Frequently Asked Questions

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy has goals of preventing disability and pain; restoring function and relieving pain; promoting healing; assisting with the adaptation to permanent disability. There is a great variety of patients to whom we can apply these goals: babies (newborn screens, birth defects, etc.); children (fractures, sports injuries); adults (work injuries, heart attacks, back problems); and older adults (stroke, hip fracture tumors, amputations).

How long is the program and how may students are accepted each year?

The program is three years in length and begins in August. We currently accept up to 60 students each year.

Can I be accepted before I have completed all of my prerequisite courses?

Yes, you can be conditionally accepted, which means that before your enroll in August, all prerequisite coursework must be successfully completed. Although you do not have to have all required courses completed when you apply, you should have completed at least one part of each sequence. You should submit a complete proposed plan with your applications (form included in application materials) outlining exactly where and when you will complete any remaining required courses prior to beginning PT school in August.

Would it be to my advantage to take more science courses than the minimum required?

Yes, especially in areas such as anatomy, kinesiology and physiology. Even if you have As and Bs in required science courses, you could benefit from additional coursework. If you have grades of "C" in your science courses, you should definitely take additional science coursework or repeat the required course in which you made a "C". Advanced science courses included in the PT curriculum are difficult and students must have a strong science background to be successful in completing these courses.

I never took general biology, but my grades are okay in higher-numbered biology courses? Do I have to take General Biology?

Yes, we require two semesters of general biology.

It has been over five years since I took some of my science courses. Will I have to retake them?

Yes, probably. Science courses completed five or more years ago are generally considered to be outdated. Since our objective is to ensure that once admitted to this program you will be able to complete it, retaking these courses and making grades of "B" or better will show the admissions committee that you understand the information contained in the courses. However, your new grades will be averaged with the "old" grade. Successfully completing a higher level science course may also validate out-of-date science courses.

I am not a Tennessee resident. What are my chances of being admitted?

We must give priority to Tennessee residents. Out-of-state students must have an exceptional good academic record to be considered.

What kinds of financial aid are available?

The Office of Student Financial Aid, located at 910 Madison Avenue - Suite 525, Memphis, Tennessee 38163 (901.448.5568) can give you this information. Additionally, a number of health care facilities, including hospitals, have established scholarship/loan programs for PT students who agree to work for them upon graduation. The PT program office has a list of these facilities.

Can I work while going to physical therapy school?

"Yes". Blocks of time are available for employment because of the way courses in the curriculum are arranged. However, experience indicates that students who have part time jobs have more difficulty progressing through the program than those who do not work.

Would it be to my advantage to complete a PTA program before applying to PT school?

No, not unless you wish to work for a time as a physical therapist assistant. The time required to complete a PTA program plus all the prerequisites for the UT Health Science Center DPT program would take at least four years more years more than the time required to complete the prerequisites for the UT DPT program only.

Are there many job opportunities for physical therapists?

Yes! Although there are fewer jobs available than in the past, jobs are available, not only in Tennessee but also nationwide. In 2012, beginning salaries in Tennessee ranged from $65,000 - $85,000 per year depending on location and clinical setting.

Contact Us

Carol Counts Likens, PT, PhD
Chairman and
Associate Professor
Department of Physical Therapy

The University of Tennessee
Health Science Center
930 Madison – Suite 647
Memphis, TN 38163