Clinical Education


Clinical education experiences are an integral component of the physical therapy professional preparation. In the clinical setting students have the opportunity to apply academic knowledge and skills in real-life patient situations and to develop professionally under the supervision of a qualified physical therapist. These physical therapists are assigned as clinical instructors (CIs) to teach in this applied portion of the professional DPT curriculum. The clinical instructors demonstrate a philosophy of clinical education and patient care that is compatible with that of BU Sargent College and value the importance of participating in the education of future professionals.

The Clinical Education component of the DPT program at BU Sargent College is comprised of two integrated (part-time) experiences, three clinical education seminars, and three full-time experiences.

Integrated clinical experiences

Integrated clinical experiences occur during the fall and spring semesters of the year one DPT curriculum prior to the first full-time experience. These are full-day, once-per-week experiences. The clinical experience is scheduled in conjunction with classroom time that provides the student with the knowledge and skills to perform successfully in the clinical environment. The focus of integrated clinical experiences is on the foundation of clinical practice, with emphasis on concurrent classroom/laboratory content. Students have the opportunity to apply recently learned knowledge and skills in a clinical environment with real patients.

Clinical education seminars

Clinical education seminars are scheduled in each academic semester in year two and year three. The purpose of these seminars is to allow the student to discuss some of the following issues with their peers in the context of their clinical education experiences: contemporary practice, challenges in optimal patient care, professional and ethical issues, the code of ethics, and core values. These seminars also assist the student in planning for future clinical experiences, employment, and licensure.

Full-time clinical experiences

Full-time clinical experiences are designed to ensure that BU Sargent College’s DPT program graduates a generalist practitioner. The goal is to make certain that each student has a variety of clinical experiences with patients across the lifespan and continuum of care, in preparation for autonomous generalist practice. A variety of clinical experiences can occur within one setting or multiple settings. Each student must complete the broadest possible range of experiences during his/her clinical education program. Based upon the academic curriculum and preparedness for practice, first clinical experiences are generally musculoskeletal or acute care in nature. Later experiences provide opportunities which may focus on adult neurological rehabilitation, and specializations such as pediatrics, burns, sports medicine, and manual therapy.

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).