Doctor of Physical Therapy

15 Reasons Why NYU's Physical Therapy Program Is Right for You

The DPT curriculum spans 39 months, consists of 133 credits, and incorporates the equivalent of almost a full academic year of clinical practice. In addition to being part of the largest private university in the world with its multiplicity of offerings, services, libraries, outstanding faculty and facilities, and state of the art sports and exercise facilities, here are 15 reasons why New York University should be your choice for doctor of physical therapy education.

NYU Steinhardt's Department of Physical Therapy1. SMALL CLASS SIZE. The program offers  smaller class sizes in order to provide a more personalized learning experience for students. Faculty based this small class size upon: 1) the understanding that clinical portions of courses are better taught with smaller student bodies; 2) the purposely designed space and resources available within our departmental facilities; and 3) the awareness of the profession’s supply and demand needs.

2. MASTER CLINICIANS. New York University pioneered this wonderful aspect of our curriculum to allow second- and third-year students to experience the best practices and facilities available in the management of patients with cardiovascular/pulmonary, musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and integumentary disorders. In groups of two or three, students observe firsthand exactly what it takes to become a highly skilled professional practitioner. Our faculty carefully selects each Master Clinician and only accepts physical therapists with at least five years of clinical experience.

3. CLINICAL SITES. We affiliate with over 350 clinical sites across the country. Students play an active role in selecting their sites assuring a well-rounded clinical experience before graduation day. If a student wishes to attend a site with which we are not presently affiliated, we will make all attempts to create a relationship with that site.

NYU Steinhardt's Department of Physical Therapy4. LEADER IN PHYSICAL THERAPY EDUCATION. Please see our detailed department history. Since our inception in 1927, we have led the way in physical therapy education. Our faculty consists of visionary leaders in the profession who in addition to being renowned authors and researchers, have held such significant positions as president of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and editor of Physical Therapy, APTA's journal. With the knowledge and experience they have amassed here at NYU, graduates of our program have gone on to successful and prestigious careers. Learn more about our outstanding alumni.

5. NO CAPSTONE PROJECT/RESEARCH THESIS REQUIRED. Our DPT program’s aim is to educate professional doctoral physical therapists who are knowledgeable, self-assured, adaptable, reflective, humanistic, and service-oriented, and who by virtue of critical thinking, lifelong learning, and ethical values, render independent judgments concerning patient/client needs. While our students are well-rounded and knowledgeable in physical therapy literature and evidence, as opposed to developing researchers, the DPT program aspires to develop the most skilled, exemplary practitioners possible. If research is your ultimate goal, please see our internationally renowned, post-professional PhD program.

6. CERTIFICATIONS. Our students graduate not only with their DPT degree, but with several certifications designed to enhance their potential practices. These include basic life support, advanced cardiac life support, first aid and emergency preparedness, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association's Specialist Certification and Pilates Mat I certificate of completion.  

7. ACCREDITATION STATUS. New York University’s Physical Therapy Program’s continuous accreditation began in 1942. Our DPT program was granted full accreditation beginning in 2003 and lasting through 2013. According to the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education, our DPT curriculum "represents the concerted and collaborative efforts of the program faculty over more than a decade to produce a contemporary doctoral curriculum model for education of physical therapist practitioners to be independent critical problem solvers in a variety of settings…[it] stands as a testimonial to the vision, patient, collaborative efforts, and persistence of the core faculty."

NYU Steinhardt's Department of Physical Therapy8. DIVERSE STUDENT BODY. Our students come from varied academic and cultural backgrounds and experiences making our student body one of the country’s most unique. Our students’ baccalaureate degrees literally range from from anthropology to zoology, with degrees in business, dance, English, psychology, exercise science, and more. This diversity strengthens our program and reflects the constantly changing world. In recognition of our continued support of diversity, our program has received both the Minority Initiatives Award and the Minority Achievement Award from the American Physical Therapy Association.

