Applying For a Master's or Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy Program

Many Pre-Physical Therapy Graduate Programs are transitioning into Doctorate Programs (additional 1-2 years of schooling). Since the Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) appears to be the upcoming terminal degree for all Physical Therapists, you should be considering what this would mean for your career and future. Either do the extra schooling now, or do it later, the choice is yours!

Kansas School Admissions: KU and WSU

Both of these programs are accredited DPT programs. PSU Pre-PT curriculum fulfills their requirements for admission into their Graduate Programs. Both KU and WSU have their DPT (Doctorate program) in place and no Master's Degree is offered. Both programs have developed DPT transitional programs for the MS-PT's wanting to transition to the DPT level of schooling. Both schools now have "Rolling Enrollment" meaning that you are accepted on a first come first serve basis and all you need to do is meet the minimum requirements for admission. This means APPLY AS EARLY AS YOU CAN!!!

KU accepted their first applicants from July 1- December 31, 2007 for their June 2008 class (36 students total). If there were 36 good applications on their desk July 1, 2007 their class was filled in the very first day!!

  • PDF blurb on KU program from American Physical Therapy Association
  • KU Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation website

WSU accepted their first applicants in 2007 on July 15 (25% of their class=8 students), then again on September 1 (50% of their class=16 students) and finally November 1 (25% of their class= 8 students). There is also the opportunity at WSU to gain early admission if your application criteria are 25% above the minimums (example; you have a 4.0 GPA instead of the 3.0 minimum GPA).

  • PDF blurb on Wichita State program from American Physical Therapy Association
  • Wichita State Physical Therapy website

Missouri School Admissions: Rockhurst and Missouri State

Rockhurst University has an accredited DPT program.

  • PDF blurb on Rockhurst program from American Physical Therapy Association
  • Rockhurst Physical Therapy website

Missouri State University (Springfield, MO) continues to offer the Master's of Physical Therapy program, however, a 3-year DPT full-time curriculum is currently required. Missouri State recently received approval from the Higher Learning Commission to offer the Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree.

  • PDF blurb on Missouri State program from American Physical Therapy Association
  • Missouri State Physical Therapy website

Out-Of-State School Admissions

Case-by-case. Work with your advisor and share prerequisite information for out-of-state schools. Students are responsible for gathering information about admissions to out-of-state schools and sharing this with your advisor during an appointment. We can cater make a curriculum to meet any school's specific requirements for admission. Let's make sure we're all on the same page in preparing to apply for PT school!

Do make sure the schools you apply to are accredited ( and also apply to at least 2 schools and perhaps more. Competition to enter these professional programs change from year to year and we want you to increase your chances of being accepted!

Here are the APTA blurbs (pdf) on the 2 schools in Oklahoma and 2 in Arkansas:

  • Langston University (OK)
  • University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
  • Arkansas State University
  • University of Central Arkansas

Preparing for Your Application to PT School

Plan ahead!

Contact local PT's for scheduling observation hours and request a form be filled out on the number of hours you observe. KU requires 32 hours of observation, 16 of which need to be in a hospital, WSU requires 20 hours of observation in total. Always chart your own observation hours since personnel change jobs and this will make it easier on the person verifying your observation hours for your applications.

Get a variety of PT experiences: Critical Care, Geriatrics, Pediatrics, Outpatient, Home Health, School, Sports/Athletic, and Hospice. FYI: The essay topic for the KU application this year addresses this topic of multiple exposures in the fields of PT and you impressions of the variety!

Obtain an application from your school of choice - Type your application!

Request letters of recommendation (one should be from your advisor, one from a PT (If at all possible) Give references 2-3 weeks advance warning.

Take the GRE (general test only, $130) through the testing center either in the Summer or early Fall before you apply to PT Graduate School. Call in advance to make your appointments for computer-based tests at the PSU Testing Office, 203 Whitesitt Hall (620-235-4267). You must wait until the next calendar month before taking it again on campus if you want to improve your scores! Always prepare and practice before this test. Immediate. unofficial score reports are no longer available: you must wait 2-4 weeks following your test to receive official score reports. so plan accordingly! KU advises at least a GRE score of 450 in two major areas of the test (verbal, quantitative) with a verbal score of 4.0 on the writing section. WSU advises a cumulative score of 900 for the quantitative and analytical sections.

Write a good essay about why you want to become a PT - Personalize it! Remember to mention why you want to be one, who inspired you in the field and discuss your personal experiences through observation that has shaped your views of this profession.