Hybrid Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program Overview

Help people recover their independence and improve their quality of life. The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at the University of Colorado, offered by the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), prepares you for roles as a clinical practitioner, educator, researcher, administrator, consultant, or advocate with hands-on learning and instruction by award-winning faculty.

The University of Colorado DPT program has earned a reputation for excellence for more than 70 years and is now pleased to offer a new hybrid learning format. The hybrid program is offered mostly online with on-campus elements and in-person clinical experiences, giving you the flexibility to complete most of the coursework from your local community. The hybrid program is also ideal if you want to practice physical therapy in a rural healthcare setting. Students will be admitted once per year, and the program begins in June.

AMC  UCCS Physical Therapy hybrid pathway campus logos

Program at a Glance

Degree Program:

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Offered By:

Tuition:

Cost Per Credit:

$628

Cost Per Credit:

$1315

Application Deadline:

Credit Hours:

116

Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Details

The hybrid Doctor of Physical Therapy pathway begins with foundational courses in clinical anatomy, health and wellness, examination, evaluation, intervention, and professional development. Throughout the program, you will participate in hands-on, experiential learning through clinical experiences where you can practice working on a healthcare team and develop advanced skills.

Your doctor of physical therapy degree will help you make a positive impact on the health and wellness of the community where you practice. By the end of the program, you should be able to articulate and defend your clinical decision-making process in the examination, evaluation, management, and outcome assessment for a selected patient. After graduation, you will be eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) in any state.

The DPT's hybrid pathway is ideal for students who want the flexibility of mostly online learning with blended synchronous (in real-time) and asynchronous (on your own time) learning elements. With the hybrid format, students can complete most of the program online in their home environment but will be required to travel to The Hybl Center at the UCCS campus for 7-14 days of intensive lab immersion within each semester. Select clinical rotations may also be established in your home community, which means students with a specific interest in rural healthcare are considered ideal for this pathway.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn to examine and evaluate physical therapy patients
  • Build on your existing knowledge of human anatomy, health and wellness
  • Understand how medical conditions and psychological and emotional issues impact patient care
  • Sharpen your teamwork skills as you practice in clinical experiences
  • Become a patient-centered practitioner who sees patients as whole people

Watch this helpful video to learn more about the hybrid Doctor of Physical Therapy program from UCCS & Anschutz Medical Campus.

100% of our DPT graduates were employed within 12 months after graduation since 2017.

Residential vs. Hybrid Pathway 

CU Anschutz and UCCS are academic partners within the CU System who provide a unified academic curriculum offered as a residential pathway in Aurora, Colorado, or a hybrid online pathway with some in-person requirements in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The UCCS hybrid pathway will share the same coursework and have the same graduation requirements at the residential pathway on the Anschutz Medical Campus.

The William J. Hybl Sport Medicine and Performance Center 

This state-of-the-art sport medicine and performance center integrates clinical services and undergraduate and graduate education and research. From altitude chambers to biomechanics labs, the center is equipped to train and develop students with excellence, in addition to providing high quality clinical settings. The Hybl Center provides services in orthopedic sport medicine, sports medicine primary care, physical and occupational therapy, imaging, athletic training, performance testing and assessment, fitness, and massage therapy.

The one thing that’s attractive for both students and faculty alike at the University of Colorado is that it’s a nationally ranked institution that is productive in the area of research, yet you have good interpersonal relationships, and you always feel supported.

Michael Harris-Love, PT, MPT, DSc, FGSA, FAPTA
Physical Therapy Program Director

Headshot of Michael Harris-Love, PT, MPT, DSc, FGSA Associate Dean for Physical Therapy Education and Director, Physical Therapy Program at University of Colorado

DPT Program Curriculum

The hybrid Doctor of Physical Therapy program is a blend of online classes, in-person labs, and clinical experiences. You will gain a foundation of essential knowledge in subject areas like clinical anatomy, intervention, examination and evaluation, health and wellness, and movement science. The clinical experiences allow you to apply your new knowledge as you practice managing a caseload and working on a healthcare team. The pathway also incorporates professional development and continuing education to help you grow as research expands our understanding within the field of physical therapy.

The Physical Therapy program will teach you to:

  • Deliver patient-centered clinical care
  • Apply clinical reasoning and decision-making skills
  • Use your knowledge to help people live active and independent lives
  • Work on a team and collaborate with others in your healthcare system
  • Provide safe, effective, ethical, and equitable care

With small class sizes (8:1 student to faculty ratio), you will receive personalized attention from faculty and develop advanced skills for your physical therapy practice.

