3+3 Physical Therapy Programs List

Last Updated on May 18, 2024 by Team College Learners

3+3 physical therapy programs list is the web’s best resource for helping out students in physical therapy schools find and apply to various 3 year combined bachelors and masters degree programs. In case you’re not familiar with “3+3” it stands for 3 years of undergraduate study + 3 years of graduate study, creating a total of 6 years to get both a bachelor and a combined masters degree in physical therapy! These programs offer a unique opportunity for students to complete their undergraduate and graduate studies in just six years, saving time and money in the process.

In order to be eligible for admission to a 3+3 physical therapy program, students must typically meet certain minimum requirements. These may include a high school diploma or equivalent, a strong academic record, and completion of prerequisite courses in subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Some programs may also require applicants to have volunteer or work experience in a healthcare setting.

Once you have determined that you meet the admission requirements for a 3+3 physical therapy program, the next step is to complete the application process for the university of your choice. This typically involves submitting an online application, official transcripts from all previous schools attended, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and possibly an interview. It is important to carefully review the specific requirements for each program and ensure that you submit all materials by the deadline in order to be considered for admission.

3+3 Physical Therapy Programs List

Organizing a list of 3+3 physical therapy programs with their rankings helped me out in deciding which college to go for my studies. These rankings reflect the ratings of these colleges according to the students and graduates who have attended these schools. With the help of the rankings, applicants can easily compare different programs and choose the ones that match their academic credentials and skills.

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Physical Therapy Schools: Degrees

As physical therapy earned more recognition as a viable health care method, more physical therapy schools cropped up and certificates and bachelor’s degrees were born. Master’s degrees in PT soon followed, but today, all accredited schools offer one outcome: The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).

PT programs recognize that aspiring physical therapists come from various backgrounds which is why there are multiple ways to earn your DPT. Which one fits your needs?

Marquette University, Milwaukie, WI

  • Several undergraduate majors will provide the undergraduate prerequisite courses for the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. At Marquette, the most popular pre-PT paths are Exercise Science and Athletic Training.
  • Admission to the professional program (DPT) is guaranteed as long as students maintain the minimum GPA required, must have 80 hours of related professional volunteer service, and will be able to finish the Bachelor’s degree requirements within the first five years of the program. 
  • By the numbers: 57% overall acceptance rate; SAT Mid-ranges: CR 520-630, M 550-650; ACT Mid-range: 25-29. Acceptance data for Physical Therapy 3+3 candidates vary.

Walsh University, North Canton, OH 

  • High schools seniors who meet the criteria for direct entry will major in Biology, completing all core requirements and DPT prerequisites in the first three years of the program.
  • Numerous opportunities exist for Pre-PT and DPT students to assist with faculty research. 
  • By the numbers77% acceptance rate; SAT Mid-ranges: CR 440-570, M 480-580; ACT Mid-range: 20-25. Acceptance data for Physical Therapy 3+3 candidates vary.

St. Francis University, Loretto, PA

  • Human Anatomy course work is learned in the cadaver lab in dissection teams of four or five students.
  • Advanced study possibilities in diverse including Aquatic Rehabilitation, Industrial and Sports Physical Therapy, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Dissection in Neuroanatomy and Pathological Gait.
  • By the numbers: 76% overall admission rate; SAT Mid-ranges: CR 460-570, M 470-590, ACT Mid-range: 20-25. Acceptance data for Physical Therapy 3+3 candidates vary. 

University of Evansville, Evansville, IN

  • If chosen for the direct-entry path to the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, students will be guaranteed a spot in the DPT program as long as minimum requirements are met. 
  • DPT students run the Ace CARE clinic at the university, providing physical therapy services for uninsured clients from the surrounding communities.
  • By the numbers: 84% overall acceptance rate; SAT Mid-ranges: CR 490-600, M 500-620; ACT Mid-range: 23-29. Minimum scores to be considered for the direct-entry DPT program: minimum 27 on the ACT; 1200 on SAT Critical Reading and Math (minimum 500 on each section).

Marquette University, Milwaukie, WI

  • Several undergraduate majors will provide the undergraduate prerequisite courses for the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. At Marquette, the most popular pre-PT paths are Exercise Science and Athletic Training.
  • Admission to the professional program (DPT) is guaranteed as long as students maintain the minimum GPA required, must have 80 hours of related professional volunteer service, and will be able to finish the Bachelor’s degree requirements within the first five years of the program. 
  • By the numbers: 57% overall acceptance rate; SAT Mid-ranges: CR 520-630, M 550-650; ACT Mid-range: 25-29. Acceptance data for Physical Therapy 3+3 candidates vary.




College/UniversityLocationDirect-Entry 3+3 Path
Boston University
Massachusetts
  • Direct-entry 3+3 PT program offered
Bradley University
Illinois
  • Direct-entry 3+3 PT program offered
Daemen College
New York
  • Direct-entry 3+3 PT program offered
Duquesne University
Pennsylvania
  • Direct-entry 3+3 PT program offered
Ithaca College
New York
  • Direct-entry 3+3 PT program offered
Northeastern University
Massachusetts
  • Direct-entry 3+3 PT program offered
LaSalle University
Pennsylvania
  • Direct-entry 3+3 PT program offered
Maryville University
Missouri
  • Direct-entry 3+3 PT program offered
Quinnipiac University
Connecticut
  • Direct-entry 3+3 PT program offered
Saint Louis University
Missouri
  • Direct-entry 3+3 PT program offered
Seton Hall University
New Jersey
  • Direct-entry 3+3 PT program offered
University of Findlay
Ohio
  • Direct-entry 3+3 PT program offered
University of Hartford
Connecticut
  • Direct-entry 3+3 PT program offered
University of Indianapolis
Indiana
  • Direct-entry 3+3 PT program offered
University of the Sciences
Pennsylvania
  • Direct-entry 3+3 PT program offered
Utica College
New York
  • Direct-entry 3+3 PT program offered
Widener University
Pennsylvania
  • Direct-entry 3+3 PT program offered

A Guide to Different Types of Rehabilitation Therapy | INTEGRIS Health

How Much Does Physical Therapy School Cost?

