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Top Physical Therapy Colleges and Universities in the United States

Higher Education Articles February 19, 2013

Individuals with physical impairments due to medical conditions such as injury or illness are treated by physical therapists. Their work involves diagnosing and assessing patients’ conditions and developing treatment plans, often in association with other professionals in the medical field. Physical therapists are required to complete a post-baccalaureate degree program and satisfy other requirements before they can obtain licensure. In this article, we will take a close look at some of the country’s best physical therapy schools:

Arcadia University – Glenside, Philadelphia

Arcadia University is a small, private nonprofit school located in the outskirts of Philadelphia that attracts around 4,000 student enrollments annually, and offers programs in physical therapy and seventy-four other focus areas. In 2008, Arcadia’s physical therapy program was rated seventh by U.S. News & World Report among physical therapy schools that carry accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. A Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is offered by the school that students can complete in two in a half years along with an online transitional DPT program for licensed working professionals that take one to three years to complete.

University of Southern California – Los Angeles, California

In 2011, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Southern California (USC) as the country’s 23rd best. In 2008, the publication rated USC’s physical therapy program as the best in the country. Accredited research-centered physical therapy programs awarding DPT, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Biokinesiology, and Master of Science (M.S.) in Biokinesiology degrees are offered by USC’s Division of Biokinesiology. Post-professional residencies in neurological physical, orthopedic and sports therapy are also offered by the department.

Washington University (St. Louis) – St. Louis, Missouri

This school was founded in 1854; Washington University in St. Louis is a non-profit school that offers over ninety undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs. In 2011, the Princeton Review named this school as the best value college. In 2008, Washington University in St. Louis tied for second place among colleges and universities that offered accredited physical therapy programs according to the U.S. News & World Report. Available physical therapy program includes a residency in women’s health, a fellowship in orthopedics (specifically movement impairment syndromes), and entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy. Students who are interested in research and teaching can pursue a Ph.D. in Movement Science.

List of Ten Highly Ranked Physical Therapy Colleges and Universities in the United States

College/University School Distinction School Location
Arcadia University Experiential learning trips to Peru, Jamaica, and Guatemala Glenside, Pennsylvania
Emory University Joint Doctor of Physical Therapy/Master of Business Administration degree program Atlanta, Georgia
Northwestern University Joint Doctor of Physical Therapy/Ph.D. in Engineering Chicago, Illinois
University of Delaware Students enrolled in a DPT program can work with the university’s neurologic, orthopedic, sports and older adult clinics Newark, Delaware
University of Iowa This school claims to have a 100% pass rate on the national licensure examination Iowa City, Iowa
University of Miami Ph.D. and DPT programs in Physical Therapy Coral Gables, Florida
University of North Carolina Home to Center for Human Movement Science Chapel Hill, North Carolina
University of Pittsburgh Master of Science in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences program with musculoskeletal and neuromuscular physical therapy concentrations Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
University of Southern California Neurologic and orthopedic physical therapy residencies Los Angeles, California
Washington University in St. Louis Eleven physical therapy facilities and research programs St. Louis, Missouri

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