About physical therapy

Physical therapists help restore or improve mobility, relieve pain, prevent or limit disability and promote overall fitness and health. They are essential to the rehabilitation of people with head or spinal injuries, congenital conditions, arthritis, and neurological and musculoskeletal disorders. PT is an excellent profession for students who are good problem-solvers, interested in health and science, and want to help people achieve their best.

About MU physical therapy

The University of Missouri’s Department of Physical Therapy offers an entry level clinical doctorate degree. The faculty possesses a diversity of practice and research interests that expose students to the wealth of opportunities within in this profession. Clinical affiliations across the country and in a variety of settings allow students to experience first hand the value of physical therapists in the health care arena. Info for prospective students.


  • Accredited physical therapist education program through Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapist Education (CAPTE) since 1963
  • Offers guaranteed admission to qualifying high school seniors and first-semester MU freshmen through the SHarP Scholar Program.
  • Innovative curriculum with problem-based learning, student/faculty patient care, and real-world evidence-based practice experiences
  • Abundant community services opportunities such as treating patients alongside faculty in a pro bono clinic, working with individuals with special needs in adapted programs, or helping older adults with exercise or screening for fall risk.

Department mission

Our mission is to prepare skilled physical therapists who effectively translate evidence into practice and embrace the responsibility of serving diverse communities and an evolving profession.

University mission

The mission of the University of Missouri System, as a land-grant university and Missouri’s only public research and doctoral-level institution, is to achieve excellence in the discovery, dissemination, preservation and application of knowledge.

With an unwavering commitment to academic freedom and freedom of expression, the university educates students to become leaders, promotes lifelong learning by Missouri’s citizens, fosters meaningful research and creative works, and serves as a catalyst for innovation, thereby advancing the educational, health, cultural, social and economic interests to benefit the people of Missouri, the nation, and the world.


The program began in 1963, graduating its first class of 10 in 1965. Approximately 60% remain in Missouri where a significant proportion provide physical therapy services in rural areas. In 1997 the Bachelor in Physical Therapy degree was discontinued and the Master in Physical Therapy (MPT) established. The first MPT class graduated in 2001. In 2006, the University Board of Curators and the Coordination Board of Higher Education approved conversion from the MPT to the Doctor in Physical Therapy (DPT).

The first class entered the DPT program in 2007 and graduated in 2010. The DPT program requires three academic years, including summer sessions. Up to sixty students are admitted each year. The Department of Physical Therapy was a program in the School of Health Related Professions, which had been a division of the School of Medicine since 1976. In December, 2000, the UM Board of Curators approved a change in status of the School to make it an autonomous academic unit on the MU campus. The name changed to School of Health Professions (SHP). SHP contains the departments of Physical Therapy; Occupational Therapy; Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences; Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences; Health Psychology; Health Sciences; and Public Health. It also includes the School of Social Work and the Center for Health Policy. In 2023, to recognize the incredible growth and contributions of the School of Health Professions, the name was officially changed to the College of Health Sciences.

The MU PT curriculum is nationally accredited through 2033 by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). For a detailed narrative history of the MU PT program, click here.