DPT/PhD Joint Degree


Physical Therapy class

Our newly developed joint degree program offers one to two selected students each year an opportunity to combine their entry-level Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) preparation and their PhD preparation in Rehabilitation Sciences.

The DPT/PhD program allows a small number of DPT credits to apply to the PhD course requirements, but distinct learning processes are still retained and required for each degree. The program also allows for extension of research experience in a focused area across the time period of the two programs. It is important to note that this program will only be appropriate for a select few students with focused career goals in research and teaching, and it does not allow completion of two degrees in the time frame for one.


Interested students must first be admitted to the DPT Program. Those interested in considering the joint degree program should speak further with PT and Rehabilitation Science faculty and staff for further details of the process. In the first year of the DPT program, students can be approved for lab rotations working with mutually agreed upon research faculty. The experiences are designed to give the student and potential advisor an opportunity to work together and determine if there is a good match for the student in that lab.

Upon successful completion of lab rotations, students then apply to the Rehabilitation Science (PhD) Program. If accepted, joint degree students can register for courses that are considered as credit for both doctoral programs.

After completion of the 3-year DPT Program (which includes all clinical internships), students will continue with the PhD Program. The length of this phase of the Program is variable, but will likely require an estimated 3-4 years of further full-time study. If completed independently, the PhD Program typically requires 4-5 years of full-time study.


No funding stipend or tuition remission is currently guaranteed for students in the DPT phase of the joint degree Program. Once beginning the PhD phase of the program, students will be eligible for TA (teaching assistant) or RA (research assistant) appointments. These appointments include a stipend and tuition remission.

Ideal candidates

Ideal candidates will be passionate about a lifetime career in rehabilitation research and have previous experience in undergraduate research. Successful candidates will likely have undergraduate and DPT pre-requisite GPAs above the mean of DPT students (3.6). They are also likely to have GRE scores above the 70th percentile.


Contact Rich Adamczak, Program Coordinator, at 612-625-3966 or adamc002@umn.edu.