Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Therapy (PhD)

As one of six institutions in the nation and the only one in Texas to offer a PhD in physical therapy, Texas Woman's University helped paved the way for physical therapists moving into academic and research roles.

The PhD program is designed to develop future physical therapy educators and researchers with program emphasis on:

  • Cultivating a deeper understanding of the scientific basis for clinical practice
  • Working closely with a faculty mentor in the student’s area of clinical interest
PT student shares her research poster with others

TWU offers individualized programs for physical therapists looking to earn their PhD in specialized areas. Working with students to accommodate specific clinical and/or research goals, TWU’s unique program offering includes:

  • The program includes on-site and online courses. On-site courses typically meet one to three weekends during a given semester.
  • Ability to continue with clinical practice either part-time or full-time while in the PhD program
  • Specialized areas of concentration are individually tailored to the student’s needs and developed through practicum experiences, independent study, dissertation and elective coursework
  • Outstanding faculty members with academic terminal degrees (PhD or DSc) and many hold an advanced specialty clinical certifications from ABPTS 
  • On-site classes are offered at both the Dallas and Houston centers.

Program requirements

PT professor shows class the proper way to assess a patient

The PhD program requires a minimum of 60 semester credit hours beyond the master’s degree, including six semester credit hours for dissertation (some coursework from other accredited DPT schools may be applied to this minimum). A full list of required courses can be found in the course catalog.

In addition to the required coursework and research, there is also a residency requirement as well as a qualifying exam and an oral final exam. 

The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accredits entry level Physical Therapy (DPT and PTA) programs only. CAPTE does not accredit post-professional programs.


Visit the Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about the PhD program. If you have additional questions, please contact the appropriate program campus lead below.

Admission requirements

Admission to the Ph.D. in Physical Therapy

Program Contact

Mary Beth Daugherty
940-898-2460 /

Application Deadlines

Applicants interested in the Ph.D. program may apply at any time.

Recommended/preferred deadlines:

Fall - January 15
Spring - August 1
Summer - January 15

Admission Requirements

  • Proof of graduation from an approved Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accredited program or equivalent entry-level physical therapy program.
    A license to practice physical therapy in the United States or a minimum of 24 months of full-time clinical practice (beyond that required for entry-level education) within the last 3 years preferred.
  • A master's degree or clinical doctorate (DPT) is required from accredited programs; however, the masters can be in a related area (not necessarily physical therapy). Degrees must be completed before beginning the Ph.D.
  • A basic course in statistics within the last 10 years.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • All coursework from a foreign university must be evaluated by TWU’s International Education evaluator to establish U.S. equivalencies.
  • International students or if your bachelor’s degree is from a country where the official language is other than English, you must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Test of Spoken English tests and achieve scores of at least 22-writing, 24-speaking, 22-reading comprehension, and 21-listening comprehension - Total 89. For a list of exempt countries and the TOEFL exemption form visit the TWU International Student Admission website.
  • Have official TOEFL scores sent to TWU using Code 6826 (if applicable).
  • Collect and submit the following documents: 
    • Copy of PT license.
    • A written statement indicating the current focus of professional and research interests including an evaluation of personal strengths and weaknesses.
    • Resume/curriculum vitae.
  • Email addresses for two individuals (preferably from the latest employer and/or faculty from the last school attended) familiar with your academic capabilities, who can provide letters of recommendation to be requested through and submitted into the application.
  • An interview is required. An interview by telephone or with technology may be arranged if circumstances preclude an on-site interview.

Opportunities for clinical research while at TWU are limited for students not licensed in Texas. However, research can be completed in another state or country. In addition, we can advise graduate students about seeking licensure in Texas.

The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accredits entry-level Physical Therapy (DPT and PTA) programs only.  CAPTE does not accredit post-professional programs.

How to Apply

  1. Apply online.
    Apply to Graduate Programs according to the start semester and application portals below:
    • Fall 2023 - All programs apply via ApplyTexas (Domestic application deadline is Aug 18th and International application deadline is June 1st.)
    • Spring 2024 - All programs apply via ApplyTexas EXCEPT applicants to the College of Business, Child Life, Child Development, or Early Childhood Education & Development Masters and Ph.D. programs who should apply via the TWU Online Graduate Application Portal.
    • Summer & Fall 2024 - All graduate programs apply via the TWU Online Graduate Application Portal.

  2. Pay the application fee.
    The $50 fee, ($75 fee for International applicants), which applies to all new and returning applicants can be paid by:
    • Credit card - Online through the portal you applied on (either ApplyTexas or TWU's Online Graduate Application).
    • Certified check or money order by mail or electronically - payable to TWU, sent by mail to:
      TWU Admissions Processing, 301 Research Circle, Room 220; Denton, Texas 76204
      (include your full name and ID number).
    • Cash (no personal checks) - Pay at the Bursar's Office. After paying, bring the receipt to Admissions Processing (2nd floor of GRB).
    • Fee Waivers - Graduate applicants who are certified McNair Scholars are eligible for a McNair Scholar application Fee waiver. Submit the request using the Application Fee Waiver Submission Form.

  3. Submit transcripts to TWU.
    • Domestic Applicants must submit official transcripts for each college or university attended, both undergraduate and graduate. See the Information on Transcripts website for more details.
    • International Applicants are now required to provide an evaluation prepared by a NACES or AICE member evaluation service. International transcripts should not be sent directly to TWU.  See the International Admission website for more details.

For more information on graduate admissions or to contact an admissions official, visit the Graduate Admissions website.

Students who wish to apply for a Graduate Assistantship must meet the General Criteria for Appointment of Graduate Assistants.

Page last updated 4:50 PM, April 29, 2024