Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

PT student and instructor Applications for fall 2023 are now open on PTCAS
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is an entry-level, post-baccalaureate degree program that complements foundational movement sciences to prepare physical therapists for today’s healthcare challenges.

The unique curriculum is based on high-quality, engaging coursework that includes threads of:

  • human movement science
  • clinical reasoning
  • professionalism
  • evidence-based practice and research
  • person-centered care

Students will gain practical clinical experience within the first weeks of starting the program. 

The DPT program is two years, eight months (eight semesters) long, allowing students to enter the workforce earlier than traditional programs, and is the lowest in cost among Wisconsin private schools. The program consists of 106 graduate-level credits with students immediately practicing classroom learning on live patients during their first year.   


Program Mission/Goals

Bellin College is dedicated to promoting an inclusive and innovative educational environment that prepares autonomous and collaborative Doctors of Physical Therapy who are altruistic, caring, and dedicated to providing excellence in practice.  Graduates and faculty will be leaders, dedicated to lifelong learning, service, and advocacy for the advancement of the profession and society.   

Program Goals

  1. The program will promote excellence in physical therapy practice and education through an optimal learning environment that offers best practice models of contemporary physical therapy care and healthcare administration.
  2. The program will advance the physical therapy profession through a commitment to scholarship, leadership development, and professional advocacy and partnerships.
  3. The program will foster diversity and inclusion across all program stakeholders.

Student/Graduate Goals

  1. Students/graduates will demonstrate excellence in person-centered evidence-based physical therapy care.
  2. Students/graduates will demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning and leadership.
  3. Students/graduates will improve the health of society by providing respectful care, that is collaborative and responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices.
Academic Plan and Calendar

The Bellin College DPT program is a 2year and 8 month program consisting of 106 graduate level credits.  The program uses an integrated clinical learning experience model with DPT students immediately practicing what they are learning in the classroom on live patients during the first year.   

Academic Plan

Curriculum Calendar Example


Course Descriptions

Bellin College DPT Program Course Descriptions

Year 1   Fall Semester

DPT 705: Human Gross Anatomy
This course will address human anatomy from a structural and functional perspective, incorporating both micro- and macro-anatomy formats. An emphasis will be placed on relationships between musculoskeletal, neurological, and vascular systems through the lens of the movement science. Laboratory sessions include both dry and wet lab exploration of models, diagrams, images, and cadavers. 

DPT 710: Human Pathophysiology
This course will cover cellular and systems physiology from a normative and pathological perspective. Human body systems are examined with an emphasis on the cardiovascular, pulmonary, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems. Additional topics include the genitourinary and renal, gastrointestinal, hematologic, hepatic, immune, integumentary, and lymphatic systems. Pathophysiology considerations for viral and bacterial infections, genetics, immunology, oncology, and chronic non-communicable disease will be examined. Human response and adaptation to aerobic and anaerobic exercise will be integrated into the learning content for each system.

DPT 731: Clinical Fundamentals of Physical Therapy Practice
This course will introduce students to fundamental aspects of physical therapy practice necessary for beginning immersion into the clinical environment. Emphasis is placed on safety principles related to infection prevention, identification of lines/tubes, selection and fit of assistive devices, and beginning patient handling skills for bed mobility, transfers, ambulation, and wheelchair mobility. Learners will also develop familiarity with various examination procedures including vital signs assessment, palpation, range of motion assessment with goniometry, and muscle strength assessment with manual muscle testing and dynamometry. This course includes part-time integrated clinical education (ICE) hours for students to develop their professional identity and reinforce laboratory content.

 DPT 780: Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice
This course will introduce students to fundamental principles of physical therapy research and critical thinking including literature search, critique, research methodology and dissemination. Students begin to formulate clinical questions, examine research methods, and learn how to critically appraise the evidence. The student is introduced to the following topics in the research process: basic research design, issues of reliability and validity, diagnostic utility of clinical tests, and fundamentals of conducting a literature review. The goal of this course is to foster the student to become an intelligent consumer of basic scientific design and appraisal of medical literature.

