Physical Therapy Admissions

Physical Therapy Admissions

Apply now through PTCAS

One program two admission pathways.  

Male physical therapy faculty using ultra-sound on a female patient's leg.

All applicants for the University of Arizona Doctor of Physical Therapy program must meet the admission requirements and prerequisites for one of the application pathways provided below.

Degree Requirement

A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. 

Professional Experience Requirement

Minimum 20 hours of observation, volunteer or service-learning within a physical therapy clinic in any type of practice setting. Examples of practice settings that satisfy the requirement include outpatient clinics, skill nursing facilities, acute care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation clinics and home health care.

Supplemental Documents

Personal statement with emphasis on community service and collaborative experiences (essay in the PTCAS application process)

  • Two letters of recommendation at least one from a practicing PT
  • Demonstration of fluency in English, for example TOEFL or equivalent, as applicable

Exceptions to some of the pre-requisites may be granted to individuals with life experiences that enhance their application, examples include but are not limited to: serving in the military, working as an athletic trainer, extensive work experience in a rehabilitation setting. Exceptions will be considered on an individual basis. 

Academic Prerequisites:
  • Two-part series of Human Anatomy and Physiology with Laboratory (8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours)
  • Two-part series of Biology (6 semester hours or 8 quarter hours)
  • Two-part series of Chemistry with Laboratory (8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours)
  • Two-part series of General Physics with Laboratory (8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours)
  • Statistics or Advanced Mathematics Course (3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours)
  • Two Psychology Courses – Introductory Psychology and one of the following: Developmental, Abnormal or Health Psychology (6 semester hours or 8 quarter hours)
Highly recommended but not required:
  • Introduction to Neuroscience, Neurophysiology or Motor Control
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Biomechanics
  • Spanish for Health Professionals
Alternative admission pathway

Candidates can only apply through one or the other admission pathways – this alternative option is offered for nontraditional students who, for example, might be making a career change, a transition from arts studies to health care or returning to the workforce. 

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited university with a GPA of 3.5 on a 4-point scale in any subject 
  • Minimum of 20 physical therapy-related observation, volunteer or service-learning hours
  • Personal statement with emphasis on community service and collaborative experiences and why you are transitioning into health care (essay in the PTCAS application process)
  • Two letters of recommendation, at least one from a practicing physical therapist
  • Demonstration of fluency in English, for example TOEFL or equivalent, as applicable
  • Prerequisite courses: minimum of one course in human anatomy and/or physiology within the past two years. 

The University of Arizona Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is designed to train highly skilled and effective physical therapists, dedicated to improving patient care and advancing the profession.  A candidate for the DPT degree must demonstrate proficiency in five key areas for technical standards: (1) intellectual-conceptual abilities, (2) behavioral and social attributes, (3) communication, (4) sensory/observation, and (5) motor capabilities.

Throughout the program students must possess the capability to complete, with or without reasonable accommodation, all aspects of the curriculum and training.

The University of Arizona Doctor of Physical Therapy program is committed to the selection of a diverse cohort of students who will become future leaders in advancing health care to the distinct communities that comprise Arizona and the United States.  The University of Arizona promotes a campus that is accessible and welcoming to all disabled and non-disabled students, employees, and guests; where community members are invested in the inclusion, representation, and equitable participation of all.

By actively collaborating with students, it is ensured that the curriculum and the physical, technological and policy environments are usable, welcoming, and accessible through individual consultation, strategic partnerships, and consistent outreach.  Students with disabilities are encouraged to disclose and seek accommodations through the University's Disability Resource Center.

The student must be able to problem solve rapidly.  This critical skill demanded of all healthcare professionals requires the ability to learn and reason, and to integrate, analyze, and synthesize data concurrently in a multi-task setting.  In addition, the student must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.  The student must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate, and synthesize in the context of the study of physical therapy.  The student must be able to effectively learn, participate, collaborate, and contribute as a part of a team. The student will need to synthesize information effectively both in person and via remote technology.  The student must be able to consider alternatives and make decisions for managing or intervening in the care of a patient.

The student must possess the ability to exercise good judgment, and to complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients and their families.  In addition, the student must maintain mature, sensitive, effective, and harmonious relationships with all stakeholders under stressful situations.  The student must have the ability to function effectively under stress and to adapt to an environment that may change rapidly without warning and/or in unpredictable ways.   The student must be able to exhibit empathy, integrity, emotional intelligence, and concern for others and must interact with patients and their families, health care professionals, and all stakeholders in a courteous, professional and respectful manner.  Students are expected to understand the legal and ethical aspects of the healthcare profession and function within the law and the ethical standards of the American Physical Therapy Association.

