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Cooperative Education | DPT

Entry-Level Physical Therapy (DPT)

As an Entry-level student, you will be accepted directly into the Physical Therapy program as a freshman, so you can start taking related courses during your first semester. A unique feature to the NU DPT program is the inclusion of 2 six month cooperative education experiences that allow you an opportunity to work in a variety of clinical settings. During the last two years of this six-year program, you will complete 36 weeks of full time Clinical Education at three different clinical sites. These will include inpatient, outpatient and specialty environments.

Unique Program Features
Interprofessional Opportunities

Bouvé Van providing community access to health care offered in conjunction with the Nursing, Pharmacy, Speech Language Pathology and Public Health programs.


Beyond the traditional semester abroad, we offer multiple global academic and service-oriented experiences such as Global Dialogues (30 days in country), PT academic exchange programs and global service PT programs to Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, South Africa and Switzerland.

  • Early Intervention, working with infants and toddlers with disabilities or at risk for developmental delays. The program is offered in conjunction with the Department of Counseling Psychology
  • Sports Conditioning and Management of the Athlete
  • Ergonomics and Worker Wellness

Psychology, Business, Foreign Language

Research Opportunities
Clinical Education
  • In 38 states and with professional and collegiate sports programs.
  • 36 weeks of internship plus 6 months to one-year of paid clinical experience through our unique Cooperative Education Program.
Contact Info

Maura Daly Iversen, PT, DPT, SD, MPH, FNAP
Chairperson, Department of Physical Therapy, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences
301 Robinson Hall
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: 617.373.3908

Sample Curriculum

The Physical Therapy program at Northeastern will prepare you to work as a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) in a variety of clinical settings. Here is a sample of the curricular offering in the DPT program.

  • Fall Semester

    • CHEM1101/2/3 General Chemistry for HS / Lab / Recitation (4/1/0)
    • PSYC1101 Foundations of Psychology (4)
    • MATH1241 Calculus 1 (4)
    • ENGL1111 College Writing (4)
    • PT1000 College: An Introduction (1)

    18 Credits

  • Spring Semester

    • CHEM1104/5/6 Organic Chemistry for HS / Lab / Recitation (4/1/0)
    • PSYC3404 Developmental Psychology (4)
    • Elective (4)
    • Arts or Humanities Elective (4)

    17 Credits

  • Fall Semester

    • MATH2280 Statistics and Software (4)
    • BIOL1117/8 Integrated Anatomy & Physiology 1 / Lab (4/1)
    • PHYS1145/6 Physics for Life Sciences 1 / Lab (4/1)
    • Elective (4)

    18 Credits

  • Spring Semester

    • PT5101/2 Foundations of PT with Lab (3/1)
    • BIOL1119/20 Integrated Anatomy & Physiology 2 / Lab (4/1)
    • PHYS1147/8 Physics for Life Sciences 2 / Lab (4/1)
    • PT2000 Professional Development for Co-op (1)
    • Elective (4)

    19 Credits

  • Summer A Semester

    • ENGL3306 Advanced Writing in the Health Professions (4)
    • Elective (4)

    8 Credits

  • Summer B Semester

    • COOP3945 Cooperative Education 1 (8 weeks)
  • Fall Semester

    • COOP 3945 Cooperative Education 1 (18 weeks)
  • Spring Semester

    • PT5131/2 Gross Anatomy / Lab (4/1)
    • HLTH5450 Healthcare Research (4)
    • PT5160 Psychosocial Aspects of PT (3)
    • PT5161 Psychosocial Aspects Seminar (1)
    • EXSC4500 Exercise Physiology 1 (4)

    17 Credits

  • Summer A Semester

    • PT5138/9 Neuroscience / Lab (4/1)
    • PT5140/1 Pathology / Recitation (4/0)
    • PT5145 Introducation to Healthcare System (2)
    • PT5133/4 Kinesiology / Lab (3/1)

    15 Credits

  • Fall Semester

    • PT5150/1 Motor Control Development and Learning/ Lab (4/1)
    • PHSC4340 Pharmacology for the Health Professions (4)
    • PT5503/4 Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Mgmt. / Lab (4/1)
    • Elective (4)

    18 Credits

  • Spring Semester

    • COOP3945 Cooperative Education 2 (18 weeks)
  • Summer A Semester

    • COOP3945 Cooperative Education 2 (8 weeks)
  • Summer B Semester

    • PT5540 Clinical Integration 1 Evidence and Practice (2)
    • PT5515/6 Integumentary Systems Mgmt. / Lab (2/1)
    • PT6243/4 Health Education Promotion and Wellness (3/0)

    8 Credits

  • Fall Semester

    • PT5227 Physical Therapy Project 1 (3)
    • PT6241 Screening for Medical Condition in PT (4)
    • PT5209/10 Neurological Rehabilitation 1 / Lab (4/1)
    • PT6000 Leadership Administration & Management (2)
    • PT5505/6 Musculoskeletal Management 1 / Lab (4/1)

