Doctor of Physical Therapy

Summary of program

  • Cohort size: 45 admitted per year
  • Total program credits: 111 credits (with option for four additional elective credits)
  • Curriculum length: 34 months
  • Didactic study: 86 weeks (1708-1806 contact hours)
  • Full time clinical study: 42 weeks (1680 contact hours)
  • Terminal internships: 36 weeks


It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Physical Therapy Program that all students who desire admission to the program must meet the requirements and complete the admission process by the posted deadlines. Admission to the program is competitive. All applications will be carefully reviewed, adhering to the procedure detailed below. All applicants, regardless of professional or academic background, must meet the following requirements for admission.

  • All required application materials must be submitted to PTCAS by the program's deadline.
  • A non-refundable program application fee is required of all applicants. 
  • Complete an online asynchronous interview process. All interviews are conducted using an online learning platform called Canvas where students record their responses to a series of interview questions for review by the program's Admissions Committee.
  • All ten prerequisite courses (listed below) must be completed prior to beginning the program. Students may apply with outstanding courses if they demonstrate a plan to complete those courses before matriculating in the program.  
  • Submission of official Graduate Review Exam (GRE) scores directly from ETS taken within the last five years. GRE minimums: 143 verbal, 143 quantitative, 3.0 written.
  • Achieve an undergraduate cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0.
  • Achieve a GPA of 3.0 in the prerequisites courses (listed below).
  • Completed undergraduate degree by the time of entry into the program. Select students may be able to enter the program prior to receiving their undergraduate degree under dual-degree agreements. (At UWL, such agreements exist with the Departments of Physics and Biology.)

Prerequisite requirements

All applicants must successfully complete the following prerequisite courses:

General Biology (Lab)4
Human Anatomy (Lab)4
Human Physiology (Lab)4
Chemistry (Lab)8
Physics (Lab)8
Psychology 3
Psychology or Sociology3

Admission to the Physical Therapy Program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is based on academic and personal qualifications considered necessary for a successful and competent entry level physical therapist. The UWL Physical Therapy Program grants the privilege of admission to applicants who have met the criteria set by the Physical Therapy Admissions Committee.


Classroom and laboratory learning (listed in order of enrollment)

110 credits (includes internship credits)

Courses are taken at UWL.

PTS 509Human Gross Anatomy3
PTS 510Applied Human Gross Anatomy3
PTS 512Medical Physiology4
PTS 520Introduction to Physical Therapy Practice and Evaluation Techniques1
PTS 521Applied Introduction to Physical Therapy Practice and Evaluation Techniques2
PTS 516Physiological Regulation of Exertion and Disease1
PTS 517Applied Physiological Regulation of Exertion and Disease1
PTS 527Clinical Foundations of the Physical Therapy Examination3
PTS 528Applied Clinical Foundations of the Physical Therapy Examination2
PTS 523Physical Agents1
PTS 524Applied Physical Agents1
PTS 525Kinesiology and Biomechanics of Normal and Abnormal Movement2
PTS 526Applied Biomechanics and Kinesiology of Movement1
PTS 535Functional Neuroanatomy2
PTS 536Applied Functional Neuroanatomy1
PTS 651Fieldwork: Introduction to Clinical Learning1
PTS 518Motor Control, Learning and Development1
PTS 519Applied Motor Control, Learning, and Development1
PTS 545Foundations of Clinical Research2
PTS 546Applied Foundations of Clinical Research1
PTS 611Pathophysiology and Differential Diagnosis3
PTS 619Early Intervention and Acute Care Physical Therapy2
PTS 620Applied Early Intervention and Acute Care Physical Therapy1
PTS 627Therapeutic Exercise and Manual Therapy1
PTS 628Applied Therapeutic Exercise and Manual Therapy1
PTS 625Physical Therapy Management of the Cardiovascular/Pulmonary System3
PTS 626Applied Physical Therapy Management of the Cardiovascular/Pulmonary System1
PTS 631Professionalism and the Ethos of Care2
PTS 542Research and Applied Statistics3
PTS 543Instrumentation for Human Movement1
PTS 544Applied Instrumentation for Human Movement1
PTS 623Integument System1
PTS 624Applied Integument System1
PTS 728Musculoskeletal Evaluation and Treatment: Spine2
PTS 729Applied Musculoskeletal Evaluation and Treatment: Spine1
PTS 751Fieldwork: General Practice2
PTS 701Applied Adult Clinical Practice (required in two semesters)2
PTS 709Health and Wellness in Physical Therapy Practice1
PTS 711Pharmacology2
PTS 712Clinical Radiology1
PTS 715Musculoskeletal Examination and Intervention: Lower Extremity2
PTS 716Applied Musculoskeletal Examination and Interventions: Lower Extremity1
PTS 717Clinical Teaching1
PTS 718Applied Clinical Teaching1
PTS 735Adult Neurorehabilitative Physical Therapy I2
PTS 736Applied Adult Neurorehabilitative Physical Therapy I1
PTS 739Adult Neurorehabilitative Physical Therapy II1
PTS 740Applied Adult Neurorehabilitative Physical Therapy II1
PTS 741Evidenced Based Practice in Physical Therapy2
PTS 742Research Practicum1
PTS 710Applied Health and Wellness in Physical Therapy Practice1
PTS 737Musculoskeletal Examination and Intervention: Upper Extremity2
PTS 738Applied Musculoskeletal Examination and Interventions: Upper Extremity1
PTS 730Physical Therapy for Children3
PTS 731Applied Physical Therapy for Children1
PTS 733Health Administration3
PTS 742Research Practicum1
PTS 702Contemporary Practice in Neuromusculoskeletal Physical Therapy1
Total Credits92

