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How do I apply to the DPT program?

Pitt DPT applicants must fill out an online PTCAS application and will be required to provide the following:

  • Three (3) letters of recommendation (review guidelines on main admissions page for more details) 
  • Information on the type and duration of experience in a physical therapy setting (substantial experience is recommended and will be judged by the quality of the letters of recommendations from the supervising physical therapists);
  • An official copy of course transcripts (and TOEFL scores for international applicants).
  • All applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher (or equivalent) by start date of classes in August.  
  • Indicate preferred program format (Residential or Hybrid).

GRE scores are optional–if you choose to submit them, please submit them to institution code 7754.

What are the prerequisite course requirements?

All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to enrolling in the DPT program. Applicants can have up to 4 prerequisite courses outstanding or in progress at the time of application submission. Any offer is contingent upon the successful completion of the remaining prerequisites by July 1 prior to the start of the program. Academic performance on outstanding coursework should not deviate from the performance reflected in the application materials.

Applicants must have completed the Biology I and II sequence with labs, Chemistry I and II sequence with labs, and Physics I and II sequence with labs; 1 course of Human Anatomy and 1 course of Human Physiology (if a combined Anatomy & Physiology course is taken, two semesters are required); 2 courses in Psychology (e.g. General, Developmental, Abnormal, etc.); 1 course of English Composition/Writing; and 1 course in Statistics.

*Courses for science majors are strongly advised.

Can I apply to both the Residential and Hybrid options?

Yes, you will be able to indicate your first and second choice through your PTCAS application.

I'm an international student. Am I eligible to apply to the Hybrid option?

International students are eligible to apply for both the residential and hybrid formats. If admitted to the hybrid format, international students may be required to move to the Pittsburgh area for the didactic portion of the program due to Visa restrictions. Clinical education experiences may be completed outside of the Pittsburgh area but must be completed within the United States. The University of Pittsburgh DPT Program prepares students for licensure and practice within the United States. International students interested in either program format should confirm that the degree will meet the requirement for licensure in the state or country in which they seek licensure. International students interested in gaining employment within the United States upon graduation are encouraged to communicate with their advisor in the Office of International Studies.

When do classes start?

Classes begin the first day of fall term according to the University of Pittsburgh academic calendar.

How long is the DPT program?

The Pitt DPT program (both Hybrid and Residential options) is a 2.3-year program (7 terms). Across the final two terms of the program, students will complete 30 weeks of full-time clinical experience for a total of 42 weeks of full-time clinical experience upon graduation. Students graduate in December and will be eligible to participate in the University’s commencement ceremony at that time.  

Is the program ranked?

The DPT program at the University of Pittsburgh is ranked 1st according to the most recent rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

What is the difference between the Hybrid and Residential formats?

The DPT Hybrid option will be a blended curriculum of online coursework and immersive on-campus laboratory sessions.

Didactic coursework will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous remote content delivery. Other than the mode of delivery, curriculum content will remain consistent across the residential and hybrid versions.

Residential students will complete hands-on lab sessions throughout the semester in the classroom. Hybrid students will attend immersion sessions dedicated to laboratory-related skills and testing throughout the program. Immersion sessions will take place twice per term and require travel to the University of Pittsburgh campus (Pittsburgh, PA) for approximately 6-10 days per immersion. There will be roughly 10 immersions scheduled across the first 5 terms of the hybrid option.

Do students have to find their own housing during immersion sessions for the Hybrid option?

Students will be required to procure their own travel and housing arrangements for the on-campus laboratory immersions in Pittsburgh, PA. While suggestions for housing will be provided to students, ultimately students will be responsible for making all arrangements. Many students investigate group housing options, such as Airbnb, Vacation Rental by Owner, and local Bed & Breakfasts. Prior to making any housing arrangements, students should confirm the location of the immersion sessions to ensure they remain within a reasonable distance to the sessions.

Are there immersion activities on the weekends? 

If an immersion session is scheduled over a weekend, there will be classes and activities scheduled on Saturday and Sunday. Students will not have the weekend off as they do during their regular, weekly classes. There is one day  after the immersions end that is reserved for traveling, during which there are no program activities, classes, or meetings scheduled. 

Can I switch from one program format to another?

No, once a student has confirmed acceptance into either the Residential or Hybrid program option, the placement is final. The Pitt DPT program formats have set class sizes (residential = 60 students, hybrid = 90 students) that must be maintained.

Can I move to Pittsburgh if I am in the Hybrid option?

Yes - you are free to live anywhere in the United States during the DPT Program Hybrid option. Please keep in mind that moving to the Pittsburgh area will not guarantee you a clinical placement in the Pittsburgh area. We receive a specific number of placements from our clinical partners - DPT Residential students, international DPT Hybrid students residing in the Pittsburgh area, and DPT Hybrid students who are already from the Pittsburgh area and have a permanent address here receive priority for Pittsburgh-based clinical placements.

Additionally, moving to the Pittsburgh area will not provide increased access to the Bridgeside Point equipment and facilities for DPT Hybrid students. Hybrid students will have access to these resources and lab spaces during scheduled immersions

What are the fees associated with the program?

Tuition information as well as estimated fees related to the hybrid immersion sessions can be found here.

When is the application deadline?

Only one application cycle is offered for the DPT program. Please check PTCAS for the most recent deadline for the upcoming admission cycle; we encourage applicants to apply before the designated deadline, as the Department of Physical Therapy uses a rolling admissions process.

Can I send supplemental application materials after my application has been submitted?

