Physical Therapy students working with patient

The Transitional Doctorate in Physical Therapy Degree (t-D.P.T.) at USD is the first online doctoral program in the South Dakota regental system. The t-D.P.T. degree is conferred upon completion of a structured five-semester, 25-credit hour online post-professional educational experience that augments current professional knowledge, skills and behaviors.

The program has been designed around the American Physical Therapy Association's preferred curricular model for the transitional clinical doctoral program and learner, as well as the transitional clinical doctorate competencies. Further information may be found in the Graduate School catalog.

Students accepted into the t-D.P.T. program will need to complete a background check. A login will be provided by the Graduate School upon provisional acceptance into the program.

Admission Requirements

  • Possess a current license to practice physical therapy (in good standing)
  • Graduate from a physical therapy program accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Physical Therapist Education or foreign-trained with a current PT licensure in the United States (in good standing) or graduate from a physical therapy program accredited by the Physiotherapy Accreditation Canada with current PT licensure in Canada.
  • Meet one of the following:
    • Hold a certificate in physical therapy, a bachelor's degree in select field plus 20 years of experience in the field of PT
    • Possess a bachelor's degree in physical therapy plus 10 years of experience in the field of PT
    • Possess a master's degree in physical therapy plus two years of experience in the field of PT
  • $35 application fee
  • 250-word minimum statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation, one personal and one professional
  • Official transcripts from all institutions attended
  • Copy of current physical therapy license

Application Deadline

The next cohort is scheduled to begin fall 2018. Complete applications will be reviewed for acceptance as they are received.

For more information regarding the t-D.P.T. program, please contact:

  • Patti Berg-Poppe (, P.T., Ph.D., M.A., N.C.S., Associate Professor - Transitional doctorate program director
  • Becca Jordre (, P.T., D.P.T., Associate Professor - Chair of Physical Therapy admissions
  • Lana Svien (, P.T., Ph.D., M.A., Professor - Physical Therapy program chairperson