The University of Washington Prosthetics & Orthotics Program has been dedicated to the education of prosthetists and orthotists since graduating its first class in 1972. The program has a long history of graduating leaders in the profession. It began as an undergraduate degree and transitioned to the Master of Prosthetics & Orthotics (MPO) in 2011. The MPO program is a full-time, 7 quarters long, on-campus program that prepares students for entry into the profession of prosthetics and orthotics. We are one of 13 accredited prosthetics and orthotics programs in the U.S.
MPO Program Mission
We aim to train students to become prosthetic and orthotic practitioners with solid interdisciplinary communication skills who will enhance participation in life activities for persons with limb absence or disabling neuromuscular and musculoskeletal conditions.
What is prosthetics and orthotics?
The profession of prosthetics and orthotics is a specialized allied health profession that combines a unique blend of clinical and technical skills. Prosthetist-Orthotists design, fabricate, and fit orthoses (orthopedic braces) and prostheses (artificial limbs) for a broad range of individuals from pediatric to geriatric. Prosthetist-Orthotists interact directly with individuals and their families, advising and supporting the rehabilitation process. They work closely with other members of the rehabilitation team, including orthopedic surgeons, rehabilitation physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and nurses. Prosthetist-Orthotists practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation centers, outpatient rehabilitation centers, and private practices.
The prosthetic and orthotic profession is supported and represented by professional organizations that promote and advocate on behalf of the profession and the individuals we care for, provide continuing professional education, and ensure standards are maintained in both education and patient care.
- The National Commission on Prosthetics and Orthotics Education
- American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP)
- American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABC)
- American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA)
- International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO)
- National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics & Prosthetics (NAAOP)
- The Association of Children's Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics (ACPOC)
Why train in the MPO program at the University of Washington?
The signature features of the MPO Program are:
- our accomplished faculty
- interdisciplinary courses taken with physical therapy and occupational therapy students
- location within an outstanding medical and health science center
- intimate learning environment (instructor/student ratio 1:12)
- clinical skill development through experiential learning both in the lab and with patients.
Students receive strong mentoring from MPO faculty, including guidance and support for their residency search. They also receive membership to the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists through a generous donation from the John S. and Marie M. Niwa Endowed Fund.
More broadly, the University provides extensive resources that support student academics and well-being.
Life as an MPO student extends beyond the classroom, with students participating in research activities, student organizations, and service-learning opportunities:
- Prosthetics and Orthotics Students Association (POSA) organizes volunteer activities within the community as well as social interactions. This registered student organization engages in fundraising to support each other, the program, and the community. They act as ambassadors for the program through social media. Follow them on Instagram at @uw.mpo.
- Department of Rehabilitation Interdisciplinary Student Organization (DRISO) focuses on promoting interdisciplinary and interprofessional collaboration in rehabilitation through the catalyst of student action. This registered student organization provides opportunities for students in physical therapy, occupational therapy, prosthetics and orthotics, speech and hearing sciences, and rehabilitation science to participate in various activities, including service-learning, extracurricular educational programs, and social engagement from an interdisciplinary perspective.
- Global Rehabilitation Organization at Washington (GROW) developed from a shared interest in global health and community outreach among students in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. The group's goal is to inspire rehabilitation professionals to become more engaged in their communities and play a part in building a better world.
The UW MPO Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE). As an accredited program, the University of Washington curriculum adheres to this national professional organization's standards and guidelines.
Upon successful completion of the program, the University of Washington School of Medicine awards students a Master of Prosthetics & Orthotics (MPO) degree. Following graduation, the student must complete a one-year residency in each discipline, or an 18-month dual residency, at a National Commission on Orthotics and Prosthetics Education (NCOPE) approved site. This residency requirement must be satisfied for eligibility to apply for the national certification exams administered by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABC).
Graduates of the MPO program will:
- Exemplify the role of the prosthetist-orthotist by providing ethical and responsible patient-centered care.
- Demonstrate awareness of the humanity and dignity of all patients and individuals within a diverse and multicultural society.
