Physical Therapy, DPT

Department of Physical Therapy Chairperson: Allison Hyngstrom P.T., Ph.D.
Department of Physical Therapy website


To be among the best educational programs in preparing Physical Therapy graduates who excel in academics, leadership, clinical practice and service to others.


Department of Physical Therapy Mission

To prepare future health care practitioners and researchers with an education rich in clinical experiences, community outreach and research opportunities to develop leaders guided by the values of “Cura Personalis.”

Program Mission

To graduate entry-level physical therapist professionals who are ethical practitioners, knowledgeable of current practices, skillful in applying their knowledge, motivated to address the needs of the under-served community, self-directed lifelong learners who will become leaders in their profession and community.

Furthermore, in an effort to meet the current health care needs in under-served areas, the department is committed to supporting programs of outreach that will enhance the enrollment and training of disadvantaged students and service to disadvantaged populations.

Our primary goal is to graduate physical therapists that are recognized by consumers and other health care professionals as general practitioners of choice to whom consumers have direct access for diagnosis of, interventions for and prevention of impairments, functional limitations and disabilities related to movement, function and health.


Consistent with the Ignatian practice of Examen which makes a Jesuit education unique, the Department of Physical Therapy aspires to transform students into critical thinkers who respect the dignity and worth of others, through the process of reflection and discernment. The teaching-learning process is recognized as a dynamic interaction of shared responsibility among the academic faculty, clinical faculty and students. The Department of Physical Therapy supports the educational view that students learn in a multitude of ways, necessitating a variety of learning experiences. These experiences are important for the development of a life-long autonomous learner who is self-motivated and self-directed. The departmental faculty are a resource and role model in the development of these traits by providing quality instruction, contributing to the general body of knowledge through an active research agenda, maintaining personal clinical competence including the operation of on-campus Physical Therapy clinic, demonstrating professionalism, respecting the dignity of others and advocacy for patient and professional causes. It is the goal of the faculty to help students to become educated members of society, active members of their profession and role models for peers and future physical therapists.

Expected Global Student Outcomes

One of the defining characteristics of a Marquette education is the focus on cura personalis – care of the whole person. In that vein, we expect that Graduates of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program will embody that characteristic. Graduates of the Physical Therapy program will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the skills necessary to practice autonomously within a direct access environment in essential practice areas as defined by the Guide for Physical Therapist Practice.
  2. Use testing and differential diagnosis to screen individuals in order to determine appropriateness for physical therapy services, and/or to determine the need for referral to other health professionals.
  3. Apply evidence based decision making in planning patient care.
  4. Address social determinants of health within plan of care.

Students admitted to the Physical Therapy program are enrolled in a curriculum that culminates in a doctor of physical therapy degree. This is a six-year curriculum for a student admitted at the freshmen level. The student first earns a baccalaureate degree of their choice and then is awarded the Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) degree at the end of the professional course work. Students admitted with a bachelor’s degree earn the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree after completing the three-year professional program.


Students are expected to attend every meeting, lecture, lab or clinical experience of the courses in which they are registered. Any absence, regardless of the reason, prevents the student from getting the full benefit of the course and renders the student liable to university censure. In the Department of Physical Therapy, class attendance requirements and the impact that absences may have on a student's grade are made by the individual instructors. The attendance policy in each Physical Therapy course is published in the course syllabus.

Students who are ill or anticipate absence for a family emergency must contact the physical therapy department chairperson and academic standards chairperson immediately. All students must consult with the instructor of the course(s) missed for makeup, if necessary. Absences of two or more weeks of content or 10% of content in shorter sessions during the fourth, fifth or sixth years of the program may be considered as grounds for repeating the entire term. For short term absences please refer to the student handbook.

There is no time off allowed during the course of clinical education experiences, except for emergency or illness (see sick time policy). Time off for residency interviews, professional conferences or other APTA professional activities, or board examinations, must first be approved by the DCE's and the site coordinator for clinical education and be scheduled to be made up. Sites have ultimate approval of time off for these potential exceptions. Unapproved time off, with exception of illness, may result in dismissal from the clinical site.

Admission and Academic Regulations - Preprofessional Phase

Admission Requirements

Direct Admit Physical Therapy Applicants (Early Assurance)

Students may be admitted to the program as freshmen with a guaranteed admission to the professional phase beginning fall of 2027 if the student successfully meets all requirements for advancement. (see Academic Requirements for Advancement section). Guaranteed admission cannot be extended if requirements are not successfully completed in the pre-professional phase.

