Why Choose Nazareth for Physical Therapy?

Physical therapists today must be more than clinicians with excellent hands-on skills. They must be effective communicators, reflective and analytical professionals, and compassionate and engaged caregivers. Nazareth University's physical therapy degree program stresses all of these, giving you the knowledge and skills to treat the whole client. 

Our D.P.T. program integrates classroom studies with hands-on clinical experiences beginning in your first full semester, allowing you to practice skills under the supervision of faculty and community-based physical therapists. These clinical experiences both provide authentic learning environments and supply much-needed services to the community.

All students complete a full, two-year research project with a faculty member. More than 70% of these projects are accepted for presentation at state and national professional conferences.

Program Highlights

  • The only one of its kind in Rochester, Nazareth’s physical therapy major attracts students from all over the country. The curriculum offers a wide range of interprofessional academic and clinical experiences, including integrated, on-campus, student-run pro bono PT clinics and clinical service outreach that supports community service and professional experience with organizations such as Fun Fitness Special Olympics, WNY Wreckers Wheelchair Basketball, and GROW Screenings for child development. These are in addition to 4 full-time clinical education experiences.
  • In an interprofessional course, work with peers from other disciplines to problem-solve case studies and gain perspective on each profession's role.
  • Co-treat in clinics with Naz students in music therapy, occupational therapy, art therapy, and nursing.
  • Outcomes are excellent. For 2022-23: 96% two-year graduation rate, 86.3% first-time two-year licensure exam pass rate, 99% ultimate two-year licensure exam pass rate, and 100% employed (of those seeking employment) within six months of passing the licensure exam.
  • Graduate assistantships (with tuition reduction) are available for more in-depth experiences in research, teaching, and health promotion. Graduate assistants work in the PT clinics and as PT tutors. 
  • The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
  • Graduates are eligible for the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and licensure in all states.
  • If interested in working with children and adults with disabilities, you have the option to apply for the interprofessional University of Rochester Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Fellowship during your sixth year, and Nazareth's Interdisciplinary Specialty Program in Autism (I-SPAN) Program during your sixth year.
  • Students fluent in French can participate in a clinical education experience at IFPEK Institute in Rennes, France. 
  • Gain experience using cutting-edge equipment to help patients/clients regain mobility. Research at Nazareth guided the development of Gorbel's SafeGait trainer. Students work in our on-campus state-of-the-art motion analysis lab, using an 11-camera infrared motion capture system with electromyography recording equipment. Use electronic medical records in our clinics.
  • Complete a minor in psychology, public health, developing child and families, or social welfare, gaining added skills and perspective.
  • Elective courses in your final semester enable you to gain additional education and training in specific practice areas, such as manual therapy/orthopedic PT, strength and conditioning, pelvic health, neuromuscular PT, and advanced applied anatomy.

Preparing changemakers

Through faculty mentorship and collaboration, hands-on integrated clinical experiences, and interprofessional teamwork, you'll learn how to advocate for patients in the healthcare environment and empower them to make informed decisions about their health and wellness. You learn the value of using evidence-based evaluation and intervention strategies.


100% of physical therapy students receive financial assistance.

Undergrad Admissions Standards

View physical therapy admissions standards.

Reilly Smyth

At a clinical experience at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, physical therapy student Reilly Smyth worked with an 18-year-old who needed help after a car accident that obstructed his breathing, tore his liver/spleen, and caused multiple fractures. At that acute care hospital, Smyth worked with him on treadmill training with overhead harness systems, gait training with music, therapeutic activities with the facility dogs, and dual-task activities toward his goals to get home, finish his senior year of high school, and apply to colleges. "By the end of his stay at Kessler, he was independent with walking and stairs using one axillary crutch," says Reilly. She writes about that memorable experience and more in a post on the PT blog. Read about her experience >

Contact Information

Andrew Opett, PT, DPT, OCS
Clinical Associate Professor, Department Chair
For questions, contact PT@naz.edu

CJ Rose guides a person elevated by ropes & a swing in a rock climbing indoor space

Alumni Spotlight

"One of the biggest strengths of Nazareth's DPT program, which sets Naz apart, is the hands-on learning in the on-campus clinics throughout the program. I felt much more confident going out on my clinic placements knowing I had already practiced valuable hands-on skills with the support of my professors and clinical instructors. Nazareth provides an excellent environment and exposes students to an array of experiences — to prepare you for whichever path you choose in the profession. I am thankful for the knowledge as well as excitement for the profession that Naz instilled in me. I continue to be passionate about treating patients with neurological diagnoses, which started during my time at Naz. I would highly recommend the DPT program.

CJ Rose '17, '19G, physical therapist at Monroe Community Hospital and a clinical instructor in Nazareth's Neuromuscular Clinic

Field Experiences

In addition to on-campus clinical experiences, field experiences include:

  • St. Jude's Children's Hospital (pediatric oncology)
  • Ranchos Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center (neurological rehabilitation)
  • EXOS (sports and human performance)
  • Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation
  • University of Rochester Medical Center


  • Pediatrics: Rochester City School District, Clinical Association of the Finger Lakes
  • Hospitals, clinics, and medical groups: University of Rochester, Strong Memorial Hospital, Highland Hospital, Upstate Medical Center, Erie County Medical Center, Dignity Health (CA)
  • Acute rehabilitation: Golisano Brain Injury, TIRR Memorial Hermann Brain Injury (Houston, TX)
  • Home care: HCR Home Care, University of Rochester
  • Outpatient: Lattimore PT, Onondaga PT, Limitless PT, Epic PT (Raleigh, NC)
  • Skilled nursing facilities: Highlands Living Center, Episcopal Senior Life
  • Schools and research laboratories: San Diego State University (Extremity Trauma Amputation Center of Excellence)

Advanced Degrees/Residencies

Our graduates are well prepared for, and have pursued, residencies and advanced degrees such as:

  • Boston University (Ph.D.)
  • University of Rochester Medical Center Neurology physical therapy residency
  • Golisano Neurological physical therapy residency
  • University of Rochester Sports Medicine physical therapy residency
  • Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center women's health residency
  • University of Central Arkansas pediatric physical therapy residency

The Physical Therapy Program at Nazareth University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org.

Professional Licensure Disclosure

Nazareth University curriculum is designed to help students complete the CAPTE-accredited Clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy and meets educational requirements in New York to apply for the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).

Nazareth University has determined that the curriculum meets the state educational requirements for licensure or certification in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands secondary to is accreditation by CAPTE. Students graduating from Nazareth University’s CAPTE-accredited physical therapy program are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination and apply for licensure in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information regarding state qualifications and licensure requirements, please refer to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

For questions regarding the program, please contact Mary Ellen Vore, PT, Ed.D., MSCD, mvore9@naz.edu.