Graduate Studies

Doctorate of Physical Therapy: DPT Program

Pursue your goal of becoming a physical therapist with Widener. Here, you'll engage with expert faculty and undertake high-quality clinical experiences in our DPT program.

DPT Student with Patient on Walking Bars

Program Overview

Our doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program's mission is based on what we affectionately call "The 3 Cs". You will graduate as a competent physical therapist who demonstrates exemplary character while assuming the responsibilities of citizenship.

Expect to complete your doctoral degree in physical therapy in three years of full-time study, which includes three full-time clinical education experiences.

You will have the opportunity to give back to the community while participating in meaningful, hands-on practice with clients at our interprofessional student-run pro-bono clinic beginning in your very first semester. 

You will work and learn interprofessionally through collaboration with Widener's other health & human service profession programs including occupational therapy, clinical psychology, social work, and soon-to-come speech and language pathology.

  This program is accredited by CAPTE.


DPT Program Information

View the Loading... for curriculum and coursework requirements regarding the doctoral degree in physical therapy.

To practice as a physical therapist in the United States, individuals must earn a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree from a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)-accredited physical therapist education program and pass a state licensure exam, the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).

The Widener DPT program is accredited by CAPTE, and graduation from the program allows graduates to sit for the NPTE in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Students are encouraged to visit their state licensing board website for further information.

DPT Admissions Requirements

  • Complete online application and pay application fee through PTCAS.
  • The Institute for Physical Therapy Education admits students who demonstrate the capacity for graduate-level studies through a satisfactory grade point average (GPA) at the undergraduate level and satisfactory performance on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
    • The GPA for combined science courses is expected to be at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). Competitive students will have a combined science GPA of 3.5 or greater.
  • Transcripts must be sent to PTCAS.
  • Applicants will have 40 hours of volunteer or work experience in the field, preferably working with both inpatient and outpatient clients.
  • Three letters of recommendations should be submitted through PTCAS. At least one must be from a physical therapist, at least one must be from a professor, and one can be from any other source. We do not recommend that you use family members or family friends as reference sources.  

Widener Pre-Physical Therapy Pathway

Freshmen with exceptional high school transcripts who have demonstrated strong performance in science courses and on the SAT may be offered a reserved seat in the 3+3 or 4+3 DPT program. These undergraduates are students in the College of Arts & Sciences, selecting one of several degree paths that help to prepare them for graduate study in physical therapy.

  • Students with a reserved seat will submit an application to the graduate program in the fall of their junior (3+3) or senior (4+3) year. They will need to provide only one letter of recommendation (from a licensed physical therapist) and will have the graduate program's GRE requirement waived.
  • Throughout the time of undergraduate study, students must follow the prescribed program, maintaining an overall GPA of 3.3 or greater. All prerequisite courses for admission to the graduate physical therapy degree program must be completed with a minimum grade of B. All prerequisite coursework must be completed at Widener.

Enter with Bachelor's Degree

Applicants holding a bachelor’s degree in any discipline from Widener or another university may apply to the program under the entry-level DPT pathway. Students entering under this option usually include recent graduates and students seeking a career change.

Enter with a PTA Associate's Degree

Students who have earned an associate's degree in a physical therapy assistant program may transfer up to 60 credits to Widener University to complete their undergraduate degree in the Extended Learning divisions of the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Learning. After completion of the undergraduate degree and all prerequisite courses, these students apply through the regular application process.

Students are encouraged to contact the program early to assess the need for completion of prerequisite coursework, which includes:

  • Biology (3 semester hours)
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology (6 semester hours, as separate or combined courses)
  • Chemistry (8 semester hours)
  • Physics (6 semester hours) Lab is recommended, but not required
  • Humanities (9 semester hours, including 3 semester hours of English composition)
  • Social Science (9 semester hours, including 6 semester hours of psychology)
  • Statistics (3 semester hours)

Students must receive a C or better in prerequisite courses.  Students are strongly discouraged from taking these courses for non-letter grade such as Pass/Fail, Satisfactory, or similar.  

Students taking prerequisite courses in the summer prior to application should send transcripts to PTCAS after summer course grades have been recorded.  

All students outside the reserved seat program must apply through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) website. Upon completion and verification of the application, you may be asked to come for an interview day.

Our soft deadline is November 1, and our hard deadline is December 1.

Points of Pride

97.8% Graduation Rate

for our Class of 2022 physical therapy students

100% Pass Rate

for the Ultimate National Physical Therapy Exam

widener physical therapy student PT works with client

100% Employment Rate

for our physical therapy students

Committed to Community

100% of physical therapy students participate in community service.

Program Highlights

Here, you'll learn by doing through clinical and community-based experiential learning in the field of physical therapy. Don't just study it, experience it!

Clinical Experiences That Build Competence

You will complete one part-time and three full-time clinical experiences throughout the three-year doctoral in physical therapy program, exposing you to inpatient and outpatient settings and individuals with various health conditions. With each of the four clinical practice courses, you'll experience elevated expectations so you're ready for entry-level physical therapy practice before graduation.

Chester Community Clinic

At Widener, you'll give back to the community by working at our interprofessional student-run pro bono clinic, the Chester Community Clinic, which provides compassionate and cost-effective physical therapy and occupational therapy care to uninsured and under-insured members of the Chester community

Physical Therapy Student

Special Programs

From leading weekly sustainable physical activities, to holding mobility clinics on MLK Day of Service, to hosting a variety of conferences and professional education opportunities, you will go hands-on working and engaging with community clients.


To prepare students to be contemporary practitioners, faculty remain active in clinical practice, scholarly inquiry, and professional engagement serving as role models and mentors for students.

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

You graduate well prepared to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam and launch your professional practice. As a well-known and prestigious doctoral in physical therapy program, we have connections with a plethora of alum and employers across the nation.

Outlook & Outcomes

Potential Careers

  • Geriatrics 
  • Pediatrics
  • Neurology
  • Oncology
  • Sports and more...

Recent Employers

  • A & E Physical Therapy 
  • Main Line Health
  • Christiana Health
  • Nemours/AI duPont Hospital for Children
  • NovaCare

Student Stories

A graduate physical therapy student works with a client

"My time in the clinic has put me on the inside track to succeed as a socially and clinically competent physical therapist."

Haily Vaka

Class of 2021

"Widener gave me opportunities after opportunities. Every position I’ve had is because of the experiences I had."

Alanna DiBiasi

Class of 2013 and 2015

Take the Next Steps


We’re glad you made the decision to apply. All applications and supplemental materials  are submitted through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS).