The UW-Madison Doctor of Physical Therapy Program requires completion of 38 weeks of full-time clinical education experiences.
The Program utilizes a non-concurrent clinical education design, where students are either in school full-time or immersed in a clinical environment full-time. Research has shown improved clinical decision-making skills with this design as compared to a concurrent clinical education design, where students do part-time clinical work and go to school part-time.
Additionally, many courses require clinical observations and experiences, arranged by the course instructors, to provide continued clinical exposure.
When do clinical experiences occur?
The following is a list of required clinical experiences (38 weeks total):
- 2 weeks - first two weeks in January after completion of the first fall semester
- 4 weeks - at the end of the summer semester of the second year
- 8 weeks - at the end of the second summer and the beginning of the third fall semester
- 8 weeks - during the end of the third fall semester
- 8 weeks - during the beginning of the third spring semester
- 8 weeks - during the end of the third spring semester
Students are required to complete 8 weeks each of:
- Acute care rotations in hospitals, most often involving patients who are critically ill and/or in the ICU
- Orthopaedic rotations in out-patients clinics, private practices, and sports medicine settings
- Neurological rehabilitation rotations in hospitals on inpatient rehabilitation units, skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, spinal cord injury centers, and traumatic brain injury centers
Additionally, students are encouraged to gain exposure to both rural and urban settings. Students may also perform clinicals in special populations, such as pediatrics.
Where do clinical experiences occur?
UW-Madison contracts with approximately 350 organizations and facilities across the nation, including Alaska and Hawaii. Approximately 250 of our facilities are in Wisconsin.
Because the Program is over 75 years old, our alumni base is very strong and our alumni are more than willing to mentor our students!
All travel, lodging and meal expenses associated with clinical placements are the student's responsibility.