Mayo Clinic Physical Therapy Doctoral Program Director John H. Hollman, Ph.D., working with physical therapy students

Program Director John H. Hollman, Ph.D., working with physical therapy students

The Physical Therapy Doctoral Program prepares individuals for professional practice in hospitals, clinics and private practice through targeted coursework, clinical experiences, and research projects.

Physical therapy students primarily study and work on Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota. In addition, the program holds approximately 150 contracts, offering clinical education opportunities at more than 1,000 clinical sites.

Didactic training

Over the course of the three-year program, you participate in lectures, workshops, in-service training, case studies, field trips, grand rounds, and informal discussions. You are encouraged to participate in these opportunities as time permits.

Research training

During the program, you plan and conduct one group research project and one individual project that may involve a single subject or multiple-subject research designs. Program mentors and physical therapy faculty and staff are available to help select and carry out research.

Course schedule

Mayo Clinic physical therapist helping a patient walk

Year I: Fall semester

  • Anatomy
  • Movement Science I
  • Exam & Systems Review I
  • Intervention Skills I
  • Pathopharmacology I
  • Physiology
  • Professional Management I
  • Research I

Year I: Spring semester

  • Neuroscience I
  • Movement Science II/Biomechanics
  • Exam & Systems Review II
  • Intervention Skills II
  • Pathopharmacology II
  • Clinical Orthopedics
  • Clinical Experience I

Year I: Summer semester

  • Movement Science III
  • Exam & Systems Review III
  • Intervention Skills III
  • Professional Management II
  • Clinical Experience II

Year II: Fall semester

  • Human Growth & Development
  • Geriatrics
  • Neuroscience II
  • Management of Neuromuscular Conditions I
  • Management of Musculoskeletal Conditions I
  • Management of Complex Medical Conditions
  • Management of Integumentary Conditions
  • Research II

Year II: Spring semester

  • Management of Neuromuscular Conditions II
  • Management of Musculoskeletal Conditions II
  • Management of Sports Related Injuries
  • Management of Cardiovascular-Pulmonary Conditions
  • Research III
  • Professional Management III — Teaching and Learning in PT

Year II: Summer semester

  • Exam & Systems Review IV — Differential Diagnosis
  • Health Promotion and Wellness
  • Professional Management IV
  • Topics in Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  • Clinical Experience III

Year III: Fall semester

  • Clinical Experience IV
  • Track Time Block (Clinical Experience V or Research)

Year III: Spring semester

  • Clinical Experience VI
  • Professional Practice Evaluation

Note: The above curriculum is subject to minor revisions periodically.

Mayo Clinic physical therapist helping a child walk

Description of clinical experiences

The first full-time clinical experience (CE II) takes place during the summer at the end of the first academic year. This clinical experience is designed to expose you to a specific patient care area as well as provide an opportunity for you to integrate skills learned during the first year. Appropriate clinical sites are in outpatient orthopedics or acute care. You must successfully complete CE II prior to advancing to the coursework that begins in the fall of the second academic year.

During the third year, you complete four 12-week, full-time clinical experiences. Three of the third-year clinical experiences take place in acute care, outpatient orthopedic or adult inpatient rehabilitation settings. The remaining experience is an elective and can take place in areas such as geriatrics, sports medicine, hand therapy, work rehabilitation, or pediatrics. Community hospital and general private practice settings also are options.

Clinical settings are yet another strength of the clinical education program. Each student has at least one full-time clinical experience that takes place at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, a setting that includes diverse patient care areas and outstanding clinical instructors. The majority of external clinical sites are in the Midwest, located within a 500-mile radius of Rochester (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin). Contracts are also held with sites in Washington state, Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Ohio, Tennessee, Wyoming, Utah, and Florida.

Clinical experienceApproximate timingDescription
I Thursdays during spring semester of Year I Part-time clinical experience designed to expose students to the breadth of the profession
II June-July Year I First full-time experience
III May-August Year II Full-time terminal clinical experiences in three required areas (outpatient, acute care and inpatient rehabilitation). One elective area.
IV August-November Year III
V November-February Year III
VI February-May Year III
Academics ▸ Health Sciences Education ▸ Physical Therapy Doctoral Program (Minnesota) ▸ Curriculum