serves over 33,000 students annually through 17 schools and colleges. The university also offers more than 250 fields of study, including physical therapy. Its Sargent College can trace its roots to 1881 and currently houses a dual bachelor's degree and Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs as well as a traditional DPT option.

Bachelor of Science in Health Studies and Doctor of Physical Therapy

The combined Bachelor of Science in Health Studies and DPT program can be completed in six years. Curriculum is comprised of 222 credits, and students spend the first three years taking pre-professional courses in such topics as physics, exercise physiology, organic chemistry and human anatomy. The next three years are spent completing the professional portion of the program. Students take additional courses and undergo 40 weeks worth of clinical experiences, including a six-month internship.

Doctor of Physical Therapy

The 3-year DPT program requires students to complete 91 credits. This is a full-time, year-round program that begins in the spring and integrates coursework with intensive clinical training. Students begin clinical experiences in their first year of study. A 6-month internship and various clinical seminars are required during the second and third years.

Northeastern University

Northeastern University was established in 1898 and currently offers more than 90 undergraduate and more than 150 graduate programs through nine schools and colleges. The Bouve College of Health Sciences offers more than 100 graduate and undergraduate programs, including physical therapy.

Entry-Level Doctor of Physical Therapy

The 6-year entry-level DPT is designed for first-time students. Program curriculum integrates lectures and hands-on training through several clinical experiences. After taking a series of introductory lab science courses as undergraduate students, aspiring physical therapists spend the last two years of their program completing 36 weeks of supervised clinical training. Students also have the option of pursuing a concentration in sports conditioning for athletes, ergonomics and worker wellness, or early intervention strategies for children. Program coursework includes topics in statistics, physical therapy foundations, exercise physiology, healthcare research and pharmacology.

Post-Baccalaureate Doctor of Physical Therapy

The post-baccalaureate DPT is available to students who've previously obtained a bachelor's degree in a field other than physical therapy. Students must complete prerequisites in anatomy and physiology, psychology, statistics, exercise physiology and chemistry. Once admitted to this 3.5-year program, they take 123 credits of coursework, including several research and physical therapy foundation courses as well as courses in neuroscience, pathology, health assessment and musculoskeletal management. The final year includes two 14-week clinical experiences and a 4-week online diagnostic imaging course.

Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy

The transitional DPT is an online program designed for practicing physical therapists who hold a bachelor's degree in the field. This is a comprehensive program offering concentration areas ranging from pediatrics and geriatrics to education and nutrition. Students who hold a baccalaureate degree in physical therapy must earn 35 credits. Additional topics of study include motor control, practice management and diagnostic imaging. All students take a handful of electives, such as knee, shoulder and spine orthopedics and exercise methods for adults.

MGH Institute of Health Professions

The MGH Institute of Health Professions was established in 1977 and awards undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing and the communication sciences. An entry-level occupational therapy program and DPT program are available through the Department of Physical Therapy.

Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy

The entry-level doctoral program is designed for students who hold a bachelor's degree in a field other than physical therapy. Curriculum combines lecture courses with clinical and research experiences during the first two and a half years of study. This program includes courses in anatomy, research methods, neuroscience, pathophysiology, clinical management and health promotion.

Doctor of Physical Therapy

In this 3-year program, students will undergo extensive studies regarding patient management and the roles and responsibilities of being a healthcare professional. They can take courses focusing on the diagnosis and care of lumbopelvic, hip joint, neck and lower extremity issues and will complete a 2-part clinical experience and a field internship. The program consists of 100 credits.

Other School Option

Another school in the Boston area that has physical therapy programs is Simmons College, located less than two miles from downtown Boston. Simmons offers a Bachelor of Science to DPT program as well as a stand-alone DPT program through its School of Nursing and Health Sciences.


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