9. PHYSICAL LOCATION. Located in the heart of Manhattan’s thriving medical district, our department is within a one-mile radius of some of the city’s top medical facilities (all of which we use for clinical and academic instruction), including New York University’s Tisch Hospital, Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, Beth Israel Medical Center, Bellevue Hospital, Phillips Ambulatory Care Center, Hospital for Joint Diseases/Orthopaedic Institute, United Cerebral Palsy, International Center for the Disabled, Manhattan’s Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, New York Foundling Hospital, and St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center of New York. Our building is on the corner of 22nd Street and Second Avenue in the city’s historic Gramercy Park section. When not in school, students can explore Gramercy Park’s wonderful array of restaurants or relax in one of many nearby parks. We’re also just blocks away from NYU’s Washington Square Park central campus as well as the state-of-the-art Jerome S. Coles and Palladium Sports and Recreation Centers.

10. LOCATED IN STEINHARDT SCHOOL OF CULTURE, EDUCATION, AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT. We are often asked why we are located in NYU Steinhardt and not the Medical School. There are several reasons for this. First and foremost, the profession of physical therapy had its roots in graduates of gymnasia or physical education programs, and hence in 1927 the program was founded as a unit of the Department of Health and Physical Education. Over the years we have been in multiple arenas, including the Medical School, and we have found that we are valued and totally supported by Steinhardt and have the wonderful opportunity of interacting with colleagues in health professions such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, nutrition, and psychology, and with colleagues in education, the arts, music, and communication.

11. FACULTY-STUDENT RATIO. The full-time faculty student-ratio is one faculty member to 10.5 students, a most impressive ratio. And that does not even consider the over 45 adjunct faculty members whose background knowledge and skill are essential for our in-depth curriculum.

12. ACADEMIC CREDITS. Our curriculum, unlike others, is based on the academic credit hours within the University and the traditional faculty loads, so that one contact hour equals 1 credit. This means that each semester you know exactly how many hours you will be in each class.

NYU Steinhardt's Department of Physical Therapy13. CLASSROOM/LABORATORY INSTRUCTION. The physical therapy program does not separate classroom and laboratory instruction, but rather offers a seamless arrangement of its space. In this way faculty and students may easily go from didactic, lecture, and demonstration to a laboratory environment by simply attaching mats to tables and using the incredible array of state-of-the-art equipment within the department in each classroom and in each of the storage closets in each classroom.

14. CONTENT BASED ON PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS. The curriculum is based upon the APTA documents Normative Model of Professional Physical Therapy Education and Guide to Physical Therapist Practice. The Guide clearly defines physical therapist practice based upon the model of examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention, and determination of outcomes. The program is also predicated upon the preparation of physical therapist professionals who are competent generalist practitioners and is based on the mission of the PT Program.

15. UNIQUE INSTRUCTIONAL METHODS. The faculty also determined that no single instructional method would be used throughout the curriculum. Rather, a variety of instructional methods are utilized based on the content of a particular instructional unit and the desired outcomes of the unit. The curriculum includes a combination of subject matter-based learning in didactic areas, competency-based learning in didactic and clinical aspects of the physical therapy examinations and interventions, and problem-solving-based in the system-related intervention arenas. Evidence based practice is emphasized throughout the curriculum.

NYU Steinhardt's Department of Physical TherapyThe DPT curriculum is a stair-stepping curriculum that moves through the age span within the four major systems and from foundational to clinical sciences. The four system areas are: cardiovascular/pulmonary; musculoskeletal; neuromuscular; and other (genito-urinary, integumentary, endocrine, immune, and gastrointestinal). The following sequence of courses exists within each system area: Applied Anatomy and Physiology; Clinical Sciences/Pathology/Imaging/ Pharmacology; Physical Therapy Examination; and Physical Therapy Interventions, including Prevention Programs and Wellness Programs.

The intervention courses are based upon and integrate the materials previously covered in: Principles of Exercise; Fitness Theory and Practice; Manual Techniques; Prescription, Application, and as appropriate, Fabrication of Assistive, Adaptive, Orthotic, Protective, Supportive, and Prosthetic Devices and Equipment; Electrotherapeutic Modalities; and Physical Agents and Mechanical Modalities. The intervention courses use the preferred practice patterns in the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice – Part II as the basis for case studies. Clinical practice opportunities are woven throughout the curriculum, both during the academic semesters and during the summer months. A master clinician concept was integrated into the curriculum to provide small groups of students with the opportunity to observe the best physical therapist practice in the system area they are studying.