Six-Year Clinical Doctorate Program

Seeking intelligent, motivated individuals who want to learn to help people with injuries or physically disabling illnesses improve their movement and manage their pain.

Program Overview

Our program is structured for entry as a first year student. This means that once you are accepted into the program you will remain with us for six years earning both a bachelors degree in clinical health studies as well as a doctorate in physical therapy (D.P.T.). Accepted students are guaranteed eligibility for the graduate portion of the D.P.T. curriculum, provided academic and essential clinical requirements are met. An additional application or GRE exam are not needed.

To be considered for admission, you must complete a minimum of three years of high school mathematics and one year each of biology and chemistry. In addition, one year of physics is strongly recommended. We also strongly recommend that you demonstrate some knowledge of the physical therapy profession, such as volunteer experience, shadowing, or employment.

Students entering as a first year student with appropriate AP, IB, and/or transfer credits may request to complete the D.P.T. program in as little as five years, provided the courses are accepted by the Office of the Registrar as Ithaca College-equivalent courses, and there is room in the cohort that they are requesting to join. Requests to accelerate are considered on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by the Department Chair. 

Please familiarize yourself with both the academic and essential clinical requirements of the program before applying. These documents will help you understand our expectations so that you can make an informed decision regarding the pursuit of this profession. Students must be able to meet these standards throughout the six-year program.

Our Educational Approach

Your first three years in the program will emphasize liberal arts to enhance intellectual flexibility and develop creative thinking skills. You will complete foundational coursework in the natural sciences - including biology, chemistry, and physics - as well as statistics. We will expect you to explore other disciplines through a required minor (of your choice) and fulfill the College's general education requirements. Study abroad is encouraged during the first three years. 

The professional phase of the program begins in the spring of the junior year with an introductory course in anatomy and a clinical physiology course. The curriculum requires study during some summers:

  • 10 weeks of coursework (primarily a Human Anatomy dissection course in our Human Anatomy Lab) after the third year;
  • 8 weeks of clinical education following the fourth year; and
  • 12 weeks of clinical education preceding September graduation in the sixth year (third professional year).

Course Sequencing and Timeline

Interested in more specifics on the course sequencing and timeline for degree completion? Review the D.P.T. curriculum to better understand which courses you will take and when you will complete them during your time in the program.

Hands-On Practice and Research in Clinics and Labs

A distinctive element of your studies in the Ithaca College Physical Therapy Program will be your participation in a number of our on-campus clinics and labs. These opportunities will allow you to practice the skills that you are learning in the classroom on real clients in actual practice settings under the guidance of knowledgeable faculty. This will prepare you for the off-campus clinical education requirements that you will complete during the latter stages of the professional phase of the program.

Our clinics and labs are also a source of support for your budding research skills. These cutting-edge workspaces provide a space where you can collaborate with other students and faculty to advance scientific knowledge in a topic of interest. You will have an opportunity to present your research at the Clinical Research Showcase that is hosted each year following the completion of the Advanced Clinical Reasoning course.  

National Rankings

Our program, along with many PT programs in the US, has agreed not to participate in rankings of PT education programs.

Applicants should be aware that all physical therapist professional education programs in the US are subject to accreditation "standards that assure quality and continuous improvement in the entry-level preparation of physical therapists, and reflect the evolving nature of education, research, and practice." While the Education Section of APTA recognizes that there are proprietary organizations that rank physical therapist education programs, the profession encourages prospective students to provide their own comparisons through careful examination of information on program and APTA websites, and visits to the campuses to talk with enrolled students and program faculty.

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Questions?

PT Department Office
407 Center for Health Sciences
Ithaca College
953 Danby Road
Ithaca, NY 14850

(607) 274-3342