2021 best physiotherapy schools in the World

Physiotherapists use a range of therapies including massage, manipulation, stretching, and exercise to reduce pain and speed up healing. Because accidents occur daily, there is a need for more Physiotherapists. This article will help you make a better choice from these best-accredited physiotherapy schools in the world.

The major, Physiotherapy is a very challenging but fascinating career path. Read more to learn more about physiotherapy and how you can become a professional physiotherapist.

Physiotherapists work in a variety of fields, from intensive care, occupational health, to outpatients and women’s health. The three-year university courses require a lot of practical work to equip students for the role.

Pursuing a career in Physiotherapy is unarguably very lucrative and the career that would give you the satisfaction you desire. Relax, take your time to explore our list of top universities that offer physiotherapy degrees; information on entry requirements, the course, and the biggest advantages to studying at each institution.

Brief History Of Physiotherapy

The origin of physiotherapy or (physical therapy) as a professional group date back to Per Henrik Ling, “Father of Swedish Gymnastics,”. He founded the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics (RCIG) for manipulation, and exercise in 1813.

The Swedish word for a physical therapist is sjukgymnast = someone involved in gymnastics for those who are ill. In 1887, PTs were offered official registration by Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare. Other countries followed afterward. In 1894, four nurses in Great Britain formed the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

The School of Physiotherapy at the University of Otago in New Zealand in 1913, and the United States’ 1914 Reed College in Portland, Oregon, which graduated “reconstruction aides. Since the profession’s inception, spinal manipulative therapy has been a part of the physiotherapy practice.

Modern physiotherapy was established towards the end of the 19th century because of events that influenced a global scale, which called for rapid advances in physiotherapy.

Who is a Physiotherapist?

A physiotherapist is a trained and certified medical expert with experience in diagnosing physical abnormalities, restoring physical function and mobility, maintaining physical function, and promoting physical activity and proper function.

Physiotherapists help people affected by injury, illness or disabilities through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education, and advice. 

They help maintain health for people of all ages, helping patients to manage pain and prevent disease.

What do physiotherapists do?

The profession encourages development and aid recovery, enabling people to stay at work while helping them remain independent for as long as possible.

However, the duties of a physiotherapist include the following;

  • Bring wellness and mobility in physical disabilities caused by injuries, stroke or other neurological disorders through physiotherapy treatment programs.
  • Initiate appropriate physiotherapy intervention programs for patients or clients suffering from immobility.
  • Assess and evaluate physical disabilities caused by neurological disorders, stroke, diseases or injuries.
  • Teach patients and their families about self-care treatment interventions.
  • Consult and collaborate with consulting physicians and other medical professionals in providing physiotherapy treatments.
  • Handle pain and physical problems caused by illnesses, disabilities, and injuries.
  • Manage and treat patients with disabilities in-home and community care.
  • Maintain and update patient records and documents.
  • Provide quality physiotherapist treatment to the highest possible levels.
  • Collaborate with multidisciplinary teams to provide patient care and comfort.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Physiotherapist?

To commence your career as a physiotherapist, you must obtain some appreciable level of training. You must at least earn a Doctor of Physiotherapy (DPT) degree and pass the licensing examination.

Basically, pursuing a career as a physiotherapist would require about 4 years, to complete with nothing less than 150 hours of volunteer within a physiotherapy setting or hospital.

In addition to the 4 years, you would be acquiring your bachelor’s degree, you will spend also about 3 years at a DPT program. Hence, making it about 7 years of education to become a physical therapist.

Meanwhile, some the DPT programs are in a six-year format in which students take pre-professional courses for the first three years. And then start up with the DPT courses for the second half of the program.

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The duration of becoming a physiotherapist may be long but you can certainly be sure it’s worth all the time.

What are the requirements to become a Physiotherapist?

Generally, the basic education a Physiotherapist need is to complete a master’s degree program in physiotherapy. That is after you must have completed your undergraduate studies in a science-related field of study.

