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Faculty in a physical therapy class

Doctor of Philosophy
Physical Therapy Research

The NYU Steinhardt PhD in Research in Physical Therapy prepares physical therapists who have attained clinical doctorate (DPT) or master’s (MA, MS) degrees for rigorous, independent research careers that advance science and practice. The degree combines course work and mentored research opportunities. If you have questions about the PhD in PT program at NYU Steinhardt, please contact Program Director Smita Rao, PT, PhD, at 

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Degree Details

Official Degree Title

Doctor of Philosophy, Research in Physical Therapy

Full-time or Part-time
Start Date
Application Deadline

We welcome physical therapists with a strong research trajectory and vision to apply to our program. The goal of the PhD in Physical Therapy Research is to prepare you to become an independent researcher.

Our curriculum integrates rigorous course work with mentored research experiences and unique opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. Each student develops a tailored program of study and annual benchmarks in close collaboration with the program director and dissertation chair. You will enhance your ability to critically review scientific literature, formulate questions, and devise experiments to test those hypotheses. You will emerge as a productive scholar whose work has a positive impact on science and practice.

You will:

  • Gain expertise in analyzing human motion in a variety of activities utilizing clinical and research instrumentation
  • Identify a critical barrier in current knowledge and practice, and address that gap using state-of-the-art research methods
  • Disseminate the findings of your research across disciplines and practice settings
  • Develop leadership skills to continue the advancement of physical therapy research and education

One of the oldest PhD programs in physical therapy in the nation, our program has played a pivotal role in advancing practice through evidence and education. Our PhD prepares you to be an independent investigator and educator. You will also develop the leadership skills to continue advancing physical therapy research and education.

Funding for Full-Time PhD Students

If you are accepted as a full-time NYU Steinhardt PhD student without an alternate funding source, you are eligible for our competitive funding package, which includes a scholarship and tuition remission. Learn more about our funding opportunities.


If you have questions about the PhD in PT program at NYU Steinhardt, please contact Program Director Smita Rao, PT, PhD, at

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