Internships (taken off campus)

19 credits

Focus of internship may occur in different order per student.

PTS 851Clinical Education Experience I6
PTS 831Clinical Decision Making1
PTS 852Clinical Education Experience II6
PTS 853Clinical Education Experience III6
Total Credits19

Elective courses (optional)

PTS 700Selected Topics in Physical Therapy1-3
PTS 703Clinical Anatomy Review1
PTS 798Independent Study1-3
PTS 854Capstone Project1

University graduate degree requirements

After being admitted to the program of one's choice, candidates for a graduate degree must:

  1. Complete any preliminary course work and deficiencies.
  2. Complete all courses and other program requirements, including residence requirements prescribed for the degree desired in the respective school or college within a seven-year period from the date of initial enrollment, with the exception of students enrolled in the Student Affairs Administration and Leadership Ed.D. (SAA Ed.D.) graduate program. SAA Ed.D. students must complete all degree requirements within ten years from the time of initial enrollment in the graduate program.
  3. Earn a minimum of 30 credits for a master's degree; 54 credits for a doctorate or post-master's degree. Earn at least one-half of the minimum number of credits required in the program in graduate-only level courses (700, 800, 900, and non-slash 600 level courses). Some UWL graduate programs require more than 30 graduate credits. Please review the individual program requirements listed in the catalog for the exact number of credits required.
  4. Earn a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00.
  5. Satisfy dissertation, thesis, seminar paper, terminal/graduate projects and internships, or comprehensive examination, where applicable. A dissertation or thesis approved by the committee must be submitted to Graduate & Extended Learning for editorial review and approval by the Dean of Graduate & Extended Learning. The recommended initial submission date for review is two weeks before commencement. Ordinarily, a seminar paper or project report does not have to be approved by the Dean of Graduate & Extended Learning. However, if the seminar paper or project report is to be archived in Murphy Library, the student must follow the same rules as they apply to the dissertation/thesis requiring approval from the Dean of Graduate & Extended Learning. For further research/dissertation/thesis guidelines, see Graduate & Extended Learning.
  6. File a completed "Intent to Graduate" form online via the WINGS Student Center immediately following registration for the final semester or summer term in residence. December graduates and winter intersession should file by May 1. May and summer graduates should file by December 1.
  7. Pay the graduation fee and remove all other indebtedness to the university. Payment of graduation fees does not imply readiness for graduation and does not take the place of applying for graduation.
  8. Complete all requirements within 30 days after the official ending date of a term in order for a degree to be awarded for that term. (See #5 above for separate deadline for written capstone experience.)

Classroom and laboratory learning

Year 1
(10 weeks) (14 weeks) Intersession (2 weeks) (14 weeks) 
PTS 5093PTS 5161PTS 6511PTS 5181
PTS 5103PTS 5171 PTS 5191
PTS 5124PTS 5231 PTS 5352
PTS 520 1PTS 5241 PTS 5361
PTS 5212PTS 5252 PTS 5452
 PTS 5261 PTS 5461
 PTS 5273 PTS 6192
 PTS 5282 PTS 6201
 PTS 6113 PTS 6253
   PTS 6261
   PTS 6271
   PTS 6281
 13 15 1 17
Year 2
SummerCreditsFallCredits SpringCredits
(8 weeks): (14 weeks)  (14 weeks) 
PTS 5423PTS 7011 PTS 7011
PTS 5431PTS 7091 PTS 7021
PTS 5441PTS 6312 PTS 7101
PTS 6231PTS 7121 PTS 7112
PTS 6241PTS 7152 PTS 7303
PTS 7282PTS 7161 PTS 7311
PTS 7291PTS 7171 PTS 7333
August (4 weeks): PTS 7181 PTS 7372
PTS 7512PTS 7352 PTS 7381
 PTS 7361 PTS 7391
 PTS 7412 PTS 7401
 PTS 7421 PTS 7421
 12 16   18
Year 3
SummerCreditsFallCredits SpringCredits
(12 weeks) (14 weeks)  (14 weeks) 
PTS 85116PTS 8311 PTS 853 (12 weeks)16
 PTS 852 (12 weeks)16  
 6 7   6
Total Credits: 111

Internship I, II, III: Inpatient, Outpatient, and Autonomous Practice. However, focus of internship may occur in different order per student.