Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions Process

  1. What degree do I need to have in order to enroll in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program?
  2. When is the application deadline?
  3. How many applications do you receive each year?
  4. What is the minimum grade point average (GPA) for admission?
  5. How are GPAs calculated?
  6. Are repeated courses included in the GPA calculation?
  7. Am I required to take the GRE?
  8. Is volunteer or work experience in physical therapy required in order to apply?
  9. What other factors are evaluated beside academic ability?
  10. How many letters of recommendation do I need?
  11. Do all the prerequisite courses need to be completed before applying?
  12. Do all prerequisite courses in anatomy, physiology, chemistry and physics need to have a laboratory component?
  13. Do you accept Advanced Placement (AP) credits in lieu of a letter grade to fulfill science prerequisites?
  14. Do prerequisite courses have an expiration date?
  15. Can I take prerequisite courses at a community college?
  16. Can I take online courses to fulfill the prerequisite requirements?
  17. How do I know if my course fulfills the program's prerequisite requirement?
  18. Do you accept transfers of credit to satisfy courses in the DPT curriculum?
  19. Are interviews a required part of the application process?
  20. If admitted, can I request a deferral to a future term?
  21. If I'm denied admission, can I reapply?
  22. Can I receive feedback on my application?
  23. Can my parent, friend, significant other, etc. contact the program on my behalf?

Program

  1. What is the size of a DPT class?
  2. Is the DPT program accredited?
  3. What is the acceptance rate for the program?
  4. What is the graduation rate?
  5. What is the pass rate on the national licensing exam?
  6. What is the employment rate?
  7. When does the DPT program begin?
  8. How long is the DPT program?
  9. What is the minimum GPA for successful completion of the DPT program?

Funding

  1. Does the program offer scholarships?
  2. Am I eligible for financial aid?
     

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 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.

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is October 3, 2022, for the Summer 2023 start term.

How many applications do you receive each year?

We receive between 400-600 applications each year.

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

We look at the following GPAs as a part of our admissions process: Overall Undergraduate, Last 60 Semester / 90 Quarter Units, Prerequisite GPAs, and Science GPA. We recommend a minimum GPA of 3.0.

How are GPAs calculated?

Information regarding GPA calculation can be found on the PTCAS website in the GPA section or in the FAQs section.

Applicants are encouraged to retake courses or take additional science courses or highly recommended courses to raise their GPA if their GPA is not competitive. Note that all grades are included in the GPA calculations.

Are repeated courses included in the GPA calculation?

Yes. Information regarding GPA calculation can be found on the PTCAS website in the GPA section or in the FAQs section.

Am I required to take the GRE?

No, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is no longer required for our program.

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

All applicants should be able to demonstrate understanding of the physical therapy profession by completing observation hours (paid or volunteer experience) in a variety of physical therapy settings (e.g., outpatient, inpatient, rehabilitation) and under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist.  To be included in your application review, the clinical observation hours must be completed and electronically verified in PTCAS by the application deadline.  There are no exceptions.

We recognize that many clinics currently may not provide observation hours, or it may be difficult to obtain a variety of observation experiences, so we will still consider applications that do not meet the minimum recommended number of observation hours (100). However, if it is possible for you to complete observation hours, we highly 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 is a practicing clinician or working in management, research, education, association leadership, or another capacity. This type of resourcefulness in connecting with a physical therapist may still contribute to improving your understanding of the profession, ensuring you are selecting a profession that is the best fit for you, in addition to connecting you with a potential contact for a letter of recommendation.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to plan ahead to obtain a mix of both inpatient and outpatient experiences. Keep in mind that many inpatient facilities have long waiting lists for volunteers which can range anywhere from 6 months to over a year. All applicants are encouraged to research facilities in their area for more opportunities to obtain clinical observation experiences under a licensed physical therapist.  Applicants may also research skilled nursing facilities that may have opportunities to work under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist. Although, there is no requirement to work as a Physical Therapy Aide prior to applying to our program, many applicants seek this opportunity in order to obtain more hands-on experience and guaranteed hours of clinical work.