    19 Credits

  • Spring Semester

    • PT5229 Physical Therapy Project 2 (2)
    • Physical Therapy Professional Seminar 2 PT Lifespan Management (2)
    • PT5230 Geriatrics/ Pediatrics (2)
    • PT6221/2 Neurological Rehabilitation 2 / Lab (4/1)
    • PT6223/4 Musculoskeletal Management 2 / Lab (4/1)

    16 Credits

  • Summer A Semester

    • PT6441 Clinical Education 1 (8 weeks) (6)

    6 Credits

  • Summer B Semester

    • PT6250 Clinical Integration 2 Evidence and Practice (2)
    • PT6231-6237 PT Advanced Elective (2)
    • PT6215/6 Assistive Technology / Lab (3/1)

    8 Credits

  • Fall Semester

    • PT6442 Clinical Education 2 (14 weeks) (6)
    • PT6251 PT Diagnostic Imaging (on-line) (3)

    9 Credits

  • Spring Semester

    • PT6448 Clinical Education 3 ( 14 weeks) (9)

    9 Credits

A course of study in the DPT program offers several opportunities to minor or concentrate your studies in various many areas. Some of these opportunities include:

  • Minors in – Business, Languages, Psychology
  • Concentration in Early Intervention, Sports Conditioning and Management of the Athlete
Other Options
Early Intervention

You may also consider the concentration in Early Intervention (EI), for work with infants and toddlers with known disabilities or those who are at risk for developmental delay because of a difficult birth or the presence of certain environmental risk factors.

The Early Intervention concentration academic courses are offered in a hybrid format that combines online learning with classroom meetings. The program of study consists of four courses, an EI project, and a practicum (all integrated within the DPT curriculum), leading to the required state certification for early intervention personnel.

DPT / EI Curriculum
Sports Conditioning Concentration

The concentration is Sports Conditioning and Management of the Athlete offers you the opportunity to work with athletes of all ages and in a variety of settings. A Sports Strength and Conditioning Concentration will prepare students to pass the sports and conditioning certification (CSCS) and enhance a graduate’s ability to work with athletes in various venues from gyms to the athletic field improving collaboration with multiple medical disciplines.

Sports Concentration Curriculum

Curriculum subject to change

Experiential Learning

A unique feature to the Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum includes two 6-month cooperative education rotations working in the clinical environment as a full time paid employee. Rotations could be at acute care or rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient clinics, K-12 schools, nursing homes, pediatric care facilities, and even camps for children with disabilities. NU is the only program in the United States with co-operative education embedded into the educational experience.

You may also take advantage of our numerous partnerships with our urban neighbors, including community health centers, Boston Public Schools, the YMCA, eldercare centers, and many others. These culturally-diverse volunteer opportunities offer you experience providing services as you work to improve your own understanding of urban health issues and the physical therapy profession.

Polly Cerasoli Scholarship Fund

Thank you for your interest in the scholarship fund to honor Pauline (Polly) Cerasoli.

Polly Cerasoli, clinician, teacher, mentor, scholar, leader, skier and friend, passed away on September 11, 2010 at the age of 71 while residing at the Rose Meadow Farm in New Boston, N.H. Polly’s career was cut short in 1996 when she sustained a traumatic brain injury from an unknown assailant while attending the APTA combined sections meeting in Atlanta.

Life in Rural Vermont
Polly grew up in Vermont where she accompanied her father, a country doctor, on his rounds to patient/client homes, braving the snow and ice of the Green Mountains to reach those in need in rural Vermont. Those special times with her dad fostered a love for medicine and a commitment to help others. When she learned about the profession of physical therapy, she knew it would become her life-long passion.

Career Development
Polly received her BS in Physical Therapy from the University of Connecticut. She then moved to Boston where she worked as a clinician while attending Boston University to earn a Master’s in Education. She became a member of the PT faculty at Northeastern University in the early 1970s. As a teacher, she taught a variety of courses, but her specialty was therapeutic exercise. She also served as academic coordinator of clinical education and acting chairperson of the physical therapy department. Polly earned her Doctor of Education degree in Rehabilitation Administration from Northeastern. Her dissertation addressed the relationship between leadership style and job satisfaction among physical therapist clinicians. Polly loved teaching and was devoted to nurturing the best in those around her. She always had time to mentor and inspire students and colleagues.

Polly served the profession in other ways through her activities with the American Physical Therapy Association. She was an active member of the House of Delegates and the Education and Legislation/Regulations Sections. She also served on evaluation teams for the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education as well as participating in various task forces.

Polly left Northeastern to become Director of Rehabilitation at Massachusetts General Hospital and to teach at the MGH Institute. From there she moved to Denver, Colorado to live and ski in the Rocky Mountains. She became the Assistant Dean of Allied Health and Director of the Physical Therapy Program at the University of Colorado, where she continued working to advance the profession of physical therapy. In spite of her career moves, Polly always maintained her ties to Northeastern.

