Entry-Level Physical Therapy (DPT)

* If you are a prospective undergraduate student, please see the Health Sciences BS for information about the Pre-Physical Therapy track.

The information on this page is for students who are currently enrolled as undergraduates in the DPT program as of Fall 2018.
For those students currently enrolled in the DPT program as an undergraduate as of Fall 2018. As an Entry-level NU DPT student you will have 2 six-month cooperative education experiences that allow you an opportunity to work in a variety of clinical settings. During the last two years of this six-year program, you will complete 36 weeks of full-time Clinical Education at three different clinical sites. These will include inpatient, outpatient and specialty environments.

Video Overview

Unique Program Features
Interprofessional Opportunities

Bouvé Van providing community access to health care offered in conjunction with the Nursing, Pharmacy, Speech Language Pathology and Public Health programs.


Beyond the traditional semester abroad, we offer multiple global academic and service-oriented experiences such as Global Dialogues (30 days in country), PT academic exchange programs and global service PT programs to Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, South Africa and Switzerland.


  • Early Intervention, working with infants and toddlers with disabilities or at risk for developmental delays. The program is offered in conjunction with the Department of Counseling Psychology
  • Sports Performance Concentration
  • Ergonomics and Worker Wellness


Psychology, Business, Foreign Language

Research Opportunities
Clinical Education

  • In 38 states and with professional and collegiate sports programs.
  • 36 weeks of internship plus 6 months to one-year of paid clinical experience through our unique Cooperative Education Program.

Contact Info
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Kristin Curry Greenwood, PT, DPT, EdD, MS
Interim Department Chairperson & Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences
301 Robinson Hall
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: 617.373.3908
[email protected]

Sample Curriculum

The Physical Therapy program at Northeastern will prepare you to work as a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) in a variety of clinical settings. Here is a sample of the curricular offering in the DPT program.

  • Fall Semester

    • CHEM1101/2/3 General Chemistry for HS / Lab / Recitation (4/1/0)
    • PSYC1101 Foundations of Psychology (4)
    • MATH1241 Calculus 1 (4)
    • ENGL1111 College Writing (4)
    • PT1000 College: An Introduction (1)

    18 Credits

  • Spring Semester

    • CHEM1104/5/6 Organic Chemistry for HS / Lab / Recitation (4/1/0)
    • PSYC3404 Developmental Psychology (4)
    • Elective (4)
    • Arts or Humanities Elective (4)

    17 Credits

  • Fall Semester

    • MATH2280 Statistics and Software (4)
    • BIOL1117/8 Integrated Anatomy & Physiology 1 / Lab (4/1)
    • PHYS1145/6 Physics for Life Sciences 1 / Lab (4/1)
    • Elective (4)

    18 Credits

  • Spring Semester

    • PT5101/2 Foundations of PT with Lab (3/1)
    • BIOL1119/20 Integrated Anatomy & Physiology 2 / Lab (4/1)
    • PHYS1147/8 Physics for Life Sciences 2 / Lab (4/1)
    • PT2000 Professional Development for Co-op (1)
    • Elective (4)

    19 Credits

  • Summer A Semester

    • ENGL3306 Advanced Writing in the Health Professions (4)
    • Elective (4)

    8 Credits

  • Summer B Semester

    • COOP3945 Cooperative Education 1 (8 weeks)

  • Fall Semester

    • COOP 3945 Cooperative Education 1 (18 weeks)

  • Spring Semester

    • PT5131/2 Gross Anatomy / Lab (4/1)
    • HLTH5450 Healthcare Research (4)
    • PT5160 Psychosocial Aspects of PT (3)
    • PT5161 Psychosocial Aspects Seminar (1)
    • EXSC4500 Exercise Physiology 1 (4)

    17 Credits

  • Summer A Semester

    • PT5138/9 Neuroscience / Lab (4/1)
    • PT5140/1 Pathology / Recitation (4/0)
    • PT5500 Pharmacology for Physical Therapists (2)
    • PT5133/4 Kinesiology / Lab (3/1)

    15 Credits

  • Fall Semester

    • PT5150/1 Motor Control Development and Learning/ Lab (4/1)
    • PT5145 Intro to the Healthcare System (2)
    • PT5503/4 Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Mgmt / Lab (4/1)
    • PT5450 Introduction to Therapeutic Activities (2)
    • Elective (4)

    18 Credits

  • Spring Semester

    • COOP3945 Cooperative Education 2 (18 weeks)

  • Summer A Semester

    • COOP3945 Cooperative Education 2 (8 weeks)

  • Summer B Semester

    • PT5540 Clinical Integration 1 Evidence and Practice (2)
    • PT5515/6 Integumentary Systems Mgmt. / Lab (2/1)
    • PT6243/4 Health Education Promotion and Wellness (3/0)

