Physical Therapy Admission Requirements

Physical Therapy Programs California

Admission Requirements

Admission to the DPT program is competitive. Applicants are considered for admission based upon the following criteria:

  • Completion of baccalaureate degree and all prerequisites, from a regionally accredited institution, by the end of spring term before entry. All prerequisites must be completed with a grade of "C-" or better.
  • A recommended minimum 3.0 GPA in all college-level coursework (cumulative GPA) as calculated by PTCAS
  • A recommended minimum 3.0 GPA in all prerequisite courses as described below.
  • Scores on the GRE.
    • Minimum GRE Verbal score: 150
    • Minimum GRE Quantitative score: 144
  • Minimum of forty (40) hours of volunteer or paid experience in a physical therapy setting is required.
  • Two letters of reference: one from a professor who can address your academic preparedness for a DPT program and one from a physical therapist who has supervised you in a clinical environment (inpatient or outpatient). You may also submit up to 2 additional letters of your choosing, but this is not a requirement. Letters of reference are submitted through PTCAS.
  • Contents of writing samples/personal statements as described in the PTCAS application.

Prerequisites

All prerequisites must be completed with a grade of "C-" or better by the end of spring term before entry. We accept online, hybrid and on campus classes from regionally accredited institutions. Classes maybe taken at any regionally accredited institution such as community colleges, CSU, UC or private institutions. In California the accrediting body is WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Please see the Course Resource Guide for helpful information regarding prerequisites.

Requirement

Units required

General Psychology
General or Introductory course in psychology is acceptable.
3 semester/quarter units
Statistics
Introductory statistics/quantitative method course offered by any department is acceptable.
3 semester/quarter units
General Chemistry with Lab
General Chemistry courses are acceptable. Introductory Chemistry classes are not acceptable. Prefer a standard 2-semester or 3-quarter course sequence.
8 semester units or
12 quarter units
Physics with Lab
Any lab courses taken within the Physics department are acceptable. Prefer a standard 2-semester or 3-quarter course sequence.
8 semester units or
12 quarter units
Introduction to Biology with Lab
Prefer a standard 2-semester or 3-quarter course sequence. First term must be an Introduction to Biology course and remaining units can be fulfilled by Microbiology, Genetics, or other Biology lab classes. Exercise Physiology will not fulfill this requirement.
8 semester units or 
12 quarter units
Human Anatomy with Lab
Introductory course is acceptable, lab required. Combined Anatomy & Physiology course series can be used to satisfy this requirement provided the entire series is taken. The Anatomy & Physiology prerequisites must be completed within the last ten (10) years.
4 semester units or
5 quarter units
Human Physiology with Lab
Introductory course is acceptable, lab required. Combined Anatomy & Physiology course series can be used to satisfy this requirement provided the entire series is taken. The Anatomy & Physiology prerequisites must be completed within the last ten (10) years.
4 semester units or
5 quarter units

Samuel Merritt University offers prerequisite coursework in Human Anatomy & Human Physiology. The courses are taught in the fall, spring and summer terms and are designed for prospective students. More information can be found on the Undergraduate Prerequisite Courses website.

GPA Calculation and Course Repeat Policy

Overall (Cumulative) GPA

All grades earned will be included in the overall GPA calculation. If a course is repeated, both the initial and repeat grade will be included in the overall GPA calculation.

Prerequisite GPA

Courses satisfying a prerequisite requirement may be repeated once if the initial grade earned is a C+ or below. If a prerequisite course is repeated, the new grade will be used in the prerequisite GPA calculation if available at the time of application.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Samuel Merritt University requires students to submit scores from the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the GRE with their PTCAS application. We do not require the Analytical section of the GRE, nor is it taken into consideration when applying if taken. The GRE must be taken prior to the application deadline, and the verbal and quantitative scores must be entered into PTCAS prior to submitting the application.

The deadline for official scores to be received is October 15th.  Please see www.ets.org for more information about the GRE, including registering and score reporting timelines. When determining eligibility for admission, we will use the best score per section of all attempts or the GRE.

The PTCAS institution code for the DPT program is 7593.

Interviews

Due to changes in the decision timelines allowed by the American Physical Therapy Association, Samuel Merritt University no longer conducts interviews for admission to the Physical Therapy program. Not holding interviews provides the faculty with an opportunity to perform a thorough, holistic review of each and every application we receive.

We feel this benefits all applicants. Rather than focusing on the top applicants in terms of GPA and GRE scores, we are able to consider the entire applicant pool based upon a holistic review of both quantitative and qualitative metrics. Applicants who might have otherwise not been selected for an interview, and thereby not considered for the program, are now fully considered for admission to the university.

However, we want to make sure prospective students have an opportunity to visit the campus, meet the faculty and interact with our current students. To provide these opportunities in a structured format, SMU will be offering several Interactive Information Sessions throughout the year. Additional consideration for admission will be given to students who show a demonstrated interest in SMU by attending one of these programs.

More information about Interactive Information Sessions

Students Educated Outside of the United States

International Transcripts

All foreign academic transcripts must be evaluated by World Education Services (www.wes.org) and should be sent to PTCAS along with any other U.S. transcripts. For more information please see the PTCAS Foreign Transcript Instructions.

Scores on the TOEFL

The need for TOEFL will be assessed based on information provided by applicants on the application for admission; if required, a score of 100 must be achieved and official score results must be provided.

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