Doctor of Physical Therapy

Why Choose UWM?

Our Rich History

The College is widely known for its excellent teaching and student learning environment, superb innovative research programs, community engagement and service to various health care professions.

All of our programs have numerous affiliations with health care institutions and medical centers throughout Milwaukee, Wis. and the U.S. Our community partners number in the hundreds, in addition to our own clinics where faculty and student interact with patients in an educational stetting. Our primary mission is to provide the best educational experience for our students. To accomplish this, our faculty and staff have led the way introducing new technologies into the classroom, integrating research into the undergraduate and graduate curricula and providing the best fieldwork experience. Our graduates perform far above the national average on national board certification examinations in the various accredited disciplines and are extremely competitive in the global market.

Our Success

The DPT program at UWM has a 100% pass rate on the National Physical Therapy Licensing Examination. A number of program strengths that support these outcomes including talented students, our small class sizes with personalized student attention, our comprehensive examination process, our attention to student preparation, and our high quality clinical education program. Most important, however, is that this outcome is a reflection of the quality and dedication of the faculty.

Our Vision, Goals, and Student Outcomes

Vision Statement

“Doctors of Physical Therapy at UWM are uniquely educated in an urban setting at a research-intensive university. Our focus is to graduate practitioners, researchers, and educators to be leaders in the profession of Physical Therapy across the lifespan.”

  1. Recruit and matriculate the most qualified and diverse students, challenging and supporting them to completion of the program
  2. Development of a contemporary practitioner whose philosophy is anchored in evidence based practice, values community and professional engagement, and facilitates patient/client participation through health promotion and disease prevention.
  3. Develop physical therapists that display the core values of professionalism and generic abilities consistent with expectations of a doctorally educated professional
  4. Recruit and retain diverse faculty who exemplify excellence in teaching and who serve as professional role models
  5. Contribute to Evidence Based Practice through Faculty and Student Scholarly Activity
  6. Facilitate life-long learning within the physical therapy community
    1. Practice in a manner consistent with the established legal and professional standards and ethical guidelines of practice
    2. Communicate orally and in writing in ways consistent with needs of the audience and situation
    3. Adapt delivery of physical therapy services with consideration for patients’ differences values, preferences and needs
    4. Participate in self-assessment and life long commitment to learning.
    5. Makes clinical decisions using theory, judgment, and patient’s values
    6. Evaluate data from varied sources to make sound clinical judgments
    7. Advance quality of physical therapy services by participating in evidence based practice
    8. Utilize evidence in the selection of tests and measures, making diagnoses and prognoses, and designing treatment plans
    9. Establish and administer a plan of care that is safe, effective, patient-centered and evidence-based
    10. Demonstrate leadership by participating in clinical education
    11. Participate in organizational leadership by assuming leadership roles within the organization

Our Clinical Experiences

The program includes a total of 5 formal clinical experiences. Students participate in 2 formal full time clinical education experiences that are integrated into the didactic portion of the curriculum; a 2-week and a 4-week experience. Three 12- week full time Internships occur at the conclusion of the didactic curriculum. The clinical education curriculum is intentionally designed with requirements that will provide broad clinical preparation of each student including experience in various practice settings (acute, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient), with different populations (neurological, musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary), and includes an additional focus in experiences at one end of the life spectrum (pediatric or geriatric).

For additional information, go to the Clinical Education page.

Our University


UWM offers a uniquely relevant learning experience, educating more Wisconsin residents than any university in the world and recruiting a growing population of international students and faculty. As the most diverse institution in the University of Wisconsin System, UWM is a learning destination for 30,000 students. They share the motivation to learn and to excel, and the talent to nurture their ideas and contribute to the global economy. Each student arrives at UWM with a unique perspective and an approach to learning that will be enhanced by a network of support services and learning opportunities available no where else in America. Check out the facts, figures and finances that help present a picture of UWM as an accessible, affordable and powerful institution of higher education.

Our City

Every city has its own energy. Milwaukee’s vibe is relaxed, mixed with a modern, do-it-your-way kind of attitude.

Our home on Milwaukee’s beautiful East Side, blocks from Lake Michigan and minutes (by bus) from Downtown, puts students in the center of a thriving and friendly metropolitan area that doubles as a learning laboratory.

Get to it all free and fast. Every semester every student gets a UPASS, good for unlimited free rides on the Milwaukee County Transit System.

BONUS—Milwaukee offers plenty of fun-filled activities year round. With its world-renowned summer festivals, rich culture, Brewers, beautiful parks, beaches, farmers’ markets and nightlife you can’t beat the awesomeness of the city!

Our Research

The Human Performance & Sport Physiology Laboratory conducts research pertinent to expanding the scientific knowledge base that informs the physiological basis for injury prevention, re-conditioning, strength training, and sport performance. The research questions and projects of the lab range from basic to applied, and are often multi-disciplinary in nature. As such, Human Performance & Sport Physiology Laboratory will frequently collaborate with other laboratories in the Department of Kinesiology as well as clinicians and researchers outside of the University. In addition to supporting faculty led research projects, the Human Performance & Sport Physiology Laboratory provides essential research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in Kinesiology, Athletic Training, and Physical Therapy as well as from other degree programs on campus.

The Pediatric Neuromotor Laboratory is engaged in translational research, blending developmental inquiry with clinical application. Our emphasis is on skill acquisition and early motor control in infants and toddlers. Populations studied include: Spina Bifida, Prader Willi syndrome, and typical development. Undergraduate and graduate students contribute to the laboratory team.

In the Visuomotor Laboratory we are interested in how the brain guides how we move. For example, if some one wants to grab a particularly great apple out of the bowl, the brain takes in the location of the apple and this visual information is used to guide the arm to the fruit. The act of choosing an object to look at is considered visual attention. After a person visually selects the object, the next step is to move toward it. The act of choosing which path to take to get to that object is considered motor attention. Our lab studies this interaction of how visual information is used to guide motor behavior. Specifically, we are interested in the posterior parietal cortex, and how attention might be involved in the process of decision-making described above. Currently in our lab we perform behavioral and functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments to address this important issue. A better understanding of the role of parietal cortex in attention-mediated processes will ultimately help people with disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease or stroke. Click here for more information on our research laboratories.

Our Graduate Outcomes

The UWM DPT program began producing graduates in 2010. Our graduate outcomes reflect the UWM commitment to incoming students to matriculate and graduate students who exemplify the best of the profession. Our competency based program supports advancing students at their pace to support student learning.

Our graduation rates, licensure exam pass rates, and employment rates can be found in the UWM DPT Outcomes document.

For more information about our DPT program or about the opportunities available in physical therapy, check out the links on this page.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the American Physical Therapy Association, 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website: