Doctor of Physical Therapy

Mark Bowden, PT, PhD, Division Director

Physical therapy is a dynamic health care profession. Physical therapists (PTs) are movement experts who improve quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education and provide care across the lifespan to anyone of any ability.  PTs can identify, diagnose, and treat movement problems. Pain-free movement is crucial to quality of life, ability to earn a living, and independence. PTs design treatment plans for each person's individual needs, challenges, and goals. PTs help people improve mobility, manage pain and other chronic conditions, recover from injury, and prevent future injury and chronic disease. They work in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, private offices, rehabilitation centers, community health centers, research centers, industry, and sports medicine clinics, and as educators and researchers in colleges and universities.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program (DPT) program prepares individuals to evaluate patients/clients with impairments that affect the musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiopulmonary, integumentary or other body systems that cause movement dysfunction. Physical therapists then implement evidence-based treatment programs that minimize or prevent these impairments, improve and restore movement, and enhance function and quality of life.

The three-year DPT program incorporates foundational learning with clinical coursework, clinical reasoning, community-based service, and interprofessional learning embedded throughout. The curriculum incorporates 40 weeks of clinical practice that allow students to further develop their knowledge and skills in a clinical environment.

Accreditation

The MUSC Doctor of Physical Therapy program at MUSC is accredited by the Commissionon Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Important Update April 2020: Impact of COVID-19 on Admissions

The DPT program at MUSC recognizes that this is a very stressful time, and there may be changes at your undergraduate institution over which you have no control. For example, some schools are assigning P/F grades and others are giving students the choice to accept P/F or to take a letter grade for prerequisite courses. We advise current and future applicants to take the letter grade if a choice is provided; however, we will accept a P/F grade if that is the only option. Currently, this applies to courses taken in Spring 2020, but we recognize this may need to be expanded in the future. We will also accept unofficial transcripts for incoming students starting in summer 2020 as some universities may not be able to provide official transcripts before the summer semester begins May 20. We hope to have all official transcripts by the end of summer semester 2020.

Requirements

1. Complete an application through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) AND

2. A separate MUSC supplemental application through Enrollment Management at MUSC. 

3. Complete a Bachelor of Science or Arts degree from an accredited college or university by the time of matriculation. A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required for consideration. Transcripts from ALL colleges attended must be submitted through PTCAS. *Clemson University students who are on the Accelerated Pathway track must provide signed verification of Clemson general education requirements validated by the Clemson Registrar’s Office by time of matriculation into MUSC. https://www.clemson.edu/academics/programs/musc/

4. Submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores through PTCAS. Applicants should strive for GRE scores in the 60th percentile or above on each section. We use the highest score on each section across all GRE test attempts so it usually benefits the applicant to take the test more than once. All official scores are to be received on or before the deadline in order to be considered. Our PTCAS GRE school code is 7338.

5. Complete a minimum of 40 hours of experience directly related to physical therapy and submit documentation via PTCAS. Clinical observation in physical therapy either as a volunteer or paid employee must also be with a minimum of two different patient populations. At least 10 observation hours are required with the second patient population.

6. Submit two references through PTCAS: one from a physical therapist who supervised you in the clinic and a second from a professor or advisor familiar with your academic ability and accomplishments or from an employer if you have been out of school for several years. No personal references will be accepted.

7. Complete all prerequisite courses. Applicants must complete a minimum of 31 out of 39 prerequisite credit hours prior to application. All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to matriculation with a grade of 2.0 or higher.  A minimum average prerequisite GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required for consideration for the regular cycle. 

Prerequisite Courses Semester System (hrs) Quarter System (hrs)
Chemistry with labs* 8 12
Physics with labs* 8 12
Biology* 7 10
Human Anatomy with lab 4 6
Human Physiology 3 5
General Psychology 3 5
Abnormal Psychology 3 5
Statistics 3 5
TOTAL 39 60

Basic science courses identified with an *.

Prerequisite Special Notes:

For a guide of Frequently Approved Prerequisites, click here.

  • The Office of Enrollment Management is able to offer unofficial transcript evaluations from March 1st - June 30th.  Please call Enrollment Management at 843-792-2536 to speak with an admissions specialist or email at oesadmis@musc.edu.
  • Basic science courses must be courses for science majors. Basic science courses identified in chart above with an *.
  • Biology: Prerequisite courses must be offered through the Department of Biology or a Basic Science Department.  In addition to Biology I and Biology II, acceptable courses include genetics, cell biology, zoology, human biology and disease and similar courses. Unacceptable courses include botany, exercise physiology taken in Exercise Science and Physical Education departments, and human physiology when used as the physiology prerequisite.
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology including the labs: Anatomy and Physiology may be taken separately or may be combined and taken as two, four-hour courses. However, if you start a two-part course sequence, you must complete both parts (Anatomy and Physiology I & II). If only a 3-semester credit hour course in anatomy is offered, a comparative anatomy or kinesiology course is recommended in addition to the human anatomy course. Also, Vertebrate Anatomy is accepted if Human Anatomy is not offered. Exercise physiology will not meet the Human Physiology requirement.
  • Abnormal Psychology: The abnormal psychology course must cover anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, schizophrenia, sexual disorders, delusional disorder, substance abuse, somatoform and dissociative disorders.
  • Introductory Statistics:  This course should include parametric and nonparametric statistics. 

7. Important CPR Information:  Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers and First Aid certification through the American Heart Association is required. Students have the option of completing the certifications no more than 45 days prior to the start of the program OR participating in certification classes scheduled by the program soon after classes begin.

8. Accepted students must be able to meet the Minimum Skills/Eligibility Requirements and sign a form indicating that they meet the minimum skills when they arrive on campus. View the Minimum Skills/Eligibility Requirements (PDF).

Applicants are responsible for ensuring the submission of all materials prior to the deadline.

Application Deadlines

Start Term Application Type Available Deadline
Summer 2021 Regular July 1, 2020 October 1, 2020