Why UM-Flint

What Sets UM-Flint's Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (t-DPT) Program Apart?

The Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (t-DPT) program is offered for currently practicing physical therapists who are interested in augmenting their bachelor’s or master’s education to earn a DPT. In contributing to your professional growth, our program will:

  • Enhance your knowledge and skills
  • Broaden your clinical perspective
  • Present online program content from an evidence-based practice perspective
  • Allow you to apply the most current and relevant biomedical literature to individual patient management decisions

With the t-DPT from UM-Flint, you have the freedom to pursue your professional goals at your pace and direct your course of study. Part-time enrollment flexibility gives you the option to complete your doctorate as it fits your schedule. Developed with the guidance of mentoring faculty, your individualized learning plan will reflect your experience and areas of interest.


The program’s in-depth curriculum is rigorous, challenging, and well-rounded. Courses are taught from an evidence-based perspective to develop your broad base of clinical knowledge and give you the specialized understanding that will prepare you to excel as a leader in your field.


Small classes allows you to develop a support system comprised of fellow professionals while opening networking opportunities. PT faculty remain available to mentor and support you throughout the program and after graduation.


All coursework is completed online, allowing working PTs to earn their degrees while remaining employed full-time in a clinical setting. You’ll have the flexibility to complete courses anywhere. Most learning materials are available electronically and live audio discussions and interactions give you the benefit of real-time collaborative learning.


As part of the world-renowned University of Michigan community, you’ll also have access to the full academic and research resources at the Flint, Dearborn, and Ann Arbor campuses.


Physical Therapy Post-Professional Transitional Program (DPT)

Physical Therapy  

The Post-Professional Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (t-DPT) Program is an online post-professional part-time or full-time program that allows the licensed or registered physical therapist to obtain the clinical doctorate (DPT) by demonstrating knowledge commensurate with that of current professional (professional, entry-level) DPT program outcomes and to do so in a way that takes into full account the learner’s knowledge, skills, behaviors and experience.  For those students interested in developing clinical expertise in a specific area of practice, there is the option of taking core courses which concentrate in a chosen area of specialization. The concentration curriculum is designed to enable students to succeed in select American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists (ABPTS) areas of board certification as clinical specialists in Geriatric, Neurologic, Orthopedic or Pediatric physical therapy and to achieve the related objectives in the descriptions of specialty practice. 

The Program at the University of Michigan-Flint (UM-F) prepares licensed physical therapists to assume the roles for contemporary, evidence based physical therapy practice consistent with various practice patterns throughout Michigan and the United States as described by the American Physical Therapy Association Vision 2020 statement: “Physical therapists who are doctors of physical therapy, recognized by consumers and other health care professionals as the practitioners of choice to whom consumers have direct access for the diagnosis of, interventions for, and prevention of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities related to movement, function, and health.”

Graduates of the program are prepared to adapt to future practice patterns and are required to be critical thinkers and lifelong learners including but not limited to the use of current technology in the learning process. They are critical thinkers, recognizing the value of and using the scientific method and research literature to make sound clinical judgments. They understand the scope of physical therapy practice, recognizing when a patient needs medical management in substitution for or in addition to physical therapy. The t-DPT program operates under a guiding philosophy that practicing physical therapists should be competent to perform patient/client management of persons from infancy through the elder years. This lifespan approach enables graduates of the program to value and respect diversity of gender, race, culture and disability, regardless of age. Graduates are prepared for discharging their duties and responsibilities to the recipients of their services in a manner which promotes optimal health and function for the recipients, and which enhances the profession of physical therapy, the public health and welfare of the citizens of Michigan, the United States and the world, and the graduates’ own continuing personal and professional growth. The complete Mission Statement may be found online (www.umflint.edu/departments/pt/mission). 


