Combined Doctor of Physical Therapy and PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences

The Physical Therapy Department offers a combined Physical Therapy Doctorate/PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences (DPT/PhD) program for students with exceptional academic promise and strong motivation for a career in research (~6–7 years). Entry-level DPT students who express interest in the combined DPT/PhD program begin mentored research training in a research laboratory early in the DPT program. Students formally apply to the combined DPT/PhD program in their second year. Applicants are required to submit a letter of recommendation from a BU faculty member. Acceptance into the combined program is dependent upon the availability of faculty mentors and funding.

Students are eligible to earn PhD credits as early as the summer of the second year in the DPT. This is achieved through existing PhD courses or enrolling in either RS 910 Directed Reading or RS 911 Directed Study with a PhD faculty mentor. DPT students in the combined DPT/PhD program complete the academic practicum PT 682/782 in their mentor’s laboratory and submit a manuscript related to this work to a peer-reviewed journal, which also fulfills one of the PhD degree requirements.

For requirements and additional information, please refer to the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences programs.

Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes for the DPT/PhD program will be maintained for each individual program as students will be expected to master both sets of skills/knowledge.

Doctor of Physical Therapy

At the time of graduation, students are expected to:

  • Be prepared as entry-level clinicians to practice physical therapy in a variety of practice settings.
  • Utilize critical-thinking and reasoning skills in all patient/client management decisions.
  • Demonstrate the ability to acquire, interpret, and apply evidence to clinical practice.
  • Practice in a manner consistent with the core values of the profession as described by the document “Core Values (APTA).”
  • Adhere to the ethical and legal physical therapy practice standards.

Rehabilitation Sciences

Students will:

  • Demonstrate the ability to design, conduct, and evaluate research in rehabilitation science.
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of theory and existing research in rehabilitation sciences.
  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively disseminate original research findings to peers/colleagues.
  • Be able to articulate appropriate professional skills and ethical behaviors needed for successful academic and/or research careers.