High school applicants to the Direct-Admit PT program, referred to as “Early Assurance” throughout the rest of this document, are expected to fulfill the general admissions requirements listed in the university section of this bulletin. In addition, the following specific items should be noted for eligibility to apply to the Direct-Admit program in Physical Therapy:

  1. Meet eligibility for admission to MU as a new freshman. 
  2. One year of high school chemistry and biology is required. Applicants should include high school algebra, geometry and trigonometry which are prerequisites for physics courses at Marquette.
  3. Acceptance to the Early Assurance program for incoming freshmen is on a competitive basis. Completed applications must be received by the university’s Regular Decision deadline for first-year applicants.
  4. Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and/or dual enrollment college credits may be applied toward a maximum of four D.P.T. prerequisite courses, excluding CHEM 1002PHYS 1002, Anatomy and Physiology. These four prerequisite courses must be completed at the college level for a letter grade after high school. Note: AP, IB and dual enrollment credits awarded by MU are credit-bearing only and are not included in grade point average (GPA) calculations.

Marquette students who were not offered an early assurance position as freshmen may apply to transfer into the program.

Transfer Applicants

Internal Transfer Admission (Marquette Students and Graduates)

Pre-physical therapy students (PREP) applying for admission into the professional phase of the program, years 4-6, are subject to spaces available. To apply for this competitive internal window of admission, students must complete at least half of the physical therapy prerequisite credits at Marquette University, or be a graduate of Marquette’s MS, PhD program in Exercise and Rehabilitation Health Sciences (EXRS). Transfer applicants should have a minimum 3.000 overall grade point average (GPA) and 2.670 GPA in the prerequisite courses, although successful applicants typically have significantly higher GPAs.

Up to seven prerequisite credits may be taken outside of MU as long as the student still meets at least half of all prerequisite credits at MU. It is strongly encouraged that all D.P.T. prerequisite courses be completed at accredited four-year institutions to be competitive. Once a student has matriculated to Marquette, D.P.T. prerequisite courses taken elsewhere may be completed in-person or online with the exception of Chemistry 2, Physics 2, and Anatomy & Physiology which must also be taken in-person. Repeated prerequisite courses taken elsewhere cannot be taken in online format. Prerequisite courses not taken at MU, after high school, are included in the D.P.T. prerequisite GPA calculations, even though they are not included in the university GPA calculation. Prerequisites required before admission to the professional phase are listed below.

All internal transfer applicants who do not have their bachelor’s degree completed prior to starting in the professional phase (DPT4 year) are required to submit with their application a demonstrated plan for completion of a bachelor’s degree by the end of the spring term of the DPT5 year in the professional phase (years 4, 5 and 6) of the program.

The internal transfer application is available on the Department of Physical Therapy website.

External Transfer Admission (Non-MU Students)

External transfer students with degrees and prerequisites from other institutions are considered external transfer applicants. Given the early assurance and internal transfer options, space is limited, and enrollment is extremely competitive. Transfer applicants should have a minimum 3.000 overall GPA and 2.670 GPA in the prerequisites, although successful applicants typically have above a 3.400 prerequisite GPA. All external transfer applicants apply via the national Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service. (

D.P.T. Prerequisites 

All prerequisite courses for internal and external transfer applicants must be completed within seven years of application except for Physics 2, Anatomy and Physiology which must be taken within five years of application. Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and/or dual enrollment credits for a maximum of four courses may be applied toward D.P.T. prerequisite courses with the exception of CHEM 1002PHYS 1002, Anatomy and Physiology. Note: AP, IB and dual enrollment credits awarded by MU are credit-bearing only and are not included in prerequisite grade point average (GPA) calculations. However, prerequisites not taken at MU after high school are included in the D.P.T. prerequisite GPA calculations, even though they are not included in the university GPA calculation.

Biology (with or without lab)3
General Chemistry 1 and 2 (with lab)8
General Physics 1 and 2 (with lab)8
Anatomy and Physiology6
Abnormal or Developmental Psychology 13
Introduction to Physical Therapy and Medical Terminology (PHTH 1001) 21
Social Sciences 3
Total Credit Hours:32

Essential Functions

Students are made aware as freshmen and prior to entering the professional phase that all students must be able to carry out the basic duties of a generalist physical therapist with or without reasonable accommodation(s). A generalist P.T. is one who is capable of treating patients across the lifespan. Specifics of the essential functions are included in the Physical Therapy Student Handbook available on the Physical Therapy department webpage.

