Clinical Education


Clinical education is an integral component of the physical therapist’s professional preparation. In the clinical setting, students apply academic knowledge and skills with patients and develop professionally under the supervision of qualified physical therapy clinical instructors (CIs). CIs are considered clinical faculty in this portion of the professional DPT curriculum. These physical therapists demonstrate a philosophy of clinical education and patient care that is aligned with that of BU Sargent College and value the importance of participating in the education of future professionals.

Clinical Education in the DPT program at BU Sargent College is comprised of integrated (part-time) clinical experiences, clinical education seminar courses, and full-time clinical experiences.

Integrated Clinical Experiences

Integrated clinical experiences take place during the fall and spring semesters in year one of the DPT curriculum, prior to full-time clinical education. These experiences consist of simulated and group activities in the fall, and in-clinic experiences in the spring. These activities are scheduled concurrently with academic coursework to provide students with the foundational knowledge and skills to practice in the clinical environment. Strong emphasis is placed on professionalism and communication skills.

Clinical Education Seminars

Clinical education seminar courses take place in years two and three of the DPT program. Seminar courses are designed to bridge clinical and classroom experiences through the use of discussion, reflective learning, authentic examples from clinical experiences, case studies, and collaborative learning. These seminars also assist the student in planning for future clinical experiences, employment, and licensure.

Full-time Clinical Experiences

Full-time clinical experiences begin after year one and continue through year three of the DPT program. Each student has a variety of clinical experiences with patients across the lifespan and continuum of care in order to meet the DPT program’s mission to develop a generalist practitioner. Each student has a variety of clinical experiences with patients across the lifespan and continuum of care. Based upon the academic curriculum and preparedness for practice, first clinical experiences are generally in musculoskeletal practice or acute care settings. Later experiences provide opportunities for neurological settings and/or specializations such as pediatrics, high-level sports, or pelvic rehabilitation.

Please note:

  • Students who are admitted into Sargent College routinely participate in clinical education experiences as a part of the respective program curricula. Most clinical education facilities require criminal background checks to determine students’ eligibility for participation. History of a criminal background may disqualify students from participating in these experiences, which are required for successful completion of the degree program.
  • There may be some clinical placements that are unavailable to students who are non-US citizens.
  • Students should anticipate the need to complete clinical experience related requirements, which cost an average of $80 per experience. This estimate does not include transportation and housing costs. Questions regarding requirements for specific sites should be directed to the Clinical Education Services Office (; Sargent room 218).