Admission to the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Program-Specific Admission Requirements

(See separate section for the Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy requirements.)

In addition to the general admission requirements of the University, the following program-specific requirements must be met:

  1. A Doctor of Physical Therapy application, including personal statements, to be completed online at
  2. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or better. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better is expected for all undergraduate- and graduate-level study.
  3. Include one official transcript from each college, university or professional school attended in your PTCAS application. Transfer credits included on a transcript must include grades earned; if not, an official transcript from the original school must be submitted. Transcripts must be sent from the issuing school in a sealed envelope and contain the appropriate signatures and seals to be considered official. Do not send transcripts directly to Arcadia.
  4. The following minimum prerequisite courses with grades of “C” or better and a cumulative GPA in these course areas of no less than “B” (3.0) is expected. When calculating the prerequisite GPA, Arcadia includes all courses in the prerequisite areas. A grade of “C–” is not acceptable for the prerequisite courses. Courses used toward the prerequisite biological and physical science requirements should be taken through the appropriate science departments (e.g., Biology, Chemistry, Physics). All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to the start of the Physical Therapy program. One-half of the prerequisite courses, including Physiology and Statistics, must have been taken within 10 years prior to application.
    1. Biological Sciences—four courses (a minimum of 12 semester credits) from a biology department, which must include the following:
      1. Either one lab/lecture course in Human or Mammalian Physiology and one lab/lecture course in Anatomy OR a two-semester lab/lecture course sequence of Anatomy & Physiology
      2. One upper-level course (300- to 400- level) of at least 3 credits with a biology focus. This course should preferably be taken through a biology department, but can be taken through another department, such as exercise science or kinesiology as long as the course content is primarily biology-based. Examples of courses that would fulfill this requirement are Neuroscience, Principles of Motor Control, Biology of Aging, Histology, Cell Biology, Pharmacology and Pathophysiology.
    2. Physical Sciences—four lab/lecture courses directed toward science majors to include the following:
      1. Chemistry I and II or higher (e.g., Biochemistry, Organic)
      2. General Physics I and II.
    3. Behavioral Sciences—two courses: one course in Psychology and one course from the following: Anthropology, Sociology, or Psychology.
    4. Statistics—one course.
  5. Three letters of recommendation, at least one from a currently practicing licensed physical therapist and one from a college professor who is able to judge the applicant’s academic qualification and readiness for rigorous work at the graduate level. This professor should have taught one of the academic courses for the applicant’s major.
  6. Test scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), taken within the last five years. Applicants must meet the minimum required scores in all areas of the GRE: (1) Verbal Reasoning ≥ 150, (2) Combined Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning ≥ 300, (3) Analytical Writing ≥ 4. NOTE: the GRE code for the D.P.T. program is 7637.
  7. International Applicants: Official results from the TOEFL or IELTS are required for all students for whom English is a second language, except for non-native speakers of English who hold degrees or diplomas from post-secondary institutions in English-speaking countries (e.g. the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand). A course-by-course evaluation of all transcripts by an independent evaluation service based in the United States also is required. NOTE: International students applying to the Physical Therapy program must send scores to the PTCAS code 5312.
  8. Knowledge of the profession through documented work or volunteer experiences in at least one inpatient and one outpatient setting as defined by PTCAS.
  9. Increasingly, clinical facilities are requiring that participating students undergo various criminal background checks, child abuse clearances, and/or drug screens. Therefore, students should be prepared to participate in these screenings for this observation experience.

Application Deadline

All students seeking admission to the D.P.T. program must apply through the centralized application system ( Applicants are required to complete all components of their application by the hard deadline of November 1st. Allow time for PTCAS to verify and forward it to Arcadia, which can take as long as six weeks. Applications are not reviewed until all materials are received by Arcadia. (This includes the PTCAS application, the required recommendations, and GRE scores.)

If an offer of admission is accepted, a $500 deposit must accompany the acceptance reply. This deposit is applied to the first semester’s tuition, and the deposit is non-refundable if the student fails to enter the program on the date for which they are accepted.

Following official acceptance into the program, each student must supply information about his or her health and medical history and is required to submit the results of a physical examination. Institutions participating in clinical internships require a certificate of good health before permitting students to work with patients. All students are required to have some form of medical insurance throughout the entire curriculum and must provide proof. If needed, medical insurance can be purchased through the University. Information and applications are available in the Office of Student Health Services.

Prior to beginning the program, students are required to complete specific background checks and a drug screen as directed by the department. Increasingly individual clinical sites require additional background clearances prior to participating in a clinical experience. These may include but are not limited to additional child abuse clearances, FBI background checks, fingerprinting, OIG/GSA checks, sex offender website checks, and drug screens. Failure to pass a criminal background check or other required screening may affect the student's ability to fulfill the requirements for graduation and/or be licensed as a physical therapist.

Registration will be considered complete when the University is satisfied that the student is physically able to undertake the year’s work and results from all requirements/screens are acceptable.

Deferred Admission

Students who have secured a seat in the program and want to defer their admission for one year must submit their request to do so in writing to the Director of Physical Therapy Admissions. Deferrals will be considered on an individual basis. Once a deferral is granted, a student must submit the required deposit to reserve a seat in the class. This deposit will be credited toward tuition. A student who is granted a deferral must understand that he or she will be subject to the prevailing tuition at the time of matriculation to the program.


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