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. 

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?

Application deadlines are (Early Decision) August 15th and (Final) October 16th. The due dates are subject to change each year, so please check the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) for the most current deadlines. Early Decision candidates must have a Science/Math GPA of 3.50 or higher, GRE score of 305 or higher and completion of 75% of all required science courses including labs and observational hours.

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 #16 in The 100 Best Jobs of 2017 in terms of employment opportunity, good salary, manageable work-life balance and job security. Physical therapists also ranked in the “The Best Jobs To Apply for In 2017” featured on Forbes.com. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapists is expected to grow by 34 percent from 2014-2024, 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 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 history of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program?

The Department of Physical Therapy was established in 1965 and has a long history of graduating excellent practitioners. The objective of the Department is to provide a quality education to enrolled students that requires accumulation of scientific knowledge, acquisition of essential physical therapy skills and the development of professional attitudes and behaviors.

Established in 1911 and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the UT Health Science Center (UTHSC) is the flagship statewide academic health system. More than 2800 students are currently enrolled in programs at the UTHSC.

The aim of the UT Health Science Center is to improve human health through education, research, clinical care and public service. The UTHSC campuses include colleges of Health Professions, Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. Patient care, professional education and research are carried out at hospitals and other clinical sites across Tennessee. Endowed professorships, Research Centers of Excellence, and continuing relationships with research and health care facilities across Tennessee ensure that both basic science and applied research stay focused on contemporary health topics. UT Health Science Center faculty and staff have received more than $100 million in research funding, including support from National Institutes of Health grants and private foundations. Consistent with the educational missions of UT Health Science Center, the overall mission of the Department of Physical Therapy is to serve the public with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region by preparing qualified practitioners and engaging in clinical care, service and research.

Graduates who are empathetic, skilled, and safe general practitioners of physical therapy and who exhibit an intrinsic motivation for continued learning exemplify the fulfillment of that mission.

There are thirteen full time faculty members in the department plus adjunct faculty members. Of the full-time faculty, six are certified as clinical specialists and 100% are engaged in clinical practice.  The faculty to student ratio is 1:14.

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. Projected salaries are found here.

How much is tuition?

The estimated cost of attendance for all three years of the program can be found here.

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 is the mean grade point average (GPA) for entering students?

For the most recently admitted class (entering Fall 2016) the average overall cumulative GPA was 3.49. The average prerequisite GPA was 3.58 on a 4.0 scale.

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, letters 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:

  • General Biology I and II with lab (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 here.

Can any of my prerequisites be taken online?

Yes. The core sciences must be taken in a face to face format, but math, statistics and psychology can be taken online.

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 Records 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.

What are the required GRE test scores to get into your program?

Our combined (quantitative and verbal) average GRE score for the most recently admitted class (entering Fall 2016) was a 308.

How many hours of experience do I need?

Volunteer, observation, or work experience in a Physical Therapy setting, under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist is required. The minimum amount of work required is 100 hours. A variety of types of clinical settings (for example: inpatient hospital settings, rehabilitation facilities, and outpatient clinics) is recommended so that the applicant will have a well-rounded perception of the physical therapy profession. These hours must be verified electronically. Instructions to do so can be found here.

Will observation or volunteer hours in health areas other than in a physical therapy department be counted toward admission requirements?

No. Again, only the hours spent observing, volunteering, or working in a physical therapy department (e.g., hospital or outpatient) under the supervision of a licensed physical therapistwill be counted toward the hours required for admissions.

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?

The admissions process involves submitting an application to PTCAS (Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service).  There is no supplemental fee for application to our DPT program.

How do I submit my letters of recommendation?

The two required letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically via PTCAS. We will not accept letters that are mailed in. One letter of recommendation must be from a licensed physical therapist with whom you have volunteered, worked or observed, and one from a professor for whom you have completed a course or an academic advisor.

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 500 students are expected to apply to our program for the 2017-18 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 98.2%, 98.3% and 100% for the last three graduating classes (2014, 2015, 2016)

What is the licensure rate for UTHSC DPT graduates?

UTHSC DPT graduates have achieved a 100%, 96.4%, and 98.3% pass rate on the National Physical Therapist Examination for the last three years (2014, 2015, 2016).

What is the employment rate for UTHSC DPT students?

100% of graduates, for the classes of 2014, 2015 and 2016 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.

What If I have a disability?

See the UTHSC DPT Program Technical Standards for Admission and/or contact the UTHSC Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (SASSI) at 901-448-5056 for information concerning disabilities and reasonable accommodations. You can also visit their website here.

 

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
901.448.5888
clikens@uthsc.edu