    8 Credits

  • Fall Semester

    • PT5227 Physical Therapy Project 1 (3)
    • PT6241 Screening for Medical Condition in PT (4)
    • PT5209/10 Neurological Rehabilitation 1 / Lab (4/1)
    • PT6000 Leadership Administration & Management (2)
    • PT5505/6 Musculoskeletal Management 1 / Lab (4/1)

    19 Credits

  • Spring Semester

    • PT5229 Physical Therapy Project 2 (2)
    • Physical Therapy Professional Seminar 2 PT Lifespan Management (2)
    • PT5230 Geriatrics/Pediatrics (3)
    • PT6221/2 Neurological Rehabilitation 2 / Lab (4/1)
    • PT6223/4 Musculoskeletal Management 2 / Lab (4/1)

    17 Credits

  • Summer A Semester

    • PT6441 Clinical Education 1 (8 weeks) (6)

    6 Credits

  • Summer B Semester

    • PT6250 Clinical Integration 2 Evidence and Practice (2)
    • PT6231-6237 PT Advanced Elective (2)
    • PT6215/6 Assistive Technology / Lab (3/1)

    8 Credits

  • Fall Semester

    • PT6442 Clinical Education 2 (14 weeks) (6)
    • PT6251 PT Diagnostic Imaging (on-line) (3)

    9 Credits

  • Spring Semester

    • PT6448 Clinical Education 3 ( 14 weeks) (9)

    9 Credits

A course of study in the DPT program offers several opportunities to minor or concentrate your studies in various many areas. Some of these opportunities include:

  • Minors in – Business, Languages, Psychology
  • Concentration in Early Intervention, Sports Performance Concentration

Other Options
Early Intervention

You may also consider the concentration in Early Intervention (EI), for work with infants and toddlers with known disabilities or those who are at risk for developmental delay because of a difficult birth or the presence of certain environmental risk factors.

The Early Intervention concentration academic courses are offered in a hybrid format that combines online learning with classroom meetings. The program of study consists of four courses, an EI project, and a practicum (all integrated within the DPT curriculum), leading to the required state certification for early intervention personnel.

Sports Performance Concentration

The Sports Performance Concentration offers you the opportunity to work with athletes of all ages and in a variety of settings. The coursework will prepare students to pass the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) exam and enhance a graduate’s ability to work with athletes in various venues from gyms to the athletic field improving collaboration with multiple medical disciplines.

Curriculum subject to change

Experiential Learning

A unique feature to the Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum includes two 6-month cooperative education rotations working in the clinical environment as a full time paid employee. Rotations could be at acute care or rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient clinics, K-12 schools, nursing homes, pediatric care facilities, and even camps for children with disabilities. NU is the only program in the United States with co-operative education embedded into the educational experience.

You may also take advantage of our numerous partnerships with our urban neighbors, including community health centers, Boston Public Schools, the YMCA, eldercare centers, and many others. These culturally-diverse volunteer opportunities offer you experience providing services as you work to improve your own understanding of urban health issues and the physical therapy profession.

Polly Cerasoli Scholarship Fund

Thank you for your interest in the scholarship fund to honor Pauline (Polly) Cerasoli.

Polly CerasoliPolly Cerasoli, clinician, teacher, mentor, scholar, leader, skier and friend, passed away on September 11, 2010 at the age of 71 while residing at the Rose Meadow Farm in New Boston, N.H. Polly’s career was cut short in 1996 when she sustained a traumatic brain injury from an unknown assailant while attending the APTA combined sections meeting in Atlanta.

Life in Rural Vermont
Polly grew up in Vermont where she accompanied her father, a country doctor, on his rounds to patient/client homes, braving the snow and ice of the Green Mountains to reach those in need in rural Vermont. Those special times with her dad fostered a love for medicine and a commitment to help others. When she learned about the profession of physical therapy, she knew it would become her life-long passion.

Career Development
Polly received her BS in Physical Therapy from the University of Connecticut. She then moved to Boston where she worked as a clinician while attending Boston University to earn a Master’s in Education. She became a member of the PT faculty at Northeastern University in the early 1970s. As a teacher, she taught a variety of courses, but her specialty was therapeutic exercise. She also served as academic coordinator of clinical education and acting chairperson of the physical therapy department. Polly earned her Doctor of Education degree in Rehabilitation Administration from Northeastern. Her dissertation addressed the relationship between leadership style and job satisfaction among physical therapist clinicians. Polly loved teaching and was devoted to nurturing the best in those around her. She always had time to mentor and inspire students and colleagues.

Polly served the profession in other ways through her activities with the American Physical Therapy Association. She was an active member of the House of Delegates and the Education and Legislation/Regulations Sections. She also served on evaluation teams for the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education as well as participating in various task forces.

