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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the expected outcomes of a DPT degree from the University of Utah?
  2. Who is the Academic Advisor and how do I make an appointment?
  3. What is the "best" undergraduate major for a student?
  4. What prerequisite courses are required for the DPT program?
  5. How do I know if the courses I'm taking will fulfill the DPT program prerequisite requirements?
  6. What GPA is required to apply to the DPT program?
  7. What is a competitive GPA for students applying to the DPT program?
  8. What additional materials are required in the DPT application?
  9. How can I find out more about PTCAS?
  10. Is the GRE required to apply to the DPT program?
  11. How can I make my application stand out?
  12. What is the application deadline?
  13. Is there a supplemental application required for students applying to the DPT program?
  14. Is an interview required as part of the application process?
  15. Are there any more admission requirements I should be aware of?
  16. Is a dissertation required for the DPT degree?
  17. How many students are accepted into the DPT program?
  18. What semester does the DPT program begin and how long will it take to complete?
  19. Can the DPT program be completed on a part-time basis?
  20. Does the DPT program offer tours of the facilities to prospective students?
  21. If I'm in high school, how can I prepare for a career in physical therapy?
  22. How can the public or clinicians register concerns or complaints about the educational program?
  23. What is the American Physical Therapy Association?
  24. Why does APTA advocate a doctoral degree?
  25. Is there a ranking of Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant programs?
  26. What factors can one use in deciding on a school?
  27. Where can I find financial aid?
  28. Are the University of Utah and the Department of Physical Therapy accredited?
  29. How do I make an official complaint?

1. What are the expected outcomes of a DPT degree from the University of Utah?

The expected outcome of a Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy is an entry-level professional position. Once students complete a DPT program, they are required to pass a licensure exam in order to practice as Physical Therapists. Over the past three years, over 98% of our students who matriculated have graduated, 100% of our graduates have passed the Physical Therapy licensure exam and all those seeking employment are working as Physical Therapists.

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2. Who is the Academic Advisor and how do I make an appointment?

The advisor for the Physical Therapy program is Christie Burley. Book an appointment by clicking the 'Book Now' icon at the bottom of any of our admissions pages or by clicking here.

Info sessions are encouraged PRIOR to scheduling individual advising

You may also email your specific questions or concerns to christie.burley@hsc.utah.edu. Sending an email will guarantee the fastest response time. 

Students needing general university advising for general education or bachelor degree requirements should contact University College at 801-581-5146 or visit their website.

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3. What is the "best" undergraduate major for a student?

The "best" major is in any area in which the student would enjoy working after receiving their undergraduate degree and should be selected based on the student's interests. The DPT Program does not have a preference as to the major for the baccalaureate degree as long as prerequisite courses are completed. However, a potential major that does include most of the prerequisite courses is either an exercise science or exercise physiology major.

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4. What prerequisite courses are required for the DPT program?

Prior to enrollment in the DPT Program, students must have completed requirements for their baccalaureate degree.

The following are the required prerequisite courses for program admission, which may be taken within the plan for the student's undergraduate degree or as electives:

DPT Course Prerequisites

Must have completed within last 7 years:

  • Human Physiology – 1 course with lab
  • Human Anatomy – 1 course with lab
  • Chemistry (with associated laboratory sections) – 1 year
  • Physics (with associated laboratory sections) – 1 year
  • Exercise Physiology- 1 course with lab

Must have completed within last 10 years:

  • General Psychology and 1 Upper Division Psychology – 1 course
  • Trigonometry, Calculus, or Pre-Calculus-1 course (college level; AP score of 4 or higher will satisfy this requirement)
  • Statistics (with ANOVA, correlation & regression testing) – 1 course

For more information on our prerequisite courses, click here.

Additionally, applicants are required to gain experience in a PT environment by working or volunteering with a licensed clinical physical therapist (PT). We do not require a specific number of hours in any one setting, but do suggest being in the facility with the licensed PT long enough for the PT to become well acquainted with the applicant in order to write one of the required letters of recommendation. Gaining experience in different settings is not a requirement, but provides the applicant a better appreciation for the differences in physical therapists' responsibilities in different settings.

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5. How do I know if the courses I'm taking will fulfill the DPT program prerequisite requirements?

We made a table that outlines courses that will fulfill our prerequisite requirements at area institutions. Please review it here. If your course and/or institution is not listed, please feel free to email a course description and syllabus to kaitlyn.tippetts@hsc.utah.edu.  

