University of California, San Francisco/San Francisco State University

Information about Physical Therapist Program at University of California, San Francisco/ San Francisco State University



University of California, San Francisco/ San Francisco State University (A4, D5, F1, PU)


Last Updated by Program: 06/29/2006


Address:   UCSF/SFSU Graduate Program in Physical Therapy

Dept of Physical Therapy and Rehab Science

University of California, San Francisco

1318 7th Avenue, Box 0736

San Francisco, CA94143-0736


Phone:   (415)476-3147 Fax:   (415)502-0323

Admissions/Student Inquiry Phone:   (415)476-3147 

Financial Aid Phone:   (415)476-4181 


Web Address:

Program E-mail: 



Nancy Byl, PT, PhD, FAPTA

Prof and Chair (UCSF), Co-Chair (UCSF/SFSU Graduate Program)



  Accreditor:   Western Association of Schools and Colleges/Accrediting Commission for SeniorColleges and Universities

  Carnegie Classification:   Special Focus Institutions--Medical schools and medical centers



  Date of Initial Accreditation:   Bachelor's degree, November 1942 (no longer offered) Master’s degree, April 1991

  Current Accreditation Status:   Accreditation

  Next Visit   2011

  Five Year History:   Accreditation



Master of Science in Physical Therapy (MS) The student may take their licensing examination and proceed with their studies in the (DPT). The MS student continues their studies in the (DPT), which is approved by Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and meets all of the requirements for Physical Therapy education. The DPT program is not accredited by CAPTE.



University of California San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading medical center with an international reputation. In addition to physical therapy course work, students have the opportunity to observe surgeries, attend grand rounds, and participate in medical specialty clinics. San Francisco State University (SFSU) is a large, urban comprehensive university offering courses in a broad array of subject areas that can supplement specific physical therapy courses: for example, holistic health, wheelchairs design for individuals in developing countries, special education, gerontology, kinesiology, motor learning, dance and business. Students attend classes on both campuses; the first year is spent primarily at UCSF and the second year is spent primarily at SFSU. A student interested in becoming a physical therapist applies to the MS-DPT Program. The MSPT component of the program is accredited by the APTA Commission on Physical Therapy Education, and it received the full 10-year accreditation when the site was visited in 2001. The 3-year MS-DPT program (36 months) includes 24 weeks of full-time clinical affiliations. Students are admitted into the accredited entry-level MS physical therapy program (27 months), and then complete an additional 9 months of study to earn a DPT degree. The MS program is full time for entry-level students only. The DPT is for students completing the entry-level MS at UCSF/SFSU, recent UCSF/SFSU graduates, or experienced clinicians who have a Masters degree and are licensed to practice physical therapy in CA and have Board Specialty Certification or have demonstrated leadership in the profession. While studying in the DPT, it is possible for students to work part-time. This program is designed to prepare scholarly clinicians, educators, collaborative clinical researchers, administrative managers and community leaders. THE MS-DPT PROGRAM The MS-DPT is a 36-month course of study. First-year students begin class during the summer of admittance and focus on anatomy, neuroscience and kinesiology. In the first academic year basic and applied sciences and first-level assessment and treatment are emphasized. In the second year, students continue advanced physical therapy course work and participate in research projects under faculty supervision. Students also have the opportunity to gain experience as teaching or research assistants or work with patients under supervision. The summers between academic years are spent in clinical experiences. The culminating experience for the Masters degree is a comprehensive exam in the format of clinical studies. The students complete the MS studies after the last full-time clerkship with a joint MSPT degree from both universities. The students then take the physical therapy licensing examination and apply to continue into the third year to complete a post professional DPT degree. Students who have been on probation for academic or professional reasons may not be eligible to continue in the DPT. Classes in the DPT program are interactive lecture and laboratory sessions. Through dynamic learning experiences, students integrate the basic foundations of science into different paradigms for the treatment of patients with movement dysfunctions. Supplementing the didactic coursework are research experiences and a mentored residency-type clinical experience. The curriculum is built on a strong theoretical foundation in basic, medical and applied sciences. Critical thinking and clinical reasoning are woven into all aspects of the program and creative problem solving skills are developed to work with patients to mitigate disability, optimize function and maintain positive health. The graduates are well prepared to pass the National Licensing Examination and are considered outstanding applicants for positions in physical therapy.



First-year clinical experiences for the MSPT include 4 half-days of observation. During the winter quarter, half-day, part-time clinical experiences occur on Fridays; during the spring quarter, full-day part-time clinical experiences occur on Fridays. During the second summer quarter, students complete two 6-week full-time clerkships. Two full-time 6-week clerkships or one full-time 12-week clerkship are completed in the final, third summer quarter.



