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Doctor of Physical Therapy


Application Dates and Deadlines

A new cohort of the UW Doctor of Physical Therapy program begins each fall. Applications open in June, and the application deadline is October 16, 2023. Admission decisions are emailed to students in late January.

Minimum Admission Requirements

To apply for admission, applicants must have the following:

  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States or its equivalent from a foreign institution (or be on track to earn a bachelor’s before the program begins). Any major is acceptable.
  • Overall undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Grade of 2.0 or higher in each prerequisite PT course and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in all prerequisite PT courses. Due to COVID-19, if the institution elected to use the P/F or S/NS grading option, you can use the pass/satisfactory credits to fulfill prerequisite course requirements. This only applies to the courses offered in Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Autumn 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021 and Summer 2021.
  • At least half of the prerequisite PT courses completed and be on track to complete all before the program begins.
  • A minimum of 25 hours of PT-related work or volunteer experience. It must be completed under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist at any physical location within the U.S. 
  • Demonstrated English language proficiency for applicants whose native language is not English (see Information for International Students section below)

Required Application Materials

  • Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) online application
  • UW Graduate School online application
    • Note: Our program is listed under "Rehabilitation Medicine - Doctor of Physical Therapy" in the dropdown menu of the UW Graduate School's application system
  • Official transcripts from every college or university ever attended
  • Three or four letters of recommendation
  • Personal statements
  • GRE scores
  • TOEFL scores (if English is not your native language)

Prerequisite Courses

You may use credits from college-level coursework taken any time in your academic career; there is no expiration date. Prerequisite courses may be taken at any accredited institution of higher education, including universities, community colleges or online providers. 

Beneath each prerequisite subject listed below, you’ll find a list of acceptable courses that will meet the prerequisite requirements. Courses from other schools may vary in content, level and credits and still meet the prerequisites for this program.   

You can also see the UW equivalent course(s) for some of the prerequisite requirements. You may compare the course descriptions in your college catalog to gauge approximate equivalencies. If you attended one of the Washington state community colleges, check the University of Washington Equivalency Guide.

Due to the large number of applications we receive each year, we do not provide pre-admission course/transcript evaluations.


Human Anatomy is highly recommended. Lab recommended. 

Acceptable courses: A&P combined course, Neuroanatomy, Vertebrate, Advanced, Animal, Human or Mammalian.

UW course BIOL 310.


Human Physiology is highly recommended. Lab recommended. 

Acceptable courses: A&P combined course, Vertebrate, Advanced, Animal, Human or Mammalian.

UW course BIOL 118/119.

Biology (2 courses)

Any course covering macro-to-micro-focused general biology is acceptable. Lab recommended. A&P and Botany courses are NOT accepted.

Acceptable courses: Advanced, Cell, Embryology, General, Genetics, Histology, Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular or Zoology.

UW course BIOL 180, 200 or 220.

Chemistry (2 courses)

Any course covering inorganic, organic or biochemistry is acceptable. Lab recommended.

Acceptable courses: Advanced, Biochemistry, Inorganic or Organic.

UW course CHEM 142, 152, 162, 120, 220 or 221.

Physics (2 courses)

A course covering mechanics, heat, sound and/or electromagnetism is acceptable. Lab recommended.

UW course PHYS 114/117, 115/118 or 116/119.


Any psychology course is acceptable.

Acceptable courses: Abnormal, Adolescent, Advanced, Child, Death/Dying, Developmental, General, Growth & Development, Human Behavior, Life Span Development, Psychopathology, Rehabilitation, Social or Sports.

Behavioral Science

Any course focusing on human behavior across the disciplines of psychology, sociology or anthropology is acceptable.

Acceptable courses

Psychology: Abnormal, Adolescent, Advanced, Child, Death/Dying, Developmental, General, Growth & Development, Human Behavior, Life Span Development, Psychopathology, Rehabilitation, Social or Sports.

Behavioral Science: Community Health, Human Sexuality, Marriage/Family, Personal Health or Social Work.


A statistics course in any discipline is acceptable. Calculus is NOT accepted.

Essential Requirements and Technical Standards

The DPT degree is recognized as a broad degree requiring the acquisition of general knowledge and basic skills in all applicable domains of medicine. The education of a physical therapist requires assimilation of knowledge, acquisition of skills and development of judgment through patient care experience in preparation for independent and appropriate decisions required in practice. The current practice of physical therapy emphasizes collaboration among physical therapists, other health care professionals, the patient or client and the patient or client’s family.

