Deciding on a graduate school can be a swamp of decisions. You want the best school, but also the best location, and the best fit for your personality. U.S. News and World Report released their Top 10 Physical Therapy schools for 2014, and is a useful starting place for your search.
How it Works
The schools were rated by peer assessment surveys of deans and faculty at accredited institutions. Those surveyed were asked to rate the school on a scale of 1 (marginal), to 5 (outstanding). Here are the results, based on that survey:
#1(tie) – University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA Score: 4.3
Also #1 for occupational therapy, USCl is #1 for a good reason–it’s well balanced. USC not only includes rigorous academics, but strives for community engagement with an excellent service learning aspect and a mentor program.
#1(tie) – University of Delaware in Newark, DE Score: 4.2
University of Delaware has a strong focus on research, and a big commitment to evidence-based practice. The only downside to this program, is they only rank in one other health program at their school: they are #47 in clinical psychology.
#1(tie) – University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA Score: 4.1
One of the top grad schools for several health areas, U-Pitt offers many partnerships with state-of-the-art healthcare and rehab facilities, including University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
#3 – Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO Score: 4.1
Washington University offers two DPT programs that are highly competitive. It specifically has excellent reviews of several other therapy programs: #3 in Occupational Therapy, and #3 in Audiology.
#5 (tie) – University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA Score: 3.9
A very large medical school, the exclusive University of Iowa has its DPT students study alongside the Phd and MA in rehabilitation science program, offering it what they call a “melting pot” of good education.
#5 (tie) – U.S. Army-Baylor University in Fort Sam Houston, TX Score: 3.9
As part of the Army Medical Center, the DPT program at Baylor prepares for not only physical therapy, but an officer in the army as well.
#7 (tie) – Emory University in Atlanta, GA Score: 3.8
Emory offers a program that emphasizes in a strong basis not only physiology, but also interpersonal skills and patient relations. They offer a wide range of DPT degrees and residencies, including a DPT/MA in Bioethics and a neurologic residency program.
#7 (tie) – MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA Score: 3.8
This program emphasizes the importance of critical thinking as a physical therapist, and states that students learn to ”meld theory with clinical practice”.
#9 (tie) – Northwestern University in Chicago, IL Score: 3.7
The oldest physical therapy program in the nation, NU provides students with an education that is consistently excellent year after year. Because of it’s time-tested program, it draws many experts in the field as instructors and research partners.
#9 (tie) – University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL Score: 3.7
With several clinical sites connected to the University, the DPT program at U of M, offers a lot of practical experience, as well as excellent research.
#9 (tie) – University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, NC Score: 3.7
UNC offers a thriving DPT program, which includes school-based physical therapy for students with disabilities in area public schools. It also offers a distance learning transitional DPT program, for those wishing to transition from their masters to a doctorate.
Finding the Best School for You
Obviously, the top 11 schools are just a start of the many excellent Physical Therapy programs are out there. Since there are so many choices, a website like startclass, may be able to help you narrow your options a bit more. There are several filters you can apply and you can view their rating according to students who attend, as well as their acceptance rate and average SAT score. It’s just one more tool to help you pick the right place for graduate school.
What do you think is the best Physical Therapy school out there? Whether your alma mater or the school you hope to commence with soon, PT solutions wants you to weigh in on what schools you think the best.