- Serve as knowledgeable, competent, and capable members of multidisciplinary rehabilitation teams.
- Effectively and appropriately communicate with patients, peers, and other clinical service providers.
- Understand, critically evaluate, and appropriately integrate scientific evidence into clinical practice.
- Integrate knowledge of human function and prosthetic-orthotic concepts in assessing patients and the formulation, implementation, and follow-up of a comprehensive treatment plan.
MPO Graduation and Residency Rates
|Program years||Students entering||Students graduating||Graduation rate||Entering residency within 6 months post-graduation||Residency rate|
*Left program prior to graduation ** Graduate pursued graduate school/research position ***Student planning to return to complete degree
This MPO Program is located immediately south of the University of Washington Seattle campus on the 8th floor of the BB tower of the Warren G. Magnuson Health Sciences Building, adjacent to the UW Medical Center-Montlake.
The MPO Program has nearly 4,000 square feet of dedicated, accessible research and teaching space comprising of a multi-purpose classroom fully equipped for lectures as well as clinical activities with patient models; fully equipped prosthetic and orthotic lab facilities that include a machine room, plaster room, sewing room and oven room; a research lab; and faculty and staff offices. The program also has access to shared meeting rooms equipped with a large screen monitor and video conferencing system.
Before you apply
A quarterly information session is held virtually. Please email email@example.com for more information.
Equity, diversity and inclusion
The University of Washington reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran per University policy and applicable federal and state statutes and regulations.
The MPO Program is committed to training a diverse group of students from a wide range of ethnic, cultural, educational, and socioeconomic backgrounds. In our holistic student selection process, we seek students committed to providing culturally responsive service in our increasingly diverse world. In making our admission decisions, we consider balancing an applicant’s experiences, attributes, and academic history to ensure that candidates can complete the essential functions of the academic program required for graduation. The MPO Program has the responsibility to ensure that its graduates become competent and caring practitioners. Enrollment in the program is limited to 12 students each year, and the application process is competitive.
In addition, the University of Washington is committed to providing access, equal opportunity, and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education, and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation, contact the Prosthetics & Orthotics program office at 206.543.6763, 206.685.3244 (FAX), or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candidates must meet the following eligibility requirements:
Bachelor's Degree: Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree in any major from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S. or its equivalent from a foreign institution.
Grade Point Requirements: Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (B) for the most recent 60 semesters or 90 quarter credits to be considered for admission. In addition, applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (B) in the required prerequisite courses with no single course graded less than 2.0 (C). It is highly recommended that all prerequisite course grades be 2.5 or above. If you have any prerequisite course grades between 2.0 and 2.4, your academic record will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Grades lower than 2.0 in a prerequisite course will not be accepted.
Prerequisite Requirements: The most competitive applicants have completed most of the prerequisite courses, either by the time of application or by the end of the term in which the application is submitted. It is highly recommended that anatomy and physiology be among the completed coursework. All prerequisite courses must be completed before beginning the program. Applicants must indicate on the centralized application their plan to complete any outstanding prerequisites.
Prerequisite courses include:
- Two-course physics series with lab
- One course life science with lab (e.g., biology, microbiology)
- One course chemistry with lab
- One course anatomy with lab*
- One course physiology with lab*
- One course general psychology
- One course in developmental psychology or abnormal psychology
- One course in statistics
*or two-course anatomy & physiology series with labs
Volunteer Experience: Although volunteer experience is not required to apply to the program, it is highly recommended. The most competitive applicants have a minimum of 50 hours volunteering, observing, or job shadowing in a prosthetic and orthotic clinic. Gaining a direct understanding of the daily experiences of a prosthetist-orthotist is the best way to help a potential applicant decide to pursue an education and career in prosthetics-orthotics. Exposure in more than one setting is ideal. You can also contact a POP ambassador if you have questions about the profession, where to get started and how to set up a shadowing day or class presentation. These ambassadors love POP – prosthetics, orthotics and pedorthics – and want to tell you why.
To locate clinicians in a specific area with whom you might gain volunteer experience, use the directory tool on the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics, and Pedorthics (ABC) website.
