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 616-331-5700 or email [email protected]

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).

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 2022 GVPT Distinguished Alumni recipient is Brian Adams, PT, DPT, OCS,CSCS. 

Brian Adams was a member of the Grand Valley State University Physical Therapy class of 1999. Most recently, he founded Adams Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy in 2013 with a mission to offer endurance athletes the best possible treatment in an environment dedicated to sports medicine. The clinic focuses on treatment, education and training to help the patients and athletes better understand their bodies and the physiology of sport, how to recover and heal faster, and how to go farther with their talents. They embody the mantra “Athletes Treating Athletes”, with a clinical and administrative team of comprised of elite and recreational athletes.

The Novi, Michigan resident is an elite-level cyclist and triathlete with more than three decades of experience racing, wrenching, and fitting. While studying at GVSU, Brian raced mountain and road bikes on a semi-professional level and helped develop the Outdoor Adventure climbing gym on the Allendale campus.  Dr. Adams also raced bicycles in Europe as a part of a pro-development team in combination with the US National Cycling Team based in Belgium. By merging his technical knowledge of sports physiology and physical therapy, Brian and his clinical team have come to occupy a unique space in the physical therapy field. 

Before creating Adams Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy, Brian spent more than 15 years working at the University of Michigan MedSport Sports Medicine Program as a clinician and a supervisor. He has a vast amount of experience with shoulder and knee diagnoses, acute injuries, post-operative care, and return-to-sport conditioning. He is also a passionate educator, spending time as a Clinical Instructor, Adjunct Clinical Lecturer in the PT Department at the University of Michigan-Flint, as well as a regular lecturer at conferences and events on topics pertaining to injury treatment and prevention in athletes. He has authored multiple magazine articles, co-authored research and presented to local teams and schools on the benefit of physical therapy and injury prevention in sport. 

When he’s not at the clinic or racing, Dr. Adams enjoys spending time with his wife and their three busy kiddos out and about in Novi, where they are active in the community. He and his family are the proud owners of Gus, a golden retriever certified therapy dog that you will find in clinic on most days, as well as their newest edition Oliver the Corgi. 

When viewing life, Brian will often reflect on the quote from John A. Shedd: "A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for” and hopes that all of his students and colleagues can find their passion, their calling, and the purpose of their ship. 

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

Brian Adams Distinguished PT Alumni 2022

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 January 5, 2023