Physical Therapy Program

College of Health Sciences, Downers Grove Campus

Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)

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As a physical therapy student at Midwestern University, you'll gain the education, professional training, and experience you need to become part of the next generation of healthcare professionals. Our team of faculty experts are dedicated to your success and will help you build your future as a competent, caring, and skilled physical therapist. In our comprehensive program, you will learn to use independent judgement, critical thinking skills, and evidence-based treatments to help patients improve their functional ability and regain health.


Downers Grove, IL

34 Months, Full-Time

Class Size

Graduation Rate


The mission of the Midwestern University Physical Therapy Program is to educate students, using the highest standards of academic excellence, to become physical therapists who practice across the healthcare continuum, making meaningful contributions to their patients, community, and profession.

Degree Description

Midwestern University's Physical Therapy Program offers a course of study leading to the Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) degree for qualified students. The full-time, continuous, 34-month, entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum is designed to deliver the academic and clinical education required to prepare students for their professional role as key members of the healthcare team and as an integral part of the healthcare delivery system. The general education, professional training, experience, and personal character development of physical therapists uniquely prepare them to coordinate care related to functional improvement and functional ability.

The focus of the professional clinical doctorate degree program is the preparation of entry-level, generalist physical therapists who are able to provide competent, skilled professional services in a wide range of community and institutional practice settings that require independent judgment and self-sufficiency.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program prepares entry-level practitioners to provide physical therapy services in large, small, traditional, and nontraditional community and institutional practice settings that require independent judgment, leadership, and autonomous practice. The program also provides the foundation for graduates to identify and contribute to effecting solutions to the major, emergent health issues of our society and to contribute to the academic and clinical education of future practitioners. The graduate will be prepared to make valuable, ongoing contributions to society, healthcare, and the profession through leadership activities and collaborative efforts with others in physical therapy and professional education, practice, and research.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Midwestern University begins in June of each year. The Program is 12 quarters long and is spread over the course of three calendar years (34 months).

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program offers a well-designed curriculum, enabling graduates to effectively and successfully meet the demands of working in today's healthcare community. Students and faculty form partnerships while developing the skills necessary for clinical practice and life-long learning. The Program provides opportunities for students from a variety of health care professions to work together and build collaborative relationships.

The Program has a total required credit hour capacity of 171.5 credits.  A full listing of our courses can be found in the Midwestern University Catalog. Course descriptions are also available for viewing.


The maximum allotted time for completion of the program is 52 months. 


Evidence-based practice; health promotion and wellness programs; simulated and integrated clinical experiences. Optional electives are offered during the 3rd year of study to qualifying students.


In order to meet the contemporary needs of physical therapy practice we are adding a new third-year musculoskeletal course to the curriculum. The Program’s curriculum is also being modified to incorporate additional oncology and pain science content.

Program Goals and Expected Program Outcomes and Indicators

1. Students/Graduates will practice independent competent physical therapy.

  1.1  Graduates will demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for independent, competent physical therapy practice.

      1.1.1. Students will demonstrate entry-level performance by the completion of Practicum IV.

      1.1.2. Graduates will pass the PT licensure exam.

      1.1.3. Employers will rate graduates as independent and competent practitioners.

    1.2. Students/Graduates will demonstrate appropriate professional behavior.

       1.2.1. Students will demonstrate professional behaviors commensurate with each practical experience (items 2, 3, 4, on the CPI).

       1.2.2. Employers’ feedback will indicate graduates demonstrate professional behaviors.

       1.2.3. Graduates’ feedback will indicate that they were well prepared to function independently as professionals in the physical therapy community.

2. Students will meet performance requirements of the MWU PT Program curriculum.

    2.1. Throughout the didactic and clinical education portions of the curriculum, students will demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to maintain good standing in the MWU PT Program.

        2.1.1. Students will produce a high-quality scholarly product.

        2.1.2. Students will demonstrate professional behavior in the didactic curriculum.

3. Students/Graduates will contribute to and advocate for the health and wellness of society through education, consultation, and community outreach.

   3.1. Students will develop, implement, and analyze a community outreach wellness program.

        3.1.1. Students will successfully complete a health promotion project.

        3.1.2. Students will critically analyze an existing health promotion program.

  3.2. Students will utilize current best evidence to develop age-appropriate fitness prescriptions which can be used for education and consultation in the community.

         3.2.1. Students will develop an age-appropriate fitness plan for pediatric or geriatric clients.

  3.3. Graduates will be capable of providing services to address health and wellness to the community through education, consultation, and community outreach.

        3.3.1. Employers’ feedback will indicate that graduates were well prepared to provide health and wellness services to the community.

        3.3.2. Graduates’ feedback will indicate that graduates were well prepared to provide health and wellness services to the community.

4. Students/Graduates will access, utilize, and contribute to the scientific literature for clinical decision-making.

        4.1. Students will demonstrate the ability to access the scientific literature for clinical decision-making.

        4.1.1. Students will successfully access scientific literature from multiple databases.

  4.2. Students will demonstrate the ability to utilize scientific literature for clinical decision-making.

      4.2.1. Students will appraise and apply scientific literature to answer a clinical question and contribute to an evidence-based practice review related to intervention strategies possible for that case.

       4.2.2. Students will utilize and integrate scientific literature to support clinical decision making in case discussions.

       4.2.3. Students will prepare a matrix demonstrating their utilization of scientific literature to answer a clinical question. 

  4.3. Students/Graduates will demonstrate the ability to contribute to the scientific literature for clinical decision-making.

