Welcome to the HPPLC pre-PT guidelines!
While this page includes some information specifically about the IU PT program, the HPPLC site is intended for use by all IUB undergraduates and alumni regardless of whether they plan to apply to the IU program or not! The guidelines and strategies explained throughout are widely applicable, regardless of which programs you intend to apply to. IUB students and alumni successfully apply to programs across the country.
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- Don't simply skip to the sample prerequisite chart! Classes are only one part of the admission requirements. The guidelines and resources on this page go well beyond prerequisites and program websites, and will help you understand, plan, and achieve each admission component.
- Don't let the abundance of information on this page overwhelm you. It is meant to be quite complete - your close companion throughout your preprofessional process. The right-hand Contents menu is a linked outline of the entire page and thus provides an easy way to navigate.
- Do read the Overview of the Admission Process. It'll take just 10 minutes, and will take some of the mystery out of being preprofessional.
- Do frequently consult the Timeline page throughout your entire preprofessional and application processes! It not only offers another indispensable way to navigate the site, but also provides ideas for organizing your entire preprofessional process with short term and long term To Do lists. The Timeline page also serves as a list of Action Items for your iGPS plan.
- Do consult this page often and consistently, as it is regularly revised and expanded, will save you a great deal of time and labor, help you become a stronger applicant, and help you avoid common mistakes.
- We do not suggest simply printing this page, as there are many sub-pages linked from it which contain significant information and guidance.
|A bachelors degree, along with prerequisite courses and other admission requirements, is required for admission to all DPT programs. While it is easier to work the PT prerequisites into some degrees/majors than others, most offer adequate flexibility. In addition, most DPT programs, including Indiana University's, have no preference as to what degree/major applicants complete! Using the tips, guidelines, and resources at Choosing an Appropriate Degree / Major, you may be surprised how quickly you can narrow the field and move toward the options that are best for you!|
|What grade point average is competitive for admission depends on a number of factors. Visit our Competitive GPA page to gain a general sense of what GPA goals to set for yourself, and how GPA figures in relation to other admission requirements.|
|Want to know what you should be doing now? How to keep on track? What your preprofessional timeline ought to be? Visit the preprofessional timeline page! Our detailed sample timeline can give you a sense of what you should be doing right now, and also help you with your long range planning.|
For people currently on the pre-PT path, the degree required to practice physical therapy is the Doctor of Physical Therapy, or DPT (you'll sometimes see the standard DPT referred to as an "entry-level" degree). The purpose of the DPT is to prepare students to pass the licensing exam and become a practicing physical therapist.
The entry-level DPT is a post-baccalaureate degree (i.e., a degree you pursue after your undergraduate degree) conferred upon successful completion of a PT doctoral-level professional program. The standard DPT is a three-year clinical doctorate, not a PhD. “Entry-level” means it is the minimum required to practice, and that once students have completed a physical therapy program and passed the licensing exam, they are at once able to begin working in the field.
On occasion, you will come across PhD or ScD programs associated with PT, not to be confused with the standard DPT entry-level degree. Within the physical therapy profession, the PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) or ScD (Doctor of Science) are purely optional. They are each referred to as a "postprofessional" doctoral degree, which is an additional credential some people choose to earn after they have already completed their professional degree. Postprofessional degrees are designed for those who want additional formal education, or who want to undertake formal research within the field.
Again, the DPT is the standard degree for those who wish to become licensed to practice in the field of physical therapy.
Physical therapists (PTs) are licensed healthcare practitioners who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the aged. PTs evaluate and develop treatment interventions for persons with health problems resulting from injuries, illness and disease. Their patients have medical problems or health-related conditions which limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTs help individuals restore and maintain overall fitness and health by using physical and mechanical means. They also work with other health care providers to reach these goals. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.
Physical therapists provide care for people in a variety of settings including, but not limited to, hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work-place settings, and nursing homes.
Physical therapists must possess problem-solving skills, resourcefulness, patience, manual dexterity, physical stamina, and the ability to work closely with a variety of people. PTs must work well independently, as well as with a team of care givers. From initial examination and evaluation through the discharge of a patient or client, the physical therapist's responsibility is to work with the individual to ensure maximal function. A love of lifelong learning, a positive attitude, and an outgoing personality would serve you well in this field.