Polly inspired students and colleagues to excel both personally and professionally. You can help cultivate Polly’s ideals and qualities in the next generation of physical therapist by contributing to the Polly Cerasoli Scholarship Fund. Proceeds from the fund will be used to award an annual scholarship to a physical therapy graduate student who exemplifies the characteristics that reflect those Polly displayed throughout her life and career.

Making a Contribution
If you would like to make a contribution to the Polly Cerasoli Scholarship Fund, please contact Kathy Cotter at 617.373.2637 or you can send a check to 215 Behrakis Health Sciences Center, 360 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.

Essential Functions for Northeastern University Physical Therapy Students

Physical therapy students must be able to perform, with or without reasonable accommodations, each of these essential functions in order to fully participate in our program and successfully complete the requirements for the DPT.

Cognitive Functions

  1. Comprehend, integrate and analyze complex information from the liberal arts, basic sciences, mathematics, psychological and clinical sciences and apply this information to professional course work.
  2. Comprehend, integrate, analyze and apply information from written materials, demonstrations, lectures, class discussions, laboratory practice sessions, and real and simulated patients.
  3. Effectively utilize information obtained from classroom, laboratory and experiential learning, and written materials to create interventions for real and simulated patients.
  4. Access, critique and analyze information from the professional literature, clinical experience and patient preferences to provide evidence-based interventions.
  5. Educate others including but not limited to: patients, students, colleagues, peers, the general public/community groups and other health professionals in a variety of venues using appropriate teaching and learning methods.
  6. Determine the physical therapy needs of any patient with movement dysfunction.
  7. Properly document physical therapy assessment, plan of care and produce any other
    documents necessary for any patient receiving physical therapy services.
  8. Demonstrate management skills including strategic planning, organizing, supervising,
    delegating, managing resources, and adhering to legal/regulatory requirements.
  9. Evaluate patient or community needs and create programs of prevention and health
    promotion in a variety of client populations and settings.
  10. Advocate for patients and member of the community to improve access to health care and
    health outcomes.
  11. Analyze the impact and influence of lifestyle, socioeconomic class, culture, beliefs, race, and abilities of patients and colleagues to develop appropriate and effective interventions.
  12. Identify and analyze factors which affect the overall health of society, its healthcare policies, access, delivery and quality.
  13. Assess environmental and personal factors that serve as facilitators or barriers to full
    community participation based on patient’s goals.
  14. Screen for psychosocial factors that affect patient function such as substance abuse, domestic violence and psychiatric conditions, and provide appropriate interventions.
  15. Provide interventions for patients/clients and the community at large that is culturally
    appropriate and respectful of their preferences.

Affective and Communication Functions

  1. Establish professional, respectful, empathic relationships with individuals from a variety of lifestyles, cultures, ages, socioeconomic backgrounds and abilities, based on mutual trust.
  2. Develop and maintain effective working relationships with professional colleagues, peers,
    patients/clients, families, and the general public.
  3. Work effectively as part of an interdisciplinary team.
  4. Effectively communicate with patients, families, colleagues and others by providing
    information that is appropriate for their culture, level of knowledge, and health literacy.
  5. Identify the psychosocial impact of movement dysfunction and disability on the client and
    family; integrate these needs into all patient intervention or personal interactions.
  6. Meet externally imposed deadlines and time requirements.
  7. Effectively and consistently manage personal stress and the stress of others.
  8. Effectively attend to people, information, and tasks in a complex, highly stimulating
  9. Practice in a safe, ethical, and legal manner, following guidelines as established by federal, state, and local law, the University, clinical facilities, the APTA, and related professional organizations.
  10. Demonstrate responsibility for self-assessment and the development of a life-long plan for professional growth and development.
  11. Accept responsibility for the consequences of one’s own actions.
  12. Respond to medical crisis and emergencies in a calm, safe, and professional manner.
  13. Speak and write effectively in English to convey information to other individuals and groups.
  14. Understand and interpret the verbal, non-verbal, and written communications of others and
    respond in an appropriate, professional manner.
  15. Place the needs of the patient before the needs of the therapist.

Psychomotor Functions

  1. Safely, reliably, and efficiently perform appropriate physical therapy procedures to examine the functional skills and abilities of patients with motor dysfunction across the lifespan consistent with currently established best practices.
  2. Safely, reliably, and efficiently perform physical therapy interventions consistent with currently established best practices for patients across the lifespan.
  3. Effectively and consistently practice standard precautions.
  4. Effectively perform CPR and emergency first aid.
  5. Read instructions, manipulate and operate physical therapy equipment and monitoring
  6. Demonstrate appropriate body mechanics and react safely and appropriately to sudden or
    unexpected movements of patients.
  7. Demonstrate the ability to work in an environment that requires physical activity and
    mobility in a way that does not compromise patient or therapist safety.

Reference: Ingram, D. (1997). Opinions of Physical Therapy Education Program Directors on Essential Functions, Physical Therapy, 77(1), 37-45.

Apply for the Entry-Level Physical Therapy (DPT) program.
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