The University of Wisconsin-Madison has had an accredited program in physical therapy since 1929, during which time the program has progressed from educating undergraduates to granting doctorates.

In the fall of 1996, the last class of undergraduate students was admitted to the program. The first class of Master of Physical Therapy graduate students was admitted in June 1997. Since 2010, students have been awarded the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree upon successful completion of the three-year professional program.

In April 2011, the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association granted accreditation status for a period of ten years to the program. The program will be reevaluated by the commission in June 2021.

Student outcomes

ClassGraduation rateNational Physical Therapy Exam pass rateFirst time pass rate  Six-month post-graduation employment rate
2015 100% 100% 100% 100%
2014 95% 100% 97.5% 100%
2013 100% 100% 97.5% 100%
2012 95% 100% 100% 100%


Program policy on accreditation

To foster excellence in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program through the use of criteria and guidelines for assessing educational effectiveness, encourage improvement through continuous self-study and planning, assure the public of our educational standards, encourage diversity, and protect academic freedom, it is the resolve of the Physical Therapy Program, through the program director, to maintain continuous accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Accreditation compliance efforts will be demonstrated through:

  • Awareness of accreditation evaluative criteria
  • Setting program direction that supports the criteria
  • Timely submission of required fees
  • Submission of documentation and reports of graduation rates, performance on state licensing examinations and employment rates
  • Timely notification of expected or unexpected substantive changes within the program and UW–Madison
  • Complying with accreditation criteria within two years of being determined to be out of compliance, including working with the institution to regain compliance
  • Handling complaints and maintaining records of complaints about the program

Procedure for complaints

A complaint is a formal expression of dissatisfaction with the program or allegation against the program.

Complaints about the program are acknowledged upon receipt and should be brought to the attention of the program director. The program director will note complaints, examine the nature of each complaint, and work with appropriate personnel to resolve the complaint. The program director will keep a record of all complaints, including the nature and disposition of each complaint.

The university mechanism for handling complaints about the program begins by addressing the complaint at the program level. If the complaint cannot be adequately addressed at the program level, it is transferred to the associate dean for academic affairs. Consultation with the University Office of Legal Services may be necessary.

Following appropriate levels of review within the School of Medicine and Public Health, if the complaint is unresolved, it may be directed to the chancellor and finally to the Board of Regents, in accordance with UW System Rules.