As a prospective DPT student, you should take courses which develop your critical thinking, problem solving, and writing skills; which expand your understanding of social, cultural, emotional, and mental development; and which strengthen your physical science skills. You must also be willing to (and hopefully want to) work with people of all ages, in varying stages of health, in both inpatient and critical care settings. We encourage you to develop and hone these skills throughout high school and college, through coursework and volunteer opportunities (or through employment in PT settings).
|IMPORTANT: for tips and guidelines pertaining to the admission process, click HERE. The overview page includes important information about managing competitive admissions; rolling admissions; required criminal background checks; academic misconduct; professionalism; and the various components that comprise the application.|
A Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is offered through the Indiana University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS - Indianapolis campus). While IU Bloomington itself does not offer a DPT program, IUB hosts hundreds of pre-PT students who fulfill admission requirements here and then apply to PT programs around the country, including the IU DPT on the Indy campus. Admission to the IU PT program requires successful completion of a baccalaureate degree, prerequisite courses (which can be worked into most undergraduate degrees/majors), and some of the other admission criteria noted in the overview of the admission process.
You may choose almost any undergraduate major as long as you also complete the PT prerequisite courses. The IU PT program has no preference for one degree or major over another. Indiana University does not offer an undergraduate PT major (few schools do). Past successful applicants to IU PT have include those majoring in music, anthropology, kinesiology, biology, Spanish, and many other fields.
IU DPT professional coursework begins in the fall. Nationally, the average applicant to PT schools is around 23.5 years old. Many pre-PT students apply during their junior summer, but a good many defer their application till the summer after senior year. Some defer applying till or a year or more after graduating, depending on their goals, circumstances, and where they are in their preprofessional process. Utilize the right-hand Contents menu and the timeline page throughout your pre-PT process!
For a recent class profile for the IU program, including the complete range of GPAs and GRE scores admitted, click HERE.
For the most recent IU PT policies pertaining to minimum grade and GPA requirements, whether online prereqs are acceptable, and other important policies, consult the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences PT Admissions Requirements page.
Below, we've assembled some important guidelines to help you plan your prerequisites efficiently, while avoiding common oversights:
- if you would like to discuss your preprofessional timeline or application timeline, you are very welcome to click the Make An Appointment link on the HPPLC homepage and follow the instructions to schedule a meeting.
- Different PT programs will have different requirements and enforce different policies. Thoroughly research programs to plan your prerequisites, the admission requirements, the timing of your courses, and the timing of the application itself.
- Each PT program has its own set of prerequisites, and we urge you to research and apply to multiple programs.
- Many other PT programs require some biology (what course/s depends on the program), developmental psychology, and / or abnormal psychology. As you plan your prerequisites, utilize the prerequisite summary and other resources located on the HPPLC Researching Accredited Programs page. Carefully read all of the information there pertaining to the prereq summary; it does not include information for all PT programs!
- Most programs require at least a minimum grade of "C" in all prerequisites ("C-" not acceptable), and some may have higher minimum.
- Remember that meeting minimum requirements relates only to eligibility, and that earning higher than the minimums is necessary to be competitive for admission to most PT programs. HPPLC advisors are happy to discuss your circumstances and options, or any concerns you might have! You are welcome to click the Make An Appointment link on the HPPLC homepage and follow the instructions to schedule an advising session.
- Some courses are taught only once each year, and others have strict prerequisite or corequisite requirements. Plan your prerequisites carefully! Check the most recent College of Arts and Sciences bulletin and Bulletin Supplement for pre and corequisites to your pre-PT courses.
- Avoid online lab courses, as most programs will not accept them!
- Most people should avoid overlapping the 5 credit lecture / lab courses. Students usually struggle when they take these classes in the same semester. Avoiding this overlap more or less necessitates consistently taking one 5 credit class each semester.
- All programs set deadlines for when prereqs need to be completed, and many limit the number of prerequisites you can have remaining at the time you apply. Therefore, research programs early on and consult each of your programs' sites to confirm their prereq deadline. (For IU PT's most current policy, consult the IU SHRS Admission Requirements page.)
- Special Credit: Some PT programs may not accept AP credit, credit-by-exam, or exemption from degree requirements in place of admission requirements, or may only accept such credit under specific circumstances. Check with each of your programs to confirm its policies. (For IU PT's most current policy, consult the IU SHRS Admission Requirements page.)
