Why Choose Duke

With our accomplished faculty, close teacher-student relationships, consistently high rankings, and association with one of the world’s great medical schools, few Doctor of Physical Therapy programs can offer prospective students the unique opportunities available at Duke.


Duke faculty are leaders in their fields, as both practicing clinicians and researchers specializing in physical therapy areas from sports medicine to global health. Faculty members are always available to their students, but also hold them to the highest standards. In addition to core faculty, teaching assistants (TAs), lab assistants, and clinical educators have a significant impact on students. All TAs are licensed, practicing physical therapists. All lab assistants are trained, practicing physical therapists and occupational therapists—not students. The combination of faculty, clinical educators, TAs, and lab assistants makes the faculty to student ratio per class 1:2.


Students enjoy mingling on campus.With 82 new students each year, class sizes are large enough to ensure a diverse student body but small enough to foster strong professional and personal relationships. Students are also actively involved in research and attend the Combined Sections Meeting and North Carolina Physical Therapy Association conferences.

Global Opportunities

The DPT program is grounded in producing clinicians that serve, learn and give. This is exemplified in the Global Studies program where students establish relationships and develop creative practice models in the field. Learn more.


 Duke Chapel is the architectural focus of the Duke campus.Located just across the street from the Duke campus in Erwin Square, DPT offers students access to study and research space, faculty offices, resource rooms, and lounges at almost any hour. Parking is free and steps from classrooms. Duke University Medical Center, the Trent Semans Center for Health Education, and the world-class anatomy lab is a short walk or bus ride.


Grounded in strong didactic courses, DPT students spend approximately half of their required hours in class/lab and the other half in a clinical setting. Combined with team-based learning, DPT students can establish stronger cohesion, better learning, and more inter-professional connections with their colleagues in the medical school, physician assistant program, and School of Nursing.

STEPs® and Internships

Clinical STEPs® (Student Team Experience in Practice) allows students to work in the same clinic for a week—three sessions during the program's first year and one session during year two—under the direction of a trained and skilled clinician. Additionally, two internships during the second and third year give students the opportunity to work in a variety of clinical settings. Duke's faculty and staff make sure that there are strong connections to these carefully selected training sites.


Duke faculty research plays a leading role in the evolution and expansion of the physical therapy industry, offering students the opportunity to get involved in innovative initiatives that are helping redefine physical therapy. Duke DPT students work directly with faculty on research, completing research projects, presenting research posters at local and national conferences, and learning how to become evidence-based practitioners.

Easy orientation

Starting with their first DPT interview, prospective students are introduced to students and faculty anxious to help. The Big Sib program, which pairs an entering student with a second- or third-year colleague, creates a strong sense of community while demonstrating Duke’s commitment to the success of each student.

Duke Basketball

Students, faculty and alumni agree that one of the best—and most fun—traditions at Duke is the support of its sports teams. Duke's men's basketball team has won five NCAA championships and 19 Atlantic Coast Conference championships—the latter more than any other team.


Located between North Carolina's mountains and the ocean, with some of the finest restaurants in the world a short walk from DPT offices, Durham is a great place to live, work, and play. The region area has a mild, seasonal climate; the cost of living is affordable; and cultural and recreational opportunities, both on campus and throughout the Research Triangle area, are plentiful.