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DPT Clinical Education Overview

Clinical education is a critical component of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) curriculum at Tufts University School of Medicine, supporting our student-centered mission by identifying and aligning students' professional goals with their clinical education plan. Through our preferred partnerships, Tufts provides innovative educational and clinical learning experiences.

Clinical education provides students with exposure to various physical therapy practice settings that provide care to patients throughout the life spectrum. These full-time experiences occur during the second year of study and immerse students into clinical settings as they learn to function as a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Clinical education experiences allow students to apply their knowledge and skills to clinical situations under the direct supervision and guidance of experienced physical therapist clinicians. In clinical learning environments, students develop safe and effective skills in all aspects of patient care, professional behaviors, and the ability to work as an integral part of the interprofessional healthcare team.

In the second year of the program, students complete a total of 31-weeks of full-time clinical education. Our clinical education program is comprised of two eight-week experiences and a 15-week final clinical experience.

Didactic Preparation

Students have completed all foundational patient management coursework before the first clinical education experience. Our DPT students have the necessary preparation to treat patients with human movement system dysfunctions before being sent out to various clinical settings used in our program.

Students are concurrently enrolled in didactic coursework during clinical education to integrate didactic learning and clinical experiences.


Students must complete an inpatient (acute care, post-acute, inpatient rehabilitation) and outpatient (hospital-based or private practice) experience within the clinical education curriculum. The Tufts DPT Program prepares students to be generalists in physical therapy practice.

While opportunities may exist to participate in specialized settings, the DPT program intends to expose students to various patient populations (diagnoses and lifespan) representative of those commonly seen in physical therapy practice. Specialty clinical placements may be available; however, specialization is not the primary focus of entry-level DPT education and may be pursued by the student upon completing the program.


Clinical education is a critical component of any physical therapy education program. At Tufts, we are committed to preparing our graduates are market-ready as they enter into the physical therapy profession. We provide high-quality clinical education with placements all over the country, in a wide variety of settings to meet their post-professional goals.