The MPO program requires submission of two online applications: one application through the O&P Centralized Application System (OPCAS) and one through the UW Graduate School.
- Applications open: mid-July each year
- Application deadline: October 15 each year (applications must be submitted in OPCAS and UW Grad School for late September start of the following year)
- Interviews with selected applications: November to mid-December
- Applicants notified: mid-January
- MPO Program begins: late September
Online Application through OPCAS
Applicants must submit an online application to the O&P Centralized Application System (OPCAS) that includes:
- Application essay
- Supplemental question responses
- Three letters of recommendation
- Official transcripts from all colleges attended
Note that OPCAS charges an application fee for the first program you apply to and a fee for each additional program.
Online Application to the UW Graduate School
Applicants must submit an online application to the UW Graduate School. Please select "Rehabilitation Medicine Prosthetics-Orthotics."
Although OPCAS captures the bulk of information needed for consideration, applicants must also have a UW Graduate School application on file in order to be considered.
Note that the UW Graduate School charges an application fee.
State Residency Requirements
Applications are open to residents of any state. Contact the Residence Classification Office at (206) 543-4188 or visit the residency website for information on establishing residency in Washington State.
Detailed information about international student applications to the UW Graduate School can be found on the Grad School website.
International students must have a visa status that allows academic study at the University of Washington. International applicants include students who hold U.S. visas, such as F-1, J-1 Exchange Visitors, H1-B, any dependent visas, or other non-immigrant classifications. You are not an international applicant if you hold a U.S. "Green Card or Immigrant" status.
International applicants should also be sure they understand visa requirements for completing residency in the US after graduation.
The Prosthetics & Orthotics Admissions Committee will evaluate each applicant for admission through a review of scholastic achievement, written essay, references, and involvement in activities or work related to health professions. Applicants are strongly encouraged to work or volunteer in the prosthetics-orthotics profession, to demonstrate their interest in, and understanding of, the profession. Committee members conduct interviews and independent assessments of each candidate.
Applicants will be notified of acceptance or non-acceptance by mid-January.
Students who accept a position in the MPO Program will need to complete a comprehensive background check. Note that students will be assessed an administration fee for this process.
The State of Washington requires this background check to identify any individuals who have been convicted of felonies against vulnerable populations. The hospitals and clinics used for training are not allowed to employ or train people with these backgrounds.
Immunizations and trainings
All UW students are required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and an annual flu vaccination. Additionally, some clinical rotation sites require an annual tuberculosis (TB) titer.
Incoming students are required to undertake and maintain as current various training, including basic adult CPR training, bloodborne pathogens online training, and HIPAA training.
Tuition and program costs
MPO Program students pay Tier II graduate tuition and fees. Please consult the Graduate Tuition Dashboard for detailed tuition information. The complete MPO Program is 7 consecutive quarters, including a summer quarter. The MPO Program involves a full-time course load each quarter. For this reason, most students find it challenging to work while in the program.
Other expenses include tools, books, supplies, room and board, travel expenses associated with clinical rotations, and lab fees. Here is an estimate of current costs.
Lab fees are required to be paid quarterly and they vary according to the number of hours spent in prosthetics and orthotics classes and the materials used. Lab fees are subject to annual increases.
An administrative fee is assessed annually for the Health Sciences Immunization Program.
Information on financial assistance and scholarships is available from the University of Washington Office of Financial Aid. Students should apply for financial aid as soon as possible and before potential admission to the program. Most students arrange for student loans if they need financial assistance.
A number of scholarships are available both within UW and within the prosthetic and orthotic profession. Examples include:
Office of Fellowships and Awards: The UW Graduate School provides numerous resources for finding information on graduate school funding. We advise you to contact the Office of Fellowships and Awards for more information.
Graduate Student Equity and Excellence (GSEE): GSEE, a unit of The Graduate School, has a limited number of graduation tuition and supplemental awards for students whose individual experiences and/or academic interests will bring diversity to scholarly perspectives and endeavors and the academic community. Departments must nominate students. For information, please review the details on the GSEE funding information page.