The University of Washington Division of Physical Therapy endeavors to select applicants who can become highly competent physical therapists. As an accredited physical therapy program, the University of Washington Curriculum in Physical Therapy adheres to the standards and guidelines of the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association. Within these guidelines, the University of Washington Division of Physical Therapy has the freedom and ultimate responsibility for the selection and evaluation of its students; the design, implementation and evaluation of its curriculum; and the determination of who should be awarded a degree. Admission and retention decisions are based not only on prior satisfactory academic achievement but also on nonacademic factors, which serve to ensure that the candidate can complete the essential functions of the academic program required for graduation.

The division has the responsibility to the public to assure that its graduates can become fully competent and caring physical therapists, capable of doing benefit and not harm. Thus, it's important that students admitted possess the intelligence, integrity, compassion, humanitarian concern and physical and emotional capacity necessary to practice physical therapy.

The Division of Physical Therapy, as part of the University of Washington, is committed to the principle of equal opportunity. The division does not discriminate based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability. When requested, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to otherwise qualified students with disabilities.

Technical Standards

Technical standards, as distinguished from academic standards, refer to those physical, cognitive and behavioral abilities required for satisfactory completion of all aspects of the curriculum, and the development of professional attributes required by the faculty of all students at graduation. The essential abilities required by the curriculum are in the following areas: motor, sensory, communication, intellectual (conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities for problem solving and patient assessment) and the behavioral and social aspects of the performance of a physical therapist.

The University of Washington Division of Physical Therapy curriculum requires essential abilities in information acquisition. You must have the ability to master information presented in course work in the form of lectures, written material and projected images, and be able to seek and synthesize information from appropriate and varied sources. You must also be able to recognize your own limits, both personally and related to your skill in and knowledge of physical therapy.

You must have the cognitive abilities necessary to master relevant content in basic science and clinical courses at a level deemed appropriate by the faculty.  These skills may be described as the ability to comprehend, memorize, analyze and synthesize material and to do so in a timely manner. You must be able to discern and comprehend dimensional and spatial relationships of structures and be able to develop reasoning and decision-making skills appropriate to the practice of physical therapy.

You must have the ability to take and document in a patient’s record an appropriate history and perform a physical examination. Such tasks require the ability to communicate with the patient and family. You must also be capable of perceiving the signs of disease, especially neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction, as manifested through the physical examination. Such information is derived from observation and palpation of the body surfaces, palpable changes in various organs and tissues, and auditory information (such as a patient's voice and heart tones).

You must have the ability to discern skin, subcutaneous masses, muscles, bones, joints, lymph nodes and intra-abdominal organs (e.g., liver and spleen). You must be able to perceive the presence of abnormalities, which are not within the musculoskeletal system, such as masses in the abdomen.

A major component of the practice of physical therapy is the assessment and management of movement disorders.  Therefore, you should have the ability, within reasonable limits, to safely assist a patient in moving, for example, from a chair to a bed, or from a wheelchair to a commode. You must also move yourself in a three-dimensional space to perform motor function tests and treatments. Additionally, you should be able to always ensure the physical safety of a patient.

You must be able to communicate effectively with patients and family, physicians and other members of the health care team. The communication skills require the ability to assess all information, including the recognition of the significance of nonverbal communication and immediate assessment of information provided to allow for appropriate, well-focused follow-up inquiry. You should be capable of responsive, empathetic listening to establish rapport in a way that promotes openness on issues of concern and sensitivity to potential cultural differences.

You should be able to process and communicate information on the patient's status with accuracy in a timely manner to physical therapist colleagues and other members of the health care team. This information then needs to be communicated in a succinct yet comprehensive manner and in settings in which time is limited. Written or dictated patient assessments, etc., must be complete and accurate. The appropriate communication may also rely on your ability to make a correct judgment in seeking supervision and consultation in a timely manner.

You must be able to understand the basis and content of ethical physical therapy practice. You should possess the following attributes: compassion, empathy, altruism, integrity, responsibility and tolerance. You should have the emotional stability to function effectively under stress and to adapt to an environment, that may change rapidly without warning and/or in unpredictable ways.

These essential functions of physical therapy education identify the requirements for admission, retention and graduation of applicants and students at the University of Washington Division of Physical Therapy. Graduates are expected to be qualified to enter the field of physical therapy. If you have a disability, it's your responsibility to request accommodations that you feel are reasonable and needed to execute the essential requirements described.

PT-Related Work or Volunteer Experience

students in clinicApplicants to the DPT program must have a minimum of 25 hours of PT-related experience with a physical therapist on staff. All hours, whether they’re volunteer, paid, shadow or observation hours, are weighted equally in the admissions process. We recommend you gain experience in more than one practice setting.

Applicants are expected to arrange their own PT-related experience. Volunteering in the physical therapy department of a hospital or private clinic is a good place to begin. You must complete your observations under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist at any physical location within the U.S. 

Application Steps

Step One: Prepare to Apply

Review the 2023 Admission & Program Overview (PDF).