      4.3.1. Students/Graduates will disseminate their scholarly product to a professional audience.

5. Faculty members will be engaged in teaching, scholarship, and service.

   5.1. Faculty will provide high quality teaching.

       5.1.1. Student evaluation of faculty teaching will reflect satisfaction with quality of teaching.

       5.1.2. Faculty will meet expectations for teaching.

   5.2.   Faculty will disseminate scholarly products on a regular basis

        5.2.1.  Faculty will disseminate a scholarly product 1x/2 years.                                                                                                                                         5.2.2.  Eligible Core Faculty will publish an article, book chapter, or other contribution 1x/3 years.   

   5.3.  Faculty will provide service to the University and the profession.                                                                                                                               5.3.1. Faculty will provide service on PT Program committees.

      5.3.2.   Faculty will provide service on CHS or MWU committees. 

      5.3.3. Faculty will provide professional service to organizations or community. 

6.  MWU PT Program will deliver an accredited, entry-level physical therapist education program which embraces the core values of the profession.

    6.1. MWU PT Program will be in compliance with all accreditation standards.

        6.1.1. Graduates will pass the PT licensure exam.

        6.1.2. Graduates actively pursuing employment in a physical therapy setting will begin working within one year from completion of the MWU PT Program.

    6.2. MWU PT Program provides a comprehensive curriculum in PT Education.

        6.2.1. MWU PT graduates will demonstrate competency in all body system components of the NPTE.

        6.2.2.  MWU PT graduates will demonstrate competency in all clinical practice components of the NPTE.

        6.2.3.  PT Program will complete a comprehensive curricular review every 3 years.

  6.3. APTA’s Core Values content exists throughout the MWU PT Program curriculum.

        6.3.1. All 8 of the APTA’s Core Values will continue to be explicitly addressed throughout the curriculum.

The Physical Therapy Program at Midwestern University, Downers Grove, IL is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE),3030 Potomac Avenue, Suite 100, Alexandria, VA 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; e-mail:; website:  If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call (630)515-6462 or e-mail

Midwestern University is also accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604-1413. 800/621-7440.

Admission Requirements

Students seeking admission to the Physical Therapy Program must submit the following documented evidence:

  1. Completion of a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  2. Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 and a minimum science GPA of 2.90 on a 4.00 scale.
  3. Completion of prerequisite courses totaling 43 semester/63 quarter credits as listed from regionally accredited colleges or universities
    • Grades of "C" or better (grades of "C-" are NOT acceptable) are required in each course
  4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test scores using the Midwestern University institution code of 1769
    • The test must have been taken no earlier than January 1, 2017
    • For more information about the GRE, contact Educational Testing Services (ETS) at 866/473-4373 or visit
  5. Demonstration of a people or service orientation through community service or extracurricular activities
  6. Motivation for and commitment to healthcare as demonstrated by previous work, volunteer work, or other life experiences
  7. Oral and written communication skills necessary to interact with patients and colleagues
  8. Commitment to abide by the Midwestern University Drug-Free Workplace and Substance Abuse Policy
  9. Passage of the Midwestern University criminal background check

    Prerequisite Courses

    Science Courses Sem Hrs Qtr Hrs
    Biology with lab 4 6
    Human/Vertebrate Anatomy with lab 3 4
    Human/Vertebrate Physiology 3 4
    General Chemistry with lab 4 6
    General Physics with lab 8 12
    General Courses Sem Hrs Qtr Hrs
    Math (college algebra or above) 3 4
    Statistics (should include inferential statistics) 3 4
    English--must include at least one composition course (oral communication/public
    speaking is recommended)
    6 9
    Social and Behavioral Sciences (at least one course in psychology) 9 13


    NPTE Pass Rate

    Employment Rate

    General Requirements

    • Bachelor's degree
    • Minimum science GPA of 2.9 and cumulative GPA of 3.0
    • Successful completion of prerequisite courses
    • GRE General Test scores

    Admissions Acceptance and Matriculation Rates (2021)

    • Of 599 applications, 367 were completed
    • 56% (207/367) of applicants were accepted
    • 15% (56/367) of applicants were matriculated into the PT Program

    2021 Class Profile (Class of 2024)

    • Female 68%
    • Male    32%
    • Average age 24
    • Average overall GPA: 3.53
    • Class size: 56
    • Top Home States: Illinois ( 79%), Iowa, MN

    Graduation Rate (2019-2020)

    *2 year average (class of 2019 and 2020) = 97.18%

    • The class of 2019 had a graduation rate of 98.15%.
    • The class of 2020 had a graduation rate of  96.2 %.

    National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) Pass Rate

    Reported by the Federation of State Boards in Physical Therapy for MWU graduates

       NPTE 1st time pass rate (averaged over the past 2 years-2019 & 2020) - 93.0%

    • 1st time pass rate - 89.8 %  (2019)
    • 1st time pass rate -  96.3 % (2020)

          Ultimate pass rate (averaged over the past 2 years - 2019 & 2020) - 100%

    • Ulitmate pass rate - 100% (2019)
    • Ulimate pass rate - 100%  (2020)

    Clinical Education Placements

    Community, Urban, Rural, Teaching Hospitals; Geriatrics; Pediatrics; Orthopedics/Sports Medicine Clinics; Schools

    Career Opportunities

    Evaluation and treatment, screening, education, referral, consultation, wellness promotion and prevention

    Employment Rate

    100% of graduates from the Class of 2019 and 2020 who sought employment, were working within 12 months of graduation as physical therapists based on MWU DPT Program Correspondence, Employer Websites, and Social Media sites.

    US Employment Projections through 2028 - Employment of physical therapists is expected to increase 22 percent from 2018 to 2028.1

    1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S., Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook.   (accessed 6/30/2020)

    Mean Salary National Average


    1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S., Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook.   (accessed 6/30/2020)

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