There are nine full-time and four part-time academic faculty members. Of the full-time academic faculty, 75% hold post-professional doctoral degrees, and four are engaged in clinical practice within the UCSF faculty practice or the SFSU Student Health Services. The faculty have also published many articles in peer-reviewed journals. The faculty-to-student ratio is 1:8. In addition to teaching, the nine full-time faculty members are all involved in research. Faculty research areas range from basic and applied science to qualitative work in social science. Both campuses have excellent labs for research including full biomechanics labs, balance testing equipment, and complete motion analysis laboratories. The physical therapists in the faculty practice program have specialty certifications in orthopedics, neurorehabilitation, pediatrics, geriatrics or home health.



University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has a total student enrollment of 3,642 students, and San Francisco State University (SFSU) has a total student enrollment of 28,000. The physical therapy program has an enrollment of 32 students. No transfer students are accepted, and preference is given to in-state residents; however, highly qualified out-of-state applicants are encouraged to apply.



Twenty-eight to thirty-two students are admitted to the MS-DPT program on an annual basis. The application deadline each year is November 1. To be eligible for admission, the following criteria must be met: DEGREE REQUIREMENTS All applicants to the entry-level program must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Although any undergraduate major is acceptable, for students in the initial stages of undergraduate preparation, a major in kinesiology or the biological sciences tends to be the most direct route into a physical therapy program. Students must meet the Graduate School Requirements of the University of California and the CaliforniaStateUniversity. More specifically, students must have an overall baccalaureate GPA of 3.0 and GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 sem/90 qtr units to be eligible for admission to the UCSF and SFSU Graduate Divisions. REQUIRED PREREQUISITES Certain specific prerequisites must be completed prior to entry. To be considered for admission to the program, applicants must have completed 80% of the prerequisite courses prior to submitting applications. The program requires courses in the basic sciences, behavioral and applied sciences and highly recommends a few additional courses. The specific requirements can be found at CLINICAL EXPERIENCE all applicants must be able to demonstrate some understanding of the work and profession of physical therapy. This is gained through paid or volunteer experience in a variety of physical therapy settings working under the supervision of a physical therapist for a minimum of 150 hours. GRE SCORES all applicants must have taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) including verbal, analytical, and quantitative sections before October of the year prior to intended enrollment. GRE scores may not be more than 5 years old. Applicants taking the exam before October 1, 2002 must achieve a minimum score of 1500 in the general test (verbal, quantitative and analytical) with a minimum of 450 in verbal. Applicants taking the exam after October 1, 2002 must achieve a total score of 1000 for verbal and quantitative with a minimum of 450 in verbal and a score of 4.5 in the analytical writing section. LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION Letters of recommendation are required from three individuals who personally know you and your abilities. AT LEAST ONE RECOMMENDATION MUST BE FROM A PHYSICAL THERAPIST. Physicians, current teachers of basic science (anatomy and physiology), other health professionals or employers are suggested for the two other letters of recommendation.



95% of admitted students graduate from the program; 100% success rate on PT licensing board examination; 100% of the graduates responding to a 3-year survey are employed.



For a list of all UCSF/SFSU Fees click on the fee link- During the first year, students will pay fees on the UCSF campus. During the second year, fees will be paid to SFSU. Second and third summer sessions require fees to be paid at SFSU. Fees must be paid in full at the time of registration each quarter or semester. Fees vary by campus and are subject to change without notice. Total fees for UCSF each quarter are approximately $2,950 for residents and $7,950 for non-residents. The fees for the summer session at SFSU are $1,000. Non-resident tuition fees are not assessed for summer quarters. SFSU semester fees are approximately $1800 for residents; non-residents add $339 per unit. The Post Professional DPT is a self-supported degree program and includes a self-supported fee (approx. $18,000 annually). In addition to the fees above, students should budget money for housing and meals, textbooks and supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous academic and living expenses. The following estimated costs, added to fees listed above, would help approximate the cost of the graduate program in physical therapy. The average room for a studio is $900 per month. One-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments average $1,100 and $1,650 respectively. Check the UCSF housing website for more options. The cost of textbooks, syllabi, and school supplies are estimated to be $2,500 for the professional program. Students apply for financial aid through the UCSF Financial Aid Office only. The office publishes a financial aid brochure that gives detailed information on financial aid. Please contact: University of California at San Francisco, Office of Financial Aid, Box 0246, 200 Millberry Union, San Francisco, CA 94143; 415/476-4181. Students must apply for financial aid each year.



Both campuses are located in the city of San Francisco with all the city has to offer and are within blocks of Golden GatePark and LakeMerced. Students are within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean and within day-trip distance to winter and river sports. Both universities provide affordable access to dramatic and visual arts as well as access to all forms of musical entertainment. Intercollegiate and intramural athletic programs include volleyball, racquetball, swimming and basketball. For more information check the UCSF Campus Life Services website- or the SFSU website at