Basically, very few undergraduate programs are specific to physiotherapy. Many university students who strive to become physiotherapists must choose a program related to science, kinesiology, exercise physiology or biology as a specialty.

Furthermore, you will have to pass your state licensing exam to practice in the state.

The next step for you is that you must take and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and the Law Exam.

To really be on top of your career, it’s advisable you also get a doctorate degree.

What is the Average GPA for Physiotherapy schools?

Different schools may demand different grades and scores to admit students to their physical therapy programs. Most of the schools demand a minimum of 3.0 GPA, but the acceptance rate of many schools too may demand GPA scores as high as 3.75 average. So it usually differs.

So, you may need to make a research to be certain what score your dream school accepts.

Can You Get a Physical Therapy Degree Online?

Yes, you can actually get a lot of physiotherapy degrees online. Especially in accredited schools provisions are made for students who desire to get a graduate degree in Physiotherapy.

In truth, at the Master’s degree level, very few schools offer an online graduate degree in physiotherapy. However, some colleges and universities offer online Doctorates of Physiotherapy.

To be frank, there are ways that students can prepare for doctoral programs and position themselves for better study without going to the school of their choice.

Basically, the available opportunities for online Doctor of Physiotherapy Schools include direct entry programs as well as transitional programs.

While some schools offer a fully online physiotherapy degree, others use hybrid content delivery. Thereby blending in-person experience with online instruction.

The virtual classroom may be fit for topics such as medical terminology or physiology, which require in-depth study and memorization. Questionnaires and web-based exercises can aid students to assess their knowledge, and the provision of electronic content allows them to repeat modules as necessary to reinforce their understanding of the subject.

Physiotherapy Vs Physical Therapy

Basically, talking about physiotherapy and physical therapy, these two careers exist separately. What is the actual difference? Sadly, the difference between the two can get pretty complicated.

However, the trouble continues when some people use these two words as synonyms. Even some healthcare specialists agree that a physiotherapist and physical therapist are two very similar occupations. While these two professions are very similar, there are still a few small variations.

It’s difficult to get a straight answer when it comes to what sets physical therapy and physiotherapy apart. Hence, depending on who you ask, you’re likely to get numerous different answers.

So, why can’t people seem to agree on the meaning of the two? The answer is that both professions have very related job descriptions. To make things worse, the meaning of terms can vary depending on the country you’re in. For instance, the term physiotherapist is used more frequently in countries such as Ireland and Australia.

Furthermore, In these countries, a physical therapist is recognized as a position similar to a physiotherapist that requires less schooling. This means that physical therapists rank lower than physiotherapists in these regions. Therefore, this leads to a lot of confusion when people of different nationalities hear these terms.

What Is The Difference Between Physiotherapy And Physical Therapy?

Many people claim that physiotherapy differs from physical therapy because it applies a more hands-on and manual procedure. These people also believe that physical therapists use more exercise-based methods than physiotherapists do.

To break this down, let’s cover a few of the major similarities between the two. Both physiotherapists and physical therapists treat patients with injuries, diseases, and disorders. The treatment methods include exercise, massages, movement, and manipulation of a patient’s trouble area.

Now, onto some differences.

There are three main types of physiotherapy: musculoskeletal, neurological, and cardiothoracic.

Musculoskeletal physiotherapy can be used to treat problems such as sprains, back pain, muscle strains, arthritis, and posture. Physical therapists also use this form of treatment.

Neurological physiotherapy helps heal issues within the nervous system. These disorders can include stroke, spinal cord injuries, and Parkinson’s disease.

Cardiothoracic physiotherapy helps patients work through asthma, bronchitis, and other cardio-respiratory-related health problems.

List of 13 Best Physiotherapy Schools in the world.

Quite a number of schools around the world offer various physical therapy programs that you would need to consider. These are the top physical therapy schools in the world. Most of them are found in the United States. Take your time and read through.

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The rankings are based on the latest data from the Complete University Guide, which ranks university courses according to graduate prospects, entry standards, research quality, and student satisfaction.