- FRESHMEN: During freshman year, begin working in 5 credit prerequisites, hopefully one in each of fall and spring. It does not matter whether you begin with chemistry or anatomy, but try to get one or the other - whichever is open and works with your schedule. We do not recommend physics for most freshman, though this does depend on your high school preparation.
- SOPHOMORES AND BEYOND: Try to take a 5 credit prerequisite each term. Summer prereqs might be necessary, depending on your situation.
- Carefully read the IMPORTANT NOTES associated with the courses listed below.
Principles of Chemistry and Biochemistry I: CHEM-C 117 / 127 (CHEM-C 103 not acceptable) 7
(You should take the Chemistry Placement Exam prior to enrolling in C117 / 127. On the CPE page, read about your placement options and eligibility requirements. If necessary, discuss with your academic advisor.
|Principles of Chemistry and Biochemistry II: CHEM-C 118 2||5|
|General Physics I: PHYS-P 201 or PHYS-P 221 (221 is calculus-based physics) 8||5|
|General Physics II: PHYS-P 202 or PHYS-P 222 (222 is calculus-based physics)||5|
|Medical Science 1||Cr|
|Human Anatomy: ANAT-A 215 (be sure to closely follow the A215 study tips)||5|
|Human Physiology: PHSL-P 215 or BIOL-P 451 Integrative Human Physiology (P451, P: senior standing or permission of Instructor)||4 - 5|
|Medical Terminology: CLAS-C 209 (2 cr), or online instruction with certificate of completion
|The IU program will accept STAT-S 303 Applied Statistical Methods for the Life Sciences; or any one of PSY-K 300, SPEA-K 300, CJUS-K 300, STAT-S 300, SOC-S 371, ECON-E or S 370, LAMP-L 316, or equivalent statistics course, at or above 300-level. Most programs will accept almost any 300-level stats. Some programs specify a requirement for "inferential statistics" (statistical inference, regression, correlation, analysis of variance). The latter courses will likely fulfill the requirement. As always, you will need to confirm your prereqs with each of your prospective programs.||3 - 4|
|Humanities and Social Science||Cr|
|Introduction to Psychology: PSY-P 101 or equivalent 4||3|
|Lifespan Development: SPH-F 150, EDUC-P 314 5, or PSY-P 315 6. (Some programs, like those at Indiana State University, require Developmental Psychology; therefore, PSY-P 315 may be a more flexible option than the other two, depending on the preferences of the programs to which you are applying. If you take Developmental Psychology, it must cover the full lifespan, birth to death.)||3|
|Other Prerequisites For Non-IU Programs: This chart covers prereqs for the IU program only! We urge you to carefully research multiple programs and apply to 8 or so - some people apply to even more. General biology, for example, is a very common PT prereq. For information about additional prerequisites you might encounters during your program research click HERE.||Varies|
- All chemistry, physics, human anatomy and human physiology courses used to fulfill admission requirements must be major-level courses and include a lab. It is usually best to avoid taking more than one lab course in a given semester.
- If you are contemplating pursuing medical or dental school, we advise that you do not take CHEM-C 118. Instead, we advise you to take CHEM-C 341 and 342 (Organic Chemistry Lectures I & II), CHEM-C 343 (Organic Chemistry Lab I), and CHEM-N 330 (Intermediate Organic Chemistry). IU PT will accept N330 in place of C118.
- Statistics courses generally assume minimum proficiency at the MATH-M 014 (algebra) level, but some assume more previous math experience. For instance, finite math is a suggested prerequisite for SPEA-K300; either finite math or calculus is recommended prior to PSY-K 300; MATH-M 119 or equivalent calculus is a prerequisite for MATH- K 310. Double-check bulletins and course descriptions for detailed prerequisite information, as prerequisites vary, and can change unexpectedly.
- PSY-P 151, PSY-P 155 (generally recommended only for psychology majors), or P106 (Hutton Honors College students only) may substitute for P101.
- EDUC-P 314 Life Span Development prerequisite: PSY-P 155 or P106 by itself; or PSY-P 101. (See note 4 re. P155 and 106.)
- PSY-P 315 Developmental Psychology prerequisite: PSY-P 155 or P106 by itself; or PSY-P 101 and 102, or P151 and P152. (See note 4 re. P155 and 106.)
- With possible exceptions, most graduate-level programs require that most science prerequisites be major-level courses. CHEM-C 103 is not a major-level course.
