Physical Therapy

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Why study Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is an allied health profession that promotes optimal health and function through the application of scientific principles to prevent, identify, assess, correct or alleviate acute or prolonged dysfunctions.

The goal of physical therapy is to help individuals reach their maximum potential and to contribute to society while learning to live within the limits of their capabilities. To practice as a registered (or licensed) physical therapist, an individual must be a graduate of an accredited program and pass a state licensure examination.

Admission Requirements

Entrance into our DPT program is competitive. Completion of prerequisite coursework does not guarantee admission into the DPT program.

Our DPT program participates in PTCAS (Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service). Transcripts, recommendation letters, observation/volunteer hour documentation forms, and essays will all be submitted through this application system.

For information on PTCAS, please go to: PTCAS application

Requirements for admission to the DPT program include:

  • A Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum overall cumulative GPA of 3.00.  Applicants are advised that the average GPA of accepted students is typically much higher than 3.0.
  • Prerequisite coursework completed with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and no individual course grade below a C. 
  • Submission of official GRE scores, with suggested minimum scores in the 50% percentile or higher
    • Verbal = 150 
    • Quantitative = 150 
    • Analytical = 4.0 
  • The TOEFL is required for international applicants whose native language is other than English.  Minimum suggested TOEFL scores are 520 (paper) or 190 (computer).
  • Completion of the UC Graduate School application

In addition, applicants must submit:

  • Documentation of 50 work or volunteer hours in a physical therapy setting, including 25 hours which must be completed in an inpatient physical therapy setting such as a hospital or skilled nursing facility. 
  • Submission of 3 completed recommendation forms, including one from a physical therapist. 
  • Submission of 3 essays as part of the PTCAS application.

Student Outcomes

The table below includes graduation and initial pass rates for DPT classes graduating in 2015, 2016, 2017.

DPT Class Graduate Rates Initial Pass Rate
2015 96% 100%
2016 90% 100%
2017 96.5% 96.3%

The three year average initial pass rate on the NPTE for 2015-2017 for UC is 98.766 and the national average initial pass rate for this time period is 92.5%. The average mean scale score on the NPTE for the DPT class of 2017 is 715 and the national average is 680.5. The 3 year average mean scale score for UC is 710.966 and the national average is 678.933. 

All of our students (2015-2017) who sought employment in the field were employed within one to six months of graduation. Informal data shows that students are typically employed within one month of graduation pending their passing of the licensure examination. Graduates of our program are typically employed within one month of graduation, pending state licensure.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy degree provides graduates the education needed in order to take the board exam to become licensed Physical Therapists.

UC’s DPT program provides you with the education you need to sit for the board licensing exam. Once you graduate, pass the board exam, and meet any state laws and rules exam that is required, you are eligible to work as a licensed Physical Therapist.

Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, and private offices that have specially equipped facilities. They provide care to people of all ages who have functional problems, including but not limited to:

  • Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Conditions (heart attack, cystic fibrosis, bypass surgery)
  • Integumentary Conditions (wounds, burns)
  • Neurological Conditions (cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, stroke)
  • Orthopedic Conditions (sprains, fractures, sports injuries, amputations, back and neck pain). 
  • The Surgeon General recently urged physicians to battle against opioid addiction. Physical therapy is recommended as a first-line approach. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapists is expected to grow by 36 percent from 2012 to 2022, and believes that job opportunities for licensed PT's will be good in all practice settings. Forbes ranked physical therapists as having 1 of “The Ten Happiest Jobs,” according to articles published in 2013.  

Upon entry into the program, students are assigned a faculty advisor.
The DPT program offers two early admission opportunities to qualified students. High school seniors entering the UC Bachelor of Health Sciences (HLSC) program may apply to the High School Early Admission Pathway (HEAP). UC Health Sciences juniors may apply to the Junior Early Admission Pathway (JEAP). Students who maintain minimum requirements for these programs have a spot reserved in the DPT program when they graduate from the HLSC program.
Students must maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA and complete all program requirements in order to graduate.

Credits from other PT programs will NOT be transferrable towards the core curriculum of the DPT program.

Students already holding a bachelor’s degree but who have not taken all or some of the prerequisite coursework, or students who are undecided in their choice of a bachelor’s degree should contact the College of Allied Health Sciences’ academic advisors.

International students must complete all pre-requisites, including a bachelor's degree that has been evaluated by an organization that provides credential evaluation. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of all applicants whose native language is other than English. The suggested minimum score is 520 (paper) or 190 (computer).

Accepted international students must fulfill U.S. Immigration Service requirements and register with the International Student Services Offices at UC. 

Application Deadlines

Applications open on the PTCAS website July 1st and close October 1st, annually. All application materials including: GRE scores, recommendation letters, and transcripts must be completed by October 1st. Students admitted to the program will start the summer semester following their fall application.
The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at University of Cincinnati is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone (703) 706-3245; email:; website:

Contact Information

Ashley Sandburg
Health Sciences Building
3225 Eden Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45267
(513) 558-7477

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Program Code: 35DOC-PT-DPT