DPT 785: Professional Foundations of Physical Therapy Practice I
This course will introduce students to the Physical Therapy profession covering topics related to history, the professional association, professionalism, ethics, advocacy, core values and juris prudence. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) is also introduced and related to patient/client assessment, management, and documentation. Aspects of billing, coding and reimbursement are covered as well as introduction to other members of the healthcare team, including the physical therapist assistant. Finally, fundamentals of competent person-centered education and communication are addressed. 

Year 1  Spring Semester

DPT 715: Human Movement Science
This course will introduce students to comprehensive human movement and biomechanical analyses including muscle function and joint kinematics. An emphasis on both isolated and functional movement of the limbs and appendicular skeleton, including gait, sit to stand, occupational and functional tasks will be covered.  Lab activities include kinematic analysis using technology for patients with a variety of movement disorders.

DPT 720: Applied Neuroscience
The purpose of this course is for students to learn the fundamentals of how the human nervous system is constructed (neuroanatomy) and how it works (neurophysiology). Clinical examples will be utilized throughout the course to illustrate the relationship between “neuroscience” and the practice of physical therapy. Lectures will provide an overview of the human nervous system, with primary focus on the central nervous system. The peripheral nervous system will also be discussed. During structured laboratory sessions, students will examine virtual vs “wet” specimens, models, and images of human brain and spinal cord. Additional laboratory sessions will address clinical aspects of human neuroscience including psychomotor skill development for completion of components of the neurological screening examination.

DPT 735: Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy I – Extremities
This course will introduce the student to the management of extremity musculoskeletal disorders. Learners will examine various extremity neuro-musculoskeletal conditions, surgical procedures, and injuries. An emphasis will be placed on the examination principles and progress psychomotor skills related to palpation, and evidence-based interventions emphasizing person-centered education, manual therapy, and therapeutic exercise of the extremities. These principles will be integrated into a standardized clinical reasoning model for addressing individuals with extremity related musculoskeletal disorders.

DPT 741: Therapeutic Interventions I: Exercise Testing and Prescription
This course will explore exercise testing and prescription in the context of the physical therapist’s practice. Exercise components of frequency, intensity, time, type, volume, and progression will be examined in depth in order to address deficits in range of motion, flexibility, muscle performance and cardiorespiratory endurance. The learner will be introduced to the aquatic medium for performing exercise along with the principles of neuromotor control and learning. Behavioral strategies to overcome barriers to physical activity and exercise will also be emphasized.

DPT 790: Lifestyle Medicine in Physical Therapy Practice
This course will provide students with an introduction to the physical therapist’s role in health promotion and wellbeing through select lifestyle medicine topics. Learners will investigate injury and disease prevention strategies and models, social determinants of health, sleep and nutrition, ergonomics, and the impact of psychosocial factors on health and disability. The goal of this course is to empower the physical therapy student to take an active role in inspiring healthy behaviors in a person-centered manner.

Year 1   Summer Semester

DPT 751: Therapeutic Interventions II: Strength, Conditioning and Special Topics
This course will build upon the foundations learned in Therapeutic Interventions I by expanding on strategies for developing strength and aerobic conditioning along the spectrum of a person’s presentation.  Modifications to an exercise program will be considered for children, adolescents, pregnancy, older adults, and other special conditions. The student will be exposed to commonly used exercise equipment. Special attention will be placed on outcome testing and training necessary to return a patient to sport or occupation, as well as therapist response to a medical emergency within the clinical setting.

DPT 755: Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy II – Spine
This course will introduce the student to topics and content related to the management of musculoskeletal disorders involving the spine. Learners will examine the clinical application of human biomechanics, functional movement, and examination principles and progress their psychomotor skills related to palpation, and evidence-based interventions emphasizing patient education, manual therapy, and therapeutic exercise of the spine. These principles will be integrated into a standardized clinical reasoning model for addressing patients/clients with spine related musculoskeletal disorders. The goal of this course is to enable the physical therapy student to examine and treat patients/clients with various spine related musculoskeletal disorders safely and effectively.

DPT 760: Neurological Physical Therapy I
This course will expand upon the neurological examination and introduce students to physical therapy rehabilitation principles for patients with neurological conditions, with emphasis on vestibular conditions, cerebrovascular accident, and spinal cord injury.  Students will apply the patient management clinical reasoning model alongside the application of tests and measures to clinical practice. The principles of motor learning, neuroplasticity, and compensation will be examined throughout the recovery process and continuum of care. Lab sessions will integrate hands on clinical tests and measures with evidence-based treatment techniques. 

