Curriculum Overview

The University of Colorado Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program prepares graduates to be competent physical therapists capable of assuming roles as clinical practitioners, educators, scholars/researchers, administrators, consultants, and advocates. The 8-semester curriculum completed in 2.5 years provides unique opportunities for students, beginning with strong foundational science content in the first year and culminating with a year-long clinical internship. Courses include both didactic (classroom) and laboratory (hands-on) learning that complement integrated and full-time clinical experiences beginning in the second semester.

DPT Curriculum

Curriculum Chart

Course List and Descriptions

Course Descriptions


Degree Requirements

The DPT degree requires completion of 116 credit hours, which includes 38 weeks of clinical education. Students complete and present a capstone project in year 3 before the final clinical internship

Clinical Education

Our clinical education curriculum incorporates both short-term (1-2 week) integrated clinical experiences (ICE) and longer (8-10 week) clinical experiences during the first two years of the curriculum. In the third year, students will complete either a 16-week clinical experience before graduation or a year-long, paid internship, with 16 weeks in the pre-graduation phase and 8 months in the post-graduation phase as a licensed PT receiving structured mentoring in the clinical setting. All students have the opportunity to apply and interview at sites of their choice during the application process for the final clinical experience.

Year 1

Integrated Clinical Education I (ICE I)

  • 2 weeks, Fall Semester
  • Initial foundation and understanding of clinical practice
  • Integrates classroom and clinical learning while working in a student team
Clinical Education I
  • 8 weeks, Spring Semester
  • Emphasizes patient management from examination to discharge
  • Examines the role of the physical therapist within the healthcare team

Year 2

Integrated Clinical Education II (ICE II)

  • 2 weeks, Fall Semester
  • Integrates classroom/clinical knowledge to a new setting
  • Opportunities to engage in advanced clinical problem solving

Clinical Education II

  • 10 weeks, Spring Semester
  • Emphasizes independence in all aspects of patient management
  • Integrates concepts from online Clinical Reasoning course

Year 3

Option 1- Clinical Education III 

  • 16 weeks, Fall Semester
  • Focuses on achieving entry-level competency in practice
  • Emphasizes development of one’s professional identity
Option 2- Continuation of Internship
  • 16 week Fall Semester, plus 36 weeks post-graduation
  • Offers ongoing mentorship during transition from student to professional
  • Opportunity to develop deeper proficiency of clinical skills and clinical reasoning

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