Doctor of Physical Therapy Curriculum
Given our accelerated curriculum, you can graduate in as few as two years, giving you the potential to start your career earlier.6 During the program, you’ll participate in virtual sessions, online courses, in-person learning experiences and hands-on clinical education—without having to relocate.12
On this page:
Your Doctor of Physical Therapy Courses
We are one of the first DPT programs in the country to use a competency-based education model—something we call Empowered Learning™. Find out more >
Your DPT courses are organized into five primary groups:
|Subject Immersion||3-day, live online courses to kick off the quarter with your cohort and faculty|
|Foundational Sciences of Physical Therapy Practice||11-week online CBE courses|
|Clinical Sciences of Physical Therapy Practice||11-week online CBE courses|
|Physical Therapy Immersion||6- to 11-day courses in person in Minnesota|
|Physical Therapy Clinical Education Experiences||Three 10-week clinical rotations|
Subject Immersion Courses
During the first week of five quarters, you’ll spend time immersed in subjects critical to the physical therapy profession. For three full days, your faculty will lead you through live, online sessions, setting you up to explore the subjects further in your online courses.
Online CBE Courses
In this DPT program, you’ll take two types of online CBE courses: Foundational Sciences of Physical Therapy Practice and Clinical Sciences of Physical Therapy Practice. Both types of courses last 11 weeks and are designed with our competency-based education model. They will help you understand the scientific foundations of physical therapy practice as well as the art and science of becoming a skilled physical therapist.
Physical Therapy Immersion Courses
These courses will take place at our campus in Eagan, Minnesota. Five times throughout this program, you’ll join your cohort and faculty for 6–11 days to practice what you’ve been learning online. You’ll participate in hands-on simulations and immersive labs. You’ll also focus on developing your clinical reasoning and decision-making skills—ultimately helping you prepare for your clinical education experiences.10
Near the end of your program, you’ll complete 30 weeks of full-time clinical education—putting your skills into practice in the real world. With clinical locations across the country, we’ll help you get experience in diverse settings across a continuum of care. Under the guidance of experienced physical therapists, you’ll prepare to enter the workforce as a confident clinician.10
What Makes the Rasmussen University DPT Program Special?
Hear from our faculty about what makes this program exciting.
What makes the Rasmussen University DPT program special?
Karen Mueller, PT, DPT, PhD, NBC-HWC
Professor, Rasmussen University (00:10):
What I love about the Rasmussen physical therapy program is that there are all different ways of learning. We have each quarter will begin with a synchron … a live synchronous three-day seminar for a deep dive into some of the really current topics in our profession. A lot of the relational skills and communication skills and the opportunity to dialogue and develop those skills as a, as a group, then there is the asynchronous portion where students can develop their own skills in their own time. And we know our students are busy, so they have that opportunity.
Brett Windsor, PT, PhD, MPA
Professor, Rasmussen University (00:44):
And this is groundbreaking. It's innovative, it's brand new. It really has never been done in the PT field before. There are groups out there that do the hybrid program. There are groups out there that talk about problem-based learning and competency-based education. But to my knowledge, no other program combines it all into one single program.
Deborah Zagray, PT, DScPT, CMPT
Director of Clinical Education; Associate Professor, Rasmussen University (01:01):
I, I love it because we're very, very oriented into, um, improving our program and making it unique and special. And we're not afraid to try new avenues and we really want to be the pioneers.
Petra Williams, PT, PhD, NCS
Professor, Rasmussen University (01:16):
We teach you how to think like a physical therapist, how to solve the problems that physical therapists solve, um, so that you are prepared to teach, treat the next patient. Not to treat like I do, or the way that we've historically treated people, but to be ready to, um, treat the next problem, the problems we haven't thought of yet, um, the health conditions we haven't dealt with yet. Um, so I'm excited that this competency-based model is going to equip us to create that generation of physical therapists that are gonna drive the future of our profession.
Daniel Lee, PT, DPT, PhD, GCS, COMT
Director of Curriculum Integration and Delivery; Associate Professor, Rasmussen University (01:47):
Ultimately, the curriculum is reflective of you as the learner with you as the number one. Our competency-based education model means that it's not high stakes on every single exam. You have opportunities to fail, and we have opportunities to help you succeed. So, our curricular model has been built from the ground up to support that.
Carl DeRosa, PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA
Program Director and Professor, Rasmussen University (02:12):
We know what a physical therapy student needs to become a good physical therapist. But the way it's gonna be packaged, the way it's gonna be presented to the student, the way it's gonna be put together to assure their success, that's the exciting part.
Ray VanWye, PT, DPT, PhD
Professor, Rasmussen University (02:28):
Students are gonna have the opportunity to receive their degree in two years. With the efficiency and the competency-based education, we are going to revolutionize the way things are done.
