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Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
Eligibility Requirements

Admission to the Physical Therapy program is based not only on academic achievement, but also on non-academic factors which ensure that candidates can complete the essential functions of the academic program required for graduation.

The Division of Physical Therapy has the responsibility to ensure that its graduates become fully competent and caring physical therapists. Enrollment in the program is limited to 44 students each year, and the application process is competitive. Candidates must meet the following eligibility requirements:

As a reference for prospective students, we provide a profile of the entering class for each year.


US Residency

Application is restricted to those who are US Citizens or US Permanent Residents by the autumn program entrance date. For questions concerning eligibility, contact the Residence Classification Office at 206-543-5932, or visit their website

Please note it is difficult to establish Washington State Residency for individuals residing elsewhere in the US. Requirement details can be found at the same website.

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Graduate Record Examination and Other Tests

Applicants are REQUIRED to submit scores from the General Test portion of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) with their applications. The General Test of the GRE measures verbal, quantitative and analytical skills that have been developed over a long period of time. The test is available year round in computer-based format. Advance registration is required and students should plan ahead in order for scores to be reported in a timely manner. (Realistically, the test should be taken by November 15th of the application year.) Those who have taken the test in the past must inquire early to be sure their scores can be properly reported.

In addition, applicants who have obtained their bachelor's degrees from non-English speaking countries must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). This test is also available throughout the year from computer-based testing centers, similar to the GRE.

There are many options available for GRE and TOEFL test preparation and registration. Visit the Educational Testing Service Website for more details.

In August 2011 the GRE exam was revised. Both new and old GRE scores are acceptable for application to the UW DPT program.

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Physical Therapy Experience

Most successful candidates to the Physical Therapy program have gained extensive observational exposure to physical therapists who work in a broad variety of service delivery environments. In addition, effective applicants are able to obtain strong letters of reference from the physical therapists they have interacted with. Students are expected to arrange their own PT-related work or volunteer experiences. Volunteering in the physical therapy department of a hospital or private clinic is a good place to begin.

Our research shows the average number of PT experience hours to be in the range of 100-200. There is a minimum of 50 hours required for application. All hours are weighted equally, i.e. volunteer, paid, shadow, and/or observation. Direct PT experience hours are only gained in an environment with a physical therapist on staff.

As a resource for prospective students, the Physical Therapy Curriculum Office maintains a job opportunities folder that contains listings of PT-related employment appropriate for non-professionals. Applicants are welcome to review this folder at the PT Curriculum Office (Suite BB-928, University of Washington Medical Center). Please contact us if you have questions regarding relevant experiences.

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Letters of Recommendation

A maximum of four (4) letters of recommendation are allowed. Letters from healthcare professionals, employers, and/or professors are preferred. It is most helpful to the applicant if at least one letter is from a PT with whom the individual has interacted.

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Personal Statements

There is a Standard Essay and a Custom Question on the PTCAS application. Since there is no Interview for the UW DPT program application process, the Essay and Question become the primary means by which applicants can express their aptitude for the profession of physical therapy, and the unique personal qualities and attributes that will allow them to be successful.

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Minimum Academic Requirements

Prior to the application deadline of December 15, prospective students must meet the following minimum academic requirements:

  • 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) on all college-level courses
  • 3.0 GPA on PT prerequisite courses alone
  • 2.0 (C) or higher grade on each PT prerequisite course
  • At least half of the PT prerequisite courses completed at the time of application

These minimum requirements must be maintained until program entrance and all prerequisite courses must be completed by that time. Applicants must also finish a bachelor's degree prior to starting the program. There is no preferred major for the BA or BS degree, but the most common majors are Biology, Psychology, or Exercise Science.

To meet PT prerequisite requirements, credits may be used from college-level coursework taken any time in the past. Courses may be taken at any accredited institution of higher education, including community colleges, universities or online.

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Prerequisite Courses

Under each prerequisite subject listed below, courses in parentheses are the suggested UW equivalents. Course content, level, and credit at other schools may vary, and still be considered sufficient. Students attending Washington community colleges should check the UW Equivalency Guide. Others should compare the course descriptions in their college catalogs with the following descriptions to ensure approximate equivalencies.

  • Chemistry
    Two courses that cover atomic theory, periodic table, quantum concepts, gas laws, structure and bonding, reaction types, chemical equilibrium, electrochemistry, and acid-base reactions. These courses should include laboratories. Recommended preparation: high school chemistry and advanced algebra (any two of CHEM 142/152/162). Note that an alternative series (any two of CHEM 120/220/221), covering basic principles of inorganic and some organic chemistry, is also acceptable.
  • Biology
    Two courses that cover living systems and focus on such topics as cell structure/function, genetics, metabolism, development, diversity, ecology, evolution, and conservation (any two of BIOL 180/200/220).
  • Behavioral Science
    A psychology course plus another course in a behavioral science, such as psychology, sociology, or anthropology.
  • Statistics
    Any introductory course including elementary concepts of probability and sampling, as well as basic principles of hypothesis testing and data analysis (STAT 220 or STAT 311 or QSCI 381 or EDPSY 490 or PSYCH 315 or QMETH 201).
  • Physics
    Two courses that cover mechanics, sound, heat, and electromagnetism, and incorporate lab work. Recommended preparation includes high school physics, algebra and trigonometry (any two of PHYS 114/117, PHYS 115/118, PHYS 116/119).
  • Anatomy
    One course that covers systemic human anatomy with correlated lectures and demonstrations (BSTR 301).
  • Physiology
    One course that covers human physiology for non-majors and health science students (BIOL 118/119).

Note that two courses that cover integrated anatomy and physiology are an acceptable substitute.

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Criminal History Background Check

Most clinical internship placement sites require potential traninees to undergo an extensive criminal history background check, especially for crimes against vulnerable populations. To ensure that all students offered positions in the Physical Therapy program have no criminal history and therefore will be able to finish the clinical portion of the curriculum, the completion of a fee-for-service criminal background check request form will be required before applicants are admitted to the program.

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Profile of the Entering Class

Students offered admission for this academic year had strong scholastic records, high standardized test scores, broad volunteer and/or paid PT-related work experience, a cogent personal statement, and excellent letters of recommendation.

Total qualified applicants: 874
Students accepted into program: 45 (7 were re-applicants)
Prerequisite GPA (average): 3.64 (range: 3.08 - 4.00)
Cumulative GPA (average): 3.62 (range: 3.08 - 4.00)
GRE General Test (average % rank): 64-77% (depending on section)

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To learn more about the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Washington, please explore the links below:

DPT Application Deadline

The deadline to apply to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program is December 15th of each calendar year.


Open House

Focus on Career Exploration
November 5, 2015
5:00-6:00 PM
UW Medical Center
Room BB-918
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