Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Physical Therapy & Human Movement Sciences


1927The Physical Therapy Program at Northwestern University was established with Gertrude Beard, PT as Technical Director. It was an 8-month program following graduation from a school of nursing or physical education. The program offered a Certificate in Physical Therapy.
1928The Physical Therapy Program was accredited as one of the first 6 schools of physical therapy and has been continuously accredited ever since. We are proud to be the oldest continuously operating and continuously accredited PT school in the country.
1945The Physical Therapy Program established a post-professional graduate program in cooperation with the Department of Anatomy and Physiology at Northwestern University's Medical School, and awarded Master of Science degree.
1952Elizabeth Wood, PT became Technical Director and later the Educational Administrator.
1953The program began offering a Baccalaureate of Science in Physical Therapy degree, which continued until 1990.
1972Sally C. Edelsberg, PT, MS became Program Director.
1990The program began offering the Master of Physical Therapy as a professional degree.
2000John D. Brooke, PhD became the Director and the Physical Therapy Program became the Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences within Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.
2001NUPTHMS began offering the Doctor of Physical Therapy as a professional degree. The curriculum was increased by 8 weeks, including lengthening the full time terminal clinical experiences by 5 weeks. Additional content in differential diagnosis including imaging, health promotion and disease, injury and secondary disability prevention was also added.
2006Jules Dewald, PT, Ph.D. became the Chair of the Department in April. NUPTHMS, in cooperation with the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering/Computer Science, established a joint DPT/PhD degree program.
2007The PhD specialty in Human Movement Sciences was offered for the first time through the Northwestern University Institute for Neuroscience in the Fall of 2007.
2009The DPT curriculum was revamped to accommodate changes in the sequencing of didactic and clinical education components. To facilitate theses changes, and to decompress the number of hours spent in the classroom each day, an 8th trimester was added.
2013In April of 2013, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (now the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab) and PTHMS signed an agreement for a clinical and academic partnership.  This partnership has resulted in the integration of research, education and clinical care in PTHMS.
2014PTHMS had our most recent CAPTE accreditation site visit in October 2014. The report was very positive and we are fully accredited until 2024.
2016The DPT program's ranking rose to 6th best in the country (U.S. News and World Report).

Image of Gertrude Beard

Gertrude Beard

Image of Elizabeth Wood

Elizabeth Wood

Image of Sally Edelsberg

Sally Edelsberg

Image of John Brooke

John Brooke

Image of Jules Dewald

Jules Dewald