Academic Requirements for Advancement – Early Assurance Admission

Students admitted to the D.P.T. Program as freshmen must meet all requirements for advancement by June 1, preceding the Fall start of the professional phase. These include:

  1. A 2.670 or greater cumulative grade point average in the specified D.P.T. prerequisite course work consisting of BIOL 1001 or BIOL 1002CHEM 1001, CHEM 1002, PHYS 1001PHYS 1002, PHTH 1001, Abnormal or Developmental Psychology, Anatomy/Physiology course(s) and a statistics course (minimum 32 credits). Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) credits and/or dual enrollment credits for a maximum of 4 courses may be applied towards D.P.T. prerequisite courses with the exception of CHEM 1002, PHYS 1002, Anatomy and Physiology.
  2. To maintain early assurance, direct-admit status:
    1. No more than two prerequisite courses can be completed with a grade of C. A grade of C- or lower is not acceptable for prerequisite courses.
    2. Students can retake no more than one prerequisite course. If a course is repeated, the higher grade is used in the D.P.T. prerequisite GPA calculation.
    3. It is strongly encouraged that all D.P.T. prerequisite courses be completed at accredited four-year institutions. Courses taken elsewhere may be completed in-person or online with the exception of Chemistry 2, Physics 2, Anatomy & Physiology which must be taken in-person. (Search for Classes by Instruction Mode) No online repeats of a prerequisite course are allowed unless completed at Marquette with the exception of Chemistry 2, Physics 2, Anatomy & Physiology. Note: AP, IB and dual enrollment credits awarded by MU are credit-bearing only and are not included in grade point average (GPA) calculations. Prerequisite courses taken outside of MU after high school are included in the D.P.T. prerequisite GPA calculations, even though they are not included in the university GPA calculation.
    4. At least one-half of the 32-prerequisite credits must be taken at Marquette University. Credits awarded for test and/or dual credits completed in high school do not count as prerequisite credits taken at Marquette University.
    5. Students can take no more than seven prerequisite credits outside of Marquette post high school and must follow the policy for Study at Other Institutions. Prerequisites not taken at MU after high school are included in the D.P.T. prerequisite GPA calculations, even though they are not included in the university GPA calculation.
  3. A demonstrated plan for completion of a bachelor’s degree at the end of the spring term of the DPT5 year in the professional phase (years 4, 5 and 6) of the program. Students who do not complete their undergraduate degree in the expected time frame (4.5 years for EXPH majors, 4 years for all other majors), must submit a written plan to the Physical Therapy department chairperson no later than June 1 that outlines degree completion before the end of the spring term of the DPT5 year. Students failing to have an approved plan cannot matriculate to the professional phase. Students accepted to the Athletic Training/Physical Therapy dual-degree program must complete all requirements for the Master of Athletic Training degree prior to entering the final two terms of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.
  4. A student that forfeits early assurance direct admit status can still apply as an internal applicant in their third or fourth year and are no longer time bound for when they need to start the professional phase. This is a competitive admission window without guarantee of enrollment.

The sequence of courses in the professional phase begins in August of each academic year and includes both summers of the three-year program. Following acceptance into the professional phase of the program, students follow the curriculum as outlined for the three-year professional phase unless prior approval is received from the department chairperson.

Assessment of Student Requirements for Admission to the Professional Phase

Assessments of students’ fulfillment of the above criteria are made June 1, prior to students entering the professional phase of the program in the summer of their third year. Students who have successfully met the requirements outlined above in undergraduate academic regulations are guaranteed admission into the professional phase of the program with the class they entered as freshmen. Students who do not meet the criteria forfeit automatic admission into the professional phase in the fall term. A DPT3 student may request to use the summer session to retake one prerequisite, if it is their first retake, in order to meet all admission requirements. Such a request is made in writing no later than June 1, to the departmental chairperson.

Admissions Hearing

Direct admit students who fail to meet any of the admission requirements and are not admitted to the professional phase of the program, may request a hearing with the Academic Standards Committee.

CR/NC Grade Option

University guidelines allow junior and senior students to elect one course per term (to a maximum of four courses) for which only a CR or NC grade is assigned, given certain requirements are met. Refer to the CR/NC option entry in the university section of this bulletin for the specific requirements. However, this CR/NC option is not available for any course that is part of the prerequisite courses for the D.P.T. program or any course required in the professional phase of the program.

Course Sequence

Taking courses early and out of sequence is discouraged. No online prerequisite courses are accepted except if offered at Marquette. Students who fail to meet these requirements may be placed on academic probation and required to retake professional phase courses. Students cannot withdraw/drop a required D.P.T. class without permission from the department chairperson.