The student must communicate effectively, sensitively, and rapidly with all stakeholders.  The student must demonstrate a willingness and ability to both give and receive feedback.  The student must be able to :

  • Convey or exchange information at a level allowing development of a health history
  • Identify problems presented
  • Explain alternative solutions
  • Give directions during and post-treatment

The student must be able to process and communicate information on the patient's status with accuracy in a timely manner to members of the healthcare team.  The student must be able to elicit information from patients, describe changes in mood, activity, and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications.

The student must be able to acquire the information presented through demonstrations and experiences in the basic and clinical sciences.  The student must be able to observe a patient accurately, at a distance and close at hand (including in virtual/telemedicine settings) and observe and appreciate nonverbal communications when performing clinical assessment, testing, and interventions.  The student must be capable of perceiving the signs of disease and infection as manifested through physical examination.  Such information is derived from images of the body surface, palpable changes throughout the organs and tissues, special testing, and information communicated by the patient and their body movement and function.  The student must be able to adhere to the standards of patient assessment and standards of care, including the use of technological equipment.

The student should have sufficient motor function to execute movements required to provide physical therapy care.  This includes, but is not limited to, reaching in all directions, kneeling, standing for prolonged periods and with appropriate training and equipment lifting and moving human bodies from and to various surfaces such as bed to chair.  Students must be able to elicit, independently, information from the patient through techniques such as palpation, auscultation, special testing, and other maneuvers.  The student must be able to safely execute motor movements in an emergency situation.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program follows the University of Arizona in it's equal opportunity and affirmative action stance. More information on this may be found on the University of Arizona ADA/504 Compliance.

Application Process

All applications must be submitted through PTCAS. Information about PTCAS can be found here. You will upload all the information requested for all the programs you are applying to.  Once everything has been approved, PTCAS will notify us of your application, and we will take it from there.

1. Apply

Submit your application through PTCAS by the deadline.

2. Feedback

You will be notified if you are considered for an interview.

3. Decision

Notification of acceptance or waitlist into the DPT program.

What exactly does the CAPTE accreditation statement mean to me as a student?

The DPT program will not be allowed to start the first cohort of students until we receive Candidacy status from CAPTE.  This decision will be made in Spring 2025 so students who have been accepted onto the program will be notified during the late spring/summer of 2025 of the decision.  Once open, as a candidacy program, cohort number one, the charter cohort will graduate and be allowed to sit for licensure as if from a fully accredited program.  The program will be considered for full accreditation on graduation of the charter cohort.  

Interview Process

Qualified applicants that demonstrate the characteristics for a strong clinician may first be asked to submit a video interview. Top candidates will then be invited to an on-campus interview.

The most critical component of the PTCAS application is the personal statement.  We need you to tell us your story, why you want to become a PT and why you think UArizona is the place for you.  Once you get invited to an interview that is where you need to shine, the interview is the most important aspect of the application once you get there.  Tell us who you are, what inspires you and how you can become a leader in the profession.

The faculty will also be reviewing applicants based on their community service, research experience, extracurricular activities, leadership activities, letters of recommendation from faculty and clinicians, and a personal interest in why physical therapy is the right career for them.

No, there is no date that the prerequisite work taken will expire.

Please refer to PTCAS for all of our application deadlines.

Yes, applicant's who demonstrate the aptitude for becoming a successful clinician will be offered an interview as part of the process.

The DPT program will be accepting cohorts of 50 students per year.

Policy and Procedures

Students will apply through the PTCAS portal with no supplemental application requirement from the University.

Students meeting the minimum GPA requirements on either application pathway, and having submitted all other materials will move forward to a second round of consideration.

The second round will consist of grading the PTCAS statement of intent essay, the references, the personal attributes, the student CV, and the ninety-second cover letter that is required as part of their application process.  These are scored equitably using rubrics.

An invitation to an in-person interview will be offered to the students achieving the highest scores in the second round. During the interview students will be interviewed and graded by a minimum of four different people asking different questions and these scores will determine a student’s weighting for the program.
The top fifty from the interview will be offered a place on the program and then students waitlisted will be offered a place in sequential order according to their interview score.  No student will be admitted less than three weeks prior to the start of the program.  

Students are protected throughout the admission process through the transparency of the process, as indicated in this policy, by their anonymity during the initial grading process and by rubrics and multiple graders.  

The UA DPT program will not accept transfer of credit from other DPT programs due to the integrated and longitudinal components of the curriculum.