Applying to Physical Therapy Programs
Jump to a topic:
1. Academic ability
- Successful completion of prerequisite coursework, usually with a grade of C or above.
- Most PT programs require a minimum GPA of 3.0, but accepted GPA averages are much higher.
- Most programs require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.
2. Physical therapy exposure and experience
Many schools require volunteer or paid experience working with patients in a physical therapy setting. Volunteer experiences allow applicants to test their career decision and be confident that PT is a good fit. Applicants who have researched and gained direct exposure to the profession will also be better prepared to write a compelling application essay and respond to interview questions.
Obtaining PT experiences:
- A list of PT shadowing resources can be obtained from the University Academic Advising Center.
- The Extracurricular Opportunities section of this web site may also contain information about other organizations that may provide exposure to physical therapy.
3. Letters of Reference
Most physical therapy degree programs require 1-3 letters of recommendation, and may require that these letters come from particular individuals, such as a physical therapist, professor, or academic advisor. Ultimately, applicants should check each school's specific directions regarding letters of recommendation.
Although the University Academic Advising Center offers a recommendation file service, this service may not be the best option for submitting letters of recommendation for physical therapy programs.
- If asked to interview for a physical therapy program, you should be prepared to discuss why you are pursuing a career in the physical therapy profession and how you perceive the role of the physical therapist in health care.
- You are most likely to be rated on how you present yourself and interact in a group, your knowledge of the profession, and your motivation to pursue a career in physical therapy.
- Some PT programs do not interview their applicants.
- Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS)
Many (but not all) PT programs use this centralized application service.
- Direct Application
Some PT institutions may require you to apply directly to their programs
- Supplemental Application
Some PT programs that use PTCAS may also require applicants to complete supplemental applications for their specific programs.
Check PTCAS for a list of program deadlines