Academic Experience

The DPT@USC curriculum is systems-based, which means learning starts with clinically important foundational sciences followed by the knowledge needed to care for patients with conditions that affect each major body system: musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary and neurologic.

At USC, we take pride in offering you varied and rich full-time clinical experiences starting in the first year of the program. The third year of the curriculum is an integrative experience that challenges students to combine and refine skills from the previous two years to provide effective patient care in complex circumstances.

As a student, you will approach each complex system from the three important perspectives that form the basis of evidence-based practice:

The Patient

You will learn how to connect with and collaborate with patients to provide the best possible patient-centered care. We emphasize skills for providing culturally sensitive, compassionate care using evidence-based methods including motivational interviewing and shared decision-making.

Current Research

You will learn how to stay current throughout your career by using the best available evidence to guide your practice. We emphasize the skills clinicians need to be savvy consumers of clinical research while also providing opportunities to participate in conducting research.

Professional Expertise

You will develop your own insights and confidence to provide direct access to physical therapy in the complex health care environment. We emphasize effective interprofessional collaboration and team-based health care.

Offered on a full-time basis, the hybrid DPT program is three years in duration and delivered through three integrated components: online courses, on-campus immersions and clinical experiences.

Online Courses

As a DPT@USC student, you will complete a total of 115 units, or 35 courses, using our interactive online campus. Designed and taught by esteemed USC faculty, our live, online DPT courses and coursework provide a challenging, comprehensive educational experience that develops your ability to provide physical therapy for clients across the life span. The coursework covers a broad spectrum of health conditions and empowers you to treat clients from a perspective of wellness and prevention.

With an approximate 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio, each online class enables you to:

Engage: Participate in rich discussions with peers and professors during live classes.

Connect: Work in small groups during and outside of class throughout the week.

Practice: Develop physical therapy skills in preparation for immersion experiences.

Review: Listen to recordings after you attend class to revisit concepts and discussions.

View a full list of DPT@USC curriculum.

On-Campus Immersions

Regular visits to USC’s campus in Los Angeles are an integral step in connecting online class material to the hands-on skills essential to physical therapy practice. You will visit USC’s world-class physical therapy learning laboratories approximately 10 times for in-person immersions. This translates to about 60 days on campus over the course of the three-year program. Immersion experiences provide you with intensive laboratory instruction with professors to build and refine skills needed to optimize human movement, such as physical evaluation, manual therapy and facilitation techniques, gait training, and exercise instruction.

During the immersions, you will:

Build your manual and physical skills for reducing pain and improving human movement.

Access state-of-the-art anatomy and learning laboratories.

Network with faculty, peers and the entire USC DPT community.

Focus on skills of particular interest to you during extended on-campus office hours.

Clinical Experiences

You will complete a total of 50 weeks of clinical experiences at USC-approved sites in your community or nationwide. The clinical education component of our academic experience is exceptional in that experiences begin in the spring of your first year and the number of weeks vastly exceeds the minimum requirements for PT programs. You will be exposed to at least six distinct placement sites in a broad spectrum of physical therapy settings. Each experience is personalized to your interests and needs as a student.

To make sure you have the most beneficial clinical experiences, you will work with:

A clinical placement specialist, who will partner with you to find and secure clinical sites in or near your community

A clinical instructor, who will personally guide your learning with real patients in a real-world setting

USC faculty, who are available for one-on-one office hours to discuss your progress or answer any questions you have during your clinical experiences

Peers, as you share your clinical knowledge and skills and learn from each other’s unique experiences

Complimentary WeWork Membership

As a student in the hybrid DPT program, you will receive a complimentary WeWork membership, giving you access to more than 240 WeWork locations around the world.

With a membership, you will have:

A place to study, attend classes online and meet up with local classmates

On-site support staff and amenities at each site, including personal work stations, Wi-Fi and power outlets, printing and copying, and coffee and water

Opportunities to connect with a professional community through meet-ups, networking events and wellness sessions

A connection to the WeWork Member Network through the WeWork app

Learning Outcomes

After graduation, you will be able to:

Sit for the National Physical Therapy Exam for licensure to practice as a physical therapist.

Effectively care for individuals with an array of needs, from wellness and prevention to persons with complex or debilitating medical conditions.

Provide evidence-based and patient-centered care that integrates research, clinical expertise and the patient’s perspective.

Diagnose and treat movement dysfunction for persons of all ages and backgrounds.

To learn more about DPT@USC, request information and an admissions counselor will contact you.

Request Information — Hybrid Program