The Foundation for Orthotic and Prosthetic Education and Research: The Foundation offers scholarship awards to eligible students enrolled in prosthetic and orthotic education programs. Please refer to the Foundation website for more information.
International African American Prosthetics & Orthotics Coalition (IAAPOC): The Sam D. Benson Scholarship is given annually to an African American student enrolled in an NCOPE accredited Prosthetics and Orthotics program.
SPS Student Scholarships: SPS seeks to support students pursuing a promising career in the orthotics and prosthetics industry. Every year, SPS recognizes three future leaders who demonstrate passion and proven leadership qualities in the prosthetics and orthotics field. For information, visit the SPS Student Scholarship page.
The MPO Program begins in the fall quarter of each academic year and is seven consecutive quarters in length (including a summer quarter between year one and year two). Attendance is full-time during the day, Monday through Friday. Students complete 116  required credits over the course of the program and take from 15 to 18 credits per quarter.
A Curriculum Advisory Committee provides feedback and guidance to the MPO Program faculty regarding the MPO curriculum.
The MPO program consists of foundational courses and prosthetics and orthotics courses. Each course in the curriculum is offered only once during the academic year, therefore, any departure from completing a course in its planned sequence will result in a one year delay in completing the course, the remaining program requirements, and the year of graduation.
During the first three quarters of the program, foundational courses (taken with the occupational and physical therapy students) provide the theoretical groundwork for the professional competencies and encourage an interdisciplinary perspective.
Prosthetics and orthotics courses
Clinical and lab courses instruct students in the principles of designing and fabricating prostheses and orthoses, developing patient evaluation skills and creating individualized treatment plans. Patient volunteers participate throughout the span of the program allowing students to gain practical experience in all aspects of the clinician-patient experience.
Evidence-based practice courses related to research methods provide the student with the knowledge and skills to critically evaluate research, to use research evidence to inform clinical practice, and to integrate outcome measures to evaluate clinical practice interventions.
Clinical rotations begin the fourth (summer) quarter of the program. Students attend a clinic in the Seattle area once a week for the full quarter, and then continue to rotate one day a week at a different clinic in the Seattle area each subsequent quarter. Although most rotation sites are located within 35 miles of the University of Washington, students should anticipate the possibility of being placed at sites up to 60 miles away. For a list of currently participating clinical sites in the Seattle area click here.During the break between summer and fall quarters, students complete a concentrated, two-week clinical rotation, at a facility of their choosing anywhere in the US.
While on clinical rotation, students are not covered by the clinical site's Worker's Compensation plan since students are not considered employees. Students are therefore advised to obtain comprehensive health and accident insurance to provide coverage while at the clinical rotation site and for general health needs. Some affiliated clinical sites require a student to carry health insurance. For more information on Medicaid and Healthcare Exchanges, please see this information on insurance options.
For a complete list of courses, please see the MPO course schedule.
Upon successful completion of the program, the University of Washington School of Medicine awards students a Master of Prosthetics and Orthotics (MPO) degree. Following graduation, the student must complete a one-year residency in each discipline, or an 18-month dual residency at a National Commission on Orthotics and Prosthetics Education (NCOPE) approved site.
The UW MPO Program provides students with guidance and support in their residency search. There is no formal matching program in our profession, yet students do not have a difficult time securing a residency. Positions locally can be scarce and we encourage students to seek residencies nationally.
This residency requirement must be completed for eligibility to apply for the National Certification Boards administered by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABC). The full ABC requirements are here.
Successful completion of the above steps and additional criteria may be required for an individual to become licensed by an individual state. View an interactive map of state licensing requirements.
The MPO Program boasts one of the most clinically and academically qualified faculty among accredited U.S. prosthetic and orthotic programs. Faculty are also committed to professional service and currently hold leadership positions in a number of professional organizations.