Example Courses

DPTR 5151 Motor Control & Motor Learning 
This course presents the foundation of motor learning and control as it applies to optimal movement across the lifespan. Emphasis is on variables related to task composition, the environment and augmented information that enhance practice of motor skills. These principles are applied to physical therapist practice.

DPTR 5111 Exercise Science
This course will provide students with the current state of knowledge in the physiology of exercise. A systems approach will be used to provide a thorough understanding of the acute and chronic adaptations to exercise training, with an emphasis on the mechanisms underlying these adaptations.

DPTR 5501 Neuromuscular Conditions I
This course applies clinical decision-making frameworks for management of people with neurologic conditions with an emphasis on stroke and cerebral palsy. Clinical skills are taught for examination, evaluation and intervention across the lifespan and across settings. Evidence based practice and manual guidance are emphasized for intervention.

CAPTE Accreditation

The Physical Therapy Program at the University of Colorado is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE):

If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 303-724-2878 or e-mail vonelle.kelly@cuanschutz.edu.

On November 23, 2022, the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) approved the Application for Approval of Substantive Change.

ACAPT Association Membership

The University of Colorado Physical Therapy Program is a member of the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT), a not-for-profit organization and leading voice in academic physical therapy that supports academic institutions dedicated to excellence in physical therapist education. We encourage faculty, clinical educators, academic administrators and students interested in pursuing teaching to check out acapt.org. Students may also find helpful financial aid resources through ACAPT.

    American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAP) Member Logo representing the University of Colorado's Doctor of Physical Therapy program's inclusion in this prestigious association

    Physical Therapy Career Data

    Physical therapy jobs are projected to grow 17% from 2021-2031—much faster than average—meaning your skills and knowledge in the field will be needed in the years ahead.¹ Physical therapists can work in several professional settings, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, professional sports, schools, and private practices.

    As of 2021, the median pay for physical therapists in the United States was $95,620 per year or $45.97 per hour,² however, salaries vary depending upon your state of residency, practice setting, and years of experience. Additionally, southwest Colorado has one of the highest concentrations of physical therapy jobs among non-metropolitan areas in the United States.³

    How to Become a Physical Therapist

    To become a practicing physical therapist in any setting, you will need to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), such as this program, and then pass a state licensure exam.

    After licensure, you can also pursue a residency or fellowship program, which can help you further advance your skills by allowing you to focus on a specific area of your practice.

    Tuition and Fees

    We strive to keep our tuition costs affordable so that you can get a world-class education that fits your budget. When you earn a degree, you’re not simply getting a diploma — you’re making a lifelong investment in yourself and empowering your future career. We know that affordability is an important factor, and that’s why we’re here to help you explore all of the options available to fund your education.

    We can answer any of your questions about tuition and financial aid, help you take care of the paperwork, and make sure you’re able to focus on reaching your goals. From financial aid and scholarships to tuition assistance programs, we’ll work with you to find the best way to finance your degree.

    Scholarship opportunities are available to applicants who are invited to interview. You will be required to complete a scholarship application that will be reviewed by a scholarship committee.

    Admissions Information

    Application Process

    The hybrid Doctor of Physical Therapy pathway admits students once per year with applications opening June 2024 and closing October 1, 2024. Admitted students will begin the program the following June. Applications must be verified by the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) by November 8, 2024, and the verification process can take 4-6 weeks. Program interviews will take place in January.

    We require two (2) letters of reference from people who know you well, with the exception of family, friends, and clergy. The application process also requires you to write essays for the PTCAS and the University of Colorado.

    For more information about the application process and associated fees, prerequisites, eligibility and more, visit the Application Information page.

    Program Eligibility

    • Must be completed through a regionally accredited institution prior to the start of orientation in late May.
    • Note: Prospective applicants who attend quarter-based institutions typically need to complete all degree/prerequisite requirements by the end of the winter term (as spring quarters often continue into mid-June).

    • Qualified applicants have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (based on all course attempts).
    • Applicants with a minimum GPA between 2.7 and 3.0 may still be considered for admission only when there is evidence of a significant positive trend in grades over time (evidenced by a last 60-credit GPA of greater than or equal to 3.5), strong grades in courses like anatomy and physiology and upper-division sciences, and there are other unique circumstances or characteristics the applicant brings forward through their application during the admissions process.

