Program Overview

Program Overview

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Welcome to Hawai‘i’s Pacific University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (HPU DPT) program. Our innovative, 24-month, hybrid program is built upon HPU’s core values of Pono, Kuleana, and Aloha and the core values of the physical therapy profession. Students will benefit from a blended learning format that combines best practices in distance education, on-campus lab immersion sessions, and clinical education experiences, set within a multicultural learning environment. The program provides students the opportunity to complete clinical education across the U.S., including unique experiences in the Western United States, Hawai‘i, and other Pacific Islands.



Program Delivery

Program Delivery: Hybrid, mostly online with 13 weeks in person (8 visits to campus), and 32 weeks of clinical
education. The curriculum is divided into ten 8-week terms, and a final 16-week semester. Students take no more than four
courses during each 8-week academic term to optimize learning. All in-person labs take place in either
Honolulu or Las Vegas based on the program that the student is enrolled in. Three clinical education experiences occur in the second year of the program.


Hawai`i Pacific University's innovative Doctor of Physical Therapy program develops movement specialists who provide evidence-informed, collaborative, and empathic care. We are committed to building a professional `ohana of diverse and open-minded leaders who anticipate and respond to the needs of the global community.



HPU will deliver an accredited DPT program that embraces the core values of the profession and the university. 


PROGRAM GOAL 1: Enroll and graduate a diverse student body to support the demand for physical therapists in Hawai`i and the Western US. 

PROGRAM GOAL 2: Develop exemplary career-focused physical therapists through innovative educational and clinical learning experiences. 

FACULTY GOAL: Demonstrate a commitment to excellence and professionalism through lifelong learning, service, and scholarship.

STUDENT GOAL 1: Demonstrate professional behaviors of the physical therapy profession. 

STUDENT GOAL 2: Demonstrate a commitment to evidence-informed care in both academic and clinical preparation consistent with the professional scope of physical therapy practice. 

GRADUATE GOAL: Demonstrate a commitment to professional leadership, lifelong learning, and evidence-informed care. 



HPU DPT will provide outcomes as this information becomes available.



The program has determined that its curriculum meets the state educational requirements for licensure or certification in all states, the District of Colombia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands secondary to its accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, based on the following:

CAPTE accreditation of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant program satisfies state educational requirements in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Thus, students graduating from CAPTE-accredited physical therapist and physical therapist assistant education programs are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination and apply for licensure in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information regarding state qualifications and licensure requirements, refer to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy website at



Below is the U.S. Dept of Education (USDE) rule change which allows students enrolled in institutions with Candidate for Accreditation or "pre-accreditation" status to sit for the licensure exam immediately upon graduation. Further, because of this rule change, initial accreditation status is no longer required to sit for the exam. Additionally, cohort number two (2025 graduating class) may complete the program and take the exam if initial accreditation is not granted, due to the reconsideration and appeal processes (a year-long process). A third cohort may not be accepted if initial accreditation is not granted. 

From US Department of Education. Effective July 01, 2020: "All credits and degrees earned and issued by an institution or program holding pre-accreditation from a nationally recognized agency are considered by the Secretary to be from an accredited institution or program."

From CAPTE Changes in the Rules. April 2020. "Per USDE regulations, all credits and degrees earned and issued by a program holding candidacy are considered to be from an accredited program." 



Hawai'i Pacific University is a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). SARA is an agreement among member states, districts, and territories that establish national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education.



The HPU DPT Clinical Education curriculum offers a variety of experiences across the United States and the Pacific islands. Each experience is full-time and occurs in the second year of the DPT program. Students have the opportunity to spend 32 weeks in a clinical setting and apply their skills and knowledge under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist.



During the 2nd year in the HPU DPT program, the curriculum contains four, 8-week clinical courses: DPT 8910, 8920, 8930, and 8940. The final two courses, DPT 8930 and 8940, will be combined into a 16-week terminal clinical experience. Students are expected to participate in multiple clinical settings over the course of the program. 

DPT 8910, the first clinical experience, starts at the beginning of the 2nd year in our program. Students have completed all foundational coursework prior to participating in this experience. Clinical placements may include outpatient orthopedic, inpatient acute care, post-acute, long-term rehabilitation, or other non-advanced clinical sites.

DPT 8920, 8930, & 8940 occur after all foundational and management coursework has been completed. Students will complete DPT 8920 as an 8-week experience followed by a 16-week experience, or they may combine these courses into one, 24-week terminal experience. There are no restrictions on what type of setting students may participate in during these courses.



Students will have the opportunity to rank-order their preference for clinical education experiences. The clinical education team will do their best to limit travel, but students should anticipate participating in 1 or more experiences that are not within driving distance of their home. Travel and housing are at the expense of the student and are not included in the DPT Program tuition.



Students must submit proof of a physical examination and updated immunization information prior to entering the HPU DPT program. The DPT program has additional immunization requirements for clinical education experiences. Health and immunization forms are to be completed and signed by a licensed healthcare provider. The State of Hawai‘i law mandates that certain health requirements be cleared before students can enter into postsecondary institutions (Hawaii Administrative Rules, Title 11, Department of Health, Chapter 157 Examination and Immunization). Health requirements are further outlined in the DPT student handbook. 



Criminal background checks and drug testing are becoming mandatory at medical institutions as a requirement of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). Individuals working in health care facilities often must consent to and be cleared to work through criminal background investigations and/or drug screenings. This is also a common policy/requirement in many physical therapy corporate entities and individual clinics.  

The HPU DPT Program requires all students to complete a criminal background check prior to formal enrollment or matriculation in the DPT program. An additional background check and/or drug test may be required prior to beginning clinical experiences in year two of the program. Applicants should be aware that a prior criminal background could restrict the ability to obtain professional state licensure. Acceptance into the DPT program does not imply or guarantee that a student will be able to obtain such licensure. 

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