Victoria Corrin, MAT, Program Coordinator and Student Advisor
Amanda Barizo, Continuing Education Coordinator
Sara Morgan, PhD, CPO, Clinical Scientist, Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare
Beth Halsne, PhD, CPO, Research Prosthetist-Orthotist, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle Division
Prosthetics and Orthotics Research
The MPO Program values the contribution that research makes to strengthening clinical practice. Our faculty are involved in research that enhances our profession’s body of knowledge, supports evidence-based practice, and improves outcomes for the people we serve.
Dr. Stefania Fatone: Dr. Fatone's research examines the effects of prostheses and orthoses on human motion in order to increase understanding, establish efficacy, and improve effectiveness of prosthetic and orthotic interventions for people with disability. Her research includes a broad range of experimental, qualitative, and review studies in areas such as transfemoral prosthetic socket biomechanics and design, orthotic management of upper motor neuron lesions, and partial foot amputation. She has served as principal investigator on projects funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), Orthotics & Prosthetics Education and Research Foundation (OPERF), and the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA). Dr Fatone currently leads two multicenter clinical trials, as well as being involved as a collaborator in other projects. Dr. Fatone is also a member of the Administrative Core Faculty for the University of Washington Rehabilitation Science Doctoral Program.
Dr. Brian Hafner: Dr. Hafner’s primary research interests include development of tools to improve measurement of health outcomes in lower limb prosthesis users and evaluation of advanced prosthetic technologies intended to improve performance, function, and quality-of-life in people with lower limb amputation. He has served as principal investigator on projects funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), Orthotics & Prosthetics Education and Research Foundation (OPERF), and American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP). Dr. Hafner’s current research is aimed at enhancing the impact of health status instruments through rigorous development, psychometric evaluation, translation, and integration into electronic health record systems. Dr. Hafner is a key member of the UW Center on Outcomes Research in Rehabilitation (UWCORR).
Dr. Cody McDonald: Dr. McDonald’s research interests include prosthetist/orthotist education, global service provision of prosthetics and orthotics, and qualitative methodology. Her current research examines how prosthetics and orthotics students and faculty obtain and share information.
Dr. Geoff Balkman: Dr. Balkman is involved in multiple research efforts at the University of Washington Center on Outcomes Research in Rehabilitation (UWCORR) that aim to develop clinical assessment tools, including physical performance tests and patient-reported outcome measures. He has served as principal investigator on pilot grants sponsored by the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA).
Other faculty who conduct P&O research at UW or affiliated institutions include:
- UW PT Program: Dr. Murray Maitland, Dr. Heather Feldner
- UW Dept of Epidemiology: Dr. Alyson Littman
- Department of Bioengineering: Dr. Joan Sanders
- Department of Mechanical Engineering: Dr Kat Steele
- Harborview Medical Center and the Clinical Learning, Evidence And Research (CLEAR) Center: Dr. Janna Friedly
- CLIMB, Puget Sound VA: Dr. David Morgenroth, Dr. Glenn Klute, Dr. Beth Halsne, Dr. Ben Shuman
- Seattle Children’s Hospital: Dr. Kristie Bjornson
PhD in Rehabilitation Science
The UW Department of Rehabilitation Medicine offers a PhD in Rehabilitation Science. The program prepares researchers, educators, and leaders in the area of rehabilitation science to contribute to the development of rehabilitation practice, research, and policy. Prospective students have backgrounds in occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language pathology, rehabilitation counseling, prosthetics & orthotics, medicine, nursing, engineering, or other fields related to Rehabilitation Science.
The program has graduated a number of outstanding prosthetists-orthotists, including:
- Andrew Sawers, CPO, MSPO, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Sara Morgan, CPO, PhD, Clinical Scientist, Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare
- Cody L. McDonald, PhD, MPH, L/CPO, Assistant Professor, University of Washington
- Beth Halsne, CPO, MPO, MMechEng, PhD, Research Prosthetist-Orthotist, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle Division
- Geoff Balkman PhD, L/CPO, Assistant Professor, University of Washington
- Rachael Rosen, CPO, MPO, current PhD Candidate
Support MPO students
Learn more about ways to make a gift to support our MPO students on our Donate page.