    • GRE is no longer required for admission.

    • Score of 80 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) internet-based test or a total score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) academic test.
    • If you are an international student or a student who completed a bachelor's degree outside of the U.S., you must also provide a World Education Services (WES) transcript evaluation including the line-by-line course evaluation, cumulative GPA and the U.S. equivalent degree. Please contact PT.Admissions@cuanschutz.edu to inquire about additional considerations.

    • The CU Anschutz and UCCS COVID-19 vaccination policies no longer require COVID-19 vaccination for faculty, staff, students, badged affiliates, persons of interest (POIs), visitors, or volunteers in non-clinical settings, with some important exceptions. Students involved in clinical rotations must comply with the vaccine requirements and protocols of those sites. Please visit the Anschutz Medical Campus Covid and UCCS Covid sites for further information. Staying up to date on vaccines and boosters is strongly encouraged.

    Completion Time 

    The hybrid pathway of the DPT program can be completed in 2.5 years. This program is rigorous, and we strongly recommend that you secure enough financial aid to support yourself through school. The time commitment for a full-time DPT program is approximately 40-60 hours per week, which means you should carefully consider employment opportunities, especially during the first year.

    University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus with front range mountains in the background in Denver, Colorado, with a dark overlay across the whole image

    Take the Next Step

    Find the support and flexibility you need to earn your Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at the University of Colorado. Our team is here to help you take the next steps and see the possibilities in yourself, your future, and your education.
    Rise to new heights. Start today by filling out the form on this page.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    • Fall courses: 16 weeks
    • Spring courses: 20 weeks
    • Summer courses: 11 weeks

    Each cohort in the hybrid Doctor of Physical Therapy pathway will be no more than 40 students.

    The hybrid campus is located at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) with faculty and staff from the UCCS Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the CU School of Medicine at Anschutz Medical Campus. The primary DPT lab spaces are based at the UCCS William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center (Hybl Center) in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    • Professionals currently working in the physical therapy industry
    • Undergraduate students in health science fields
    • Personal trainers
    • Military, active or veteran
    • Massage therapists
    • College-level athletes

    Students complete the 116 credit-hour hybrid DPT pathway at UCCS in 2.5 years.

    Yes. Students in the DPT hybrid pathway will have access to UCCS on-site facilities, amenities, and additional resources at UCCS during immersion sessions and other program-related visits to the campus. Students will also be enrolled through the CU Anschutz Medical Campus and therefore will also be able to access many of the CU Anschutz resources, including but not limited to financial aid and student services.

    The DPT program is affiliated with more than 500 clinical sites located throughout Colorado and the United States. Student choice for clinical placements increases as you progress from the first year to the final year. The clinical education team ensures that program requirements for clinical education are met through the placement process for each clinical education experience. In the hybrid pathway, you may have the opportunity to complete some of your full-time clinical experiences near your area of residence.
     
    International sites are not available for clinical education experiences. Although the program appreciates the value of international experiences, international clinical education sites may not have the same physical therapy and licensing standards as those in the United States and cannot always meet the program’s specific objectives for each clinical education experience. Therefore, all clinical experiences must be completed in the United States. You may have other options for international experiences as an elective, as an optional activity through campus organizations, or after completion of your DPT degree.

    Additionally, prospective students residing in California will be asked to acknowledge the following statement about clinical placements: “I understand that if I'm accepted to the hybrid pathway and I choose to live in CA, that being placed at a clinical site in CA may be challenging. I'm aware that there are some clinical sites available across the state, but due to legislative barriers between CO and CA, setting up new clinical sites in my hometown may be challenging. I'm ok with the potential that I may need to be placed in a clinical site outside of CA.”

    All classes will be held in a virtual classroom. You will have weekly live class times when you will meet with faculty and your fellow classmates to review material (synchronous). On your own, you will watch videos, review case studies, and read course material (asynchronous).

    All students will be required to attend approximately two (2) on-campus lab immersions (5 to 10 days in duration) per semester throughout the course of the program. All students will also complete 34 weeks of full-time clinical education and four (4) weeks of integrated clinical education during the program within a variety of clinical education settings.

    References
    References

    ¹, ² Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved March 3, 2023, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapists.htm

    ³ Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved March 3, 2023, from https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291123.htm#st