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Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science

Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions Process



Admissions Process

What degree do I need to have in order to enroll in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program?

All applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Although any undergraduate major is acceptable, for students in the initial stages of undergraduate preparation, a major in Kinesiology or the biological sciences tends to be the most direct route into a physical therapy program.

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is October 1 each year.

How many applications do you receive each year?

We receive between 250 and 300 applications each year.

What is the minimum grade point average (GPA) for admission?

Applicants must have an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and an overall 3.0 GPA for the last 60 semester / 90 quarter units to be eligible for admission.

What is the minimum Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score for admission?

We require a minimum of 50th percentile scores for the Verbal and Quantitative GRE exams, using both old and new scoring systems. We require a minimum score of 4.5 on the Analytical Writing section of the GRE. GRE test scores must be no more than 5 years old. When evaluating multiple GRE scores, the program will count the highest score from each section.

Is volunteer or work experience in physical therapy required in order to apply?

All applicants must be able to demonstrate some understanding of the work and professions of physical therapy gained through a minimum of 150 hours of paid or volunteer experience in a variety (e.g. outpatient, inpatient, rehabilitation) of physical therapy settings working under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist, and be completed by the application deadline. There are no exceptions.

Do all the prerequisite courses need to be completed before applying in October?

Applicants are strongly advised to complete at least 80% of the prerequisite courses prior to the October 1 deadline. The Admissions Committee considers final grades when evaluating academic performance and determining an applicant’s suitability for the program. If you do not have the majority of your final prerequisite course grades available at the time of application, it makes it difficult for the Admissions Committee to determine your academic ability. Competitive applicants meet or exceed the stated minimum requirements.

Do all prerequisite courses in anatomy, physiology, chemistry and physics need to have a laboratory component?


Do you accept Advanced Placement (AP) credits in lieu of a letter grade to fulfill science prerequisites?

AP courses accepted are: Physics, Chemistry, and Statistics. Your score must have been a 3 or higher (higher is preferred). The AP course MUST have been accepted by the undergraduate institution that you attended.

Do prerequisite courses have an expiration date?

No. All letter-graded prerequisite coursework is acceptable, no matter when the coursework was completed. However, it is highly recommended that students take refresher courses when needed to be prepared to take full advantage of the curriculum.

Can I take prerequisite courses at a community college?

Yes. General Chemistry w/lab, General Physics w/lab, Microbiology/Cell Biology/Histology, Abnormal Psychology, and Statistics prerequisites can be taken at any community college. Please check to determine the equivalence of the community college courses to similar courses at either a CSU or UC school. It is preferred, though not required that Anatomy and Physiology be taken at a four-year institution.

Can I take online courses to fulfill the prerequisite requirements?

Any prerequisite course that does not require a laboratory component can be taken online through an accredited institution. All online courses MUST be pre-approved by our department prior to enrollment in the class. Pre-approval can be obtained by sending a copy of the course syllabus to

How do I know if my course fulfills the program's prerequisite requirement?

See the website for information on student transfer information. 

Do you accept transfers of credit?

No, we do not accept any transfers of credit. Every course in the curriculum is required to be completed by each student in order to successfully complete the program.

Are interviews a required part of the application process? 

Yes, top applicants are invited for an interview with an academic/clinical faculty member and a second year current student in January or February. 

If I'm denied admission, can I reapply?

Yes, applicants who are denied admission are welcome to reapply in subsequent years. If an applicant reapplies, s/he must resubmit a new PTCAS application and pay the PTCAS and UCSF application fees again. Previous letters of recommendation and pre-physical therapy patient-related forms and GRE scores can be reused if desired. Repeat applicants should highlight what they have done to improve their eligibility for the program since the previous application and are encouraged to submit at least one new or updated letter of recommendation. Applicants may only apply three times for admission.


What is the size of a DPT class?

Each DPT class is 50 students.

Is the DPT program accredited?

Yes, the program is accredited through the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 706-3245

What is the acceptance and matriculation rate for the program?

The acceptance rate for the 2012-15 class year was 19% and the matriculation rate was 98%.

What is the graduation rate?

Class of 2009 - 100%
Class of 2010 - 97%
Class of 2011 - 97%

What is the pass rate on the national licensing exam?

Class of 2009 - 100%
Class of 2010 - 100%
Class of 2011 - 100%

What is the employment rate?

The employment rate for the Classes of 2009 through 2012 is 100%.

When does the DPT Program begin?

The program begins in early June.

How long is the DPT Program?

The DPT is a 3 year program (36 months full-time - including summers).

What is the minimum GPA for successful completion of the DPT program?

Students are required to maintain an overall 3.0 GPA, as well as a 3.0 GPA at both UCSF and SFSU in order to successfully complete the program.


Does the program offer scholarships?

Yes. There are a limited number of competitive, merit-based scholarships as well as need-based awards for students throughout the 3-year program.  Current students are considered for these awards, and there is no need to submit a formal application.

Am I eligible for financial aid?

Yes. All enrolled students are eligible for need-based financial aid through UCSF. For more information, see the UCSF Financial Aid website.