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Physical Therapy Colleges in New York City with Degree Overview

There are several schools within 10 miles of New York City that have physical therapy degree programs. Read an overview of three schools' programs, requirements and admission info and find out which school is the right one for you.

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New York City Physical Therapy Schools

Students interested in physical therapy programs have many options in the New York City area. The majority of schools offer doctoral programs which will allow students to gain employment in a variety of settings. This article looks at three schools that are within 20 minutes of downtown and the programs they offer. There is also a table of information about the schools regarding topics such as tuition and enrollment that can help prospective students make a decision. Following this are a few facts about some other New York City-area schools that offer relevant programs.

  • New York University is just a mile from the city center. The school offers a master's, two doctoral programs and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in physical therapy.
  • About eight miles from downtown is Columbia University in the City of New York. Students can earn a doctoral degree in physical therapy through the Columbia University Medical Center.
  • City University of New York, three miles from downtown, offers a doctoral program in physical therapy.

New York University

New York University (NYU) was founded in 1831 and enrolls nearly 44,000 students through 18 schools and colleges that have a variety of areas of study, including physical therapy. NYU's physical therapy department was established in 1927 through the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and has several degree choices for students today.

Master of Arts for Physical Therapists

This is a 34-credit program with a concentration in pathokinesiology and is designed for practicing physical therapists who would like to gain advanced training in human motion and motor control. This program will be completed in two years and coursework includes measurement and evaluation in human motion, biomechanics, research in physical therapy and statistics. The curriculum for this program also includes several independent study courses and a master's thesis.

Doctor of Physical Therapy

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) at NYU is a three-year, intensive program where students will attend full-time, including three summer terms. The 133-credit program will integrate lectures and hands-on training through supervised clinical experiences. The DPT is designed to give students a strong foundation in the function, theory and practice of physical therapy. Program coursework includes professional behavior, gross human anatomy, applied anatomy and physiology, principles of exercise, clinical decision making and physical therapy interventions. Students will participate in several clinical internships throughout the program, including a 16-week experience to complete the program.

Doctor of Physical Therapy for Practicing Physical Therapists

The DPT for licensed physical therapists is designed to give students the skills and knowledge needed to work independently in the field. This is a 36-credit program that is divided into four content areas: clinical, research application, management and fitness/wellness. Coursework includes examination of the musculoskeletal system, physical therapy interventions, clinical inquiry and decision making, business practices and exercise physiology.

Doctor of Philosophy for Physical Therapists

The PhD program was the first doctoral program of its kind in the nation and was established at NYU in 1970. This is a 54-credit program that concentrates on pathokinesiology and human motion and integrates theory, research and critical thinking. Students are required to take a number of courses within several areas, including foundations of education, research methodology, departmental seminar, research electives and specialty courses focused on analysis and measurement of human motion. A dissertation project and qualifying exam are additional requirements of the program.

Columbia University in the City of New York

Columbia University was founded in 1754 and offers a wide variety of programs through 21 schools and nearly 100 departments. The physical therapy program is housed within the Columbia University Medical Center and College of Physicians and Surgeons and offers a doctoral degree in the field.

Doctor of Physical Therapy

The three-year DPT program at Columbia will provide students with training in seven areas and a handful of hands-on clinical experiences. Students will take courses within the following domains: scientific foundations, clinical sciences, critical exploration, professional development, health care systems and management, electives and clinical experiences. Students are required to participate in a total of 1,568 clinical education hours, including a mentorship, internship and seminars. Upon completion of the program students will be prepared to work in the health care sector as clinicians with strong research, management and clinical skills.

City University of New York

More than 540,000 students are enrolled annually at programs within the 24 institutions through the City University of New York (CUNY) system in NYC. The Graduate Center offers more than 30 doctoral programs, including physical therapy. Hunter College will have the authority to award DPT degrees to students who start in June 2013 (Class of 2016) and the College of Staten Island will have the same right for the Class of 2017 (students beginning fall 2014).

Doctor of Physical Therapy

The DPT program awarded between the Graduate Center and either Hunter College or the College of Staten Island is a three-year program that consists of 105 credits. This is a comprehensive program that will train students through lectures, theory and hands-on experiences to apply research methods in a variety of areas to their clinical practice. Students enrolled at Hunter College will begin in the summer and take two courses, clinical anatomy and medical terminology. The College of Staten Island's DPT program begins in the fall and students will take a number of courses including medical terminology, introduction to physical therapy practice and research design. Coursework through both colleges will focus on topics such as advanced anatomy and physiology, fitness theory, kinesiology, neurology, rehabilitation and electrotherapy. In addition to the required coursework, all students must pass several comprehensive examinations, undergo clinical internships and complete a research project.

Comparison of Schools

Students who are looking for a school should consider many factors. The following table displays information about each school in a format that allows for easy comparison.

New York University Columbia University in the City of New York CUNY Graduate School and University Center
School Type Four-year, private, not-for-profit Four-year, private, not-for-profit Four-year, public
Total Enrollment (2011) 43,911* 26,050* 6,782*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Tuition & Fees (2011-2012) $35,420 (graduate)* $39,210 (graduate)* $7,653 for in-state and $17,473 for out-of-state residents*
% of Students Receiving Grants and Scholarships (2011) 58%* 50%* 28%*
Acceptance Rate 32% (2011)* 10% (2010)* 100% (2010)*
Retention Rate (2011) 92% for full-time and 50% for part-time* 96% for full-time and 79% for part-time students* 50% for part-time students*
Graduation Rate (for students who began their studies in 2005) 87% graduated within 150% of 'normal time'* 93% graduated within 150% of 'normal time'* No information available

Source: *NCES, College Navigator.

Other School Options

Another school in the NYC area that offers a doctoral program in physical therapy is Long Island University - Brooklyn Campus. Located roughly two miles from the center of NYC, the university offers a three-year, DPT.

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