Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy (DScPT)


Our programs are committed to developing stewards of the physical therapy profession, evidence-based practitioners and clinician scientists. Graduates will be critical thinkers, reflective, empathetic, and lifelong learners.

**Please note the Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy degree at Bellin College is not an entry-level degree.  It is designed for currently licensed physical therapists who wish to excel in areas of clinical care, research and teaching. Further information on the entry-level Bellin College Doctor of Physical Therapy program may be found here.

Bellin College’s DScPT program is committed to developing evidence-based physical therapist practitioners and clinician scientists. Graduates will be critical thinkers, reflective, empathetic, and lifelong learners. Lastly, graduates will become highly skilled autonomous practitioners who are prepared to become leaders in the areas of teaching as well as participants and contributors to clinical research.

The Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy (DSc) track is a 66-credit program, consisting of three foundational cores: clinical excellence, teaching and learning excellence, and research excellence. Students may choose to fulfill their clinical excellence core by completing the Bellin College Orthopaedic and Manual Physical Therapy (OMPT) Fellowship. Students may also transfer credits into the Bellin College DSc program from any physical therapy fellowship program (including non-OMPT programs). Once the clinical core is completed, students progress to specialty courses focusing on research, biostatistics, curriculum development, assessment, and leadership.


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Academic Plan and Calendar

The Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy (DSc) is a 66-credit program. Students fulfill the clinical core by completing an ABPTRFE or ACOMPTE-accredited fellowship program, which is then followed by specialty courses focusing on research, biostatistics, curriculum development and assessment, and leadership.

Academic Plan   

Curriculum Calendar Example

curriculum calendar – summer start

Program Goals and Outcomes

DScPT Program Goals

  1. Develop clinical scientists with the ability to complete advanced clinical-based research, advancing the profession of physical therapy.
  2. Develop educational leaders who excel at mentoring, instilling professional values, and serving as a role model to their colleagues and students.

DScPT Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, the graduate is able to:

  1. Advance the science of physical therapy through the use of translational research to improve patient outcomes and healthcare systems.
  2. Serve as a practice leader in the design, direction, and evaluation of systems to advance evidence-based practice.
  3. Demonstrate competence in teaching through curriculum development, assessment and evaluation, incorporating sound pedagogical and andragological principles.
  4. Demonstrate oral and written communication skills required to present and publish scholarly work.
Admission Requirements

View the admission requirements for the DScPT program. 

Admission Requirements         application deadlines

Transfer Credits 

Students who have completed or are in the process of completing an American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) or Accreditation Council of Orthopaedic and Manual Physical Therapy Education (ACOMPTE) approved fellowship program can request an evaluation to indicate accepted courses and credits as transferable to satisfy Bellin College DSc requirements.

Go to Admissions

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. 

Go to the tuition and fees page

Course Delivery Method

While the fellowship component of the DScPT program requires onsite lab coursework, weekend intensives and clinical mentorship hours (see the OMPT Fellowship Program description for more details), the DScPT courses are delivered pre-dominantly within an online learning environment.  Delivery of the online learning content may occur through a blend of face-to-face activities, or asynchronous means. 

Rebecca Bliss, Physical Therapy, SHP, School of Health Professions, Memorial Union, NFO, New Faculty Orientation
Eric Chaconas,
Program Chair
Research Chair
Jodi Young,
 Research Director
Rebecca Bliss,
Adjunct Faculty

View Faculty Bios

Frequently Asked Questions

Are transfer credits accepted?

Individuals who have completed the Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy (OMPT) Fellowship Program in 2018 or prior through Evidence in MotionTM may transfer credits to the Bellin College DSc program. Individuals who graduated from other credentialed Fellowship programs may be eligible for transfer credits toward completing the DSc based on a portfolio review. Refer to the “Transfer of Credits” section for further details.

Can I complete the DSc in PT without completing the Fellowship?

No, at this time completion of an accredited Fellowship serves as the clinical core content of our DSc program.

Is financial aid available?

Students who are completing the DSc degree may be eligible for federal financial loans, as well as private educational loans.  Federal student loans require at least half-time enrollment (5 credits per semester).  Please note that the typical DSc curriculum calendar includes 5-6 credits per semester for the first three semesters, and then 2 credits per semester for the four remaining semesters.  In other words, students may not be eligible for federal financial loans during the final four semesters.  Bellin College DSc students are not eligible for Wisconsin Student Aid.

Am I able to utilize my Federal Veteran’s Administration (VA) Benefits?

Yes, contact Bellin College’s school certifying official, Mary Jo Moore at (920) 433-6640, or view the Bellin College veteran’s information page.

Is there a tuition deposit?

Yes, a $500 tuition deposit is due with return of the student acceptance contract and is credited toward tuition.

What sort of payment plans are available?

Individual payment plans may be developed in conjunction with the Bellin College Bursar.  For more information contact Mary Jo Moore, Bursar, or (920) 433-6640.

How long will it take me to complete the DSc degree?

Students who have completed the prerequisite Fellowship program should complete the remaining DSc curriculum within eight semesters or two and a half years. 

How many hours per week should I plan to spend on DSc coursework?

A survey of DSc students indicated that they spend an average of 15 hours per week on DSc coursework, although this can vary considerably for each individual, and by each course.  We advise students to set aside 15-20 hours per week for DSc studies.

What is the difference between a PhD and a DSc?

Generally, the PhD and DSc degree are considered equivalent degrees, with the main difference being the specific field of study.  The PhD may pertain to any chosen field, while the DSc is restricted to the fields of science and engineering.  Typically, research in a PhD program tends to be based in foundational science, while DSc research agendas may have stronger applications to clinical practice.  The Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) considers the DSc a terminal academic degree and helps entry level PT programs meet the requirement of 50% of core faculty needing to hold a terminal academic degree.

Typically, in the PT profession, the DSc is a qualified degree for holding ranked faculty academic positions, and provides strong educational preparation for conducting and disseminating research and for entry into academics.  Additionally, a person with a DSc degree should be competitive for grant funding.  Note that, in the PT profession, it is commonly believed that high-dollar grant funding from large organizations, such as the NIH, are preferentially given to those with PhD degrees over DSc degrees.  However, strong research track records can work to combat this potential bias.

Is the DSc in PT degree accredited?

Yes, the DSc program at Bellin College has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission(TM).






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

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