Curriculum Overview

To develop collaborative professionals in physical therapy practice, education, social responsibility, and discovery and translation of science to improve health.

Our Mission


Our curriculum is built on a strong theoretical foundation in the 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. A sample Plan of Study can be found here and individual course descriptions can be found in the UCSF Course Catalog and the SFSU Bulletin.

Read our current DPT Student Handbook

Program Faculty

The UCSF/SFSU faculty includes leaders in the field, renowned researchers, and exemplary teachers. Many of the core faculty are currently practicing clinicians at a range of sites, including several UCSF Outpatient Faculty Practices, UCSF Health & Wellness Center, UCSF Medical Center, and SFSU Student Health Center.

program and course directors

Clinical Education

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 Clinical Education


The program offers extensive elective opportunities for students to explore new areas of interest or further their knowledge and skills in a particular concentration. Examples include research, running biomechanics, and pelvic floor PT to name a few. Students are also encouraged to identify new elective opportunities they would like the program to set up!

Interprofessional Education

As part of the DPT curriculum, all students participate in the IPE program at UCSF. Physical Therapy students work together with trainees in the other health professions to build skill sets that will ultimately increase patient safety, reduce errors, maximize efficiencies, and improve quality of care.

Learn more about Interprofessional Education

Qualifying Assessment & Culminating Experience

Successful completion of the Qualifying Assessment advances the student to their final year of study and candidacy for the DPT degree. The assessment consists of three board-style examinations designed to cover knowledge consistent with the completed program and clinical coursework in each area including:

  1. Acute Care (cardiopulmonary, orthopedic, neurologic, multisystem patients) – Second year
  2. Orthopedic (musculoskeletal outpatients) – Third year
  3. Neurological (neuromusculoskeletal patients, both pediatrics and adults) – Third year

The final year of study consists of advanced coursework and a culminating project challenging students' critical and independent reasoning skills. Students answer a clinical question with an in-depth, evidence-based systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature. In order to successfully complete the culminating experience, students must receive a faculty evaluation score of 80% or better on both the written manuscript and the oral presentation. The manuscript must be suitable for publication and the oral presentation is delivered at the annual Spring Symposium before a group of peers, faculty, and clinicians