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Nancy Kirsch, Doctorate of Physical Therapy program director

Program Director
Nancy Kirsch, DPT, Ph.D.
To learn more, email
our Newark program.

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Highly Ranked DPT Program Offers Exceptional Clinical Education

Our highly ranked, entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program is a three-year, full-time degree program that prepares students for practice in physical therapy. Our program is centrally located on the RBHS-Newark Campus.

The long-established Doctor of Physical Therapy program – continuously accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education since 1980 – has relationships with clinical facilities throughout the United States and internationally where students can complete their clinical rotations.

Faculty are national and international leaders in the field of physical therapy. They are committed to offering students opportunities for scholarship, research, and professional leadership. Scholarly work by faculty and students is regularly accepted for dissemination at national and international conferences, and by top journals in our faculty members’ fields of expertise.

With a 100% employment rate among graduates (within six months of graduation), Rutgers DPT students are sought after for residency programs and clinical practice in every practice venue.

Our program aligns with SHP’s Center for Rehabilitation Excellence on the RBHS-Newark Campus provides students with outstanding opportunities for research and interprofessional collaboration.

  • Our Doctor of Physical Therapy program is ranked nationally by U.S. News and World Report; the program also claimed the #1 the best PT schools in the Tristate area at a public university
  • Students assist faculty in research performed in four department laboratories, as well as in clinics and labs offsite
  • The DPT program supports organizations such as Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ), with faculty and student volunteers screening athletes for flexibility, balance and functional strength at the annual SONJ Summer Games
  • Service learning opportunities include volunteering for a pro-bono, student-run clinic in RBHS – Newark screening of migrant workers and children.
  • The program also serves the community by providing physical and occupational therapy services to students with special needs in the surrounding urban and suburban school districts
  • Our three-year average pass rate on the licensure exam is 99.75%
  • 100% of Doctor of Physical Therapy graduates are employed within six months of graduation
The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, in the School of Health Professions, at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 2231.

The program has been continuously accredited since its inception. It was recently re-accredited with a commendation, through Dec. 31, 2029.

Questions regarding the Doctorate in Physical Therapy program’s accreditation should be directed to the Program Director, Dr. Nancy Kirsch, or to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The process for an individual to file a complaint with CAPTE for any accredited physical therapy education program is available on the CAPTE website.

Contact information for CAPTE:

phone: 703-706-3245 

CAPTE considers complaints about programs that are accredited, and complaints about CAPTE itself.

Employment of Physical Therapists is projected to grow 28 percent through 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

DPT Outcomes Data


Graduation Rate Total Percentage of Students who took the NPTE licensure exam and passed Employment Rate within six months of licensure*
North South North South North South
2017 92.3%




100 100 100 100
2016 100%




98.5 100 100 100
2015 95.4%




100 100 100 100
Three Year Average 95.9% 83.4% 99.5 100 100 100

*Those seeking employment

*Those seeking employment

“Each professor possesses a depth of experience and knowledge in their respective field and is committed to facilitating student growth” – Mark Kimmel, Class of 2017.

“The versatile and rigorous curriculum builds a solid academic and clinical foundation that prepares students for success in clinical rotations” – Anthony Ng Class of 2016

Our DPT program is a full-time, three-year, day program. The program, based on the RBHS – Newark campus begins in July  October 1 is the application deadline.

The following are routes of entry into the program:

  • Students with a bachelor’s degree in any major.
  • A 4+3 program with the Exercise Science Program at Rutgers New Brunswick.
  • A 3+3 program offered in affiliation with several state and private colleges/universities partners in the NJ/NY area.

Transfer students are generally not accepted.

Applicants are selected using the following criteria:

  • Competitive grade point average (A-B range).
  • Official GRE Score should be competitive on all three sections (verbal, quantitative and analytical). Note: scores are submitted via Newark Program code: 7636. The GRE test must be taken within five (5) years prior to the application date. The GRE is not required for admissions for 2021.
  • Knowledge of the physical therapy profession demonstrated by employment or volunteer experience. There is no minimum number of required hours, but the experience needs to be long enough to obtain a favorable Physical Therapist recommendation.
  • Recommendations from three sources: two from physical therapists and one from an employer, or professor.  Personal letters of recommendation do not meet the reference requirement.
  • Evidence of community service and/or leadership.
  • A personal interview is required if selected for the next phase of the admissions process.

Prerequisites for Admission:

  • Anatomy and Physiology I & II: 8 credits
  • General Biology I & II: 8 credits
  • General Chemistry I & II: 8 credits
  • General Physics I & II: 8 credits
  • Social Behavioral Sciences: 6 credits
  • Statistics: 3 credits

Admission Forms:

Applicants applying to the program must apply through the Centralized Application Service for Admission (PTCAS).

PTCAS Entry-Level DPT Application

Tips for successful completion of the online application

  • Have a hard copy of your academic transcript in front of you when filling out the academic page of the application.
  • References must be transmitted electronically. Be sure to have the correct email address of the person you are requesting a reference from. Once you submit your application, an email and an electronic reference form will be sent immediately to the reference.
  • After submitting the PTCAS on-line application, the applicant must follow-up with PTCAS to confirm that all supporting paperwork has been received.
  • Volunteer/work experiences should be completed prior to October 1.

Student Immunization, Insurance, and Health Requirements

Students are required to meet all University insurance, health, and immunization requirements prior to beginning the program and throughout the period of enrollment. Immunization requirements can be found here.

For more information on the program please contact:

Doctor of Physical Therapy Program
Rutgers SHP, SSB, Room 720
65 Bergen Street, PO Box 1709
Newark, NJ 07107-1709

*The Rutgers SHP physical therapy program does not discriminate in admissions or access to its programs and activities on the basis of race/color, national origin, ethnicity, religion/creed, disability, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation or veteran’s status

Our 110-credit DPT programs provide the entry level student with the didactic and clinical knowledge to be a safe, highly effective practitioner. Students learn to be good consumers of literature, to support evidence -based practice and gain a comprehensive knowledge of health care policy.

Clinical Education
Clinical education is essential to the development of the physical therapy student. Clinical experiences provide the student with the opportunity to integrate academic course work with practical experiences in the clinical setting. The clinical experience is where students practice the art and science of physical therapy.

There are four full-time clinical experiences scheduled throughout the curriculum. To attain a well-rounded experience, students affiliate at a variety of practice settings which include acute-care hospitals, long-term care facilities, outpatient facilities, private practices, rehabilitation hospitals, home health care, and school-based practices. The program affiliates with over 400 clinical facilities throughout the country, representing the breadth of Physical Therapy practice.

Newark program curriculum

Doctorate in Physical Therapy Policy and Procedures:

All students are responsible to adhere to the program policies and procedures and the SHP Handbook.
Link to policy and procedure manual for all three classes.
Link to SHP handbook.

Essential functions:
The essential functions describe the physical and intellectual skills necessary for the academic program and the clinic. If a student has difficulty with any aspect of the essential functions, they should speak to their PT program advisor, the Program Director or student services.

Link to essential functions.

Professional Activities:
Students are required to participate in one professional meeting per year.

Community Participatory Physical Therapy Clinic
Students in the program provide services through the pro-bono student run PT clinic

Link to CPPTC

National and state professional and regulatory groups

Link to:

Carrie Esopenko Lab:
Rivers Lab:

The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy  program is a three-year full time that prepares the student for practice in all entry level practice settings. Successful passage of the National Physical Therapy Licensure Examination and licensure is required for practice.