DPT 765: Medical Screening for the Physical Therapist
This course will introduce clinical reasoning as it relates to medical screening and differential diagnosis within a physical therapist’s practice. The clinical reasoning model will emphasize potential flags that could signal specific diseases and syndromes and the need for referral and communication with other healthcare providers.  Considerations for treatment plan modifications and patient monitoring are also discussed. Lab sessions provide students with the psychomotor skills necessary for thorough medical screening.

DPT 770: Applied Pain Science
This course will provide the student with an overview of treating individuals suffering from persistent pain conditions and associated complicating factors. Learners will explore concepts related to the physiology of pain, pain mechanisms, pain diagnoses, fear avoidant behaviors and the biopsychosocial model. Clinical application of modern pain neuroscience education as well as evidence-informed pain assessment and treatment will be performed. The goal of this course is to enable the physical therapy student to treat individuals suffering from various pain conditions as part of an interprofessional medical team confidently and effectively. 

DPT 795: Principles of Business Entrepreneurship & Administration
This course will explore business principles for physical therapists including value-based care, billing, management, and leadership within the context of healthcare systems and clinics. Students will gain knowledge of strategic planning, organizational structures, fiscal management, marketing, and legal considerations as they pertain to the physical therapy profession. Special topics include telehealth, conflict resolution, and communication concepts both internal and external to the business entity.​ 

DPT 830: Pharmacology for the Physical Therapist
This course will cover the role of prescription drugs in clinical care throughout the physical rehabilitation process.  Pharmacokinetics including specific actions, indications, safety, and side effects are covered within the context of physical therapist practice. An in depth understanding of medications and the impact on timing of rehabilitation interventions alongside a systems-based approach to care will be covered. 

Year 2   Fall Semester

DPT 745 Biophysical Agents in Rehabilitation
This course will introduce students to the use of thermal, acoustic, mechanical, electromagnetic, and electrotherapeutic biophysical agents in clinical practice. Clinical reasoning is emphasized for the appropriate selection of biophysical agents based on current best evidence of physiological effects, recommended dosage, and efficacy as well as considerations of patient characteristics including indications and contraindications. Students will also learn appropriate documentation standards for use of biophysical agents. Laboratory sessions emphasize the safe and effective application of biophysical agents for patient care.​ 

DPT 815: Movement Across the Lifespan
This course will introduce the student to contemporary theories of human neuromotor development across the lifespan. The course will address typical and atypical developmental directions, progressions, and typical milestones of both gross and fine motor skills. Aspects of gait, balance and the pain experience will be examined as they affect a person throughout their lives. Normal physiological changes associated with aging will be discussed from a systems perspective.

DPT 860: Neurological Physical Therapy II
This course will introduce the student to contemporary theories of human neuromotor development across the lifespan.  The course will address typical and atypical developmental directions, progressions, and typical milestones of both gross and fine motor skills. Aspects of gait, balance and the pain experience will be examined as they affect a person throughout their lives. Normal physiological changes associated with aging will be discussed from a systems perspective.

DPT 870: Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Physical Therapy
This course will provide the student with in-depth knowledge of the unique aspects of individuals with cardiovascular, metabolic, and pulmonary contributions to movement dysfunction across the lifespan. Learners will explore the pathophysiology, risk factor management, medical and surgical treatments of the cardiovascular, metabolic, and pulmonary systems.  Students will engage in activities related to the physical therapist’s examination, assessment, and management of the individual with cardiopulmonary and metabolic disorders across the continuum of care.   

DPT 890: Clinical Education I
This course is the first full-time clinical education experience (CEE) under the supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist Clinical Instructor. All students will have participated in >120-hours of part-time integrated clinical education experiences prior to this course. As DPT890 is an integrated experience within the curriculum, all academic coursework has not yet been completed. 

This is a structured, six-week, mentored clinical education experience that allows students to apply physical therapy principles learned in the first 4-terms of didactic work. This experience could occur in a variety of practice settings (excluding settings that focus only on specialty practice). Examples of settings include, but are not limited to acute care hospitals, rehabilitation centers, home health care agencies, outpatient clinics, schools, and skilled nursing facilities. This experience emphasizes development of clinical reasoning skills while performing fundamental person-centered care using the patient management model. During this experience students should gain confidence in completing comprehensive individualized screening, examination, evaluation, plan of care development, intervention, and re-assessment for individuals with a variety of movement related conditions representative of those conditions commonly seen in practice, while abiding by physical therapy practice standards.  