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6. What minimum GPA is required to apply to the DPT program?

The minimum required cumulative and prerequisite courses grade point average is 3.00 on a 4.00 scale. The minimum grade point must be met at the time of application and maintained until admission. 

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7. What is a competitive GPA be for students applying to the DPT program?

Admission to the DPT educational program remains competitive. Over the past 5 years, the GPA for the incoming class has averaged 3.5 on a 4.0 scale

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8. What additional materials are required in the DPT application?

Applicants apply to the DPT program at the University of Utah through PTCAS. PTCAS allows PT applicants to use a single Web-based application to apply to multiple PT programs. 

A Completed PTCAS application includes the following:

  1. the standard PTCAS essay (also known as a personal statement)
  2. additional essay, specific to the UofU, Dept of PT, as indicated on PTCAS
  3. verification of PT observation hours
  4. three letters of recommendation (forms included with the application)
  5. official transcripts from all colleges attended
  6. GRE scores (see #9 below)

Further, if English is not the first language, an applicant must submit the results of the TOEFL examination. (If the internet-based test is taken the score must be at least 90.)

For further application instructions, click here.

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9. How can I find out more about PTCAS?

PTCAS stands for Physical Therapy Centralized Application System. This online application is a service of the APTA and it allows applicants to use one online account to apply to multiple PT programs. To find out more about PTCAS, visit their website at: www.ptcas.org

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10. Is the GRE required to apply to the DPT program?

Yes, the GRE is required

Generally, GRE scores are available from ETS one week after they are requested by the test taker. However, you should plan well in advance to take the GRE so that official scores are received by the application deadline (October 1st). Use the CAS code 0407. Using this code will allow your GRE scores to be reported officially & directly to PTCAS. GRE® test scores are valid for five years after the testing year in which you tested (July 1–June 30).

The average GRE scores for applicants place them in the 50th percentile or better. If your scores are below the average a good rule of thumb is to make certain that your math grades like physics, chemistry, and statistics are reflective of your competency.

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11. How can I make my application stand out?

A good way for applicants to stand out is through the personal statement on PTCAS. Use the essay as an opportunity to help us get to know you. Letters of recommendation are also a great way for us to get to know you. Including all of your experiences (observation hours, extracurricular activities, employment history, volunteer work, and research activities) on your application even if they are not PT related is also a great way to stand out as an applicant.

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12. What is the application deadline?

Your PTCAS application must be marked complete by Midnight (EST) Eastern Standard Time October 1, 2020

Definitions of application status can be found in the FAQ portal of the PTCAS website. No application will be accepted past the October deadline. No reminder notices will be sent.

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13. Is there a supplemental application required for students applying to the DPT program?

Yes, however, only applicants who are invited to interview will be required to submit an application to the University of Utah Graduate School (supplemental application) using  Apply Yourself. The deadline for this application will be sent with the interview invitation. 

For more details regarding application instructions, click here.

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14. Is an interview required as part of the application process? 

Yes, an in-person interview is required as part of the application process. Interviews are conducted on an invitation-only basis and take place in January each year. We only conduct one interview day. If invited, plan for inclement weather.

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15. Are there any more admissions requirements I should be aware of?

Yes, there are a few other admission requirements. Admission requirements differ from application requirements in that they are not submitted with the application. They are required for matriculation, once accepted into the program. 

Additional admission requirements include:

  1. First Aid & CPR Certifications - CPR Certification must be the Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers 1 & 2-Rescuer CPR and AED for adult, child and infant. The skills practice and skills testing portion must be done in the classroom, NOT online. CPR Certification must be from the American Heart Association (AHA). Certification from any provider will be accepted for First Aid (AHA, American Red Cross, etc.).
  2. Immunizations - Hepatitis B, MMR, Tdap, Varicella, Polio (optional), TB test, and Flu vaccine.
  3. Background check and drug screen

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16. Is a dissertation required for the DPT degree?

No. The DPT is a clinical doctoral degree. Dissertations are most commonly associated with the research PhD degree.

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17. How many students are accepted into the DPT program?

 50 students are accepted each year.

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18. What semester does the DPT program begin and how long will it take to complete?

Students in each entering class will begin their course work in May (summer semester). Students will complete their course of study in nine continuous semesters (including two summers). For example, students who entered in the summer of 2020 will graduate in May of 2023.

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19. Can the DPT program be completed on a part-time basis?