Winter Quarter 1
- Subject Immersion I: Introduction to the Profession, 3 Virtual Days
- Foundational Sciences of Physical Therapy Practice I, 11 Weeks Online
- Clinical Sciences of Physical Therapy Practice I, 11 Weeks Online
- Physical Therapy Immersion I, 6 Days on Site
Spring Quarter 2
- Subject Immersion II: The Influence of the Social Determinants of Health on Communication, Attitudes and Behaviors, 3 Virtual Days
- Foundational Sciences of Physical Therapy Practice II, 11 Weeks Online
- Clinical Sciences of Physical Therapy Practice II, 11 Weeks Online
- Physical Therapy Immersion II, 8 Days on Site
Summer Quarter 3
- Subject Immersion III: Clinical Informatics and Healthcare Technologies, 3 Virtual Days
- Foundational Sciences of Physical Therapy Practice III, 11 Weeks Online
- Clinical Sciences of Physical Therapy Practice III, 11 Weeks Online
- Physical Therapy Immersion III, 8 Days on Site
Fall Quarter 4
- Subject Immersion IV: Principles of Value-Based Physical Therapy Care, 3 Virtual Days
- Foundational Sciences of Physical Therapy Practice IV, 11 Weeks Online
- Clinical Sciences of Physical Therapy Practice IV, 11 Weeks Online
- Physical Therapy Immersion IV, 8 Days on Site
Winter Quarter 5
- Physical Therapy Clinical Education Experience I, 10 Weeks at Clinical Site
- Legal and Ethical Accountabilities in Physical Therapy Practice, 11 Weeks Online
Spring Quarter 6
- Subject Immersion V: Comprehensive Patient/Client Management Across the Lifespan, 3 Virtual Days
- Clinical Sciences of Physical Therapy Practice V, 11 Weeks Online
- Physical Therapy Immersion V, 11 Days on Site
Summer Quarter 7
- Physical Therapy Clinical Education Experience II, 10 Weeks at Clinical Site
- Healthcare Business and Marketing, 11 Weeks Online
Fall Quarter 8
- Physical Therapy Clinical Education Experience III, 10 Weeks at Clinical Site
- Doctor of Physical Therapy Capstone, 11 Weeks Online
What is Empowered Learning™?
Empowered Learning is what we call our competency-based education model. It’s how we built many of the online courses in this program. Instead of just helping you pass tests, your education should prepare you with real-world competencies.
That means thinking about curriculum and coursework in a new way. Assignments are designed to help you develop and then demonstrate your skills. They mirror what you’ll actually do as a physical therapist so that you can become a confident, well-rounded clinician.
“It's not like you learn something in quarter one, and then when it comes time to take your boards, you haven't seen it since quarter one. It's interwoven and added and built upon throughout the curriculum.”
Deborah Zagray, PT, DScPT, CMPT
Director of Clinical Education, Associate Professor
Take the Next Step—Talk to Us!
Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)7
Graduation from a physical therapist education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, VA 22305-3085; phone; 703-706-3245; email@example.com is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.
Rasmussen University-Graduate Studies North (MN) is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist education program from CAPTE. On June 1st, 2022, the program submitted an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage. Submission of this document does not ensure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the professional phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in professional courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not ensure that the program will be granted accreditation.
Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org), an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
- Completion time is dependent on transfer credits accepted and the number of courses completed each term.
- Graduates of the Health Sciences Associate’s degree program with a specialization in Pharmacy Technician meet the education requirements needed to apply for a Pharmacy Technician license or registration from the board or pharmacy or equivalent agency in the following states: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VT, VA, WI, WY. Other eligibility requirements may apply, please check with the board of pharmacy or equivalent agency in your state of residence. This program may not meet the educational requirements needed to apply for a Pharmacy Technician license or registration in states not listed above, please check with the board of pharmacy or equivalent agency in your state of residence for further information.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, [salary data accessed July 2022] www.bls.gov/oes/. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [career information accessed July 2022] www.bls.gov/ooh/. BLS salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Study. Unemployment rates and earnings by educational attainment, 2020. Accessed on March 31, 2022. Data is for persons age 25 and older who are full-time wage and salary earners. https://www.bls.gov/emp/chart-unemployment-earnings-education.htm
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [career information accessed March 31, 2022] www.bls.gov/ooh/. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
- Completion time depends on maintaining full-time study and completing all scheduled courses with the cohort.
- CAPTE Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education is a registered trademark of American Physical Therapy Association.
- American Physical Therapy Association is a registered trademark of American Physical Therapy Association.
- TOEFL iBT is a registered trademark of Educational Testing Service.
- Students are responsible for costs associated with all travel expenses for the immersion lab experience and clinical education experiences.
- GRE® is a registered trademark of Educational Testing Service.
- Students are required to travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota, five times throughout the program for 6 to 11 days each time. Students are responsible for costs associated with all travel expenses for the immersion lab experience and clinical education experiences.
- NPTE is a registered trademark of Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.