DPT Curriculum Overview

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 34 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 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 experiences. Learn more about the clinical education curriculum.

The program concludes with a qualifying assessment and culminating experience.

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.

Plan of Study DPT 2025

The program has determined that its curriculum meets the state educational requirements for licensure or certification in all states, the District of Colombia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands secondary to its accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, based on the following: CAPTE accreditation of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant program satisfies state educational requirements in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Thus, students graduating from CAPTE-accredited physical therapist and physical therapist assistant education programs are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination and apply for licensure in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information regarding state qualifications and licensure requirements, refer to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy website at