Year 2  Spring Semester

DPT 835: Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy III – Advanced Topics
This course will provide students with advanced clinical reasoning and intervention skills for the management of patients with neuromusculoskeletal conditions. The integration of manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, pain science and lifestyle medicine knowledge and skills learned in previous courses are honed and expanded upon through case-based learning activities. Students will refine their exercise prescription and thrust and non-thrust manual therapy skills as well as learn basic trigger point dry needling skills for the treatment of soft tissue dysfunction. The goal of this course is to enable the physical therapy student to utilize clinical decision-making to integrate these interventions into person-centered clinical treatment plans safely and effectively.

DPT 865: Neurological Physical Therapy III
This course will advance the students’ ability to assess and develop a plan of care for individuals experiencing neurological deficits from select diagnoses including concussion, traumatic brain injury, dementia, peripheral neuropathy, brain tumors, and other rare or complex neurological conditions. Topics covered include examination, evaluation, diagnosis, pharmacological management, clinical decision-making, prognosis, standardized assessments, outcome measures and interventions. Special emphasis is placed on considerations of health policy, billing, and legal requirements for persons with neurological pathologies and for their caregivers.

DPT 875: Pediatric Physical Therapy
This course will present fundamental concepts for the physical therapy management of children with conditions of the various body systems. Emphasis is placed on management of children with musculoskeletal, neurological, and/or cardiopulmonary impairments. A normal developmental framework serves as the course foundation. Students apply the elements of patient/client management in physical therapy practice, including screening, examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, plan of care, intervention, and outcomes related to the pediatric person.

DPT 880: Applied Biostatistics and Research Methodology
This course will introduce the specific elements of applied research design and statistics. Students become familiar with relevant research statistics to apply and synthesize the scientific literature. Items related to measurement, statistical analysis, critical inquiry, and strength of evidence are presented. These concepts are applied in the critical evaluation of published physical therapy literature. The goal of this course is to advance the student to become confident in consuming scientific statistical concepts and appraisal of medical literature. 

DPT 882 / NUR 882: Healthcare Ethics
This course attempts to help students provide answers to the question: “What does it mean to be an ethical healthcare professional?” Geared specifically for doctoral level healthcare students, the course begins by delving into ethical theory and then quickly synthesizing the codes of ethics of healthcare professions. Students then analyze what it means to go beyond the code of ethics in their own practice in order to be an ethical healthcare professional, aided by concepts from traditional ethical theory, as well as more recent considerations in healthcare ethics, including issues pertaining to social justice, phenomenological research, and particularly studies on what it means to empathize with individuals in a healthcare setting in order to provide person-centered care 

Year 2  Summer Semester

DPT 990: Clinical Education II
This course is the second of three full-time clinical education experiences (CEE) under the supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist Clinical Instructor. All students will have participated in >120-hours of part-time integrated clinical education experiences and 240 hours of full-time clinical experience prior to this course. 

This is a structured, twelve-week, mentored clinical education experience that allows students to increase their experience working with patients in the clinical setting. This experience could occur in any practice setting. During this experience students should progress in confidence and independence while completing comprehensive individualized screening, examination, evaluation, plan of care development, intervention, and re-assessment for individuals with a variety of movement related conditions representative of those conditions commonly seen in practice, while abiding by physical therapy practice standards. This experience emphasizes progression of clinical reasoning skills and evidence-informed practice while performing fundamental person-centered care using the patient management model. 

DPT 995: DPT Capstone I
This two-part course will integrate the didactic, clinical, and evidence-based knowledge from this curriculum applied to a scholarly project.  Learners will write a proposal and background during this course that will result in either a case report or assist in a research study conducted at Bellin College. This course also integrates the initiation of a co-curricular portfolio designed to aid in the reflection of learning and professional development that occurred during the time in the DPT program both inside and outside the classroom.  