Polly left Northeastern to become Director of Rehabilitation at Massachusetts General Hospital and to teach at the MGH Institute. From there she moved to Denver, Colorado to live and ski in the Rocky Mountains. She became the Assistant Dean of Allied Health and Director of the Physical Therapy Program at the University of Colorado, where she continued working to advance the profession of physical therapy. In spite of her career moves, Polly always maintained her ties to Northeastern.

Polly inspired students and colleagues to excel both personally and professionally. You can help cultivate Polly’s ideals and qualities in the next generation of physical therapist by contributing to the Polly Cerasoli Scholarship Fund. Proceeds from the fund will be used to award an annual scholarship to a physical therapy graduate student who exemplifies the characteristics that reflect those Polly displayed throughout her life and career.

Making a Contribution
If you would like to make a contribution to the Polly Cerasoli Scholarship Fund, please contact Kathy Cotter at 617.373.2637 or you can send a check to 215 Behrakis Health Sciences Center, 360 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.

Essential Functions for Northeastern University Physical Therapy Students


The Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy (DPT) at Northeastern University is a challenging and intense program, which places specific demands on a student enrolled in the program. The academic rigor of the program closely corresponds to intellectual and physical demands that a graduate will encounter as a practicing physical therapist.

Northeastern’s DPT program is designed to prepare students to enter the physical therapy profession as a generalist with the skills, knowledge, and ability to successfully perform all the required functions of an entry-level physical therapist.

Essential functions are the aptitudes and abilities required of physical therapist students to successfully complete the curriculum of the DPT program, and to perform the clinical skills of a physical therapist consistent with Patient/Client Management as detailed in the Guide to Physical Therapy Practice.

The purpose of this document is to delineate the essential functions that are fundamental to the DPT program. Upon admission, students must be able to perform each of the essential functions outlined below during classroom, laboratory, and experiential education learning activities [including but not limited to: participation in one-on-one interactions, small group discussion and presentation, large group lectures, service learning, and patient encounters] in both academic, community, and clinical settings.

Students are also required to demonstrate good judgment, responsibility, integrity, sensitivity, and compassion, while simultaneously being able to accurately synthesize and apply knowledge in a timely and safe manner.


Essential Functions

Students are required to perform the following essential functions of the DPT program:

Communication Functions

  1. Read, understand, and communicate information in written and spoken formats using the English language.
  2. Interpret and respond to the verbal, non-verbal, and written communications of others in an appropriate, professional manner.


Affective Functions

  1. Establish, value, and continue to develop professional, respectful, empathetic relationships with individuals from all lifestyles, cultures, ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, and abilities.
  2. Develop, value, and maintain effective working relationships with faculty, students, professional colleagues, peers, patients/clients, families, and the general public.
  3. Meet externally imposed deadlines and time requirements.
  4. React effectively in challenging situations with use of appropriate resources.
  5. Demonstrate an ability to function effectively in complex, highly stimulating environments.
  6. Demonstrate responsibility for self-directed assessment, reflection, and professional growth.
  7. Demonstrate core values of honesty, integrity, and accountability for the consequences of one’s own actions.
  8. Demonstrate ethical behavior, proper judgement, and decision making skills.


Cognitive Functions

  1. Demonstrate self-management skills including planning, organizing, time management, and adhering to legal/regulatory requirements.
  2. Use a variety of sources, including reading material, lecture, discussion, observation, and physical examinations to:
    • Recall, interpret, extrapolate and apply information.
    • Measure, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information.
    • Gather and prioritize information needed to solve a problem.
  3. Respond appropriately to emerging problems and potentially hazardous situations by making timely judgments to react effectively and seek assistance when necessary.
  4. Accept and apply constructive feedback.


Psychomotor Functions

  1. Possess physical strength, stamina, balance, movement, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity required to perform patient care tasks in a manner that does not compromise the safety of self or others.
  2. Perform intermittent physical activity of the whole body throughout an eight to twelve-hour period.
  3. Engage in complex, coordinated movements needed during a variety of activities including skills lab practice; manual techniques, patient examination, intervention, and guarding.
  4. Utilize auditory, visual, and tactile senses to receive information from written, spoken, and non-verbal communication mechanisms; observation of human structures; postures and movements; and equipment and or technology.
  5. Quickly and appropriately react to sudden or unexpected events or movements of others.


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

The Bouvé College strives to meet the needs of diverse learners. Student who may need a reasonable accommodation for a disability should contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) via the following contact information:

Location: 20 Dodge Hall.
Phone: (617) 373-2675
TTY: Contact DRC via Relay 711

Students must register with the DRC and meet with a specialist prior to matriculation. If a disability develops while a student is enrolled in the University, the student is expected to contact the DRC as soon as practical to address his/her situation. Accommodations cannot be made retroactively.