Review the PTCAS general application instructions.

Complete your PT-related work or volunteer experience. A minimum of 25 hours is required.

Make sure you’re on track to complete prerequisite coursework.  

Write your personal statements. The Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) application requires an essay and a response to a school-specific question. Because there’s no interview in the program application process, these statements are the primary way you can express your aptitude for the PT profession and your personal qualities and attributes that will help you succeed in this program.

Identify people who are willing to write letters of recommendation for you. You’ll need to submit three or four letters of recommendation as part of your PTCAS application. You must obtain at least one recommendation letter from a physical therapist you assisted or shadowed while getting your observation hours. Other acceptable recommenders/evaluators are professors, academic professionals including TA and pre-PT advisors, healthcare professionals, former employers or supervisors. Make sure the people you choose can speak to your potential for a career in physical therapy.

Take the GRE (General Test). GRE scores must be sent directly to the PTCAS from the Educational Testing Service using code 0088. GRE scores must be no more than five years old. Other standardized test score such as GMAT, MCAT, LSAT or DAT is not accepted. There is no minimum GRE score requirement for admissions. 

Official GRE scores must be received by the PTCAS before the October 16, 2023, deadline. We strongly encourage you to take the GRE by September 30, 2023, as it usually takes 10–15 business days to receive official scores.

Take the TOEFL (if applicable). TOEFL scores must be sent directly to PTCAS using code 5312. A minimum score of 100(iBT) is required.

Plan to apply early. Please make sure to allow yourself sufficient time to prepare your application. We strongly encourage you to apply as early as possible to ensure timely processing and reviews. Please be aware that the PTCAS application must have “Verified” status to be considered for admission. Late/incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Step Two: Apply

Submit the UW Graduate School Online Application.

The UW Graduate School does not require an official transcript during the application process. You can upload an unofficial or a student copy for your UW application. Once you are admitted, you must submit official transcripts for degree verification.

Submit the PTCAS Online Application.

All required admission documents must be submitted through the PTCAS online application system. The DPT Curriculum Office will NOT accept any documents including additional recommendation letters or essays.

The PTCAS application will close at 11:59 pm ET.  Please pay attention to the closing time in your time zone.
11:59 PM (ET)
10:59 PM (CT) 
9:59 PM (MT) 
8:59 PM (PT) 
7:59 PM (AKT)
6:59 PM (HAT)

Program Selection Criteria

The UW Doctor of Physical Therapy program aims to graduate highly effective physical therapists who will drive innovation and excellence in the profession. We’re looking for students who will work to address health disparities and provide culturally responsive service in our increasingly diverse world. While selecting our student body, we consider an applicant’s experiences, personal attributes and academic history.

Criminal History Background Check

Most clinical internship placement sites require potential trainees to undergo an extensive criminal history background check, especially for crimes against vulnerable populations. To make sure all DPT students offered internship positions have no criminal history and can finish the clinical portion of the curriculum, if you're accepted to the program you must complete a criminal background check request form before you’ll be admitted to the program.

Information for International Students

International applicants are welcome to apply to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. You are considered an international applicant if you are not a U.S. citizen, immigrant or permanent resident. International applicants must meet all admission requirements for the program.

Visa Status

International students must have a visa status that allows for academic study at the University of Washington. If you’re admitted to the DPT program and plan to attend on an F-1 visa, you must study full time — at least 10 credits per quarter to maintain your visa status. For more information, review the citizenship and visa status section of the Graduate School application process page, and contact Graduate Enrollment Management Services at if you have any questions.

English Language Proficiency

International applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency. A minimum of 100 on the TOEFL iBT is required. Test scores must be sent directly to PTCAS by the Educational Testing Service using institution code 5312. Only scores less than two years old will be accepted.

More Information

International Applicant Information

Visa Information for F-1 Students and J-1 Exchange Visitors

Equal Opportunity for Admissions Statement

The University of Washington reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability or status as a protected veteran. This policy applies to all programs and facilities, including, but not limited to, admissions, educational programs, employment, and patient and hospital services. Any discriminatory action can be a cause for disciplinary action. Discrimination is prohibited by Presidential Executive Order 11246 as amended, Washington State Gubernatorial Executive Orders 89-01 and 93-07, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Washington State Law Against Discrimination RCW 49.60, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, State of Washington Gender Equity in Higher Education Act of 1989, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 as amended, Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1972 as amended, other federal and state statutes, regulations, and University policy. Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action compliance efforts at the University of Washington are coordinated by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, University of Washington, UW Box 354960 4300 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, Washington, 98195-1240, telephone(206) 543-3392 or email

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact the Disability Services Office at least 10 days in advance at: 206-543-6450 (V), 206-543-6452 (TTY), 206-685-7264 (FAX) or