 Year 3  Fall Semester

DPT 930: Diagnostic Imaging for the Physical Therapist
This course will cover the use and interpretation of imaging modalities and its impact on clinical decision making for the physical therapist. Guidelines for the selection and interpretation of imaging studies including radiographs, magnetic resonance, computed tomography, and diagnostic ultrasound will be covered. Lab activities include the use and interpretation of diagnostic ultrasound images most commonly seen in clinical practice.

DPT 950: Management of Integumentary and Lymphatic Conditions
This course will cover the physical therapy management of individuals with integumentary and lymphatic conditions. A specific emphasis is placed on factors that influence tissue healing alongside the examination, evaluation, and overall person-centered care for all types of integumentary lesions seen in a physical therapist’s practice to include venous and arterial insufficiency ulcers, pressure ulcers, neuropathic ulcers, and burns. Students will also learn assessment and treatment techniques for management of lymphatic conditions.

DPT 960: Prosthetics and Orthotics in Rehabilitation
This course will introduce evidence regarding the indications and considerations necessary for the use of orthotic and prosthetic devices to support a rehabilitation plan of care. Students will be exposed to orthoses for various cranial, spinal, and extremity conditions. A special emphasis is placed on upper and lower extremity amputations and prosthetics, focusing on movement analysis. Treatment planning as it pertains to the types of prosthetics and orthotics will be covered including fitting, device utilization, exercise programs, gait analysis, and training.

DPT 970: Geriatric Physical Therapy
This course will reinforce principles of physical therapy management covered in prior courses and applied specifically to the older adult. Normal physiological effects of aging of each body system will be compared to pathophysiology and related to how they affect the human movement system.  The use of health and safety screening tools will be promoted as well as evaluation, assessment, care planning and coordination for the older adult.  An overview of end-of-life issues, reimbursement models and community resources will conclude the course

DPT 975: Physical Therapist Management of the Medically Complex Person
This course will expand upon concepts introduced in pathophysiology and previous systems-based courses. Students will learn to address multiple disease pathologies and co-morbidities as they compound to produce medically complex situations. The learner will examine implications for the physical therapist management of the medically complex person across the continuum of care including inpatient, outpatient, home-based, and institutional settings. This course will take a problem-based learning approach which will include the musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, gastrointestinal, hepatic, renal, lymphatic, immune, reproductive, and integumentary systems as well as disorders related to infectious disease, substance abuse, immunodeficiencies, oncology, and surgical procedures.

DPT 985: Professional Foundations of Physical Therapy Practice II
This course will reinforce and further develop lessons covered in Professional Foundations I. Additional topics include examination of licensure and scope of practice for the physical therapist and physical therapist assistant. This course will also explore concepts of being person-centered, including the duty to refer and report illegal, unethical, and unprofessional behavior.  Leadership styles will be explored as it relates to oneself, the profession, and society. Social determinants of health will be reviewed through a population health lens and students will learn the value of cultural competency to physical therapy practice. The student will be exposed to advocacy at the national, state, and local level and will develop a plan for lifelong learning post-graduation. 

Year 3  Spring Semester

DPT 993: Clinical Education III
This course is the final of three full-time clinical education experience (CEE) under the supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist Clinical Instructor. All students will have participated in >120-hours of part-time integrated clinical education experiences and 720 hours of full-time clinical experience prior to this course. 

This is a structured, twelve-week, mentored clinical education experience that allows students to increase their experience working with patients in the clinical setting. This experience could occur in any practice setting. During this experience students should further progress in confidence and independence while completing comprehensive individualized screening, examination, evaluation, plan of care development, intervention, and re-assessment for individuals with a variety of movement related conditions representative of those conditions commonly seen in practice, while abiding by physical therapy practice standards. This experience emphasizes continued progression of clinical reasoning skills and evidence-informed practice while performing fundamental person-centered care using the patient management model

DPT 997: DPT Capstone II
This two-part course will integrate the didactic, clinical and evidence-based knowledge from the DPT curriculum applied to a scholarly project. Learners will disseminate a case report or assist in a research study conducted at Bellin College. This course also includes the final submission of a co-curricular portfolio designed to aid in the reflection of learning and professional development that occurred during the time in the DPT program both inside and outside the classroom.


