Application Dates and Deadlines

A new cohort of the UW Doctor of Physical Therapy program begins each fall. Applications open in July, and the application deadline is December 15. Admission decisions are emailed to students by mid-February each year.

Minimum Admission Requirements

To apply for admission, applicants must have the following:

  • U.S. citizenship or permanent residency.
  • 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; biology, psychology and exercise science are the most common.
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for all college-level courses.
  • At least half of the prerequisite PT courses completed and be on track to complete all before the program begins.
  • 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.
  • A minimum of 50 hours of PT-related work or volunteer experience.

Prerequisite Courses

To meet the prerequisite requirements, you may use credits from college-level coursework taken any time in the in your academic career. Prerequisite courses may be taken at any accredited institution of higher education, including universities, community colleges or online providers.

Under each prerequisite subject below, you’ll find a suggested UW course that will meet that prerequisite. Courses from other schools may vary in content, level and credit and still meet the prerequisites for this program. If you’re attending one of the Washington state community colleges, check the UW Equivalency Guide to learn more, otherwise we suggest comparing the course descriptions in your college catalog with the following descriptions to gauge approximate equivalencies. If you have any questions, please contact us.

  • Chemistry
    Two courses that cover atomic theory, the periodic table, quantum concepts, gas laws, structure and bonding, reaction types, chemical equilibrium, electrochemistry and acid-base reactions. These courses should include lab work. Recommended preparation: high school chemistry and advanced algebra. UW equivalents: Any two of CHEM 142, 152 or 162. Any two of the following UW courses covering basic principles of inorganic and some organic chemistry would also be accepted: CHEM 120, 220 or 221.
  • Biology
    Two courses that cover living systems and focus on topics such as cell structure and function; genetics; metabolism; development; diversity; ecology; evolution; and conservation. UW equivalents: Any two of BIOL 180, 200 or 220.
  • Behavioral Science
    One psychology course plus another course in a behavioral science such as psychology, sociology or anthropology.
  • Statistics
    One introductory course that covers elementary concepts of probability and sampling as well as basic principles of hypothesis testing and data analysis. UW equivalents: STAT 220, STAT 311, QSCI 381, EDPSY 490, PSYCH 315, QMETH 201.
  • Physics
    Two courses that cover mechanics, sound, heat and electromagnetism and that incorporate lab work. Recommended preparation includes high school physics, algebra and trigonometry. UW equivalents: Any two of PHYS 114/117, PHYS 115/118, PHYS 116/119.
  • Anatomy
    One course that covers systemic human anatomy with correlated lectures and demonstrations. UW equivalent: none; the UW does not offer undergraduate anatomy classes.*
  • Physiology
    One course that covers human physiology for non-majors and health science students. UW equivalent: BIOL 118/119*.

*For the anatomy and physiology prerequisites, two courses that cover integrated anatomy and physiology are an acceptable substitute.

PT-Related Work or Volunteer Experience

Applicants to the DPT program must have a minimum of 50 hours of PT-related experience with a physical therapist on staff, though many complete much more – some in the range of 100 to 200 hours. All hours, whether they’re volunteer, paid, shadow or observation hours, are weighted equally in the admissions process. We recommend you get 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. 

Required Application Materials

  • Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service online application
  • UW Graduate School online application
  • 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)

Application Steps

Step One: Prepare to Apply

Complete your PT-related work or volunteer experience. A minimum of 50 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.

  • Essay: What is professionalism in the context of being a student in a doctor of physical therapist degree program?
  • School-specific question: The physical therapy program at the University of Washington prides itself on promoting services to socially, economically, and culturally diverse people. What attributes, life experiences, strengths, or challenges distinguish you as a: 1) candidate for admission to the University of Washington; and 2) future clinician who will be able to interact effectively with your peers and the people you will serve?

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. Consider getting one to two recommendations from physical therapists you assisted or shadowed while getting your observation hours. Other acceptable recommendations would be professors or former employers or supervisors. Make sure the people you choose can speak to your potential for a career in physical therapy.

Take the GRE. GRE scores must be sent directly to PTCAS from the Educational Testing Service using code 0088. GRE scores must be no more than 5 years old.

Take the TOEFL (if applicable). TOEFL scores must be sent directly to PTCAS using code 5312.

Step Two: Apply

Complete and submit the PTCAS online application.

Complete and submit the UW Graduate School online application.

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, all accepted program applicants must complete a criminal background check request form before they’ll be admitted to the program.

Additional Information 

See additional program and admissions information for prospective students.