Doctor of Physical Therapy

Total units required for Doctorate: 105-114

Program Description

Physical Therapy at Sacramento State is one of several professional curricula in the College of Health and Human Services. The program complements others in the College and provides opportunities for scholarship, instructional collaboration, and interaction.

The doctoral curriculum of 3 years, including summers, encompasses didactic instruction, laboratory experience, and clinical education. The clinical component is thirty-six weeks of full-time, off-campus clinical internships.

Admission Requirements

To be eligible for admission consideration, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Attain a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university prior to enrollment in the program;
  • Eligible for admissions as a graduate student in good standing;
  • Complete nine of the eleven prerequisite courses by the application deadline.  The two remaining courses must be completed in the Spring and/or Summer semester (a maximum of one of these course may be completed during the summer);
  • Complete a minimum 100 total hours of work/volunteer experience in an impatient and an outpatient setting;
  • Three letters of recommendation, one from a college professor and two from licensed physical therapists;
  • GRE taken within five years of application. 

Admission Procedures

Submit the following applications:

  1.  Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) online application by the listed deadline;
  2. CSU, Sacramento's Department of Physical Therapy, DPT Supplemental Application, by the listed deadline.

Both applications are accessible via the department website.  Following the initial screening, the top 100 applicants will be invited to interview and to submit a CSU Mentor application.

Applicants will submit the following requirements with their PTCAS application:

  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities that you have attended.
  • Verification of completing a minimum 100 total hours of work/volunteer experience in at least one "Inpatient" and one "Outpatient" setting.  Each setting must have at least twenty-five (25) hours of exposure.  All PT experience hours must be completed and verified by the deadline.
  • Three letters of recommendation, two from U.S. licensed physical therapists and one from a college professor.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores taken within five years of applying to the DPT program using code: 7588.
  • Applicants who do not possess a baccalaureate degree from a post-secondary institution where English is a principal language must take the TEST of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  Submit TOEFL scores with your PTCAS application.
  • Applicants who previously attended another professional entry-level physical therapy program must submit a letter from the director of the previous physical therapy program designating their academic standing (if applicable).

Admission is granted on a competitive basis.  Meeting the admission requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the DPT program.

Selection Procedures

Application materials are reviewed by the DPT Admissions Committee. During the first screening applications are reviewed for the prerequisite coursework GPA, recommendation forms from two licensed physical therapists and one academic professional, GRE scores, volunteer hours, and additional background criteria. Based on the results of this first screening, the top applicants will be invited for a panel interview. The top thirty-two applicants along with alternates will be notified of their status within two weeks of the final interviews.

Additional Information

Health Requirements

Students admitted to the graduate program in the Department of Physical Therapy are required to have specified immunizations by the Student Health Center or a private physician prior to any clinical participation. Complete information on health requirements will be provided to incoming students.

Costs and Fees

In addition to University tuition and fees, students can be expected to incur costs of approximately $1,800 per year for books, and supplies.  Students are required to assume responsibility for transportation and housing costs for clinical internships which may be anywhere in a contracted site in California.

Health Insurance, Transportation Schedules, CPR Certification, and Background Screens

All students accepted into the graduate program in the Department of Physical Therapy must provide their own health insurance and transportation to clinical facilities. Major medical health insurance is mandatory prior to beginning clinical experiences. CPR certification (Basic Adult and Pediatric for healthcare providers) must be maintained according to the requirements of the American Heart Association or American Red Cross. Students will be required to complete a criminal background check prior to clinical placements. A positive criminal history may limit or preclude student participation in the clinical courses.

Required Prerequisite Courses (41-42 units)

Prerequisite coursework must have been completed at an accredited college or university with a minimum grade of "C" or better. 

Prerequisite Courses Required for enrollment consideration (41-42 Units)
Human Anatomy with Lab 1
Select one of the following:4
Introductory Human Anatomy
Advanced Human Anatomy
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
Human Anatomy and Physiology II
Human Physiology with Lab 1
Select one of the following:4
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
Human Anatomy and Physiology II
Systemic Physiology
PSYC 2Introductory Psychology3
Select one additional Psychology course similar to:3
Child Psychology
Psychological Aspects of Aging
Psychological Aspects of Death and Dying
Abnormal Psychology
STAT 1Introduction to Statistics3 - 4
or STAT 50 Introduction to Probability and Statistics
Chemistry I with Lab
CHEM 1AGeneral Chemistry I5
or CHEM 6A Introduction to General Chemistry
Chemistry II with Lab
CHEM 1BGeneral Chemistry II5
or CHEM 6B Introduction to Organic and Biological Chemistry
Physics I with Lab
PHYS 5AGeneral Physics: Mechanics, Heat, Sound4
Physics II with Lab
PHYS 5BGeneral Physics: Light, Electricity and Magnetism, Modern Physics4
Kinesiology (with lab preferred) 1
KINS 151Kinesiology3
or KINS 151A Biomechanics
or KINS 151D Applied Kinesiology and Biomechanics
Physiology of Exercise (with lab preferred) 1
KINS 150Exercise and Sport Physiology3
or KINS 152 Physiology Of Exercise
Total Units41-42

Minimum Units and Grade Requirement for the Degree

Units Required for the DPT: 105-114

Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0; students must earn a grade of "B" in all courses taken in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.

Advancement to Candidacy

Each student must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy indicating a proposed program of graduate study. This procedure may begin as soon as the classified graduate student has:

  • removed any deficiencies in admission requirements and achieved classified status;
  • successfully completed all courses with a grade of "B" or higher in the first 4 terms with a minimum of 3.0 ("B") overall grade point average in all DPT graduate level coursework;
  • passed (with a grade of "B" or higher) a Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course (PT 608) and
  • passed the faculty candidacy assessment.


Program Requirements

First Fall Semester (16 Units)
BIO 633Human Gross Anatomy for Physical Therapists3
PT 600Pathokinesiology5
PT 602Evidence Informed Practice I3
PT 608PT/Patient/Professional Interactions 2
PT 630Pathophysiology3
First Spring Semester (16 Units)
PT 604Principles of Human Movement2
PT 606Therapeutic Measurements and Techniques4
PT 614Neuroscience for Physical Therapy3
PT 618Foundations for Patient Management1
PT 620Physical Therapy Interventions I3
PT 622Evidence Informed Practice II3
First Summer Semester (8 Units)
PT 632Pharmacology for Physical Therapists2
PT 634Diagnostic Imaging for Physical Therapy2
PT 636Geriatrics/Gerontology for Physical Therapists2
PT 638Health, Wellness and Ergonomics in Physical Therapy2
Second Fall Semester (17 Units)
PT 624Adult Neuromuscular Patient Management I4
PT 625Musculoskeletal Patient Management I4
PT 626Clinical Agents3
PT 640Physical Therapy Interventions II3
PT 646Acute Care and Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy2
PT 660AGraduate Physical Therapy Seminar 1A: Research 11
Second Spring Semester (21 Units)
PT 627Physical Therapy Educator1
PT 644Adult Neuromuscular Patient Management II4
PT 645Musculoskeletal Patient Management II4
PT 648Health Care Delivery in Physical Therapy I2
PT 660BGraduate Physical Therapy Seminar IB: Research 11
PT 660DGraduate Physical Therapy Seminar ID: Electrotherapeutics 12
PT 660GCertified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) 12
PT 662Differential Diagnosis in Physical Therapy3
PT 669Psychosocial Issues in Physical Therapy1
PT 689Doctoral Project Proposal1
Second Summer Semester (6 Units)
PT 695AClinical Internship I6
Third Fall Semester (17 Units)
PT 660CGraduate Physical Therapy Seminar IC: Research 11
PT 660EGraduate Physical Therapy Seminar IE: NeuroPediatric Laboratory 12
PT 660FGraduate Physical Therapy Seminar IF: Adult Neuromuscular Laboratory 12
PT 663Integumentary Patient Management2
PT 664Neuropediatric Patient Management2
PT 665Musculoskeletal Patient Management III3
PT 668Health Care Delivery in Physical Therapy II2
PT 690Doctoral Project/Culminating Experience3
Third Spring Semester (6 Units)
PT 695BClinical Internship II6
Third Summer Semester (7 Units)
PT 680Graduate Physical Therapy Seminar II1
PT 695CClinical Internship III6
Total Units114