Doctor of Physical Therapy Requirements

Admission & Essential Functions

Admission Requirements

In order to be considered for admission to the physical therapy program, the applicant must submit evidence of the following:

  1. Attain a minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale in all previous course work.
  2. Completion of all science prerequisite coursework, at the science major level, achieving a minimum CGPA of 3.0 in the following courses:
    • Anatomy & Physiology - 8 credits including labs
    • Biology - 6-8 credits
    • Chemistry - 8 credits including labs
    • Physics - 8 credits including labs
    • Statistics - 3 credits
    • Psychology - 3 credits
  3. Take and submit the scores of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). – There is no minimum requirement but higher scores are considered a strength of an applicant.
  4. Completion of 40 hours of observation (or work) in a variety of different physical therapy settings including both inpatient and outpatient facilities.
  5. Completion or scheduled completion of a BS/BA degree* from a regionally accredited college or university prior to enrollment in DPT program.

* Note: It is assumed that in completing a B.S./B.A. degree, the applicant has completed appropriate liberal arts and science courses in preparation for a career in physical therapy. This will be explored through the transcript analysis.

Physical Therapy is an exciting, demanding healthcare profession, and professional accreditation standards include requirements for practice safety. The “Essential Functions” provide specific core performance standards that every student must be able to meet, with or without reasonable accommodation, for admission in and progression through the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

This information is provided prior to application and reviewed again during orientation when students sign off to attest to meeting these requirements.

Core Performance Standards for Admission and Progression

The Franklin Pierce University Physical Therapy Program is pledged to admission and matriculation of qualified students and acknowledges awareness of laws, which prohibit discrimination against anyone on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender or disability.

Regarding students with verifiable disabilities, the Program will not discriminate against such individuals who are otherwise qualified, but will expect applicants and students to meet certain minimal technical standards (core performance standards) as set forth herein with or without reasonable accommodation. In adopting these standards, the Program believes it must keep in mind the ultimate safety of the patients whom its graduates will eventually serve. The standards reflect what the Program believes are reasonable expectations required of physical therapy students and personnel in performing common functions.

The holder of a physical therapy degree must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. In order to carry out the activities described below, candidates for physical therapy degrees must be able to integrate consistently, quickly, and accurately all information received, and they must have the ability to learn, integrate, analyze, and synthesize data.

Candidates for degrees offered by the physical therapy program must have, with or without reasonable accommodation, multiple abilities and skills including: cognition, communication, behavioral/affective, psychomotor and observational skills. Candidates and students for admission and progression must be able to perform these abilities and skills in a reasonably independent manner.

Cognitive Skills

These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, judgment, numerical recognition and synthesis. Problem solving, a critical skill demanded of physical therapists, requires all of these intellectual abilities, and must be performed quickly, especially in emergency situations. Candidates and students must be able to identify significant findings from history, physical examination, and laboratory data, provide a reasoned explanation for likely therapy, recalling and retaining information in an efficient and timely manner. The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and medical literature in formulating interventions and plans is essential. Good judgment in patient examination, evaluation, diagnostic and therapeutic planning is essential; candidates and students must be able to identify and communicate the limits of their knowledge to others when appropriate.

Communication Skills

Candidates and students must be able to speak, to hear, and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. In addition, candidates and students must be able to communicate in English in oral and written form with faculty, allied personnel, all members of the health care team, and peers in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings. Candidates and students must also have the ability to complete written assignments and maintain written records, reading assignments, and search and evaluate the literature. Candidates and students must also have the ability to use therapeutic communication, such as attending, clarifying, coaching, facilitating, and touching. These skills must be performed in the clinical settings, as well as in the didactic and laboratory environments.

Behavioral/Affective Skills

Candidates and students must possess the emotional health required for full use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of sound judgment based on ethical standards of the American Physical Therapy Association, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the evaluation, diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients. Candidates and students must be able to develop professional relationships with patients, providing comfort and reassurance when appropriate while protecting patient confidentiality. Candidates and students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the admissions and educational process.

Psychomotor Skills

Candidates and students should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, and other diagnostic maneuvers. Candidates and students should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment of patients. Such actions require physical strength, coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision. For this reason, candidates and students must have manual dexterity and the ability to engage in procedures involving grasping, palpating, pushing, pulling, holding, extending, and rotating.

Observational Skills

Candidates and students must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in basic and applied sciences including, but not limited to human anatomy and physiology, neuroscience, as well as in didactic courses in physical therapy theory and practice for normal and pathologic states. Candidates and students must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance, close at hand, and be able to obtain an appropriate medical history directly from the patient or guardian. Observation requires the use of common sense, as well as the functional use of the senses of vision, audition, olfaction, and palpation.

Contact the DPT Program

Manchester, New Hampshire
1 (800) 325-1090

Goodyear, Arizona
1 (800) 325-1090