DPT Curriculum

Degree Requirements

The Entry to Profession Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree requires three full years of study (36 consecutive months) with 114 hours of didactic and clinical courses and 36 weeks of clinical rotations. Students are also required to successfully complete four mock clinical cases, a written comprehensive examination, and a capstone project. 

Program outline by year

Program Objectives

Based upon our program mission and philosophy, the program objectives reflect the outcomes we expect from our students at the completion of the program. With satisfactory mastery of the program objectives, students are well prepared for licensure and clinical practice in a variety of clinical settings.

Curriculum Overview

Coursework is completed over three years beginning with basic sciences and progressing to clinical sciences and clinical rotations. Students should expect to be in the classroom between 25 and 35 hours per week during the didactic work throughout the first two years of the program. Clinical rotations require 40 hours per week of clinical contact time. During the final year of the program, courses are taught through a combination of in-class and on-line formats. Students should continue to expect to participate in class-related activities on a full-time basis. The curriculum overview provides an outline of the timing of various courses. For a brief description of individual courses, consult the course descriptions.

Course Descriptions

Clinical Education

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Physical Therapy program affiliates with approximately 200 excellent clinical education facilities both inside and outside of North Carolina. Students are assigned to four 8- to 12-week clinical affiliations for a total of 36 weeks of full-time clinical experience. Students must work with patients of all ages and in a variety of clinical conditions to gain the entry-level knowledge and skills they need in the general practice of physical therapy. Students' special interests are considered as clinical assignments are made. Each student must have clinical experience in three settings (musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and acute care) and one site must fulfill service to an underserved facility or area. For more information about clinical education at UNC, contact the Academic Coordinators for Clinical Education.

Student Outcomes

The Physical Therapy program at UNC-Chapel Hill boasts impressive graduation rates, licensure exam past rates and employment rates.  Approximately 80% of our graduates are licensed and working in the state of North Carolina



(% of students that start the program who ultimately graduate)

(% of grads who have passed the licensure exam on 1 or more attempts)

(% of grads employed 6 months after passing licensure exam)


No graduates due to transition from 2 yr MPT to 3 year DPT program









2012 100% 100% 100%

Lisa Johnston, PT, MS, DPT
Phone: 919-843-5723
email: lisa_johnston@med.unc.edu