No. The curriculum is designed for completion on a full-time basis, as each semester builds on the courses of the previous semester. Each course is offered only once per year in sequence.

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20. Does the DPT program offer tours of the facilities for prospective applicants?

Yes, we do offer tours for prospective students. You must schedule a tour in advance. To schedule a tour, please email kaitlyn.tippetts@hsc.utah.edu.

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21. If I'm in high school, how can I prepare for a career in physical therapy?

High school students should know that the educational preparation for this degree program is now only at the post-baccalaureate level. That means that students interested in a career in physical therapy need to obtain a baccalaureate degree before entering into a professional program, although some universities offer the professional program in conjunction with the baccalaureate degree. While in high school, students interested in PT should be encouraged to take courses in anatomy and physiology, if these courses are offered. Students interested in PT should also be encouraged to take courses in chemistry and physics. Job shadowing while in high school is strongly encouraged.

Once in college, students should select a major based on their academic interests and not necessarily one labeled as pre-PT. For general career information as well as specific college prerequisite requirements and other admissions information students can access the professional organization website for physical therapists at www.apta.org.

Students who might be interested in a career in physical therapy but who don't want to pursue graduate studies may explore opportunities as physical therapist assistants. These people work directly with patients under the supervision of a physical therapist. A two-year degree from an accredited institution is required to be eligible to sit for the licensure examination; several colleges in Utah offer this degree. Interested students may obtain additional information by accessing the American Physical Therapy Association website.

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22. How can the public or clinicians register concerns or complaints about the educational program?

Students, Center Coordinators of Clinical Education, Clinical Instructors, and the public who have complaints regarding the appropriateness of student preparation, clinical instruction, responses of the University to requests by either student or clinical site among others are taken seriously. If complaints are not handled appropriately or in a timely manner by the Director of Clinical Education (DCE), the Department Chair should be notified. If the DCE and Department Chair have not adequately addressed a situation that requires further attention, the Dean of the College of Health should be contacted. In the event that the issue remains unresolved, the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education can be contacted at 703-706-3245.

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23. What is the American Physical Therapy Association?

APTA represents more than 66,000 Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, and Physical Therapy students throughout the United States. Among the Association's objectives are enhancement of Physical Therapy education, practice, and research; accreditation of Physical Therapy education programs; communication with members; improvement of minority participation and representation in the profession; quality assurance; professional development and continuing education; interaction with government agencies and legislative bodies; attention to reimbursement issues; and development and implementation of public awareness programs.

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24. Why does APTA advocate a doctoral degree?

A doctoral degree allows the student to obtain a broad background in the liberal arts and provides time for students to integrate the significant amount of material included in a Physical Therapy curriculum. Also, for those who currently possess a bachelor's degree in another area, it is a logical choice to progress to a doctoral degree. Over the years, the volume of scientific technology and literature included in Physical Therapist education programs has grown well beyond what can be reasonably included in a baccalaureate degree program. APTA believes that a doctoral program more adequately prepares the graduate to meet the expectations of the profession and the health care needs of society.

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25. Is there a ranking of Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant programs?

APTA does not rank programs. Physical Therapy education programs are accredited by CAPTE, which assures quality in Physical Therapy education. Graduation from an accredited program is currently required for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination for Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants in those states in which licensure is required.

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26. What factors can one use in deciding on a school?

The decision to attend a Physical Therapy program is a very personal one that must be made on the basis of a variety of factors, including: geographic location and size of the school, cost, class size, faculty composition and cohesiveness (number of years working together, for example); degree awarded; and design and length of curriculum. In an effort to compare the above factors, you may wish to survey current students and recent graduates of the program and interview employers who hire graduates and ask about program strengths and weaknesses.

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27. Where can I find financial aid?

Department scholarships are only available to students once they have matriculated into the program. You can check out the financial aid information on the APTA website by visiting their page on Scholarships, Awards & Grants. Click here for more information regarding financial aid opportunities at the University of Utah.

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28. Are the University of Utah and the Department of Physical Therapy accredited?

Yes the University of Utah is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges and was last accredited in 2006. The Department of Physical Therapy is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education ( CAPTE) 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org ; website: http://www.capteonline.org The Department was last accredited in 2008.

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29. How do I make an official complaint?

Students who have a complaint against the University of Utah should first file a complaint with the institution.

Student Consumer Complaints

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Have a Question?

Call the Department of Physical Therapy, at (801) 581-8681