- Prerequisite for PHYS-P 201 is competence in basic trigonometry; for example, rigorous high school trig, or IUB's Math-M 26. Prerequisite or corequisite for PHYS-P 221 is MATH-M 211.
Different programs require different prerequisites. Below are additional requirements you may encounter as you research programs. You will not know what prerequisites you need until you are sure where you will apply. If you need clarification regarding a given program's prerequisites, you must contact the program directly, as HPPLC advisors cannot speak on behalf of programs.
Consult related information and resources on the Researching Accredited Programs page, where you will find important guidelines and tips, as well as links to the official lists of accredited PT programs. Using these resources will save you time and labor.
|Additional prerequisites you might encounters during your program research||Credits|
General Biology: Many PT programs require a biology prereq. A year of general biology with lab is common, though what courses are acceptable can vary substantially. Read the detailed * note below for additional information. Ultimately you will need to contact each of your prospective programs directly to confirm whether the bio courses you have in mind will fulfill their requirement.
|3 - 9|
|Exercise physiology: Sometimes required in addition to or instead of Basic Human Physiology. IUB's Basic Physiology of Exercise is SPH-K 409 (P: ANAT-A 215 or SPH-K 205, and PHSL-P 215).||3|
|Additional Chemistry: Sometimes includes organic chemistry. IUB options include CHEM-C 341 (major-level organic) and possibly C340 (organic chem for non-chemistry majors). Many programs explicitly state that prereqs must be major-level courses.||3|
|Medical Terminology: Some programs that require med terminology require a class such as CLAS-C 209, but some will accept non-credit-bearing online med terms certificate.||varies|
|Abnormal Psychology: IUB equivalent, PSY-P 324 (P: PSY-P 101 and 102, or P155 or 106.||3|
|Biomechanics: Example of IUB equivalent, SPH-K 391.||3|
* Pre-PT Biology: Many PT programs require a biology prereq but the specifics vary. Until you confirm with programs, don't assume a given biology course or set of courses will or won't fulfill the bio prereq! Here is some additional bio information:
- Some programs require major-level biology like BIOL-L 112, 113, and possibly 111 or 211. Others will accept non-major-level courses like BIOL-L 104 or L100. Which, if any, of these courses you must take will depend on where you are applying. Check with programs!
- Some programs require a biology lab, and some do not.
- For those that require something similar to "General Biology I and II with lab," or a 4+4 lecture / lab credit hour sequence, IUB BIOL-L 112 + 113 may or may not fulfill the requirement, since 112 + 113 equals only 6 credits. You will need to confirm with programs.
- If you learn that a program will not accept fewer than 8 credits of major-level general biology, then adding 111 or 211 to 112 and 113 may fulfill the requirement. Confirm with programs. In this case, be aware that 211 is a more complex course than 111, so confirm which of these two courses they would accept.
- If you contact programs regarding BIOL-L 113, be sure to tell them it is a full 3 credit hours. This configuration is somewhat unusual, since most schools offer 4 credit lecture/lab combination courses ("Gen Bio I and II"), of which the lab is essentially a 1 credit portion of the 4 credits. Sometimes non-bio majors who need another lab add BIOL-M 215 (1 credit, spring only, no prereqs).
|IMPORTANT: Thoroughly utilize the HPPLC PT Researching Accredited Programs page throughout your preprofessional process! It includes important guidelines and tips for identifying accredited programs, deciding where to apply, organizing your research process, finding programs for which your GPA is competitive, and much more. Use only the lists of programs linked from that page. Other lists are incomplete, outdated, and driven by marketing. Be sure to research and consider both PTCAS and non-PTCAS programs.|
Additional Admission Requirements
Before you proceed any further, please read about professional conduct during your research and application process, on our Researching Accredited Programs page. We have seen applicants denied admission for not following the kind of advice given therein - something which is completely avoidable.
|IMPORTANT: After you read the information below, read the HPPLC Clinical Observation page for important details about how to arrange clinical observation, how to log your hours, and how to document your experiences for the benefit of your personal statement and possible admission interviews.|
Clinical observation (job shadowing) is required for admission to most programs. It is also the best way for you to see the day-to-day responsibilities a given profession involves within a specific setting, and can thereby help you determine wether the profession is one you wish to pursue, or whether you need to explore other fields. Shadowing can also strengthen your personal statement, letters of recommendation, and admission interviews, as well as benefit you during your clinical rotations within the DPT program itself. PT programs may require or recommend anywhere from 0 to 100 or more hours of observation (or sometimes specifically, volunteer work) in one or more PT settings.
