College of Health Sciences

Doctor of Physical Therapy Admission Requirements

In addition to the general admission requirements of the University, the following program-specific requirements must be met:

  1. To apply to the on-campus pathway, a  Doctor of Physical Therapy application, including personal statements, should be completed online at  To apply to the hybrid pathway, go to Arcadia Online DPT.
  2. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or better. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better is expected for all undergraduate- and graduate-level study.
  3. Include one official transcript from each college, university or professional school attended in your PTCAS application. Transfer credits included on a transcript must include grades earned; if not, an official transcript from the original school must be submitted. Transcripts must be sent from the issuing school in a sealed envelope and contain the appropriate signatures and seals to be considered official. Do not send transcripts directly to Arcadia.
  4. The following minimum prerequisite courses with grades of “C” or better and a cumulative GPA in these course areas of no less than “B” (3.0) is expected. When calculating the prerequisite GPA, Arcadia includes all courses in the prerequisite areas. A grade of “C–” is not acceptable for the prerequisite courses. Courses used toward the prerequisite biological and physical science requirements should be taken through the appropriate science departments (e.g., Biology, Chemistry, Physics). All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to the start of the Physical Therapy program. Three of the prerequisite courses, including Physiology and Statistics, must have been taken within 10 years prior to application.
    1. Biological Sciences—four courses (a minimum of 12 semester credits) from a biology department, which must include the following:
      1. Either one lab/lecture course in Human or Mammalian Physiology and one lab/lecture course in Anatomy OR a two-semester lab/lecture course sequence of Anatomy and Physiology
      2. One upper-level course (300- to 400- level) of at least 3 credits with a biology focus. This course should preferably be taken through a biology department, but can be taken through another department, such as exercise science or kinesiology as long as the course content is primarily biology-based. Examples of courses that would fulfill this requirement are Neuroscience, Principles of Motor Control, Biology of Aging, Histology, Cell Biology, Pharmacology and Pathophysiology.
    2. Physical Sciences—four lab/lecture courses directed toward science majors to include the following:
      1. Chemistry I and II or higher (e.g., Biochemistry, Organic)
      2. General Physics I and II.
    3. Behavioral Sciences—two courses: one course in Psychology and one course from the following: Anthropology, Sociology, or Psychology.
    4. Statistics—one course.
  5. A minimum of two letters of recommendation (maximum of three letters): one letter should be from a currently practicing licensed physical therapist and one from a college professor who is able to judge the applicant’s academic qualification and readiness for rigorous work at the graduate level. This professor should have taught one of the academic courses for the applicant’s major.
  6. Test scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), taken within the last five years. Applicants are expected to meet the minimum required scores in all areas of the GRE: (1) Individual Verbal ≥ 151, (2)Quantitative ≥ 150,  and (3) Analytical Writing ≥ 4. NOTE: the GRE code for the residential pathway is 7637; the GRE code for the hybrid pathway is 4722. 
  7. International Applicants: Official results from the TOEFL or IELTS are required for all students for whom English is a second language, except for non-native speakers of English who hold degrees or diplomas from post-secondary institutions in English-speaking countries (e.g. the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand). A course-by-course evaluation of all transcripts by an independent evaluation service based in the United States also is required. NOTE: International students applying to the Physical Therapy program must send scores to the PTCAS code 5312.
  8. Knowledge of the profession through documented work or volunteer experiences in at least one inpatient and one outpatient setting as defined by PTCAS. These observations must be completed by November 1 of the year of application to the program. Increasingly, clinical facilities are requiring that participating students undergo various criminal background checks, child abuse clearances, and/or drug screens. Therefore, students should be prepared to participate in these screenings for this observation experience.
  9. Candidates must receive an acceptable departmental review of the full application.

Application Deadline

All students seeking admission to the D.P.T. program must apply through the centralized application system ( Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete all components of their application by the November deadline. Applications are not reviewed until all materials are received by Arcadia. (This includes the PTCAS application, the required recommendations, and GRE scores.)

Assured Admission Students

Arcadia Undergraduates, James Madison University, Messiah University and West Chester University students intending to apply to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program via the assured admissions process (see each school for more details regarding eligibility requirements) must electronically submit their completed application to PTCAS by November 1 in order to ensure delivery of their verified applications to Arcadia by December 15. A complete application for Arcadia includes official GRE scores, PTCAS application, and three recommendations. GRE scores and recommendations will be forwarded along with your application by PTCAS. Applications received after this date will be included for review with the general pool of candidates.

Deposit and Registration

If an offer of admission is accepted, a deposit must accompany the acceptance reply. This deposit is applied to the first semester’s tuition, and the deposit is non-refundable if the student fails to enter the program on the date for which they are accepted.

Health and Medical History

Following official acceptance into the program, each student must supply information about his or her health and medical history and is required to submit the results of a physical examination. Institutions participating in clinical internships require a certificate of good health before permitting students to work with patients. All students are required to have some form of medical insurance throughout the entire curriculum and must provide proof. If needed, medical insurance can be purchased through the University. Information and applications are available in the Office of Student Health Services.

Background Check

Prior to beginning the program, students are required to complete specific background checks and a drug screen as directed by the department. Increasingly individual clinical sites require additional background clearances prior to participating in a clinical experience. These may include but are not limited to additional child abuse clearances, FBI background checks, fingerprinting, OIG/GSA checks, sex offender website checks, and drug screens. Failure to pass a criminal background check or other required screening may affect the student's ability to fulfill the requirements for graduation and/or be licensed as a physical therapist.

Registration will be considered complete when the University is satisfied that the student is physically able to undertake the year’s work and results from all requirements/screens are acceptable.

Deferring Admission

Students who have secured a seat in the program and want to defer their admission for one year must submit their request to do so in writing to the Director of Physical Therapy Admissions. Deferrals will be considered on an individual basis.

Once a deferral is granted, a student must submit the required deposit to reserve a seat in the class. This deposit will be credited toward tuition. A student who is granted a deferral must understand that he or she will be subject to the prevailing tuition at the time of matriculation to the program.