Applicants applying to the Bellin College Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program will apply online using the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) application. To learn more about PTCAS, visit

Go to the Bellin College PTCAS directory page:

Applications for Fall 2023 open July 1, 2022.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition charges listed are for planning purposes only and are subject to change. Tuition and Fees Schedules are updated and published annually. 


Course Delivery Method

Courses will be taught using a variety of methods and experiences designed to foster transformational learning. These methods will include lecture in live and electronic formats, facilitated discussion, problem-based and experiential learning activities using simulation and live patient interaction, intra and inter professional team building, and use of state of the art technology and labs. Students will begin to apply their learning within an actual physical therapy setting within the first few weeks of the curriculum. Students will begin to apply their learning within an actual physical therapy setting within the first weeks of the curriculum.


Dr. Eric Chaconas, PT, DPT, PhD
Program Director
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic
and Manual Physical Therapy

Portrait of Jon Weiss.
Dr. Jonathon Weiss, PT, DPT 
Assistant Program Director
Board Certified Geriatric Physical Therapy Specialist
Dr. Amethyst Messer, PT, DPT
 Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education
Board Certified Geriatric Physical Therapy Specialist
Mark Shepherd, OMPT Program Director
Dr. Mark Shepherd, PT, DPT, DSc
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic and Manual Physical Therapy

Dr. Lace Luedke, PT, DPT, PhD

Clinical Faculty

Dr. Matt Agen, PT, DPT 

Dr. Russ Bartholomew, PT, DPT, OCS

Carinna Coleman, PT 

Dr. Logan Curry, PT, DPT, OCS

Dr. Jared Hoffmann, PT, DPT, OCS

Heidi Johnson, PT, OCS

Dr. Dan Krueger, PT, DPT, OCS

Dr. Douglas La Luzerne, PT, DPT, OCS

Dr. Zac Mestelle, PT, DPT, OCS

Dr. Matt Opolka, PT, DPT, OCS

Dr. Erin Paschke, PT, DPT

Dr. Lisa Reinke, PT, DPT, SCS

Dr. Dan Roenz, PT, DPT, OCS

Dr. Amber Schultz, PT, DPT

Dr. Dan Verhagen, PT, DPT, OCS

Dr. Erin Zimbal, PT, DPT, OCS

Christine Whatley, PT

Frequently Asked Questions


  • Which undergraduate degrees are recommended before beginning the DPT Program?
    • Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in any field of study from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or from a foreign institution. Student’s may apply prior to completing their bachelor’s degree; however, the degree must be awarded prior to beginning study in the DPT program.
  • What prerequisites are required?
    • 1 semester Human Anatomy with lab
    • 1 semester Physiology with lab (may take 2 semester sequence Anatomy/Physiology)
    • 2 semesters Chemistry with lab
    • 2 semesters Biology with lab
    • 2 semesters Physics with lab
    • 2 semesters Psychology (Acceptable: General, Development, Abnormal)
    • 1 semester Statistics
    • 1 credit Medical Terminology
  • Can I substitute a similar course for one or more of these prerequisites?
    • The DPT Admissions Committee may consider course substitutions on a case-by-base basis. The applicant must compile and submit as much information about the course as possible (e.g., course description, syllabus, detailed outline of topics covered, etc.). This information can be emailed to The Admissions Committee makes the final decision as to whether the course substitution is approved.
  • Do all prerequisite courses need to be completed before applying?
    • Applicants do not need to complete all prerequisite course prior to applying. However, it is recommended that you have no more than 3 prerequisite courses remaining when submitting your application. If offered admission, all prerequisites must be complete prior to entering the program.
  • Do all prerequisite courses in anatomy, physiology, chemistry, biology, and physics need to have a laboratory component?
    • Yes
  • Do you accept Advanced Placement (AP) credits in lieu of a letter grade to fulfill science prerequisites?
    • Yes
  • Do prerequisite courses have an expiration date?
    • Applicants must complete Anatomy and Physiology courses within the last 5 years prior to application or demonstrate ongoing work experience that have kept this knowledge current (e.g., physical therapist assistant, athletic trainer)
  • How do I know if my course fulfills the program’s prerequisite requirement?
    • If you are unsure if a course will fulfill the prerequisite requirement contact
  • Are transfer credits accepted?
    • No, transfer credits are not accepted into the Bellin College DPT program
  • What documents are required?
    • Completed application
    • Undergraduate Transcript
    • GRE Results
    • Two Letters of Recommendation
    • Written Statement of Purpose
  • What is the minimum GPA for admission?
    • A minimum cumulative greater than or equal to 3.0, or less than 3.0 with cumulative GPA greater than or equal to 3.5 over the last 60 semester hours/90 quarter hours are required for admission.
  • What is the minimum Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score for application?
    • There is no minimum GRE score required for admission, although achievement within the 40th percentile, or Verbal + Quantitative score of 295 or above is preferred.
  • Do GRE scores have an expiration date?
    • The GRE must be completed within the last 5 years prior to the date of application.
  • Is volunteer or work experience in physical therapy required in order to apply?
    • This criteria is currently rescinded due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • What other factors are evaluated beside academic ability?
    • Work experiences, military experience, volunteer services hours and participation in extracurricular activities will be considered.
  • Are interviews a required part of the application process?
    • Yes, all applicants will be asked to participate in an on-campus interview, but an online interview is allowable upon request. We feel this is important to allow the Admissions Committee to know you, but also for you to get to know us and assure that the Bellin College DPT program is a good fit.
  • I’m a PTA and would like to apply
    • Any PTA holding a bachelor’s degree is welcome to apply. While credits from the PTA educational program may not be transferred in, admission points are awarded for relevant work experience.
  • How can I reach the Bellin College Admissions Office?
  • If I am accepted is a deposit required?
    • Yes, a $500 non-refundable tuition deposit is required to guarantee your spot in the program. The entire deposit will be applied to your tuition in the first semester of the program.