IU pre-physical therapy clinical observation requirement:
- Prior to submitting your application, the IU PT program requires that you complete a minimum
of 40 hours of clinical observation, volunteer work, or other work experience in both inpatient (hospital based) and outpatient physical therapy settings. Doing so will enable you to appreciate how a PT's responsibilities differ from one kind of setting to another.
- Complete a minimum of 20 hours in each of at least two different settings.
- All experiences must be supervised by a licensed PT only (not a PTA, PT, RN, MD, etc.).
- Each experience must be of sufficient time to enable the supervising physical therapist to adequately complete the IU PT Clinical Observation Experience Form.
Other PT programs will have their own shadowing requirements, and many will have their own paper or electronic forms that you will need to ask your DPTs to complete. See the suggestions below for tips on how to manage this process.
Note that about half of all PT programs in the United States require that applicants apply through the Physical Therapy Central Application Service (PTCAS), which itself has specific requirements for reporting observation hours. See the PTCAS site for instructions, and feel free to call PTCAS if you still have questions. Consult the PTCAS directory for a list of participating programs. The IU PT program may in the future require application through PTCAS, but currently does not.
Again, be aware that non-PTCAS programs will have their own procedures. If it is not clear to you from a given program's website how they want you to report hours, do not hesitate to call the program and ask.
Be sure to read the HPPLC Clinical Observation page for important details about clinical observation!
|IMPORTANT: After you read the information below, visit Gathering and Submitting Letters of Recommendation, where you will find important information and tips about how, from whom, and when to collect and submit recommendations, information about central application services, and much more.|
The IU PT admission process does not require letters of recommendation (though they do require Clinical Observation Experience Forms from the PTs - see the section above); most programs do, however, require that you submit two or three recommendations. Visit the PT Central Application Service (PTCAS) Program Prerequisites page, where you will find information about which PTCAS programs require or accept which kinds of letters.
Remember, though, there are dozens of programs which do not use PTCAS, and which therefore are not included in the PTCAS information. Check individual non-PTCAS program websites to learn what their recommendation requirements or preferences are.
Be sure to follow the link in the box above!
|IMPORTANT: After you read the information below, thoroughly read the HPPLC Graduate Record Exam (GRE) page, which includes important information and tips about when to take the GRE, preparing for and arranging to take the exam, how scores are reported, and how to decide whether or not to retake the exam.|
As part of the application process, most physical therapy gradaute progarms require that you take the GRE revised General Test.
The IU DPT program requires that you take the GRE prior to applying. While no minimum score is required for any component of the test, the verbal portion is weighted as 50% of the admission formula. (Neither the total score nor the quantitative score is taken into account in any way for IU DPT admissions.)
Be sure to follow the link in the box above!
|IMPORTANT: After you read the information below, thoroughly read the HPPLC Drafting Your Personal Essay page, which includes important personal essay guidelines, including an timeline, ideas for how to begin your first draft, building credibility with admission committees, creating an introduction and conclusion, and much more.|
Indiana University Physical Therapy Program essay requirement
The IU DPT program requires that you submit a personal essay through PTCAS (Physical Therapy Central Application Service).
|IMPORTANT: After you read the information below, thoroughly read the HPPLC Preparing for Admission Interviews page, which includes sample interview questions, interview tips, information about interview formats, and more.|
The IU DPT program will invite a certain portion of qualified applicants for an interview:
- To qualify for the IU DPT interview, you must have completed all admission requirements (with the exception that you are allowed to have two prerequisites remaining at the time of the interview - refer to IU DPT prerequisite information), and rank in the top 80 -100 applicants based upon academic criteria (cumulative GPA, Math/Science prerequisite GPA, and GRE scores).
- Those who meet the above criteria will be invited to the IUPUI campus for an interview in November or December. This is the only day and time during which interviews will be conducted.
- For those invited, the interview is mandatory for both in-state and out-of-state applicants, so be prepared to make travel arrangements to the IUPUI campus.
- For additional information, visit the IU DPT Admissions page.
Prior to beginning professional coursework, many programs require that you become certified for adult, child, and infant CPR, commonly referred to as BLS certification, Health Care Provider CPR, or CPR for the Professional Rescuer.
