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The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program accepts students who will begin in August of each year. The program is highly competitive and only admits up to 48 students per year. At the time of matriculation, applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree and completed all pre-requisite courses. The competitive applicant will have a strong grade point average (e.g. > 3.5 for both overall and in pre-requisite courses), strong GRE scores, knowledge of the physical therapy profession (gained through volunteer or paid experience), and excellent communication skills. 

How to Apply

Step 1. First, applicants must apply through the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Physical Therapy Central Application Service (PTCAS)

Step 2. Next, applicants must complete Western Carolina University’s Graduate School application and pay the application fee.




Application Deadline

The application deadline is September 1st. All application materials must be submitted to PTCAS and the WCU Graduate School by that date. An on-site applicant interview will be scheduled for applications evaluated as competitive. Attendance is mandatory (Skype type interview not provided). Primary tentative dates for applicants are set for November 20, 21 & December 4, 2020.  Other dates may be utilized. Applicants are accepted from those who receive an on-site interview. NOTE: All applications with GRE scores below the minimum considered score will not be evaluated further. Applicants who wish to apply to the WCU DPT program but do not meet the minimum GRE score should retake the exam to achieve this minimum prior to submitting an application to our program.

Application Requirements

More information can be found on our PTCAS program profile. All of the following application materials must be submitted through PTCAS.

Applications must include:

  • Official college/university transcripts from all previous coursework
  • Completion of prerequisite courses (see our PTCAS program profile) Note: Effective for the application cycle enrolling Fall Semester 2019, we will also require an Exercise Physiology course (3 credits) in addition to our primary pre-requisite courses. For students enrolled at WCU, students can take HPE 225: Applied Kinesiology II to meet this requirement. Please note this course has a pre-requisite of HPE 223: Applied Kinesiology I – Anatomy, Physiology, & Biomechanics or a co-requisite of BIOL 291. Additionally, (athletic training only) students may take ATTR 377: Physical Adaptations to Exercise course.
  • Three letters of recommendation completed per PTCAS guidelines
  • An essay written on a topic specified by PTCAS
  • Experience demonstrating that the applicant has chosen a career in physical therapy with thoughtful consideration and with a realistic understanding of the scope of physical therapy practice. Volunteer or paid experience with a physical therapist in at least two different clinical settings is strongly recommended.
  • An official copy of scores on the General Test of the GRE (GRE program code #0342) submitted to Western Carolina University PT-PTCAS by the Educational Testing Service. Your test fee entitles you to request that scores be sent to as many as four graduate institutions.

Physical therapy practice requires certain aptitude, abilities, and skills to ensure success and client safety. Students accepted into the physical therapy program must attest to meeting these essential functions.

Information for International Applicants

Citizens of other countries, whose degrees are not from U.S. institutions, must have their transcripts and full course descriptions translated into English and evaluated by a recognized credential evaluation service such as World Education Services. International applicants from countries where English is not the primary language must submit a minimum score of 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), or 79 (Internet-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and provide a statement of financial responsibility.

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