Academic Regulations - Professional Phase

Students are expected to maintain full-time status and complete the D.P.T. program in three years. If extenuating circumstances occur, students may be allowed to extend their program into a 4th year with permission of the department chairperson. Failure to complete the D.P.T. program requirements within the 4-year time limit may result in dismissal from the program. During the professional phase of the program, students are considered in good academic standing if they comply with the academic standards printed in the Physical Therapy Student Handbook. Failure to meet the academic requirements results in dismissal from the program.

Academic Censure (Dismissal/Probation/Academic Alert)


There are certain categories of student performance problems that can lead to some form of censure. These problems may be identified at any point during the academic year, though a systematic review of all students' course grades is also conducted at the end of each academic term. The review of other, non-course grade problems is typically conducted on an individual basis as issues arise. A finding of significant problems in any of these areas can result in probation, suspension or dismissal, depending on the nature and severity of the problems identified. All of these statuses are maintained permanently on the academic record; only dismissal, however, appears permanently on Marquette University's official transcript. If students are reinstated following a dismissal, that notation also permanently appears on the official transcript. Refer to the "Transcripts-Official' section of the Health Science Professional policies for statuses that appear permanently on the transcript.

Academic Dismissal – Required to Withdraw for Academic Reasons (RWAR)

Health Science Professional students (HESP) who have completed their undergraduate degree must maintain a GPA of at least 2.670 for each term. The D.P.T. program considers a grade below C to represent unsatisfactory academic progress. Students earning a final grade below a C (C- or below) or an unsatisfactory grade (U, UNC, UW, ADW, WF, WA) in a course or in a clinical experience in the D.P.T. program may be dismissed. The Office of the Registrar (OTR) and the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) monitor the program academic requirements at the end of each term (fall, spring and summer). Students who do not meet these academic requirements are academically dismissed by the college (coded as RWAR by OTR) and their record coded as failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) by OSFA.

Undergraduate students in the Physical Therapy program must also meet the requirements listed above to continue in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Students who are dismissed from the Physical Therapy program but remain in good standing at the university as an undergraduate student, are allowed to continue with their undergraduate degree course of study.

Satisfactory Academic Progress: there are other SAP conditions for which students are responsible and are applied to all students in the program, both professional and undergraduate. Refer to the complete SAP policy on the OSFA website.

RWAR/SAP Appeal Process

Students subject to RWAR/SAP must appeal both RWAR/SAP by sending one form, which addresses both RWAR and SAP issues. This is done via the Academic Censure form located on the Marquette Central academic forms website. The form includes all of the required information students must submit in order to have their appeal reviewed.

  • The form is submitted to Marquette Central (see bottom of form for methods of submission). Completed appeal forms are then forwarded to the chairperson of the Department of Physical Therapy. The department chairperson, in consultation with the Academic Standards Committee, has the final decision on all RWAR/SAP appeals. The Academic Standards Committee may require a hearing with students. See appeal hearing procedures in the Physical Therapy Student Handbook.
  • If the appeal is approved, students are 'Reinstated on Probation' and the Academic Standards Committee establishes an academic probation plan for them to regain their satisfactory academic and degree progress standing, and their eligibility for financial aid is restored.
  • The plan must be measurable and ensure that students are able to meet Marquette's SAP standards by a specific point in time. Plans should include courses to be taken, expected grades and a time frame to complete the outlined objectives.
  • The plan is monitored by the department (Academic Standards Committee).
  • Should students not fulfill all of their academic obligations as outlined in the academic probation plan, their performance is evaluated by the committee and a determination is made as to whether the College Academic Alert (see below) process is instituted; however, students are again coded with SAP for that term.

Physical Therapy Probation and College Academic Alert (CAA)

Failure to meet requirements of probation may lead to College Academic Alert (dismissal from the program). Conditions of probation may be prescribed in writing when good academic standing is not maintained (via a hearing). Conditions may also be prescribed in writing in the case of a student whose course performance or failure to follow academic advice warrants such action at any time during the program. All students where conditions of probation have been established are subject to committee review and possible CAA action should they fail to fulfill the specific terms.

In addition, any instance of failing to meet academic standards, regardless of a GPA of 2.670, may result in a College Academic Alert (CAA) action.

Students placed on College Academic Alert cannot register for subsequent courses in the Physical Therapy program and may be removed from any such classes for future terms in which they are registered. Students are notified by letter or email of the committee’s decision and of the appeal process. Undergraduate students that are not allowed to continue in the Physical Therapy program but remain in good standing at the university, are allowed to continue in their undergraduate degree course of study.