Training courses are offered for a fee through the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. The IU Bloomington course, SPH-H 160 First Aid And Emergency Care (3 cr), also includes all necessary instruction, including use of the Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Upon completing H160, students are eligible to complete CPR/AED certification for the Professional Rescuer and Health Care Provider, and can also become first aid certified.
Spend time around a variety of people:
As you go through physical therapy training, and as an inherent dimension to the profession itself, you will work with people from diverse backgrounds, ranging in age, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, and so on. It is important that as you proceed along the pre-PT path, and into the profession, that you make a conscious effort to gain experience working with and being around diverse populations. There are many ways to achieve this goal, for example: through community service, clinical observation of PTs in different settings, and participating in events or student groups at IU that tend to attract a variety of people from diverse backgrounds.
Note: PT programs don't tend to place particular emphasis on "internships," per se. Internships are fine, but the value is placed on extensive clinical observation and hands on experience of the kind posted to the link below, regardless of whether or not the experience is labeled an "internship."
Volunteer and job opportunities for pre-PT students
Refer to HPPLC's list of volunteer and job opportunities for pre-PT students to view examples of pertinent experiences. These opportunities offer occasions for you to be around a variety of people from diverse backgrounds, which is of central important to those working in the health professions. In addition, they can help you further develop rudimentary clinical skills and other interpersonal skills which can in turn help you become an even stronger applicant, graduate student, and ultimately a more effective healthcare professional.
Indiana University Physical Therapy Program application
Consult the IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences PT admission requirements and application selection details, after reading the information below.
- The PT application is due early! Plan to apply to PT programs during the summer! Fall is often too late!
- Plan your coursework well in advance, and carefully read the prerequisite course deadline information, also at the above link.
IMPORTANT: Every year people apply for admission to DPT programs, but find they are ineligible due to incomplete prerequisites, ineligible GPA, or errors on the application. Therefore:
- Read the related PT program research tips and suggestions.
- Triple-check all admission requirements for each and every program to which you plan to apply.
- Research prerequisites early so you can complete them on time.
- Apply early to leave leeway for problems that might arise.
- Once you apply, check with each program to make sure your application is complete and correct.
- Be aware of any restrictions on the timing of prerequisites (see below for an example of such a restriction, related to IU PT admission).
Note: Be aware of financial aid deadlines, which can arrive during or shortly after your application period!
DPT application requirements and deadlines
- Many, though not all, DPT programs require that applicants apply through the Central Application Service for Physical Therapists (PTCAS).
- Each program, both PTCAS and non-PTCAS, has its own application cycle.
- Many DPT application deadlines fall in October, but not all. In addition, some PT programs admit students in January instead of the summer, and hence have different application cycles; and some programs admit students at two or three different times each year.
- The PTCAS application cycle last for 11 months, and in this way overlaps with the application cycles of all PTCAS programs.
- The PTCAS cycle usually opens during the first week of July and closes at the end of May of the next year. Because the PTCAS system purges all unsubmitted applications every June, do not begin filling out your PTCAS application until after the new cycle opens, during the first week of July of the summer during which you plan to apply. The exact date the new application opens in July varies each year, so check the PTCAS homepage for announcements.
For deadline information for each program, refer to program websites, or the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) site's listing of programs, where you will find this and other information by clicking on the names of programs.
- The IU DPT program requires that applicants apply through the Central Application Service for Physical Therapists.
- Refer to the GPA information above for minimum IU DPT GPA requirements, and to get a sense of where you might stand compared to previous successful applicants.
- IU DPT application deadline: The program accepts applications from the beginning of July up to the beginning of October, for admission to the program the following fall. Refer to the program's website for specific dates. Try to submit all application materials several weeks before the deadline to allow leeway in case there is something you overlooked or need to correct.
- Try to complete the GRE at least four weeks before you plan to submit your PT applications, in case there are any delays in score reporting.
- All programs set deadlines for when prereqs need to be completed, and many of them limit the number of prerequisites you can have remaining at the time you apply. Therefore, research programs early on and consult each of your programs' sites to confirm their prereq deadline. (For IU PT's most current policy, consult the IU SHRS Admission Requirements page.)
- You must complete all admission requirements, and the IU PT program must receive all your materials, on or before June 1 (including final spring grades) in order for you to matriculate into the program (i.e., start PT school).
- Applicants who are not IU students need only to complete the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences application; there is no need to complete a separate IU application.
