Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
University of Pittsburgh    
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 19, 2024
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Physical Therapy - Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy Concentration, MS

Return to Academic Programs Return to: Academic Programs

This program is designed for the practicing physical therapy professional who has already earned an entry-level degree in physical therapy. This post-professional graduate plan of study enables physical therapists to improve their clinical knowledge and clinical skills through a specific program of advanced physical therapy practice and scholarship. The Master of Science in Health and Rehabilitation Science program offers a choice of concentrations in Physical Therapy: Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy and Neuromuscular Physical Therapy. This program is designed to provide advanced clinical skills in the areas of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular physical therapy. The program leads to a professional clinical degree at the post baccalaureate level. The program is 12 months in length and 33 credit hours.

Contact Information

Program Director
Department of Physical Therapy
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Bridgeside Point 1
100 Technology Drive Room 242
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: 412-383-8169
Fax: 412-648-5970

Application Process

All applicants must:

  • Apply online using the SHRS ApplyYourself application
  • Submit the application fee of $50 (US)
  • Submit an essay-a description of educational and long-term professional goals
  • Submit three letters of recommendation. These references can be from a college instructor/professor, academic advisor, supervisor or employer, etc.  The letters should address the applicant’s academic, professional and personal attributes and potential for successful graduate study
  • Submit official transcripts/marksheets from all colleges and universities attended. 

Admission Requirements

For admission to full graduate status an applicant must demonstrate:

  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 from their entry-level professional physical therapy program (equivalent GPA determined via credential evaluation)
  • Evidence of potential for success in a graduate program that can be demonstrated through past work experiences, continuing education, and letters of recommendation

Admissions decisions will be based on an overall evaluation of all credentials submitted and the availability of space in the class.

Additional requirements for International Applicants:

Academic Credential Evaluation 

  • Evaluations are accepted from International Consultants of Delaware, Inc. (ICD), Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (ECE) or Joseph Silney & Associates, Inc. (JS&A) 
  • A course by course evaluation including a grade point average equivalent is required 
  • A final transcript/marksheet and diploma (degree certificate) showing completion of the undergraduate degree must be submitted prior to starting the program
  • If an international student has earned an undergraduate or graduate degree in the United States, this evaluation is not required 
  • If you are a US Citizen who earned their degree outside the US an academic credential evaluation IS required
  • We do not accept WES evaluations

 English Language Proficiency Scores 

The University of Pittsburgh will the following as verification of english language proficiency:

  • TOEFL - minimum scores accepted are 80 ibt (internet based test) or 550 pbt (paper based test). TOEFL scores must be sent via ETS to the University of Pittsburgh, institution code 2927
  • ​IELTS - minimum score accepted is Overall Band 6.5. IELTS scores must be mailed directly from the testing center to SHRS Office of Admissions, 4020 Forbes Tower, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 15260

Verification of English Language Proficiency is required unless the following apply:   

  • The applicant is a citizen of a country whose ONLY official language is English
  • The applicant has completed a degree at a regionally accredited institution in the U.S.
  • The applicant is not a citizen of a country whose official language is English but has completed a degree program at an institution outside of the U.S. where the language of instruction is English and where the official national language of the country in which the institution is located is English

For detailed information about these requirements and additional helpful information for international applicants please visit the International Applicants information on the SHRS website.

Note: Application can be submitted while undergraduate degree is in progress provided the applicant will be able to provide evidence of successful degree completion prior to starting the program.

Application deadline: March 1st. Applications submitted and/or completed after the deadline will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Please contact

We encourage international student applications.


Program Requirements

Examination and Testing

Throughout the plan of study, a series of written and/or oral-practical examinations are integrated within the formal course work. These examinations are used to determine mastery of the core elements of the plan of study.

The written examination will cover the levels of “application and analysis” and “synthesis and analysis” so as to gauge the student’s ability to utilize information in their clinical decision making.

The practical examinations will focus on the clinical application of therapeutic assessment and treatment techniques. Students will be expected to demonstrate appropriate patient handling, awareness of safety issues, application of technique, and decision-making rationale at the level of an advanced clinician.

Failure to meet any of the above requirements may result in the student not being recommended for graduation from the program.

Curriculum and Course Descriptions

Students in the MS in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences can choose from either a Musculoskeletal PT concentration or a Neuromuscular PT concentration. Upon completion of either one, students will be awarded a Master of Science (MS) degree in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

The MS in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences requires the minimum completion of 33 credits. A comprehensive examination sequence is required following completion of the core coursework in each of the separate concentrations. Students must maintain an overall 3.0 GPA in their required plan of studies in order to be considered a candidate for graduation.

Musculoskeletal Concentration Curriculum


  • HRS 2314    - Fundamentals of  Neuroscience for the Orthopedic Clinician, 4 credits
  • HRS 2362   - Evidence Based Practice - Clinical Considerations for the Lower Extremity, 3 credits
  • HRS 2372  - Advanced Clinical Practice, The Lower Quarter, 3 credits
  • HRS 2907   - Clinical Investigations, 2 credit 


  • HRS 2307   - Falls & Balance Dysfunction:  PT Management and Intervention, 3 credits
  • HRS 2309   - Analysis Neuromusculoskeletal Signs/Symptoms in Clinical Decision Making, 3 credits
  • HRS 2361    - Evidence Based Practice - Clinical Considerations for the Lumbo Pelvic Spine, 3 credits 
  • HRS 2373   - Advanced Clinical Practice:  The Upper Quarter, 3 credits


  • HRS 2308   - Clinical Practice Seminar, 2 credits
  • HRS 2374  - Clinical Rounds and Case Presentations, 1 credit
  • HRS 2380   - Evidence Based Practice - Clinical Considerations for the Cervical and Thoracic Spine, 3 credits
  • HRS 2381   - Evidence Based Practice - Clinical Considerations for the Upper Extremity, 3 credits
  • Comprehensive Exam Sequence


Note that each course in the plan of study is offered only once during the academic year, therefore, any departure from completing a course in its planned sequence, (e.g. failure to receive a passing grade of ‘C’ or better; leave of absence from program) will result in a one year delay in completing the course, the remaining program requirements, and the year of graduation.

Return to Academic Programs Return to: Academic Programs

Catalog Navigation