It’s no secret that getting an education is expensive. As you prepare for physical therapy school, one of the biggest factors you’ll need to consider is the cost, especially if you’re already saddled with undergraduate loans.

According to APTA, the 2013 tuition rates per year (the most recent available) looked like this:

And remember, this is just tuition. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of books, additional fees and living expenses.

Paying for Physical Therapy School


As long as you attend an accredited physical therapy school, you’ll be eligible for federal financial aid. This can come in the form of loans and grants. Scholarships and grants—which you don’t have to pay back—are often awarded by community groups, nonprofit organizations, professional associations and private individuals as well. You may have to spend some time digging for financial awards that you’re eligible for, but it can be worth it.

If you need to take out loans to pay for school, don’t be discouraged. There are several loan forgiveness or repayment options that you may be eligible for in the future. In fact, knowing about them now may encourage you to seek a certain career path as a physical therapist.

  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program: Full-time therapists working at a nonprofit organizations, in a government setting or in a public health environment may be eligible for loan forgiveness. You’ll be responsible for 120 monthly payments before you can apply.
  • National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program: Interested in research? You may be able to receive up to $35,000 a year in loan repayment. Physical therapists with a doctorate who conduct clinical research are eligible. You can find the full details on the NIH website.
  • Faculty Loan Repayment Program: Physical therapists from disadvantaged backgrounds who commit to at least two years of work at a health institution may be eligible for up to $40,000 in loan repayment. This is a great opportunity to teach future generations about physical therapy and promote the profession.

Online Physical Therapy Schools

Physical therapy school can be described two ways: Intensive and hands-on. In fact, some schools recommend students forgo working during the program. That’s not realistic for everyone, however, and online programs are known for their flexibility.

Because of the rigorous coursework and necessary lab and clinical work, CAPTE doesn’t accredit physical therapy programs that exist completely online. While some schools offer certain classes as a distance-learning option, students are expected to be present for a range of classroom and lab activities.

If you’re concerned about balancing work and physical therapy school, narrow your search down to accredited programs with an online component.

Physical Therapy School Application Process

Applying to multiple schools can be time-consuming, but the physical therapy industry has streamlined the process for program applications.

The Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) is an online application which aspiring students can use to apply to several physical therapy schools at one time.

Since it’s a web-based system, you can access it from anywhere and because it’s a standardized application, you only need one copy of recommendation letters, transcripts and test scores.

While it offers plenty of convenience, you need to pay attention to details and plan ahead. PTCAS warns that it can take a month or longer to process your application and it’s still the student’s responsibility to ensure the application is complete.

best 33 physical therapy programs

Topping our list of the best Physical Therapy schools in the U.S. are:

  1. The University of Southern California
  2. The University of Pittsburgh
  3. Washington University in St. Louis
  4. University of Delaware
  5. University of Iowa

Read on to learn what makes these schools the best of the best for a Physical Therapy education!

1. The University of Southern California

The University of Southern California offers a complete 115-unit program in physical therapy. In order to be able to achieve 115 units, the program is made up of six semesters and two summer courses.

In addition, the university has made it obligatory as part of their curriculum during all 3 years to gain clinical experience during your studies.

Once you have finished your three years with success, the USC graduate school will award you with a D.P.T., the degree of Doctor of Physical Therapy.

In order to complete your studies with success, you need to have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 in all of your courses. Aside from excelling academically, USC requires recipients of the award to meet all professional standards and to pass all clinical clerkships.

2. The University of Pittsburgh

The childhood jingle “second is the best” rings true when you consider the accolades and prestige of the University of Pittsburgh PT program.

The University of Pittsburgh offers a full-time program that will lead you down the path to getting your D.P.T. degree in three years or an equivalent of nine semesters.

During the last year, all students have to do a one-year internship in a clinic to complete their degree.

3. Washington University in St. Louis

The Washington University Program in Physical Therapy is a full-time, three-year program.

The program combines the classroom and clinical learning to prepare the students for professional leadership. The esteemed faculty of the program is recognized for its extensive command of neuromuscular and orthopedic conditions as well as in-depth knowledge of movement impairment classification.

Founded in 1942, the Program in Physical Therapy will make the students fully prepared to treat as well as diagnose the patients’ movement impairments.

4. University of Delaware

One of the largest programs in the College of Health Sciences, The University of Delaware DPT Program is a university-based extensive physical therapist educational program.

The curriculum is designed to develop lifelong learning skills amongst the students and enables them to become pioneers in their respective careers.

The program regularly utilizes instructors who are well-known experts to help students establish relationships between clinical research and practice. The faculty members of the DPT program are of the belief that the university is a suitable environment to educate and prepare future physical therapists.

World Report and The US News ranked the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program as the best in the country

5. University of Iowa

The Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science offers a distinctive learning experience to its students. The program provides proper resources to the students to harmonize the mission of excellence in research, clinical service, and teaching.

The department is situated in the Carver College of Medicine. The Department of Rehabilitation Therapies is a unique department in the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences offers degrees like DPT, MA, and Ph.D.

As a professional clinical entry-level program, the Doctor of Physical Therapy or DPT admits about 40 students in the month of July every year. The program is 2½ year curriculum and includes 35 weeks of clinical education experience (full time).

If the candidates complete the curriculum satisfactorily, they shall be allowed to partake in a state-administered national licensing examination.

Now we get to our top 100 Physical Therapy Schools in the United States!

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