School of Health Sciences

Doctor of Physical Therapy Program


Welcome to the Cleveland State University Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Founded in 1974, Cleveland State University (CSU) is one of the premier Physical Therapy (PT) programs in northeast Ohio.  The program graduated its first Bachelors of Science in Physical Therapy (BSPT) class in 1976, moved to the Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) in 2002 and transitioned to a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) in 2008.  The program has been fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) since its inception.  Located within the heart of the city of Cleveland, our program offers a strong education in physical therapy with dedicated and experienced faculty, newly renovated lab and classroom spaces, and research and clinical practice opportunities both within the university as well as throughout the greater Cleveland area.  The clinical education portion of the program has over 140 affiliated clinical sites including the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, University Hospitals, Cleveland Metro Health Medical Center, and the Louis B. Stokes Cleveland Veterans Administration Medical Center, as well as many other facilities within Ohio and throughout the United States.

The CSU DPT curriculum emphasizes advanced physical therapy skills in patient client management, specifically focusing on differential diagnosis, critical thinking, complex clinical reasoning, and clinical decision making to support student independence within a direct access environment. Students learn the importance of addressing the patient as a whole through the principles of evidence based practice emphasizing how individual differences, culture, and health literacy impact the management of an individual’s health, which strongly correlates with our mission to provide optimal PT care in an urban environment.

During the program, students complete 41 weeks of clinical education in off campus clinical facilities. These include 34 weeks in 4 full time clinical practice courses leading to entry level practice competency, followed by a 7 week final elective practicum in a non-traditional area of PT practice. In addition to the core PT courses, students enhance their education by selecting 6 elective credits in subjects that are complementary to physical therapy.  One unique elective is for students to engage in independent research study with full and/or part time PT faculty.  These research electives frequently lead to students’ inclusion on manuscripts for publication and/or national/regional research presentations. 

As an integral aspect of their PT education, students are encouraged to engage in professional and community service activities.  100% of CSU DPT students are members of the American Physical Therapy and Ohio Physical Therapy Associations (APTA/OPTA).  Students take advantage of PT educational sessions, professional networking, and service opportunities by attending professional conferences, business meetings, serving on committees, among other activities.  Students are also active in the supporting community organizations serving as volunteers in such groups as Dance Unlimited in Akron, Ohio; providing meals for families residing at Hope Lodge; supporting health care groups by participating in races, e.g. Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure; among many others.  Finally, students stay healthy themselves by forming intramural teams and/or by taking advantage of the exceptional CSU recreation center activities. 

In summary, the CSU DPT Program provides a strong foundation for the practice of physical therapy, taking into account all aspects of patient/client management, current health care opportunities and disparities presented throughout the country and in Cleveland, as well as the progressive changes in our profession to answer the needs of current healthcare practice, professional autonomy, and patient preference.

Thank you for stopping by.  The Program faculty/staff and students invite you to explore our website further. If you have any questions, please contact:

For information regarding the application process…. [provide link to Admissions criteria and application process]

For more information of our profession, visit the APTA ….


We will be accepting applications July 5, 2015 - February 15, 2016 for the class starting in January of 2017 via the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS).
Click here to link directly to PTCAS

It is strongly recommended that all potential applicants schedule an advising appointment. Phone appointments are also welcomed.  We can also be reached at or 216.523.7479

Physical Therapy is an exciting and challenging health career which applies scientific principles to prevent and remedy problems with human movement. The physical therapy profession is based on the recognition that the individual seeks to function autonomously and to engage in meaningful recreational, occupational and social tasks.

Physical Therapists are health professionals who assist individuals to develop and maximize their function and to move in an effective, efficient and pain-free manner. Physical therapists (PTs) focus on movement science, i.e., strength and flexibility that enable walking, work related activities and other related actions. PTs work in many health care settings including hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, senior centers, home care agencies, schools, and rehabilitation centers.

In the United States, a license is required for physical therapists to practice. In most states, new graduates must have either completed the licensure process with passing grades on the exam or hold a temporary license before they are allowed to treat patients. Students should be aware that professional licensing agencies and prospective employers may require police checks and/or criminal history disclosure. Conviction of any offense beyond parking or traffic tickets may impede future licensure or employment.

For more information about physical therapy, check the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) web site at