General Questions about Physical Therapy

How can I learn more about physical therapy?

Read information on the American Physical Therapy Association website (, arrange to speak with a physical therapist in your area, and spend time volunteering (or working as a physical therapy aide) in a physical therapy setting. 

My GPA is low, but I really want to be a physical therapist. What do you recommend?

Several things: Try to get A's in your prerequisite courses. Call different PT schools and, in addition to getting information about the GPA cut-offs, ask if exceptions are ever made to allow a student with a GPA lower than the cut-off to be admitted to the program. 

What scholarships are available to support physical therapy education?

Information is available on the APTA website ( 


General Questions about the University of the Pacific's DPT Program

How can I learn more about the program?

Access our Doctor of Physical Therapy page to learn more about the program. 

What degree is earned after completion of the program?

The degree offered is the Doctor of Physical Therapy or DPT. 

Will I be eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Exam and apply for licensure when I complete the program?

The program has determined that its curriculum meets the state educational requirements for licensure or certification in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands secondary to its accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education based on the following: Accreditation of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant program by the CAPTE satisfies state educational requirements in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Thus, students graduating from CAPTE-accredited physical therapist and physical therapist assistant education programs can take the National Physical Therapy Examination and apply for licensure in all states. For state qualifications and licensure requirements, please refer to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy website at

How long is the program?

The program is 25 months long.

What is the current class size?

Our class size is approximately 36 students. 

Is it possible for me to come and see the campus and talk with an advisor? 

You may make an appointment to attend an informational meeting and tour the PT Department by emailing 


University of the Pacific Admission Questions

How do I apply to the DPT program?

You must apply through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Please visit PTCAS for application deadlines. 

What are the admissions criteria?

Admissions criteria and cut-offs may change from year to year. The PT Admissions Committee recently used the following cut-offs to help determine which applicants were invited to an interview: overall GPA of 3.0, GRE Analytical Writing 3.5, and no C- or lower grades in prerequisite courses. 

Can an online medical terminology course satisfy the prerequisite requirement?

Yes. If you are unsure of the medical terminology course you have or will take; please mail a request for approval to: Generally, online medical terminology courses taken for credit at accredited colleges or universities are acceptable if the applicant has received a grade of C or better. Once the course is completed, applicants must obtain official transcripts verifying that this course has been taken. Courses offered by companies providing continuing education are usually not acceptable.

Where can I take exercise physiology?

We recommend searching course catalogs from colleges and universities close to your location. It is preferable to take an exercise physiology course that includes laboratory experience. Please note that online exercise physiology courses are not acceptable.

Can you explain what PT clinical observation/experience is required? 

The minimum requirement is 50 hours, including at least 25 hours in acute care, in-hospital setting (NOTE: sub-acute and any other non-acute care settings do not satisfy this requirement). The Department encourages you to visit the APTA website for the definition of acute care and descriptions of that setting:

I am having trouble getting PT observation/experience hours in an acute setting. Do you know whom I might contact?

Call your local hospital and ask to speak with someone in the Department of Rehabilitation or Department of Physical Therapy. (NOTE: sub-acute and non-acute care settings do not satisfy this requirement). 

When do my PT clinical observation/experience hours need to be completed?

Verification of completed PT observation/experience hours must be submitted to the Department of Physical Therapy no later than July 15 (before the DPT program begins in August).

Should I send the letters verifying my experience in a PT observation/experience to the university?

No. If completed before the application deadline, verification letters should be sent to PTCAS as part of the application. If they are completed after the application deadline, verification letters should be sent to the Department of Physical Therapy (no later than July 15, before the start of the DPT program, which begins in August).

When should I take the GRE exam?

We recommend that the GRE be taken no later than August 1 by applicants wishing to apply for the following year. You need to take the GRE with enough time to get the results to PTCAS so it can be included in your application file. 

USE GRE CODES FOR PT PROGRAMS: There is no GRE code for PTCAS. Instead, you must arrange for the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to send your official GRE scores to the correct college code for each designated PT program. The GRE college code for a PT program often differs from the main university code. PTCAS will forward your official GRE scores to the designated program if you arrange for ETS to send the scores to that particular program's "PTCAS GRE code." Failure to send official GRE scores correctly may jeopardize your chances of admission into a PT program.

University of the Pacific, DPT Program, PTCAS GRE Code = 0211

My GRE exam score is low, so I will retake it. How do you assess multiple GRE exam scores?

We use the highest GRE scores.

How is GPA calculated?

Grades from any and all undergraduate courses taken will be considered in calculating GPA.

Can I repeat the prerequisites?

Yes, however, no prerequisite course may be repeated more than once. A maximum of three prerequisite courses may be repeated. A course that is more than seven years old and is then retaken does not count as a repeated course.

I have taken courses on a semester system and a quarter system. How do I convert from semester credits to quarter credits so that I might calculate my science GPA?

A 3-semester credit course is the equivalent of a 4.5-quarter credit course. To convert from quarter to semester credits, multiply quarter credits by 0.67. To convert from semester to quarter credits, multiply semester units by 1.5.

Who should write my letters of recommendation?

One letter must be from a college professor, one from a physical therapist, and the third from an individual of your choosing (not a family member or friend). 

I have submitted my application and am hoping to be invited for an interview. When are the interviews, and when will I hear if I am invited? What happens during the interview?

Screening of applications will begin in late fall. Interviews will usually be scheduled on Fridays in early spring. Interview invitations will be made by telephone, generally starting in December. The interview lasts two hours. 

Applicants will have an opportunity to speak with current students, the program chair, and faculty. Each applicant will have an individual interview by an interview committee. Tours of the University of the Pacific Main Campus will also be provided.

Do I have to complete all prerequisite courses before submitting my application?

At the time of the November 1 deadline, applicants may have up to four prerequisite courses pending or in progress. At least two of these courses must be completed by the end of the fall term, and the remaining coursework must be completed by the July 15 deadline if the applicant is offered a spot.

How do I apply?

Application is completed through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) by accessing Follow all instructions on PTCAS, including payment to University of the Pacific. The payment receipt number to University of the Pacific will be required to submit the application via PTCAS.