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Admission Requirements

Important Notice

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UTHSC Department of Physical Therapy will attempt to be flexible with applicants to meet admissions requirements.

  • Observation Hours – We recognize that obtaining 50 observation hours (in two different settings) will be difficult with the current clinical environment. Thus, we are extending the deadline for obtaining these hours until the Spring of 2021 and will address each applicant’s situation on a case-by-case basis. We recommend that you pursue multiple clinical settings in order for you to have a more well-rounded knowledge of physical therapy. Examples of different settings can include traditional outpatient and hospital-based settings, rehabilitation, industrial rehab, pelvic health, aquatic therapy, hippotherapy, pediatrics or telehealth.
  • GRE – While taking the GRE during this time is significantly more challenging than in previous years, the GRE is still a requirement for application. We encourage applicants to explore the opportunities to take the GRE at home and/or the test’s newly revised fall dates.
  • Pass/Fail Courses – We will accept pre-requisite courses graded on a Pass/Fail system.
  • Online Lab Courses – Though we prefer that lab courses be taken face-to-face, we will accept online lab courses.


Applications must be submitted through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS).

 *** GRE scores must be sent to PTCAS using the UTHSC program code 7744 ***

Important Dates

Open Application Access: June 15, 2021

*Applicants will NOT be able to submit applications to programs until the open date of June 15, nor will programs see or have access to applicant information until June 15.

  Soft Decision Firm Decision
Application Deadline August 16, 2021 November 1, 2021
Interview Dates September 24, 2021 December 10 and 11, 2021

* There will be limited interview slots for "Soft Decision" Interviews. While students are no longer asked or able to commit to one school, the intent of this deadline is to interview students who place UTHSC as their top choice for PT school. Applications are reviewed and candidates are accepted until all the class seats are filled.


 Requirements to Apply:

  • Degree: A baccalaureate degree must be completed prior to enrollment. There is no requirement on the undergraduate major/minor of study.
  • Pre-requisite Courses: All pre-requisite courses must be completed prior to enrollment with grades of "C" or better. Grades of "D" or below in these courses are NOT acceptable. Any course not completed must be coded in PTCAS as "in progress" to identify compliance with pre-requisite coursework.
    • The following 19 of 44 hours of prerequisite courses must be completed and reported on official transcripts before an application for admission will be considered (with a grade of C or better): Biology including laboratory (4 cr), Chemistry I including laboratory (4 cr), Physics I including laboratory (4 cr), Anatomy and Physiology I including laboratory (4 crs), and Psychology (3 cr).
Required Pre-requisite Courses Credit Hours
Biology (with laboratory) 8
Chemistry (with laboratory) 8
Physics (with laboratory) 8
Anatomy and Physiology (with laboratory) 8
Psychology 6
Math (any college level course) 3
Statistics 3
  • GRE: A competitive score on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required. The analytical (written) portion of the GRE is not required for the UTHSC DPT Program. The score must be sent to PTCAS using the UTHSC program code 7744. Do not use the UTHSC GRE code.
  • Letters of Reference: Two letters of reference must be submitted to the PTCAS site. At least one reference must be from a physical therapist with whom the applicant has worked or volunteered, and one reference must be from an applicant’s professor in their major OR the applicant’s academic advisor.
  • Observation Hours: Hours can be paid or volunteer. Fifty hours of observation are required. Applicants must submit documentation of observation hours from more than one category of settings (e.g., acute care hospital, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient, skilled nursing facility, etc.).
  • Essay: Standard PTCAS essay and responses to school-specific questions are considered during the selection process.

ALL application materials, including transcripts, GRE scores, PT observation hours, and recommendation letters, must be verified by PTCAS before the student can register for classes after acceptance to the program.


The University of Tennessee Health Science Center Doctor of Physical Therapy program receives a large number of applications each year, making acceptance into the program very competitive.

To be eligible for consideration for admission, applicants must fulfill the listed requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does NOT assure admission to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Priority is given to residents of Tennessee when all else is equal.


Grade Forgiveness 

  • The UTHSC DPT program allows up to 16 hours of grade forgiveness. This means that if a course is repeated, the higher grade will be substituted (up to 16 hours). 


  • The UTHSC DPT program requires a mandatory interview on one of the dates listed previously. The interview day consists of a 20-30 minute interview that typically includes a PT faculty member, community PT, and current DPT student; a campus tour; and information session led by UTHSC faculty and students. 

Technical Standards

  • Applicants must demonstrate good physical and mental health consistent with the demands of the education program.
  • Applicants who accept a position in the program must declare the ability to fulfill the Technical Standards.

International Students

  • Transcripts from foreign institutions must be evaluated by World Education Service ( and submitted to PTCAS. 
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must submit results of TOEFL with a minimal score of 550.
Factors Considered in the Selection of Students:

We pride ourselves in a holistic admissions process, knowing that grades and test scores alone do not equate to a successful physical therapist. We heavily weigh other aspects of who you are, including life experiences, observation hours, and your potential to relate to patients during the interview process.

Factors utilized by the Admissions Committee include, but are not necessarily limited to:

Academic Record: Past academic performance is considered an indication of the probability of an applicant’s completing the academic portion of the program successfully. The average GPA of accepted students is 3.6.

Graduate Record Examination scores: Competitive applicants obtain a combined score of at least 300 (Verbal and Quantitative sections) on the GRE. The average GRE is 306.

Ability help meet the needs of a diverse population of patients/clients: The Admissions Committee also gives extra consideration to students from or have worked with the following: medically underserved areas or populations, and/or educationally disadvantaged groups. The Committee also gives extra consideration to second career students, first generation college students, and veterans of uniformed services.

Motivation and Knowledge of the Field: The Admissions Committee believes that students who are knowledgeable about what physical therapists do are most likely to take maximum advantage of the educational opportunities in the physical therapy education program. Interest in and knowledge of the field may be evidenced by an applicant’s having taken advantage of available opportunities for learning about physical therapy.

Potential for Positive Patient Interactions: The interview is weighted heavily in the decision process. Being able to develop rapport with patients is crucial. Besides the ability to answer questions, we look for the applicant’s ability use appropriate verbal and non-verbal language during the interview process.


Last Published: Jun 15, 2021