The curriculum of the Program is congruent with the patient/client management model in the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice and the consensus-based educational outcomes and curricular content for professional education in A Normative Model of Physical Therapist Professional Education: Version 2000. The curriculum provides students with multiple opportunities to enhance their learning. A variety of teaching formats are used, including but not limited to didactic teaching, discussions, presentations, group projects and case reports. A modular course curriculum is used, supplemented by an online, self-instructional Blackboard course delivery visual system, extensive notes and background materials, and the opportunity to pursue independent studies in physical therapy. The courses/modules are taught in courses ranging from 10-14 week semesters.  All degree requirements must be completed within three years from the time of initial acceptance. Extensions are granted on a case by case basis.

The Physical Therapy Department faculty mentor students using a collegial model which incorporates mutual respect and understanding between the faculty, staff, and physical therapy students as they proceed through the program. The collegial model and small class size encourage faculty and students to form close, effective working relationships that enhance student learning. The faculty has a consistent record of scholarly and service activity at the state, regional and national levels of the profession and therefore mentors students in leadership and service to the profession and community. The faculty are responsible for review, revision and implementation of curriculum. Students admitted to the program are expected to abide by faculty decisions regarding revisions of curriculum.  


Students are admitted each semester on a rolling basis. Positions in the class are assigned to those candidates ranking highest among the group eligible for consideration. The number of available spaces in the class is currently 25. Admission to the post-professional t-DPT Program is the prerogative of the Physical Therapy Department faculty.  Applicants are reminded that the reference forms are data sources that provide qualitative information about the applicant. The faculty utilizes these sources of information in the final admissions decisions. 

To be considered for admission, applicants must meet the following requirements and qualifications by the time they are admitted:

  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in physical therapy from an accredited institution in the United States, or its equivalent in another country
  • U.S. Physical therapy license or registration in the home country
  • Overall 3.0 GPA or higher (on a 4.0 scale) in the physical therapy degree
  • Current CPR certification (or equivalent) [if applying to a clinical specialization]

Application Process

To be considered for admission, an applicant must submit the following by the application deadline to the Office of Graduate Programs, 251 Thompson Library, before the admissions committee will evaluate the applicant’s file: 

  • Application for Graduate Admission (apply online or with a paper application)
  • Application fee (non-refundable) payable to the University of Michigan-Flint
  • Copy of current U.S. Physical Therapy license or registration in home country (if lapsed, a copy of most recent license or registration; if seeking a clinical specialization, the license or registration must be current) 
  • Official transcripts from the institution where the baccalaureate degree was earned and from the institution where the Physical Therapy degree was earned (if different from the college of the baccalaureate degree)
  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s scholarly and/or professional ability
  • Copy of Educational Credential Review if educated outside the United States; Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCPT) recommended for those licensed in the U.S. or Canada; all others may use an appropriate service such as FCCPT, Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (ECE), or World Education Services (WES) 
  • Copy of current CPR card (or equivalent)
  • Proof of English proficiency as required (see table above)

An interview (by telephone or electronically) with a PT faculty member may be scheduled after review of the applicant’s materials.

Application Deadlines

Students are admitted to the t-DPT program each semester on a rolling basis. To be considered for admission, an applicant must submit all application materials to the Office of Graduate Programs on or before the application deadline.  Deadlines are as follows: 

International Students


Students should be aware that they will be required to purchase professional textbooks. Current estimates of costs students can anticipate are available to applicants through the Cashier’s Office. Tuition and fees are subject to change without notice.

Sequence Requirements

Courses in the post-professional program are intended to be taken in a prescribed sequence. The curriculum is not just a series of courses but instead a professional program in which appropriate sequence is important to assure intended educational outcomes.

Transfer Credit

Transfer of courses taken within five years prior to admission to the t-DPT program for a total of up to 6 credits (12 credits for UM-Flint MPT graduates) remains the prerogative of the Physical Therapy faculty.  Courses taken more than 5 years prior to the semester in which the student starts the program will not be considered for substitution.  All substitutions must be specified in the initial learning contract. The Service Learning Practicum and Case Study Capstone may not be waived by any student.

Interruption of Program

In extreme circumstances (e.g., a serious medical problem), students may petition for a leave of absence from the program and be allowed to continue later on a space available basis.


Degree candidates must attain an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher and receive no course grade below a C (2.0).

