Application Requirements

COVID-19 Response

For the most up-to-date information about our changing admissions requirements in response to COVID-19, please review our Application Requirements here.

Requirements

To be eligible for admission, the following criteria must be met:

1. APPLICATIONS

You must complete TWO applications which are submitted separately:

  1. Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS)
  2. UCSF Supplemental Application

Our next admissions cycle for entry into the 2021-2022 academic year will open on July 5, 2021. The deadline for BOTH applications is October 1, 2021 (11:59pm EST for PTCAS and 11:59pm PST for UCSF Supplemental Application). No extension of this deadline will be granted.

2. DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

All applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally 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. Students must meet the Graduate School Requirements of the University of California and the California State University systems. More specifically, students must have an overall baccalaureate GPA of 3.0 and an overall GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 semester / 90 quarter units to be eligible for admission to the UCSF and SFSU Graduate Divisions.

3. CLINICAL EXPERIENCE

All applicants must be able to demonstrate understanding of the physical therapy profession, which can be demonstrated by completing a observation hours (paid or volunteer experience) in a variety of physical therapy settings.

Since applicants may have difficulty obtaining or completing shadowing experiences as a result of COVID-19, we will still consider applications that do not meet the minimum number of observation hours (100). We recognize that many clinics currently may not provide observation hours, or it may be difficult to obtain a variety of observation experiences. If it is possible for you to complete observation hours, we encourage you to do so as we feel these hours are important for understanding the breadth and depth of the field, and to ensure that you are selecting a profession that is the best fit for you. If you are unable to meet the minimum number of observation hours due to the pandemic, we still encourage you to find creative solutions for connecting with a licensed PT, whether the physical therapist

Experiences must be under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist, and must be completed and verified by the application deadline. Extensive clinical experience, while valuable, will not overcome a weak academic record. Clinical experiences are documented and verified in the PTCAS application. Refer to the PTCAS Observation Hours instructions for more information.

4. LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

Letters of recommendation are required from three individuals who personally know the applicant and his/her abilities. At least one recommendation must be from a licensed physical therapist. Instructors of basic science coursework, health professionals, or employers are suggested for the two other letters of recommendation. Letters must be submitted through the PTCAS application by the application deadline. Information regarding letters of recommendation can be found in the PTCAS References section.

5. GRE SCORES

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test is now optional and we will not disqualify an application for missing GRE test scores. Applicants may opt in to include their GRE scores with their application. Strong GRE scores have the potential to bolster an applicant’s academic metrics, but lack of GRE scores will not count against an application.

Scores must be no more than five years old. In order to be competitive, we recommend applicants score at the 50th percentile on both the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections of the GRE exam. A score of 4.0 on the analytical writing section is also suggested. Applicants are encouraged to retake the exam if they score below the recommended minimums. If an applicant submits multiple GRE scores, the overall best score from each section is counted. Scores must be submitted to PTCAS program code #7591 U CA San Francisco Phys Therapy no later than the application deadline.

Scores must be sent to code # 7591. DO NOT send scores to Institution Codes 4840 or 4683. GRE scores sent to a code other than #7591 will not be counted.

For applicants with limited funds, please check the ETS GRE Fee Reduction Program site for information on fee reduction certificates.

6. REQUIRED PREREQUISITE COURSEWORK

Applicants should complete all prerequisite courses prior to the October 1 application deadline. Two prerequisites may be in progress or planned after the October 1 deadline, but they must be completed by enrollment in the program. No prerequisite course may be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis (please review COVID-19 Updates for exceptions). The Admissions Committee considers final grades when evaluating academic performance and determining an applicant’s suitability for the program. Competitive applicants meet or exceed the stated minimum requirements.

Online Labs: When available and safe to do so, in-person labs are required. Please review COVID-19 Updates for exceptions.

7. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED COURSEWORK

See below for highly recommended courses in preparation for admission to the professional program. These courses provide the applicant a broader background and enhanced understanding of professional studies. We do not have a review or approval process for highly recommended coursework

8. INTERNATIONAL APPLICANT REQUIREMENTS

International applicants must meet additional requirements for the program. Please review the International Applicants page for more information.

9. TRANSCRIPTS

Applicants are encouraged to send ALL official transcripts from every US and Canadian college and university attended directly to PTCAS by September 1 in order to be processed by our application deadline. It can take up to 4-5 weeks for PTCAS to process an applicant’s file once it is complete. If an application is not verified by October 1st due to delays in transcript verification, it will impact the program’s ability to review an application and could lead to delays or denial due to incomplete information at the time of review. It is the responsibility of the applicant to work with PTCAS to ensure that their application is verified in a timely manner.  See the PTCAS Transcripts instructions for more information.

10. ADMISSIONS TIMELINE

Applicants are responsible for following all instructions and meeting all deadlines. Please review the admissions timeline and application process thoroughly.


Required Prerequisite Coursework

Course Name Semester Units* Quarter Units* Notes
General Inorganic Chemistry with lab (1 year) 8-10 12-15

Course should be designed for science majors and for pre-medical students.

Must be one full year of Inorganic Chemistry (2 semesters or 3 quarters).

Organic Chemistry is a highly recommended course - it cannot substitute for the Inorganic Chemistry requirement.

Courses with titles that include: "Survey", Principles", or "Applied" generally signify that the course content is not comprehensive enough to fulfill the General Inorganic Chemistry requirement.

General Physics with lab (1 year) 8-10 12-15

Course should be designed for science majors and for pre-medical students.

There is no preference between algebra/trigonometry based physics and calculus based physics. Both types of courses are acceptable.

Courses with titles that include: "Survey", Principles", or "Applied" generally signify that the course content is not comprehensive enough to fulfill the General Physics requirement.

Human or Comparative Anatomy with lab 3 4 Can be a combined Human Anatomy and Human Physiology course as long as the course meets the general guidelines for our program. Must be one full year (2 semesters or 3 quarters) if a combination course.
Human Physiology with lab 4 5 Can be a combined Human Anatomy and Human Physiology course as long as the course meets the general guidelines for our program. Must be one full year (2 semesters or 3 quarters) if a combination course.
General Microbiology or Upper Division Biology 3 4

Courses that are part of a multi-course sequence of introductory/general biology do not satisfy this Microbiology or Upper Division Biology requirement.

Please see prerequisite course descriptions for acceptable upper division biology courses that may substitute for Microbiology.

Abnormal Psychology 3 4 Course must focus on psychopathology.
Introduction to Statistics 3 4 Course must include descriptive statistics and introduction to inferential statistics. 


If prerequisite coursework is more than 5 years old, students are encouraged to take additional science or highly recommended courses to demonstrate their current scholastic attributes.

* Units listed are an approximation of the amount of credit usually earned in these courses.

Click here for detailed prerequisite coursework descriptions.


Highly Recommended Coursework

Course Name Semester
Units*
Quarter
Units*
Neuroscience/Neuroanatomy (1 year recommended) 3-6 4-8
Organic Chemistry 3 4
Kinesiology 3 4
Exercise Physiology 3 4
Motor Learning or Motor Control 3 4
Biomedical Ethics 3 4
Developmental Psychology or Motor Development 3 4


* Units listed are an approximation of the amount of credit usually earned in these courses.

Click here for detailed highly recommended coursework descriptions.