Combined DPT/PhD

We offer the opportunity for highly qualified students to pursue studies in both clinical physical therapy (DPT) and rehabilitation research (PhD). The DPT is the degree required to practice physical therapy, whereas the PhD provides the training to become an independent scientific investigator. An education in both areas provides unique preparation for a successful career in clinical and translational rehabilitation research. The goal of combined studies is to train clinician-scientists who will become physical therapy researchers at the university level and generate new knowledge for the fields of physical therapy and physical rehabilitation science

The University of Iowa Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science Graduate Program has a long-standing history of training both physical therapists (45+ years) and PhD rehabilitation scientists (30+ years). If you desire to become a physical therapist and a rehabilitation scientist, this opportunity may be for you.

The program begins with the DPT phase of education where students learn clinical skills along with their classmates. During this clinical training period, however, the student will also begin their initial research training, being mentored by one of the PhD faculty and integrated into a research laboratory. Some of the coursework and research done during the DPT program will be applied to the PhD coursework reducing the student’s time in the PhD by approximately one year. At the end of the DPT curriculum (~2.5 years), the DPT/PhD student will be eligible to sit for the national licensure exam. The average time to completion of the combined DPT/PhD studies is approximately 7 years.

Students interested in this opportunity should apply for admission to the DPT program through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) and also contact the Chair of the department, Dr. Richard Shields.