Admissions Standards

Attend a Spring 2021 Information Session

The DPT Program is hosting two information sessions this spring. Learn more about the Program, admission requirements, and application exceptions for the 2021-2022 cycle with Admissions staff and faculty. 

Monday, April 12; 12-1 p.m.
Friday, May 14; 12-1 p.m.


Admissions Covid-19 Update

We recognize COVID-19 has had a significant impact on applicants to physical therapy school and will continue to do so.  We have provided some information below regarding exceptions concerning common issues. We are monitoring this situation closely and will update information as needed.  Please feel free to contact us directly for any additional information you might need at

Application Exceptions


The program will accept S/N, P/F grades for prerequisites taken during the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 semesters. We will accept S/N, P/F grades for one prerequisite course taken Fall 2020 with approval from the Program. Please complete this form for that approval. Online labs are approved for prerequisites taken Spring 2020-Spring 2022. 

Please be aware that taking multiple prerequisites pass/fail has the potential to impact the competitiveness of the application. 

Letter grades will be required for all prerequisites taken Spring 2021. 

Observation Hours

We are waiving the 100-hour observation requirement for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 admissions cycles. If applicants are unable to obtain 100 hours of observation, we will ask applicants to detail their varied experiences with the physical therapy profession as part of the application. 

Letters of Recommendation

We are waiving the requirement to obtain a letter of recommendation from a physical therapist for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 admissions cycles. If applicants are unable to obtain a letter from a physical therapist due to limited observation opportunities, we ask that they obtain one from a person who can speak to their character and capabilities interacting with a patient population. Two letters are still required. 

Admission Requirements

Enrollment is limited to 60 students each year. All qualified students are considered regardless of their state of residency, race, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, national origin, religious practice, and socioeconomic status. Selection shall be made on a competitive basis giving consideration to all of the applicant’s qualifications. Please see the above exceptions for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 application cycles. 

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

  • 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. 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. 


All prerequisite courses must be completed with a letter grade of C or above by June 1 of the year of admission. Only two prerequisites may be incomplete when the application is submitted. 

UMN DPT Planning Guide

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology
  • Physics
  • Statistics
  • Calculus
  • Psychology
  • Medical Terminology
  • Biology

    Two Semesters

    1) General Biology, lab required
    2) A second Biology course of the student's choice, lab required

    Biology courses must be cell-based. We do not accept Exercise Physiology courses to meet the Biology requirement. 

  • Chemistry

    Two Semesters

    1) General Chemistry I, lab required
    2) General Chemistry II, lab required

  • Human Anatomy

    One Semester

    1) Human Anatomy, lab required

    If taking Anatomy and Physiology, A&P I and II must be taken to meet the Anatomy and Physiology prerequisite requirements. 

  • Human Physiology

    One Semester

    1) Human Physiology, lab required

    If taking Anatomy and Physiology, A&P I and II must be taken to meet the Anatomy and Physiology prerequisite requirements. 

  • Physics

    Two Semesters

    1) Physics I, lab required
    2) Phyiscs II, lab required

    Content must include mechanics and electricity.

  • Statistics

    One Semester

    1) Statistics

    ANOVA and regression analysis content strongly recommended. 

  • Calculus

    One Semester

    1) Calculus

    Applied Calculus, Short Calculus, and Intro to Calculus courses are accepted. We do not accept Pre-Calculus. 

  • Psychology

    Two Semesters

    1) General Psychology
    2) Abnormal Psychology

    We specifically require Abnormal Psychology and do not accept Lifespan or Developmental Psychology to meet the prerequisite requirement. 

  • Medical Terminology

    One Semester

    1) Medical Terminology

    This course is accepted pass/fail. 


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 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