A. Core Courses

  • PTP 871 - Post-Professional Evidence-Based Practice (2).
  • PTP 894 - Post-Professional Service Learning (1).

B. Individualized Learning Plan

Each student’s curriculum is based on individualized learning plans. Physical therapists with Bachelors or Masters entry-level PT degrees frequently must take a selection of the following courses:

  • PTP 603 - Post-Professional Independent Study for Physical Therapy Students (1-5).
  • PTP 623 - Introduction to Musculoskeletal Imaging (1).
  • PTP 624 - Systems Review and Screening in Clinical Decision Making (3).
  • PTP 625 - Advanced Medical Imaging for Diverse Populations (1).
  • PTP 712 - Post-Professional Neuroscience in Physical Therapy (2).
  • PTP 732 - Pediatric Examination and Intervention in Practice (3).
  • PTP 747 - Examination and Intervention in Practice for Integument Conditions (2).
  • PTP 748 - Post-Professional Pharmacology in Physical Therapy (2).
  • PTP 786 - Post-Professional Geriatrics in Physical Therapy (2).
  • PTP 861 - Literature Analysis in Evidence-Based Practice (2).
  • PTP 870 - Assistive Technology in Accessibility (1).
  • PTP 871 - Post-Professional Evidence-Based Practice (2).
  • PTP 881 - Teaching, Learning and Health Education (2).
  • PTP 891 - Post-Professional Management in PT Practice (3).

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  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in Physical Therapy from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or its equivalent in another country
  • Physical Therapy license or registration (or equivalent)
  • Overall 3.0 GPA or higher (4.0 scale) in the physical therapy degree


To be considered for admission, submit the following to the Office of Graduate Programs, 251 Thompson Library:

  • Application for Graduate Admission
  • $55 application fee (non-refundable)
  • Copy of current Physical Therapy license or registration (or equivalent) (If license has lapsed, submit a copy of most recent license; if seeking a clinical specialization, the license must be current.)
  • Official transcripts from the institution where your baccalaureate degree was earned and from the institution where your Physical Therapy degree was earned  (if different from the college of your baccalaureate degree)
  • Curriculum vitae or résumé
  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate your scholarly and/or professional ability
  • Copy of Educational Credential Review if educated outside the United States or Canada: FCCPT recommended for those licensed in the U.S. or Canada; all others may use an appropriate service such as FCCPT, ECE, or WES
  • Proof of English proficiency as required (see below)

A telephone interview with a Physical Therapy faculty member will be scheduled after review of your application materials (not required for UM-Flint MPT graduates).

English Proficiency Requirements

If English is not your native language and/or if you received your physical therapy degree in a country other than the United States, Canada (English-speaking provinces), Australia, or the United Kingdom, you must demonstrate English proficiency by providing evidence through one of the methods listed below. This requirement applies even if you are currently a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and regardless of how long you have resided or been educated in the U.S.*:

1. Take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test, the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) or Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in English (ECPE).  Scores must be no more than two (2) years old.

The table below indicates the minimum acceptable scores for admission, as well as the scores and score ranges for which a supplemental English writing course will be required upon admission to the program:


Minimum Score for Admission

 English Writing Course Required If:


560 overall  

Overall less than 600 or TWE less than 5.0


84 overall

Overall less than 101 or WR less than 27


6.5 overall

Overall less than 7.5 or Writing less than 7


80 overall

Overall less than 85 or Composition less than 85


Certificate of Proficiency

Writing Score = LP (Low Pass)

2. Provide an official transcript showing a degree earned at an accredited U.S., Canadian (English-speaking), Australian, or U.K. college or university OR successful completion (‘C’ or higher) of ENG 111 or ENG 112 or its equivalent.

*If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and wish to waive this requirement, you may make your case to the director of the post-professional DPT program. The director, in turn, must make the case to the Dean of Graduate Programs. You must provide sufficient evidence that you have the requisite English proficiency.

Application Deadlines

To be considered for admission, submit all application materials to the Office of Graduate Programs on or before the application deadline*:

  • Fall - May 1
  • Winter - October 1
  • Spring - March 1

*International students are required to apply by March 1