Physical Therapy Degrees in Boston, MA with School Options

The Boston area has four 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.

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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 near the end of the article 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 4 miles from downtown and offers a Bachelor of Science in Health Studies/Doctor of Physical Therapy, Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training/Doctor of Physical Therapy, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy.
  • Another option for students is Northeastern University, which is three miles from downtown. The university features three physical therapy doctoral programs, including entry-level and transitional degree options.
  • Located roughly 2 miles from downtown Boston, MGH Institute of Health Professions offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

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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 (2015-2016)* 32,112 19,798 1,166
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)* $48,436 $45,530 $41,800
% of Undergraduates Receiving Grant or Scholarship Aid (2013-2014)* 59% 75% 17%
Acceptance Rate (2014)* 35% 32% N/A
Retention Rate (2013-2014)* 93% 96% N/A
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (those who began their studies in Fall 2008)* 85% 82% N/A

Source: *NCES, College Navigator

Boston University

Boston University (BU) was founded in 1839 and serves nearly 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 two 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 194 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 44 weeks worth of clinical experiences, including a six-month internship.

Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and Doctor of Physical Therapy

The joint Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and DPT is a 6-year 200-credit program that provides students with the education and skills necessary to work as athletic trainers and licensed physical therapists. Coursework includes general education and basic science courses in addition to those covering exercise physiology, the musculoskeletal system, neuroscience and athletic training. Once students complete the 128 credits needed to obtain the bachelor's degree, they're eligible for licensure and subsequent employment as athletic trainers. During the graduate portion of the program, they complete a 6-month clinical experience at one of more than 700 university-affiliated athletic training or physical therapy clinics.

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. These experiences allow students to focus on such areas as sports medicine and pediatric rehabilitation.

Northeastern University

Northeastern University was established in 1898 and currently offers 96 undergraduate and 158 graduate programs through nine schools and colleges. The Bouve College of Health Sciences offers four undergraduate and over 34 graduate majors, including physical therapy. This program was established in 1927 and now offers three doctoral degree options.

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 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 122 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 women's health to education and nutrition. Students who hold a baccalaureate degree in physical therapy must earn 35 credits. Additional topics of study include research methods, practice management and health behavior. 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. Entry-level DPT and orthopedic residencies are also available through the Department of Physical Therapy.

Entry-Level Doctor of Physical Therapy

The entry-level DPT 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. The final aspect of the program is a 1-year paid internship. This program consists of 102 credits, and courses include anatomy, pharmacology, research methods, neuroscience, musculoskeletal pathophysiology, clinical management and health promotion.

Other School Option

Another school in the Boston area that has physical therapy programs is Simmons College, located less than four 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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