Doctor of Physical Therapy at Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley State University's Doctor of Physical Therapy degree is offered through the College of Health Professions. Physical therapists are valued for their ability to independently evaluate, diagnose, treat and prevent disorders of human movement in a wide variety of clinical and community settings. Our program features 15 full-time faculty members, 12 of whom hold advanced clinical practice certifications. Our program is well situated along the Medical Mile in Grand Rapids and enjoys an outstanding reputation among its students and in the community.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Grand Valley State University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:[email protected]; website:  If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 616-331-9700 or email gvsu/

Grand Valley State University’s physical therapy program received it’s initial accreditation in May of 1985. It’s most recent accreditation visit was November 11, 2014. GVSU is fully accredited through June 30, 2023. Our next accreditation visit will occur in 2023. The degree conferred by the GVSU Department of Physical Therapy is the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) 
 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085
Telephone: 703-706-3245
Email: [email protected]

Contact Information

CHP Student Services Office @ [email protected]


Pass/Fail or Credit/No credit info

GVSU Physical Therapy requires all prerequisite courses to be completed with LETTER (A, B, C) or NUMERICAL (4.0, 3.0, 2.0) grades. Prerequisite courses completed with Pass/Fail or Credit/No credit will not fulfill the program’s admissions requirements. The program does accept AP credit (advanced credit) as the exception.

U.S. Job Growth by 2024
Michigan Job Growth by 2024
GVSU Ranking as a West Michigan Talent Provider

Source: EMSI, 2020


According to 2020 EMSI data, opportunities for physical therapists are expected to grow 12% in West Michigan, 11% in Michigan, and 13% in the U.S., which is above average growth when compared to many other occupations. EMSI reported a median annual wage of $85,758 in West Michigan and $87,609 in the U.S. for physical therapists with doctoral degrees. GVSU graduates of the physical therapy program could hold the following job titles:

  • Physical Therapists
  • Directors of Rehabilitation
  • Pediatric Residents
  • Travel Physical Therapists
  • Clinical Directors
  • Therapy Supervisors

Source: EMSI, 2020

The Skills Employers Want

The Doctor of Physical Therapy at GVSU will develop the skills you need to land the job you want. Whether the skills are advanced or general, you will build a resume of qualifications that are sure to attract employers. The following skills correlate with those pulled from actual job postings in the health sciences field.

Advanced Skills

  • Physical Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Home Care
  • Treatment Planning
  • Neurology
  • Case Management
  • Acute Care

Common Skills

  • Presentations
  • Communications
  • Leadership
  • Coordinating
  • Research
  • Customer Service
  • Operations
  • Infrastructure
  • Management

Source: EMSI, 2020

Other Reasons to Study Physical Therapy at GVSU

  • Experiential. The integrated curriculum allows students to use the skills that they learn in the classroom in a variety of clinical experiences.
  • Individualized. Advanced topic electives offered in the last semester of the program allow for students to focus their courses on their interests.
  • Competitive. The Physical Therapy program at GVSU has received national recognition by the US News and World Report.
  • Accredited See below.


When you became a Laker, you opened up a lifetime of learning, and now alumni like you can use your Laker Lifetime Learning (L3) account for classes that provide greater knowledge and new skills. Your account is waiting for you to use for future classes at GVSU. All you have to do is click on the button below to find out more.

Also, the 2021 GVPT Distinguished Alumni recipient is Stephen Leppard, a 2000 alumni of the Grand Valley PT program.  For the last 19 years, he has worked in Kalamazoo for NovaCare Rehabilitation in an outpatient, orthopedic, sports medicine setting.  Steve is the physical therapist for Gazelle Sports running programs in Kalamazoo.  He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the NSCA.  Steve earned his OMPT Graduate Certificate in manual therapy from Oakland University in 2005.  Since 2006, he has served as the CCCE for NovaCare/Physio clinical education.  In 2009, he was selected as the USA healthcare representative on a Rotary International Group Study Exchange to Argentina where he worked with therapists in both sports and socialized medicine settings.  In 2017, he received the "Outstanding Preceptor Award" for clinical education at the MIPERC conference.  From 2008-'18, Steve and a friend have paid 100% of the cost of an Associates Degree for his patient Josh by racing seven ultramarathons.  In 2019, Steve pushed his patient in a racing wheelchair in a full marathon and Josh qualified for the Boston Marathon by completing the race in 4 hours, 19 minutes!  Steve and friends have recently established the Solstice Foundation to promote physical therapy causes including organizing a 25 year Solstice Scholarship for GVSU DPT students and creating the Vaughn Philanthropy Award to recognize leading PT's in the State of Michigan.  In his free time, Steve enjoys youth hockey with his boys, camping with family, canoeing, and philanthropy. 

Find Out More About Your Laker Lifetime Learning Account (L3)

Stephen Leppard Distinguished PT Alumni 2021

Grand Valley Physical Therapy Distinguished PT Alumni Award winner 2021

Related Programs

The Physical Therapy Department at Grand Valley State University has partnered with Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital to provide students an opportunity for a residency in Neurologic Physical TherapyPediatric Physical Therapy and Orthopedic Physical Therapy.

Compare to Other GVSU Graduate Programs

Page last modified June 27, 2022