Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

PT student and instructor NEW for FALL 2022! Applications are OPEN
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

Coming soon.


The Bellin College Doctor of Physical Therapy Program will begin to accept applications on September 1, 2021. To guarantee consideration, the completed application must be submitted by February 1, 2022.

Applying to the DPT program is FREE.

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

Dr. Mark Shepherd, PT, DPT
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic and Manual Physical Therapy
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 opens September 2021
  • Application for candidacy due to CAPTE – March 1, 2022
  • CAPTE Onsite Review – April 16-31, 2022
  • CAPTE decision – August 2022
  • First Cohort begins – September 2022
  • 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. 
Bellin College is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist education program from CAPTE. The program is planning to submit an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage, on March 1, 2022. Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the [professional/technical] phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in [professional/technical] courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation.(1) 
(1) CAPTE Rules of Practice and Procedure 7.8 (f) Page 51 December 2018 

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.

Back to top