Academic Dismissal – Professional Integrity

Students may be dismissed from the Physical Therapy program for failure to maintain professional integrity standards, which may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Failure to comply with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Code of Ethics or the APTA Guide of Professional Conduct. (
  2. Failure to comply with learning objectives set forth in a professional behavior learning contract between the student and the program.
  3. Failure to complete their undergraduate degree by the end of the spring term of year 5.
  4. Clinical misconduct, including, but not limited to:
    1. Conduct that constitutes harassment, threats or abuse of, or discrimination against peers, faculty, patients or others.
    2. Provision of physical therapy services, including laboratory experiences in courses, while under the influence of an illegal substance and/or alcohol.
    3. Breach of patient/client confidentiality.
    4. Failure to comply with the policies and procedures of the clinical facility during a clinical experience.
    5. Failure to comply with the Physical Therapy Act for the state in which an internship experience is located.

Violations of the professional integrity requirements result in a hearing with the Academic Standards Committee. Findings of misconduct to self, faculty, the university clinical placements and/or patients may result in failure in the assignment, failure in the course or dismissal from the program. For instances of dismissal from the program, a notation of “Required to Withdraw for Professional Integrity Reasons” appears on the permanent academic record and transcript.

Academic Dismissal - Academic Misconduct

Dismissal for academic misconduct (RWAM) is determined per the Academic Integrity policy found in Health Sciences Professional policies. Once this determination has been made, students are dismissed from the university. This action results in ineligibility to register at Marquette. Reinstatement criteria for students who are dismissed, if applicable, are outlined in the dismissal notice. If students are allowed to return to the university, a permanent notation of ‘Reinstated to the University’ appears on the academic record and Marquette’s official transcript.


The Department of Physical Therapy at Marquette University is accredited by the

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
3030 Potomac Ave, Suite 100
Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085
Telephone: 703-706-3245

If needing to contact the program/institution directly, call 414-288-7161 or use email the Physical Therapy department contact form

Certification in Basic Life Support

Certification in basic life support that includes child, infant and both one- and two-person adult CPR along with automatic external defibrillator (AED) training is required of all students prior to beginning the fourth year of the D.P.T. program. Continued certification is required to be maintained by the student throughout the D.P.T. curriculum. Failure to maintain current certification may jeopardize enrollment in subsequent PHTH courses and/or clinical assignments. Students should contact their local Heart Association or Red Cross offices.

Emergency Care and Safety

All clinical sites provide the students with safety information including emergency procedures. There may be potential health risks at a clinical site. Students are required to complete yearly OSHA training. Students are not employees of the facility and are not covered by workman’s compensation. Students provide proof of health insurance but should also be aware that they are responsible for the cost of any emergency care, unless the injury or illness was due to negligence on the part of the facility. In non-emergency situations, students should expect to be responsible for their own medical care while off campus.

All D.P.T. students are required to attend and provide documentation of completion of yearly OSHA training sessions, which assure that they have received training on OSHA guidelines for blood borne pathogens and universal precautions.


Students who miss a final examination risk the loss of credit and the possibility of not being able to enroll in subsequent PHTH courses. All such cases are judged by the department chairperson.

Liability Insurance

Even though the university has liability insurance on students while they are in clinical practice situations, some facilities require students to have an additional liability policy. This type of insurance can be obtained through the insurance company used by the American Physical Therapy Association by student members of the association.

Patient Right to Refuse

Clinical contracts state that patients have the risk-free-right to refuse to participate in clinical education and patients/clients provide informed consent to being involved in the clinical education experience.

Policy for Students Requesting Accommodations

It is the responsibility of students to utilize the Office of Disability Services to identify and request reasonable accommodations in the classroom or laboratory. Students are encouraged to be proactive in addressing their learning needs and to discuss their needs with their instructors as early as possible at the beginning of each term.

Tuition/Financial Aid for Professional Phase

Students who enter physical therapy as freshmen are considered in the pre-professional phase for Years 1-3 and the D.P.T. professional phase for Years 4-6. Full-time students are charged normal undergraduate rates of tuition for Years 1-3. Students are charged the higher professional phase tuition rate in years 4-6. There is no additional tuition payment for summer work. Even though undergraduate students in Year 4 are considered in the professional phase of the program, they may still apply for financial aid available to Marquette undergraduate students. When physical therapy students complete their undergraduate degree, they can no longer be considered for undergraduate sources of financial aid.

Withdrawal from the Physical Therapy Program

Withdrawal from the program is achieved through a written request submitted to the chairperson of the Department of Physical Therapy. Students considering withdrawing from the physical therapy program are encouraged to meet with the chairperson of the Department of Physical Therapy or their adviser prior to making a final decision.

For additional information on other College of Health Sciences policies, see the College Academic Policies.