Admissions Standards

Review these standards before submitting your application materials to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Admission Requirements

  • A baccalaureate degree or equivalent from an accredited university or college earned by June 1 of the year of admission. There is no preferred major.
  • Prerequisite coursework with a letter grade of C or above (see Prerequisite Coursework below). Medical terminology is accepted pass/fail.
  • 100 observation hours in a clinical physical therapy setting (work, volunteer, or shadow). Exposure to multiple and varied areas of PT practice is recommended.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. The University GRE code is 6874.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores for international students.
  • Two letters of recommendation. One must be from a physical therapist with whom the applicant has completed observation hours.
  • Ability to meet the Technical Standards with or without reasonable accommodations.
  • Applicants are also asked to provide answers to several narrative questions.

All accepted students must be able to submit complete immunization records and will have federal and state background studies before beginning the program.  

Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Applicants are responsible for ensuring all requirements have been met. 

Prerequisite Coursework

To be considered, prerequisite courses must meet the following requirements:

  • Courses must be taken for college credit and a letter grade. A minimum grade of C must be earned for each course; medical terminology is accepted pass/fail.
  • Only two courses may be listed as "In Progress" (either the applicant is currently taking them or plans to complete them by June 1 of the year of admission).
  • A total of two courses may be met with AP courses with scores of 4 or above or IB credits with scores of 6 or above. 
  • A single course may not be used to meet more than one prerequisite.
  • An independent lab course may not be used to meet a prerequisite. 
  • All courses should be the appropriate level for students entering a graduate health program.

Required Prerequisites: 

  • General Biology, with lab
  • A second Biology course of the student's choice, with lab
  • Human Anatomy – lab strongly recommended
  • Human Physiology - lab strongly recommended
  • General Chemistry – two semesters, with lab
  • General Physics – two semesters, with lab; content must include mechanics and electricity
  • General Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Statistics - ANOVA and regression analysis content strongly recommended
  • Calculus (Pre-Calculus not acceptable; Intro to Calculus or Short Calculus acceptable)
  • Medical Terminology

All prerequisite courses and an undergraduate degree must be completed by June 1 of the year of admission.

UMN Course Equivalents

FAQs

Do you accept AP or IB courses for prerequisite coursework?
Yes, applicants may meet two prerequisite requirements with AP scores of 4 or above or IB scores of 6 or above. An unofficial score report must be uploaded to the application.

May I apply while still taking prerequisite classes?
Yes, applicants may have up to two prerequisite courses still in progress while applying. Applicants may be currently taking these courses or planning to take them prior to June 1 of the year of admission.

What if I repeat a course? How will my grades for prerequisite courses be considered? 
When a prerequisite course has been repeated, the better of the two earned grades will be used to compute the prerequisite GPA. Please list previous attempts in the "Additional Courses" section of the application. 

My college/university grades on a A/B basis. How does that translate?
A/B = A-
B/C = B-

May I take Physiology and Anatomy I and II instead of separate courses to fulfill the Anatomy and Physiology prerequisite requirements? 
Yes, but both A&P I and II must be completed to meet both prerequisite requirements. 

May I apply while still completing observation hours?
All applicants must have 100 observation hours completed when the application is submitted.

Do the required 100 hours of PT observation need to be spent with a physical therapist?
Yes, only hours spent observing a physical therapist can be used to fulfill the requirement.

Do hours observing in a PT in a research lab setting count toward my required PT observation hours?
No, the observation hours are intended to be in a PT clinical environment in order to gain clinical experience and observation interactions with real patients.

How do I know if coursework meets the prerequisite requirements?
Follow the guidelines and compare the course syllabus to the UMN equivalent. Make sure that classes have labs (if required) and are at a level rigorous enough for entering a graduate health program. Applicants are encouraged to email umnptadmissions@umn.edu with any specific questions.

Will you accept courses from a community or technical college?
Yes, we accept coursework from any accredited college or university. 

Do you accept distance learning courses?
Yes, although distance learning labs will only be accepted with pre-approval from the program. 

Do you have a minimum GPA or GRE scores that you look for?
We have a preferred minimum GPA of 3.0. We do not have minimum GRE score requirements; however, you can view our class averages under Admissions Facts.

Do you have a cutoff date for completed coursework?
We strongly recommend that prerequisite courses be completed within the last five years, but it is not mandatory.

Who should write my letters of recommendation?
One letter must be from a physical therapist with whom the applicant completed observation hours. Other reviewers may be supervisors, professors, etc. Personal recommendations are discouraged.

Do you have minimum TOEFL score requirements? 
Yes, our TOEFL requirements exceed the Graduate School's entry requirements in the interest of patient safety and clinical effectiveness. For TOEFL, we require: Writing: 24; Speaking: 26; Reading: 21; Listening: 18

How can I make my application competitive?
We closely review all the admissions requirements equally. Additional items for a competitive application could possibly include:

  • Varied PT observation experiences
  • Research experience
  • Evidence of exceptional achievement, aptitude or personal accomplishment not reflected in the academic record or standardized test scores
  • A pattern of steady improvement in academic performance
  • A record of completion of upper-level or honors coursework
  • Extracurricular high school, college or post-college leadership and community involvement and activities
  • Evidence of exceptional motivation, maturity or responsibility
  • Work and volunteer experience in health care or related fields
  • Indication that enrollment would contribute to ethnic, cultural or linguistic diversity within the program
  • Evidence of having overcome social, economic or physical barriers to educational achievement