  • What is the size of a DPT class?
    • Each class will have a maximum of 34 students
  • When does the DPT program begin?
    • Fall semester (late August)
  • Is this an on-campus or hybrid program?
    • Although hybrid components will be incorporated, the Bellin College DPT program is an on-campus program
  • How long will it take to complete the program?
    • 2 years and 8 months
  • Why should I attend Bellin College?
    • Contemporary Curriculum: The curriculum is designed for the physical therapist of tomorrow.  Graduates will be prepared with modern strategies in clinical reasoning, prevention and health promotion, strength and conditioning and caring for individuals across practice settings.
    • Clinical Learning: Students in the Bellin College DPT program enter the clinic regularly throughout the entire length of the program.  This model of clinical learning allows students to immediately apply the skills they have learned in the classroom immediately offering a more in depth model of learning.
    • Program Length: The program is shorter than most, allowing graduates to enter the job market sooner.
    • Cost / Value: The tuition is the lowest of all private schools in Wisconsin.
    • Class Size: Small class size will permit a high faculty/student ratio.
    • History: Bellin College has been training health professionals for over 100 years.
    • Simulation Facilities: Bellin College has one of the premier health simulation resource centers in the country.
    • Intraprofessional Collaboration: During your time as a student at Bellin Health you will learn to work as part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team including physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, and imaging students.
  • Where will clinical education be?
    • While the majority of clinical education will take place within northeast Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan, opportunities will be available throughout the country
  • How much time is spent in clinical education?
    • 30 weeks of formal clinical education, along with short integrated clinical experiences throughout the rest of the curriculum
  • What types of clinical education experiences will I be exposed to?
    • Each student will be encouraged to complete their clinical education in a variety of physical therapy settings including acute care/hospital, inpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing facility, home health, and outpatient.
  • Is the Bellin College program accredited?
    • The Bellin College DPT received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission in May of 2021, and is seeking accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. More information is available on the Bellin College DPT home page.
  • Can I work while in the program?
    • The DPT program is full-time and rigorous. It is recommended a student work 10 hours or less a week to accommodate the course load.
  • Are there research opportunities within the DPT program?
    • There are several opportunities to collaborate on research with faculty or physical therapists that are obtaining a Fellowship or Doctor of Science degree from Bellin College.
  • What is the difference between the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and the Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy (DSc)?
    • The DPT is considered an entry-level degree, which is necessary to sit for licensure exams and work as a physical therapist. The DSc degree is for those that are already physical therapists who wish to pursue careers in education and research.
  • Does Bellin College offer residency programs following graduation?
    • No, but students will be encouraged to apply for residencies sponsored by Bellin Health and other physical therapy institutions. Bellin College does offer an orthopaedic manual physical therapy fellowship program, but applicants must have at least one year of experience.


