Doctor of Physical Therapy (PhD)

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Become a Mentor
Graduates of the PhD in Physical Therapy are well prepared to assume leadership roles in academia as faculty members and mentors who teach and inspire the next generation of physical therapists.

Build Your Research
As a student of the program, you’ll work alongside faculty members on research projects that align with faculty research areas while reflecting your personal scholarly and professional interests. These research opportunities allow you to build your record of publications and presentations valued in academia.

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

Academic Advising

At UM-Flint, we are proud to have many dedicated advisors who are the experts students can rely upon to help guide their educational journey. For academic advising, please reach out to your program/department of interest as listed here.


The faculty of the College of Health Sciences is deeply engaged in research. These scholarly pursuits are diverse in subject matter and allow faculty to engage with students, colleagues, the community, and industry on many projects. Check out some of the current research activities taking place in CHS here.


The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) does not accredit post-professional physical therapy degree programs such as the PhD in Physical Therapy program.

Admission Requirements

  • Doctoral or master’s degree in Physical Therapy or bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy with a master’s degree in a health-related field, from an accredited institution in the United States (or equivalent in another country).
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale
  • Physical Therapy license or registration (or equivalent)
  • Completion of prerequisite courses or their equivalents:
    • PTP 662 – Critical Inquiry I (3) or an equivalent course covering research design, methods and critical analysis of the literature, and the role of evidence based practice
    • PTP 663 – Critical Inquiry II (3) or an equivalent course covering common statistical topics and procedures in quantitative research including the application of data analysis using statistical software
    • PTP 681 – Teaching, Learning & Health Education (2) or PTP 881 – Teaching, Learning and Health Education (2)
    • PTP 761 – Evidence-Based Practice (1) 
    • PTP 602 – Independent Research (1-10) (recommended) (1-4 credits)

Note: You are encouraged to speak with the Associate Director of the PhD in PT program regarding your eligibility for admission. Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee entrance into the program. Fill out the form here to submit a detailed inquiry into the program.

It is strongly suggested that prior to submitting an application, prospective students meet with the Associate Director of the PhD in PT program to discuss career and professional development goals and to help determine if the UM-Flint PhD in PT program can provide a good fit. Each PhD student must have a doctoral committee and chair, and prospective students must meet with potential chairs or co-chairs to determine if there is a match between the student’s and faculty interests.  The Physical Therapy Department will assist in scheduling these meetings.

Current DPT students wishing to apply to the PhD program should do so via the form here.

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

  • 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)
  • Official transcript from the colleges or universities where you earned your PT and other graduate degree(s) as well as any transcript that shows completion of prerequisite coursework
  • Curriculum Vitae or Résumé
  • A clearly defined Statement of Purpose that includes the following:
    • Why you are interested in an academic and/or research career
    • Your proposed area/topic(s) of scholarly inquiry
    • If you have secured a PT faculty member to serve as your advisor and PhD Committee Chair, explain how your research goals align with your chair’s scholarship. If you have not yet secured a chair, name the faculty member(s) you could likely work with and how your research goals may align with their scholarship (see the Department of Physical Therapy for a current listing of faculty with PhD degrees).
    • Statements may be submitted online during the application process or emailed to
  • Two letters of recommendation are required. Please include individuals who are able to comment on your academic and clinical abilities, personal qualities, and potential teaching, research/scholarship, and service capabilities. Please include:
    • A letter from a faculty member from the program granting the most recent degree.
    • A letter from a faculty member or another individual (clinical supervisor, administrator, etc.) who can comment on the attributes listed above.
  • Please attach a sample of a recent technical/scientific manuscript or report you have written. If you have questions regarding this manuscript/report, please discuss this with the Associate Director for the PhD in PT program before submitting.
  • Copy of Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCPT) Educational Credentials Review, for applicants educated outside the U.S. or Canada.
  • International students must submit additional documentation. This program is an on-campus program. Admitted students are eligible to obtain a student visa (F visa).
    International students cannot complete this program online in their home country.
  • After Physical Therapy Department’s initial review of the application materials above, a completed PhD Committee Chair Acceptance form signed by the PhD faculty member who has agreed to serve as the applicant’s doctoral committee chair.

Application Deadlines
The next class will be admitted for Fall 2024. Application deadline:

  • February 1 (early deadline)
  • May 1 (final deadline)
Dr. Ryan Bean, a board-certified Orthopedic specialist demonstrates how to view an ACL graft site.

Diagnostic ultrasound is another tool students gain through the Um-Flint PT PhD instrumentation coursework, preparing them to investigate orthopedic issues such as rotator cuff tears, Achilles tendonitis, carpal tunnel, pelvic health, etc. Dr. Ryan Bean, a board-certified Orthopedic specialist demonstrates how to view an ACL graft site.