Skip to main content

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science


On this page

  • DPT Curriculum Overview
  • Anatomy Education
  • Curriculum Outline

DPT Curriculum Overview

Image preview The Entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is jointly offered by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and San Francisco State University (SFSU). The degree is a 3-year program (36 continuous months beginning in June) including 32 weeks of full-time clinical education experiences. This program is designed to prepare scholarly clinicians, educators, collaborative clinical researchers, administrative managers and community leaders. The program accepts 42-50 students each year. A complete list of the program's goals and outcomes can be found here.

The curriculum is built on a strong theoretical foundation in basic, medical and applied sciences. Critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills are developed within an integrated program that prepares students to work collaboratively with patients across the lifespan to improve health and wellness, address disability challenges, and optimize function.

Through dynamic learning experiences, students integrate the basic foundations of science into different paradigms and the treatment of patients with movement dysfunctions. Supplementing the didactic coursework are research experiences and structured clinical clerkships. Learn more about the clinical education curriculum.

The program concludes with a culminating experience and qualifying assessment.

DPT students must be able to carry out the responsibilities required of a general physical therapist. Learn more about the technical standards and generic abilities required of physical therapists.

Anatomy Education

The health care landscape has changed – and is changing – dramatically but until now, there has been minimal evolution in how physical therapy students learn anatomy. The new UCSF Anatomy Learning Center is the anatomy lab of the future; it offers interactive technology that helps the next generation of clinicians understand the complex architecture of the human body in sophisticated, detailed ways. Click here to learn more about the new UCSF Anatomy Learning Center. 

Curriculum Outline

Individual course descriptions can be found in the UCSF Course Catalog and the SFSU Bulletin.

Year One

School Course Quarter
UCSF PT 200a Neuromusculoskeletal Anatomy 5  
UCSF PT 201 Kinesiology & PT Assessment 3  
SFSU PT 706 Structure, Function & Motion in PT   2
SFSU KIN 746 Clinical Exercise Physiology   3
UCSF Physio 121 Mammalian Physiology I 5  
UCSF Path 135 General Pathology 3  
UCSF PT 200b Neuromusculoskeletal Anatomy 0.5  
UCSF PT 202 Therapeutic Exercise & Modalities 2  
UCSF PT 410 Clinical Affiliation* 0  
SFSU PT 741 Musculoskeletal Pathokinesiology I   4
UCSF PT 110 Ortho & Rehab: Diag/Treatment 2  
UCSF Physio 122 Mammalian Physiology II 3  
UCSF PT 112 Human Growth & Dev Across Lifespan                            3  
UCSF PT 200c Neuromusculoskeletal Anatomy 0.5  
UCSF PT 205 Functional Anatomy Review (elective) 1.5  
UCSF PT 211 Pharmacology for Physical Therapists 2  
SFSU PT 700 Comprehensive PT Management   3
SFSU PT 720 Cardiopulmonary Pathokinesiology I   2
SFSU PT 742 Musculoskeletal Pathokinesiology II   4

*Students enter clinics on a part-time basis in the fall, winter, and spring terms. Students must enroll in PT 410 in the fall and then either in the winter OR spring.

Year Two

School Course Quarter
UCSF Anat 207 Neuroscience 5  
UCSF PT 251 Research Design 3.5  
SFSU PT 801 Clinical Clerkship I   6
UCSF PT 111 Neurology & Rehab Diag/Treatment 3  
UCSF Biostat 183 Biostatistical Methods I 4  
PT 206/899 Application of Principles of Learning** 3 2
SFSU PT 704 Education, Health Promotion, Wellness & Prevention in PT   2
SFSU PT 710 Neurological Pathokinesiology I   4
SFSU PT 735 Psychosocial Issues in Rehab Science   3
UCSF PT 210 Radiology for Physical Therapists 2  
UCSF PT 419 Mentored Clinical Research 2  
UCSF PT 419 Mentored Clinical Research 2  
SFSU PT 705 Administration & Organization in PT   2
SFSU PT 711 Neurological Pathokinesiology II   3
SFSU PT 736 Ecological & Organizational Issues in Rehab   3
SFSU PT 743 Musculoskeletal Pathokinesiology III   3

**Students must enroll in either PT 206 at UCSF for 3 quarter units or PT 899 at SFSU for 2 semester units in either the fall, winter, or spring term.

Year Three

School Course Quarter
UCSF PT 400a Grand Rounds 1  
SFSU PT 802 Clinical Clerkship II   6
SFSU PT 803 Clinical Clerkship III   6
UCSF PT 209 Evidence Based Practice in PT                                       3  
UCSF PT 212a Muscle & Nerve Biology 1.5  
UCSF PT 213 Movement Science 3  
UCSF PT 400b Grand Rounds 1  
UCSF PT 419 Mentored Clinical Research 3  
SFSU PT 920 Case Reports   5
UCSF PT 207 Medical Screening for Physical Therapists 4.5  
UCSF PT 400c Grand Rounds 1  
SFSU PT 418 Mentored Clinical Clerkship 9  
UCSF PT 212b Muscle & Nerve Biology 1.5  
UCSF PT 419 Mentored Clinical Research 2  
SFSU PT 908 Professional Colloquium   1
SFSU PT 910 Evidence Based Practice   4
  Grand Total 184.5 123