Here is a List Of the Best Physiotherapy Schools in the World.

  • The University of Delaware
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • The University of Southern California
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Emory University
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Iowa
  • MGH Institute of Health Professions
  • U.S. Army-Baylor University
  • Duke University

#1. University of Delaware

Number of Programs: 8
Acceptance Rate: 66%
Graduation Rate: 94.34%

The University of Delaware has been ranked Number 1 in the list of best physical therapy schools.

The mission of the Department of Physiotherapy is to advance physiotherapist practice by providing outstanding entry-level and post-graduate education, translating science to deliver quality clinical services, leading federally funded rehabilitation research, and training the next generation of rehabilitation researchers and leaders of our profession.

#2. University of Pittsburgh

Number of Programs: 11
Acceptance Rate: 59%
Graduation Rate: 82%

The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) at the University of Pittsburg is among the best physiotherapy schools in the world. Hence, the school is known for its excellence in academic and clinical education, and high-impact, multidisciplinary research.

The school has been leading the way to help people of all ages and stages of life to overcome movement, function, and mobility challenges.

The University of Pittsburg School of Health and Rehabilitation has been listed as the second-best accredited physiotherapy school.

#3. University of Southern California

Number of Programs: 10
Acceptance Rate: 13%
Graduation Rate: 92

The University of Southern California has been ranked as the 3rd best physiotherapist school in the world. Their three-degree programs allow graduates to choose an educational path to help them reach their goals and become leaders in the field.

The majority of the students are enrolled in our pioneering, three-year Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), which is delivered in both hybrid and residential formats. The school also offers one of the top programs in kinesiology — the study of the biological bases of movement, with a master’s degree and a Ph.D.

The University is leading residency programs preparing advanced practitioners in the following areas: neurological, orthopedic, pediatric, and sports physiotherapy.

#4. Washington University in St. Louis

Number of Programs: 9
Acceptance Rate: 15%
Graduation Rate: 94%

The Washington University Program in Physiotherapy is leading in advancing human health through movement, integrating interdisciplinary research, outstanding clinical care, and education of tomorrow’s leaders to drive optimization of function across the lifespan.

Furthermore, the Program in Physiotherapy has pioneered a unique, movement-based approach to physical therapy. 

The Washington University physiotherapy has been ranked as the fourth-best PT school.

#5. Emory University

Number of Programs: 7
Acceptance Rate: 19%
Graduation Rate: 91%

The Department of Physiotherapy has been a destination of choice for many prospective physiotherapy students. There is something about the program that fosters exceptional skills, creativity, reflectivity, and humanity while instilling self-confidence as students transform into outstanding professionals.

The mission of the Department of Physiotherapy is to cultivate the well-being of individuals and global communities through exemplary leadership in physiotherapy education, discovery, and service.

The school is the fifth-best school for physiotherapy.

#6. Northwestern University

Number of Programs: 9
Acceptance Rate: 8%
Graduation Rate: 94%

The Department of Physiotherapy & Human Movement Sciences at Northwestern University maintains the richest possible educational environment for students to acquire training in physical therapy.

Northwestern is committed to excellent teaching, innovative research and the personal and intellectual growth of its students in a diverse academic community.

Northwestern University is the sixth-best school that offers physical therapy training.

#7. University of Iowa

Number of Programs: 6
Acceptance Rate: 84.1%
Graduation Rate: 70%

The Department of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Sciences has an outstanding history of success at the University of Iowa.

The Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences offers a unique learning environment in a leading medical education center. The department consists of faculty members who are dedicated clinical educators and scientists who embrace the department’s mission to advance the health of humankind.

Through our faculty members’ clinical teaching skills and commitment to advancing new knowledge in physical therapy, our students are artfully mentored to meet the challenges facing health care today.

Meanwhile, in 2019 our students enjoyed a 100% first-time pass rate on the Federation of State Boards of Physiotherapy’s national licensure exam.

Moreso, The University of Iowa Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is ranked #3 among public institutions by U.S. News & World Report.