PTCAS has an "academic update" process, through which you may update coursework completed after you originally submitted your application. You can only do updates one time, so make sure you enter complete, correct information. Refer to the PTCAS Academic Update FAQ for deadlines, and details about what can and cannot be updated.
Contact non-PTCAS programs directly with updated information.
"Early Decision" is an admission practice whereby programs admit a certain number of especially strong applicants well before the standard application deadline.
The Early Decision application option usually comes with some caveats. For example, some programs offer an Early Decision application option through PTCAS, but you may initially apply to one and only one PTCAS program, and then must wait until that program decides whether or not they will admit you. In the meantime, you will not be allowed to apply to additional PTCAS programs. If they do admit you, you are required to accept. If they do not admit you, you may then apply to additional PTCAS programs. An additional caveat may be that while you are waiting to hear back about your Early Decision application, you may miss the optimal application window for another program (but wether this is the case depends on the timing of rolling admission cycles, if any, for your other programs).
PTCAS offers useful Early Decision FAQS with regard to PTCAS programs, as well as a list of PTCAS programs that offer Early Decision as an application option. For non-PTCAS programs, check program websites.
If you learn that all spots have been filled, but that you have been put on an admissions waitlist, immediately contact the program to express your continued and enthusiastic interest. Not everyone who is offered admission, accepts. Therefore, programs often go fairly deep into their waitlist, so don't give up! Sometimes applicants who take the time to express continued interest are among the first to be contacted if spaces do open up. If after doing so you don't hear back for a week or two, feel free to contact them to again express your interest.
The possible pros and cons of dropping or retaking classes
It is not uncommon for an applicant to include a dropped or retaken class on the application. Read about related pros, cons, and options on the HPPLC Retaking and Dropping Classes information page. If you have multiple drops and/or retakes, also refer to the application addendum information, below.
IU program course retake policies
The IU PT program currently (as of Fall 2012) allows for Indiana University's "Extended X Policy," by which you can petition to have the grade replaced if you repeat a course. SHRS will allow you to replace up to 15 credit hours of prerequisite coursework (though the IUB policy currently allows only 9 credits). See your IUB academic advisor to discuss the limitations of the policy, and directions on how / where to file the X Petition.
The IU PT program currently (as of Fall 2012) does not allow for "Academic Bankruptcy."
Double-check policies with the SHRS Director of Student Enrollment Services in case things have recently changed.
An addendum is a brief supplemental document sometimes included with an application, in which the applicant explains extenuating circumstances he or she feel could adversely impact the application. Visit the HPPLC Application Addendum page to read more about what an addendum is, and whether/how to include one with your application.
Being an Indiana resident or a graduate of Indiana University, or submitting materials early, does not provide any advantage during the admission process.
For other PT programs the process for establishing residency to perhaps eventually garner in-state tuition varies from state to state. Contact programs directly to learn about related policies and procedures.
Some programs may offer you admission on condition that you complete all remaining prerequisites prior to the start of the professional program, and maintain minimum grade and GPA requirements.
It is a good policy to keep in touch with the people who have a say in whether or not you are admitted to a given program, so we recommend that you communicate directly with each program to which you plan to apply. You can double-check to make sure your IUB coursework will fulfill their admission requirements, ask more detailed questions about their program in particular, and so on. Always keep a log or file of all your communications with programs, and always conduct yourself with cordial professionalism in all phone calls, emails, and other correspondence.
The PTCAS site contains other excellent research resources as well, including an application checklist, so consult it thoroughly. Be sure to make use of the Application Instructions, linked from the left of the PTCAS application portal. You should read through it before you apply so as to gain a general sense of the application, and then consult it section by section as you complete the application.
Admission to the IU PT program is very competitive. While strong academic performance can help you become a competitive applicant, it is important that you develop a contingency plan in case your first plan doesn't work out. HPPLC advisors strongly urge you to research the admission requirements of other PT programs and apply to at least 6 or 8.
Still, it is not uncommon for people to change their goals and ambitions, or for circumstances to arise which impede plans or necessitate their deferral. Consider developing a contingency plan, or back-up plan, just in case. At the very least, we urge you to use available resources (e.g., our Other Health Professions page, and other resources linked therein) to explore a number of career options. You might discover something you had never considered before, or, at the very least, you might confirm that the path you are on is indeed the one which best suits you.
Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA) programs
Physical Therapy Assistant, or PTA, is an alternative sometimes considered by pre-PT students. The APTA site includes information explaining what a PTA is, PTA education and training, and a list of accredited PTA programs. PTAs works directly with patients under the supervision of a physical therapist. A two-year degree from an accredited institution is required to be eligible to sit for the PTA licensure exam.
You are also welcome to call HPPLC and arrange an appointment to consult with one of our preprofessional advisors to discuss other career options within the health professions.
Click the center of the video box below to play a lighthearted but informative short cartoon about the importance of contingency or back-up planning.
[OUR APOLOGIES - the video will be fixed and posted as soon as possible]
Click HERE for resources related to researching scholarships and grants, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and FAFSA application timing and deadline information. (When to file will depend on when your program begins. The January prior to the start of your program might be a useful benchmark, but it is your responsibility to confirm the timing.)
The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) administers the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE), which prospective physical therapists must pass to become licensed practitioners. PT programs are specifically designed to prepare prospective PTs for the exam.
As of spring 2010, the vast majority of physical therapy training programs have converted to DPT, and by 2016 all programs will be required to be at the doctoral level. After 2016, unless grandfathered in under previous professional certification requirements, a DPT degree will be required to practice as a physical therapist. Those who have completed a PT baccalaureate or master's degree and garnered licensure prior to 2016 will be grandfathered in and be able to continue practicing. Note that state licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices.
(US Department of Labor / Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (OHH), "employment of physical therapists is expected to grow by 30 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations."
- For detailed salary estimates, consult the OHH.
- Job opportunities are primarily in general medical and surgical hospitals, offices of physicians and other health practitioners, home health care services, and nursing care facilities.
- You can do additional career and job research at
The Bureau of Labor Statistics's Occupational Outlook Handbook
The Occupational Outlook Handbook's section on physical therapy
Pre-PT students often ask if the PT program they attend will make a difference in their job prospects. Refer to How to decide where to apply for some thoughts to take into consideration.
Additional Physical Therapy Resources
If you are an IUB Pre-PT student and have not yet joined the Health Professions and Prelaw Center (HPPLC) pre-PT email list, we urge you to log in and do so now. It takes just seconds, and will help keep you in the loop on important announcements related to admission requirements, PT program visits to IU, the Physical Therapy Central Application Service, the GRE, the IUB PT Club, and more.
Having clear, realistic projected GPA information is especially important for preprofessional students, who are usually pursuing admission to programs with moderately or highly competitive admissions. This is one of the reasons we recommend applying to multiple programs. For examples of some useful GPA calculators, click here.
We strongly encourage you to follow the advice on the Health Professions and Prelaw Center's Human Anatomy (ANAT-A 215) Study Tips page.
Click HERE for resources related to researching scholarships and grants, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and FAFSA application timing and deadline information
If you are an IUB Pre-PT student, consider joining the IU PT Club, which meets two to four times each fall and spring semester. The PT Club is sponsored by the Health Professions and Prelaw Center. Among other activities, a variety of professional speakers share their PT expertise with club members. To join, simply attend a meeting and talk to one of the club officers.
APTA FAQs (located under "Prospective PT / PTA Students") An excellent source of information about the physical therapy profession, and about PT educational programs. Every pre-PT student should consider the APTA FAQs as required reading.
- American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)
- Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) Licensure and licensure exam information.
- Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) The agency responsible for accrediting PT and PTA programs, and assuring that each program is up to standards. The site includes resources for preprofessional students.
- World Confederation for Physical Therapy
If you are interested in other health professions that are advised through HPPLC, we encourage you to sign up for the HPPLC email list associated with your area(s) of interest. Feel free to sign up for more than one list. Also refer to the HPPLC handout, Health Professions Descriptions.
Deanna L. Hart
Director, Student Enrollment Services
IU School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
Coleman Hall CF120
1140 W. Michigan St.
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5119
This information was prepared for Indiana University Bloomington students by the Health Professions and Prelaw Center. Please note that specific requirements and policies can change at any time without notice. Students are responsible for obtaining the most current information directly from application and testing services, and the schools and programs in which they have an interest. Refer to each program's web pages, bulletins, and other publications for the most current information. Students are responsible for understanding degree course requirements, as well as other requirements, policies, and procedures related to the degree(s) they are pursuing; for enrolling in appropriate courses; for understanding IU policies/procedures; and for following through properly with regard to all of the preceding.