No. Once PTCAS has verified your application, you are no longer able to make edits or updates to your application materials. We will not be accepting supporting materials such as updated transcripts with additional prerequisite courses after your application has been submitted. Please keep this in mind as you plan to submit your application so that you can include all information and coursework that you would like the Admissions Committee to review. 

Are interviews a required part of the application process?

Although a formal interview is not part of the application process, you are welcome to attend an information session hosted by a Department of Physical Therapy faculty member. The current schedule and registration information can be found here. Note that information sessions are currently being held remotely.

How are applications reviewed?

All verified applications undergo a 1st-level review, completed by two program reviewers.  Applicants recommended to move forward undergo a 2nd-level review, completed by the program’s Admissions Committee leadership – who make final recommendations for invitation to the program. 

The admissions process requires the review and scoring of five basic categories of the application: academic history, letters of recommendation, personal statements/essays, observation hours, and engagement in extra-curricular – service – and/or employment activities.  While each category receives an individual composite score, reviewers also provide an overall recommendation based on all categories.

What is the profile of a successful applicant?

The average profile of a successful applicant touches on each of the five basic application categories.  Successful applicants demonstrated strong academic ability (total, science, and pre-requisite GPA’s) and a maturity in their academic pursuits as relayed through the sharing of how they identified and overcame academic challenges and struggles. The average Overall GPA for the recently admitted cohort was 3.47 (range 4.0 – 2.98).

Successful applicants identified excellent candidates to write letters of recommendation in support of their graduate endeavors.  The letters of recommendation highlighted specific attributes and qualities of the applicant that would allow them to successfully navigate graduate-level work and enter the physical therapy profession.  The most impactful letters came from writers who knew the applicant very well.

Equally addressed by successful applicants, were responses to the ‘personal statement’ or essay.  Applicants selected into the program exceled in clearly addressing the prompt and creatively integrating personal qualities and attributes they would bring to the program and ultimately to the profession.  The most impactful essays were those that relayed the individual experience, internal motivation and drive, and commitment and passion for serving others.

Rounding out the profile of previously successful applicants was the commitment to “experiencing” the profession of physical therapy as shown through observation hours and engagement in extra-curricular, service, and/or employment activities.  While observation hours are ‘recommended’, applicants that have demonstrated a consistent commitment to shadow physical therapists across a variety of workplace settings stood out from their peers.  Additionally, successful applicants showed quality engagement in activity outside of the academic classroom.  Successful applicants were not always the applicants with the greatest activity by volume but rather stood out from their peers in consistency of engagement and alignment of activity with life and academic needs/goals.

When are decisions made on applications?

The Admissions Committee will only review complete applications that are received from PTCAS. The PTCAS application is considered ‘complete’ when all letters of recommendation are received and when all grades to date are entered. Once complete, all applications go through a verification process with PTCAS and are sent to us for review. Application decisions will not be made before mid-October and will continue until all seats in the incoming class have been filled.

What is the first-time pass rate on the Board Exams for University of Pittsburgh DPT students?

The first-time pass rate and other program outcomes can be found on our “Outcomes” page.

When are students eligible to sit for the licensure exam?

Students will be eligible to sit for the licensure exam upon full completion of the 7-term DPT program. The DPT program (Residential and Hybrid) is accredited by CAPTE, and graduation from the program allows graduates to sit for the national licensure exam (NPTE). The program will also meet the educational degree completion requirement for licensure in all 50 states. Students should note that the requirements for professional licensure could vary drastically by state and by country. Because such requirements can change frequently and often without notice, it is strongly encouraged, and is the responsibility of the student, to ensure the degree they earn will meet the requirements for licensure in the state or country in which they seek licensure. Students are encouraged to visit their state/country licensing board website for further information.

Where are clinical affiliation/internship sites located?

Most clinical internships (full-time and part-time) for the Residential program are in the UPMC Health System and its affiliating hospitals and clinics. Thus, students in the Residential program will generally be placed in facilities within the Greater Pittsburgh region.

For students in the Hybrid program, clinical sites will be determined based on place of residence. Every effort will be made to identify a clinical site within a 60-mile radius of a student’s permanent place of residence or another location where the student has housing. 

Do I need a car?

Students are expected to provide their own transportation to clinical sites; thus, it is highly advisable for students to have a car since some of the clinical sites may not be easily accessed via public transportation. University of Pittsburgh students enjoy the benefit of being able to use the local transportation system, Port Authority of Allegheny County, for free within the local area. 

Parking leases for Bridgeside Point are available upon request. Accepted students will learn this information during orientation.

Is Financial Aid available?

You can obtain information on financial aid from the Office of Financial Aid at the University of Pittsburgh as well as on the SHRS website. There are a limited number of merit- and need-based scholarships available to students once they matriculate into the DPT program. 

Is there graduate housing for DPT students?

There is no graduate housing for DPT students, however, you can get information on housing near the University of Pittsburgh campus by visiting the University's Off-Campus Living site.

What is the average size of the DPT classes?

The Residential class size is typically around 60 students. The Hybrid class size will be approximately 90 students.

Is the DPT program accredited?

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Pittsburgh is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The physical therapy program has been continuously accredited -- the most recent accreditation was awarded in 2015 for a period of 10 years. The program will be re-evaluated in December 2025.

Is there a blog that shares student and faculty experiences in the DPT Hybrid option?

Yes!  DPT students and faculty have collaborated with the SHRS Marketing, Communications, Recruitment, and Enrollment team to create a variety of blog posts related to the DPT Hybrid option.  The blog also contains entries from other graduate programs within the school - some which apply to all programs (i.e. mental wellness).