Doctor of Physical Therapy

Training experts in correcting and preventing movement disorders

Physical therapists are experts in how the body moves. When injury, disease or disability interferes with life and work, physical therapists help their clients to correct (or prevent the progression of) movement disorders. They help people stay healthy and fit, and prevent the onset or progression of impairments brought on by injury, disease, disorders and disabilities.

A Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is the entry-level degree for people who want to become physical therapists. At UIC, you’ll complete eight terms (33 months) of didactic and clinical education that includes lecture courses, laboratory courses, seminars, and clinical internships, preparing you for a career as a physical therapist.

Our students have access to the University of Illinois Hospital (UI Health) and a world-class faculty in all major physical therapy specialties, including researchers with labs on campus. Additionally, you can develop your clinical interests further by pursuing electives and courses in areas such as gait, pediatrics, gender health, and sports physical therapy. You will be well-prepared for your career in physical therapy.

Content Section

Stats and Facts

100% of our graduates pass the national licensing exam within 12 months of graduation
U.S. News & World Report ranks us the
doctor of physical therapy program among public universities and
among all U.S. universities
#10 U.S. News and World Report ranks Physical Therapy No. 10 among best health care jobs Learn more
Committed to innovation in health education, practice and research

Your career

Physical therapy is a fast-growing field. Employment of PTs is poised to grow by 22 percent from 2018-2028, according to the US Labor Department, a rate that is much faster than average.

New treatments and therapies promise to expand the scope of therapy practices, and the aging baby boom generation will increase demand for rehabilitation services. Additionally, physical therapists have high flexibility in work settings and report a high personal satisfaction with their work. These factors make physical therapy a highly desirable profession.

U.S. News and World Report recently ranked the field as the 10th best healthcare job. Opportunities exist in a wide variety of settings. The same report ranks UIC 17th among public DPT programs, and 34th overall.

And, UIC is consistently listed among the Most Affordable and Best Value DPT programs in the country.

Learn from the best

  • Sangeetha Madhavan

    Sangeetha Madhavan

    Creating individualized therapeutic approaches to advance existing rehabilitation practices using state-of-art technologies

  • Leo Arguelles head shot

    Leo Arguelles

    Committed to the profession and cultivating DPT clinicians

  • Laura Thorp head shot

    Laura Thorp

    Providing award-winning excellence teaching anatomy from a PT's perspective

Understanding by doing

Our program includes 38 weeks of full-time clinical education experiences—one two-week and three 12-week internships. Part-time experiences are integrated throughout the curriculum, with your first half-day clinical education experience in the very first year.

We make sure every student is exposed to a wide variety of clients and settings to fully prepare you for a career in physical therapy. Your clinical rotations will include:

  • Minimum of eight weeks in acute, ambulatory/OP, and rehabilitation settings
  • 10 documented cases in each of four practice patterns (MS, NM, CP, Integumentary)
  • 5-10 documented cases in three different lifespan categories (0-6 , 7-17, and 70+ years)

Our students work with different patient populations such as pediatrics and geriatrics, as well as patients with neurological, orthopedic, and medical conditions who require physical therapy services. You see first-hand the application of clinical practices discussed in class, such as evaluations and the use of modalities and exercises, plus, you attend patient care conferences and rounds.

The UIC Department of Physical Therapy currently has affiliations with more than 400 sites. While the majority of these facilities are located in Illinois and the Midwest, there are facilities all over the United States, and a few international locations.

Class Profile

Our current students often cite their favorite feature of UIC’s program: the class size of 60 diverse students — not too big and impersonal, or too small and confining — but just right. Students work closely and study together often, so they get to know each other very well. With a tendency toward helping others, they support one another and collaborate easily. Lifelong personal and professional relationships inevitably develop.

In each class, the majority come directly or soon after receiving their bachelors degree. Between 10-25% of each class has transitioned to physical therapy from different careers – including a PhD in Astronomy, teachers, athletes, veterans, personal trainers, and more. And 20-35% of a given class come to us from outside Illinois.


The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at the University of Illinois at Chicago is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Av., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website: If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please email

Physical therapist education at UIC has been continuously accredited by CAPTE since 1973. The DPT program is the only program accredited by CAPTE that is offered by the Department of Physical Therapy. CAPTE conducted a review of the program in 2017, at which time the program received full (10 year) accreditation until 2027.

Information about filing a complaint with CAPTE is available on the CAPTE website.

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Program outcomes

The success of our program graduates is demonstrated by excellent outcome measures. Our first-time test taker pass rates on the national PT licensure exam have been above the national averages every year since the start of the DPT program. Program outcomes for the past several years include the following:

Class of 2022
National PT Licensure Exam Pass Rate: 98.3% (88.1% first attempt)
Employment at 6 months: 100%
Graduation Rate: 100%

Class of 2023
National PT Licensure Exam Pass Rate: 96.2% (96.2% first attempt)
Employment at 6 months: 100%
Graduation Rate: 100%

Two-year Average: 2022-23
National PT Licensure Exam Pass Rate: 97.3% (92.2% first attempt)
Employment at 6 months: 100%
Graduation Rate: 100%

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See yourself at UIC PT

Still wondering what a DPT can do for you? We’re here to help.

You can contact Erin Fagan at: