Program Description

Program Description
Designed for the working professional, the Ph.D. in physical therapy resonates with the University's motto, "To make man whole." Physical therapists who are currently practicing or teaching will benefit from a modern, evidence-based curriculum focused on caring for the whole person. Classes are typically held two evenings a week in a traditional (face-to-face), distance-education (online), or blended format to facilitate the balance of work, family, and study. Students may be required to physically come to campus one time during summer quarters of the first and second year for clinical laboratory training and competencies as well as written comprehensive examinations. Aligned closely with our core values, this program provides physical therapy graduates with the skills and experience necessary to pursue careers as researchers and educators.

As part of the School of Allied Health Professions (SAHP), Department of Physical Therapy, the PhD program begins with a distinctive core of classes. These fundamental courses align with the American Physical Therapy Association’s movement science agenda as well as with LLU’s Mission, “To continue the healing ministry of Jesus Christ”.

Program Objective
To prepare leaders in the profession of physical therapy who are capable of conducting research that will improve the lives of people through whole person care, to serve as client/patient advocates, and to serve as educators in entry-level and graduate physical therapy programs.

Program Completion Requirements
The total units required to complete the program will vary depending on your past level of education. Students entering the program with a Bachelor’s of Science in Physical Therapy (BSPT) and a master’s degree or a Master of Physical Therapy Degree (MPT) will be required to complete a minimum 83 quarter units.  Students matriculating with a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree or a MPT degree plus another doctorate degree will need to complete a minimum of 69 units.  The curriculum is made up of a total of six domains: 1) Core, 2) Clinical & Applied Science, 3) Lifestyle Health & Wellness, 4) Education, Administration & Leadership, 5) Religion and 6) Research & Statistics.

Program Website  |  Catalog

Program Length

4 to 7 years

Possible Careers

Research, Administration, Teaching, Advanced clinical practice

Discipline Accrediting Agency

Loma Linda University is regionally accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities.
Integrating faith and health
Loma Linda University educates and encourages a balanced life by living our values of humility, compassion, justice, integrity, excellence, freedom and self- control. You will be surrounded by faculty who are committed to healthcare innovation and research while engaging your spirituality.


  • Estimated amounts are for the academic year specified only. Amounts are based on full-time attendance for the number of months enrolled per academic year. International students need to calculate 12 months of living expenses based on these amounts.
  • Amounts are expected to increase each year consistent with inflation in the professional education sector.
  • To qualify for financial aid, most students must be enrolled at least half time in an aid eligible program and be taking degree requirements. Half time is 6 units in a quarter for undergraduate programs and 4 units in a quarter for graduate programs.