#8. MGH Institute of Health Professions

Number of Programs: 9
Acceptance Rate: 11%
Graduation Rate: 93.9%

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Innovation. Excellence. Leadership. These three words capture the department’s traditions and aspirations. These features are fixed throughout our academic and learned activities and lived by our faculty and students.

Their Doctor of Physiotherapy Program prepares physiotherapists to be successful practitioners and leaders in complex and developing health care systems. To achieve this goal, we maintain critical thinking and clinical decision-making, collaborative team-based care, and lifelong learning.

Their Residency in Orthopaedic PT provides clinicians a path to orthopedic specialization and excellent practice. Residents develop expertise in orthopedic practice and research working with mentors within our clinical partnerships, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Centers, and beyond with our exceptional community sites. 

This faculty churns out leaders, innovators, and scholars. The school endeavor to prepare its students to be the best practitioners of tomorrow. Join the school in the historic Navy Yard of Boston, home to the U.S.S. Constitution and Boston Freedom Trail, and begin your journey to become tomorrow’s physiotherapist.

#9. U.S. Army-Baylor University

Number of Programs: 9
Acceptance Rate: no acceptance rate provided for this school
Graduation Rate: 97%

The Army-Baylor University DPT program is a top-ranked physiotherapy school committed to “producing clinician-scientists and leaders of tomorrow.” Through excellence in academics and clinical education, the school select and train highly qualified individuals to become military physical therapists.

Since 1922, the US Army has trained physiotherapists to meet the needs of injured soldiers. In 1971, the United States Army and Baylor University got into a partnership to establish and conduct a graduate-level, physical therapy training program for the armed forces. Since that time, this program has continuously adapted to meet the physiotherapy needs of the armed forces through excellence in academic coursework, clinical education, research and professional development of uniformed physical therapists.

#10. Duke University

Number of Programs: 12
Acceptance Rate: 84%
Graduation Rate:

The Duke Doctor of Physiotherapy Program is an inclusive community of scholars engaged in the discovery, dissemination, and utilization of knowledge in the optimal care of patients and instruction of learners.

The mission of the school is to develop the next generation of the profession’s leaders, committed to health equity and expertly prepared to integrate the best available proof in the patient-centered management of function and quality of life within a dynamic health system.

Frequently Asked Questions On Best Physiotherapy Schools.

Is physiotherapy the same as physical therapy?

The major difference between “Physical Therapy” and “Physiotherapy” is that physiotherapy indicates more of a hands-on manual therapy approach to rehabilitation, while physical therapy indicates a more exercise-based approach to rehabilitation. In my opinion, however, these terms are synonymous.

Is a DPT a doctor?

A Doctor of Physical Therapy or Doctor of Physiotherapy (DPT) degree is a qualifying degree in physical therapy. A DPT is a practitioner who is educated in many areas of rehabilitation. … As of 2015, all accredited and developing physical therapist programs in the US are DPT programs.

How many years will it take to become a physical therapist?

DPT programs typically last 3 years. Many programs require a bachelor’s degree for admission as well as specific educational prerequisites, such as classes in anatomy, physiology, biology, chemistry, and physics.

Is DPT worth the debt?

Physical therapy education is still worth the price of admission—up to a certain point. A research study concluded that PT school is a good investment “up to a certain amount of student debt.

Is BPT a tough course?

BPT or Bachelor of Physiotherapy is an undergraduate academic Course in a field of Medical Science known as Physiotherapy. The duration of BPT course is 4½ years including internship of 6 months.

Who started physical therapy?

Physical therapy originated as a professional group that dated back to Per Henrik Ling, who is known as the “father of Swedish gymnastics.” He founded the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics in the year 1813 for massage, manipulation and exercise.


In conclusion, Just like every other medical career, it will take you a lot of rigorous processes to really become a licensed physiotherapist. However, the profession is worth all the rigors. By acquiring your training from any of these listed best PT schools, you can be sure of a swell time in your career.

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