  • Does the program offer scholarships?
    • Not at this time, though our goal is to provide a needs-based scholarship in the near future
  • Am I eligible for financial aide
    • Please contact our financial aide advisors to determine eligibility at 920-433-6699

Response to APTA Workforce Study  / American Council of Academic Physical Therapy Statement

In December 2020, the American Physical Therapy Association published a workforce analysis which predicts an estimated surplus of over 25,000 physical therapists nationally by the year 2030. This estimate “does not account for potential changes to service delivery or patient demographics that could happen within this time frame”. The median age of a Brown Country, Wisconsin resident has increased from 36.0 years in 2010 to 37.4 years in 2019, with this trend expected to continue. As the population of northeastern Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan ages, we anticipate the need for physical therapists to grow.

We agree with the APTA workforce study conclusion for the potential to “correct existing imbalances in the geographic distribution” who tend to concentrate in urban areas. The Bellin College program is committed to developing physical therapists to serve in rural regional areas.

American Physical Therapy Association. (2020, December). APTA Physical Therapy Workforce Analysis.

United States Census Bureau. 

On May 3, 2021, the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT) published a letter expressing concern about the number of current  developing physical therapy programs in the United States, as well as the increasing time to degree completion and student loan debt. Bellin College has developed a DPT program that carries the shortest credit load of any school in Wisconsin, as well as the lowest tuition cost of any private physical therapy school in the state. ACAPT also raises concerns regarding a nationwide shortage of qualified faculty, and limited opportunities for clinical education. The Bellin College Doctor of Science program was created in 2019 with one goal of developing well-qualified faculty. Our clinical education program is 30 weeks (shorter than the national average of 34-36 weeks) and we are partnered with several local health systems including Bellin Health who have committed to host high quality clinical experiences for our students.

ACAPT. (2021, May 3). Future of physical therapist education programs in higher education.

National Study of Physical Therapy Excellence and Innovation

In 2017, Jensen et al. published the National Study of Excellence and Innovation in Physical Therapist Education. This report challenges the profession to meet the changing needs of society through higher levels of excellence by offering eight action items. In our opinion, Bellin College is well positioned to meet the challenges of each action item with special emphasis on the following:

  1. Address the shortage of qualified faculty and of academic leadership – Bellin College offers a Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy Program (DSc) that is producing well-qualified physical therapy faculty.
  2. Create strong, equal academic-practice partnerships that foster excellence – Bellin College has strong, established partnerships with local healthcare institutions for collaboration regarding clinical education, teaching and learning opportunities, and research.
  3. Focus curriculum content on societal needs for physical therapist practice – Bellin College is committed to provide a learner-centered educational environment that focuses on patient-centered care.
  4. Devote significant resources to enhance the diversity in the profession – Bellin College DPT has a comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion program and is committed to the profession’s goal of improving representation of underrepresented minorities in the profession.
  5. Educate students to become moral agents as health care practitioners – The Bellin College values of excellence, integrity, community, and caring are the center for all we do.

Jensen, G. M., Hack, L. M., Nordstrom, T., Gwyer, J., & Mostrom, E. (2017). National study of excellence and innovation in physical therapist education: Part 2 – A call to reform. Physical Therapy, 97(9), 875-888.

Important Dates
  • Admissions Portal now open
  • Application for candidacy due to CAPTE – March 1, 2022
  • CAPTE Onsite Review – April 16-31, 2022
  • CAPTE Initial Decision – July, 2022
  • First Cohort Begins – August 29, 2022
  • CAPTE Onsite Review – October-November, 2024
  • CAPTE Final Decision – Spring, 2025
  • First Cohort eligible to sit for licensure examination – April, 2025
  • First Cohort graduates – May, 2025
Program Handbook / Physical Therapy Resources


Graduation from a physical therapist education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; phone; 703-706-3245; is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

Effective July 19, 2022, the Bellin College DPT Program has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; phone: 703-706-3245; email:  If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 920-433-6699 or email

Candidate for Accreditation is an accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the program may matriculate students in technical/professional courses.  Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status does not assure that the program will be granted Initial Accreditation.

Bellin College’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).


Please contact Bellin College Admissions at,
(920) 433-6650, or use our online contact form.

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