The Commission of Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) is the only accreditation agency recognized accredited entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) education programs in the United States. Many of of these accredited programs utilize the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Services (PTCAS) to simplify the application process for prospective PT students, though not all accredited programs utilize PTCAS. PTCAS provides a list of PTCAS participating and nonparticipating accredited programs.

Materials Needed
  • Complete all prerequisite coursework for the D.P.T. programs to which you intent to apply, and request that official transcripts from every college or university attended be sent to PTCAS or the institution, as required by each D.P.T. program.
  • Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the standardized test for the majority of D.P.T. programs, at least 6 weeks before the application deadline.
  • Request references from appropriate professionals, as required by D.P.T. programs to which you intend to apply.
  • Obtain physical therapy observation hours and have your hours verified by a PT, if required by your designated programs.
  • Write essays that are required by PTCAS (Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service) and individual programs.
  • Review and complete the PTCAS checklist if you are applying to programs that use PTCAS.
The Graduate Record Exam (GRE®)

The GRE General Test features question types that closely reflect the kind of thinking you'll do in your professional health program:

  • Verbal Reasoning - Measures your ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained form it, analyze relationships among component parts of sentences and recognize relationships among words and concepts.
  • Quantitative Reasoning - Measures problem-solving ability using basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis.
  • Analytical Writing - Measures critical thinking and analytical writing skills, specifically your ability to articulate and support complex ideas clearly and effectively.

Learn more about the content and structure of the GRE® General Test from Educational Testing Services (ETS). Also you can find information about GRE® registration, test centers and dates through the ETS GRE® website.

Official Transcripts

As part of the application process, you will be required to submit official transcripts of all college or university coursework. An official transcript is typically differentiated from an unofficial transcript by the security sensitive paper on which it is printed with the institution's seal. Before requesting that your official transcript be sent from any institution, review your unofficial transcript to make sure everything looks as it should. Requests for official transcripts are made in MyMadison. 

Using the grades from your official transcripts, multiple GPAs will often be calculated for admissions, such as your overall GPA, prerequisite GPA, and math and science GPA. These GPA calculations will not match JMU's calculations, because different institutions have different repeat forgive/credit policies; therefore, individual institutions and PTCAS calculates standardized GPAs to evaluate applicants using uniform criteria. Learn more from the GPA Calculations webpage.

Most DPT programs have a minimum GPA requirement to apply (typically >3.0); however, minimum GPA scores vary by institution and may be lower than the average GPA of applicants offered admission. PTCAS Applicant Data from 2019-2020 indicate the average overall GPA was 3.55 and the average science (not Math/Science) GPA was 3.35.

Please refer to individual PT program requirements for further details.

Letters of Evaluation

Physical therapy programs typically require 3 - 5 letters of evaluation (LOE). Establishing mentoring relationships with professors in the university setting as well as PT workplace settings is important. Most physical therapy programs require at least one letter from a university professor and one from a physical therapist.


D.P.T. programs may require you to interview before offering admissions. Interview formats will vary by institution. Some institutions may require an on-campus interview and others may utilize a video interview format (e.g. Skype); some institutions may have a single faculty member, student, or physical therapist as part of the interview, and others may have a panel of interviewers.

If invited for an interview, dress in professional business attire. Be prepared to discuss why you have chosen a career in physical therapy; how you perceive the role of physical therapists in health care; and the experiences where you have had direct exposure to the role of physical therapists.

During the interview, the school will have an evaluation rubric to rate applicants. These rubrics will vary from program-to-program, but will likely include oral communication skills, professional behaviors and attitude, interpersonal skills, knowledge of the profession, ability to solve problems, and motivation to pursue a career in physical therapy.

Career & Academic Planning at JMU provides great information about interviewing and resources to help you prepare.

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