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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the program a Master's or Doctoral degree?

  • The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is an entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Students who successfully complete the program will receive a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Degree and will be eligible to take the national licensure exam for physical therapists. We do not offer a Master's degree at this time.

What degree do I need to enter the DPT Program?

  • To be considered for the DPT Program, verification of a Bachelors’ (BA/BS) degree is required.

In what area of study should I get my Bachelor of Science Degree?

  • You may complete your degree in any area of study as long as you meet the minimum requirements needed to apply.

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. Courses completed in a PTA program may not be used in fulfillment of any science course required for admission to the UTHSC Physical Therapy program or as a substitute for courses in the DPT curriculum. 

If accepted, when would I begin my physical therapy course work in the DPT Program?

  • All students begin their course work in August of the year they are admitted.

How often during the year do you admit students to the DPT Program?

  • Admission to the DPT Program occurs once a year.

What are the Application deadlines?

  • The application deadline is October 2, 2023. The due dates are subject to change each year, so please check the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) for the most current deadlines.

Does my degree in physical therapy allow me to practice physical therapy?

  • No. In addition to a degree, one must pass the National Physical Therapist Examination, and apply for licensure in a specific state. 

Are graduates of the program finding employment in physical therapy?

  • There continues to be a strong demand for physical therapists. Citing a national job satisfaction survey, U.S. News & World Report ranked the career physical therapist #21 in "The 100 Best Jobs of 2021” and #11 in “Best Health Care jobs" in terms of employment opportunity, good salary, manageable work-life balance and job security. Physical therapists also ranked #4 on “The Best Jobs in Health Care” featured on According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapists is expected to grow by 28 percent from 2016-2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. While demand for physical therapists varies by geographical region and area of practice, the unemployment rates are low across the country. The need for physical therapists is expected to remain strong into the future as the population ages and the demand for physical therapy services grows.

Does the UTHSC DPT program offer areas of specialty?

  • No. The program UTHSC prepares graduates to practice at entry-level as “generalist” practitioners.

How long is the program?

  • The DPT program lasts approximately three years. The first year begins in mid-August and the third year ends in mid-May. This includes didactic coursework and clinical requirements.

Are there research opportunities within the DPT program?

  • Yes. Students may assist in faculty research projects, and may even take an independent learning elective course in research.

Do Tennessee state residents get preference?

  • Yes, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is a State school, therefore preference is given to residents of the State of Tennessee. However, this does not imply that Tennessee residents receive automatic acceptance. Admission to Physical Therapy Programs is fairly competitive and all verified applications are processed. Consequently, several out-of-state students may receive admission into the UTHSC DPT Program. Out-of-state residents must pay the out-of-state student tuition rate except for students who reside within 50 miles of the city of Memphis who receive a 75 percent discount off the out-of-state tuition differential.

What is the expected salary for a Physical Therapist?

  • Salaries for physical therapists vary according to factors such as geographical location, type of practice, and years of experience. Information on projected salaries for Physical Therapists can be found at US News & World Reports.

How much is tuition?

  • See Finanical Aid Office's Cost of Attendance page for the estimated cost of attendance for all three years of the program.

Is Financial Aid available for the program?

  • There are several types of financial aid available including loans, grants, scholarships and work-study. Please contact the Financial Aid Office at 901.448.7703 for more specific information.

How do I apply for Financial Aid?

  • Please contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss specific financial aid options at 901.448.7703.

What grade point average is required to be accepted to the UTHSC DPT program?

  • Acceptance is on a competitive GPA basis. The Admissions Committee reviews all aspects of the application, such as overall GPA, prerequisite GPA, GRE scores, letter of recommendation, leadership experience, life and diversity experiences, etc., when making an admissions decision.

What prerequisites are required to enter the program?

Regardless of undergraduate major there are specific prerequisite courses that are required:

  • Biology with labs (8 credit hours)
  • Anatomy & Physiology I & II with lab (8 credit hours)
  • Chemistry I & II with lab (8 credit hours/inorganic)
  • Physics I & II with labs (8 credit hours)
  • Psychology (2 courses – total of 6 credit hours)
  • Statistics (3 credit hours)
  • Math (3 credit hours)

Please see the details of acceptable courses.

Can any of my prerequisites be taken online?

  • Yes.

When must I have my admission course work completed to be eligible for admission to the DPT Program?

  • You may be accepted pending completion of your degree and prerequisites. Before entering the program in August, all prerequisites and undergraduate degree requirements must be completed. You should mark courses that you are currently taking as “in progress” while completing your application.

Where can I fulfill the prerequisite requirements?

  • You may complete the prerequisite requirements at any accredited community college or university. However, it is recommended that most science and math prerequisites be completed at the University level.

Do I have to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)?

  • Yes. Please request that scores be sent specifically to the UTHSC PTCAS code (Code 7744) or we will not receive your scores and will consider your application incomplete.

I took the GRE a few years ago. Will you still accept my scores?

  • Yes.

I’ve taken the GRE multiple times with multiple results. Which score will you use?

  • We will use the highest official combined score earned at one testing session.

I have been out of school for five years with a Bachelor of Science degree. Am I eligible to apply for your program?

  • All interested persons are encouraged to apply to our program. We value life experience in physical therapy applicants.

How do I submit an application to the UTHSC DPT program?

How do I submit my letters of recommendation?

  • One recommend letter of recommendation can be submitted electronically via PTCAS. We will not accept letters that are mailed in. The letter of recommendation can be from an employer, a manager, a professor or advisor. We request that the letter from from a professional resource (not a
    family member or friend).

Does your program consider diversity in its admission process?

  • The UTHSC DPT program is committed to recruiting and matriculating students who represent diversity in the physical therapy profession. We consider students who are from medically underserved areas, from educational disadvantaged backgrounds, second career students, first generation college students, and veterans.

What are my chances of being accepted into the DPT program?

  • We accept 60 students into each class. Approximately 300 students are expected to apply to our program for the 2022–2023 academic year. We strongly encourage everyone who is interested in a physical therapy career to apply.

Do you have a part-time curriculum?

  • The DPT curriculum is a three year full-time commitment. We do not offer a part-time option.

What is the graduation rate for UTHSC DPT students?

  • Our department has achieved graduation rates of 100% for the Class of 2018, 98.3% for the Class of 2019, and 96.6% for the Class of 2020.

What is the licensure rate for UTHSC DPT graduates?

  • UTHSC DPT graduates have achieved a 100% pass rate on the National Physical Therapist Examination for the class graduating in 2018 and 98.3% for the 2019 and 2020 classes.

What is the employment rate for UTHSC DPT students?

  • 100% of graduates, for the classes 2018 and 2019 were employed as PTs within six months of passing the licensure exam. 

Can I work while I am in the physical therapy program?

  • 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.

Is on-campus housing available at UTHSC?

  • No. On-campus housing is not available for students. However, there is an off-campus housing program that offers discounted rates to UTHSC students.

What If I have a disability?

Sep 21, 2023