What other factors are evaluated beside academic ability?

Other factors reviewed besides academic ability include:  research experience, community service, extracurricular activities, leadership activities, strong letters of recommendation, and a personal interest in why Physical Therapy is the right career for them.

How many letters of recommendation do I need?

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

We understand that, due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, applicants may have difficulty obtaining a meaningful letter from a licensed PT.  Therefore, we will not disqualify an applicant who is unable to meet this requirement, but we encourage applicants who may be struggling with this requirement to consider alternative options for connecting with a licensed PT to better understand the profession and provide that assessment. A licensed PT can still provide a letter of recommendation even if the therapist did not observe you in the clinical setting. References from various backgrounds, from an academic professor to a licensed PT, can offer unique perspectives that provide more insight into you as an applicant, a student, and a colleague. This diversity in perspectives is a key component of a holistic admissions process, as student success relies not only in academic performance, but also professionalism, collaboration, and other non-quantitative attributes.

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

Applicants are encouraged to complete all prerequisite courses prior to the October 3 application deadline for the Summer 2023 start term.  However, two prerequisites may be in progress or planned after the application deadline, but they must be completed by enrollment in the program.  For prerequisite courses taken in Spring 2020 through Spring 2022, we will waive the letter grade requirement. We will accept courses that meet the unit and content requirements as listed on our Prerequisite Coursework page but are graded on a Pass/No Pass or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis.  If your institution offers these prerequisite courses for a letter grade, our program strongly encourages that you receive a letter grade for any prerequisite coursework.

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

Yes.

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

The program will apply AP credit to satisfy prerequisite requirements for Biology, Physics, Chemistry, or Statistics if the following criteria are met:

Advanced Placement credit is accepted by the undergraduate institution and the undergraduate intuition has granted a waiver for the course equivalency (i.e. General Biology, General Chemistry, General Physics, Introductory Statistics). Elective credit or units are not applicable.
Advanced Placement credit and course equivalency must appear on official transcripts.

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, General Biology w/lab, Abnormal Psychology, and Statistics prerequisites can be taken at any community college. Please check www.assist.org 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 a regionally accredited institution.  For prerequisite courses with labs taken Spring 2020 and later, we will waive the requirement that labs be completed in person.  Our program strongly recommends that, when safe, labs should be taken in-person; however, we understand the continuing restrictions to in-person learning at many institutions.

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

See the assist.org website for information on student transfer information. In addition, you may submit requests for pre-approval to [email protected].  Please include course title, course number, course description/syllabus, and institution in your request.

Do you accept transfers of credit to satisfy courses in the DPT curriculum?

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 in January.

If admitted, can I request a deferral to a future term?

Under extreme circumstances, the Admissions Committee will review requests for deferred admission. Written requests for deferral must be received by March 1 of the year of expected entry. Students will receive notice of acceptance or denial of deferment by April 1 of the year of expected entry. We typically consider deferrals that are based on either physical illness/medical condition of the applicant or immediate family member or an unexpected, extenuating circumstance that precludes the student from starting classes at the start of the academic year. While we understand that students may wish to defer admission for financial reasons, personal development, employment opportunities, or family needs, we are unlikely to grant deferrals for these reasons.

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, they must resubmit a new PTCAS application and pay the PTCAS and UCSF application fees again. 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. Information on reuse of application materials can be found on the PTCAS Reapplicants information page.

Can I receive feedback on my application?

No. The program does not offer individual feedback on applications.

Can my parent, friend, significant other, etc. contact the program on my behalf?

No. The program will discuss application requirements with applicants only.


Program

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
[email protected]
https://www.capteonline.org

What is the acceptance rate for the program?

The acceptance rate is around 10%.

What is the graduation rate?

  • Class of 2019 - 97.9%
  • Class of 2020 - 98%
  • Class of 2021 - 100%

What is the ultimate pass rate on the national licensing exam?

Over the last three years, the ultimate pass rate on the national licensing exam has been 100%.

What is the employment rate?

Over the last three years, the twelve-month employment rate has averaged 96.7%.

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.


Funding

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?

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