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Physical Therapy Program

College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences

Entry-Level for Doctor of Physical Therapy

The Department of Physical Therapy at ETSU will participate in the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service, known as PTCAS. Learn more about the PTCAS application process. Students must also apply to the ETSU School of Graduate Studies.

Application Information

The physical therapy program is selective and admits up to 39 students to begin matriculation in the spring semester (January) of each year. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that their application and supporting materials are complete by the application deadline date. All application materials must be received by the School of Graduate Studies by March 1.

Applications to both PTCAS and the ETSU School of Graduate Studies must be completed by March 1.  Any completed applications received by October 1 will be considered for early decision. Applications are available from the School of Graduate Studies office on the ETSU campus (3rd floor of Dossett Hall), by , or on-line at: ETSU School of Graduate Studies - Admission & Tuition .

Observation Hours/Clinical Experience
There is no specific number of clinical hours required, however, each applicant for the entry-level DPT program is expected to have thoroughly investigated the scope and profession of physical therapy. Applicants' understanding of the profession will be considered in their essay (part of the School of Graduate Studies application) and interview.

While there is no specific form required to document time in physical therapy settings, we highly recommend that applicants keep track of their hours/locations in some format. Applicants selected for an interview will be asked to submit a resume and this information should be included in the resume.

Eligibility Requirements

In addition to meeting the requirements of the Graduate School, students seeking admission to the entry-level DPT program must also meet the Department of Physical Therapy eligibility requirements. In order to be considered for an interview (#7), applicants must have completed, submitted, or met the requirements in items 2-5 below by the application deadline in order for the application to be eligible for consideration.

Applicants may be enrolled in prerequisite courses (see #6) or in process of completion of the bachelor's degree (see #1) at the time of application; however, the applicant must be able to successfully complete all prerequisite courses and/or earn the bachelor's degree by the end of the fall semester prior to the spring semester for which the applicant is applying.  


  1. Attainment of a bachelor's degree* from a regionally accredited institution (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools or equivalent);
  2. Have an overall GPA of 2.7 (on a 4.0 scale) in all undergraduate coursework;
  3. Have a prerequisite course GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale);
  4. Submission of official GRE scores (general section);
  5. Three recommendations (recommendations must be submitted on the forms provided in the School of Graduate Studies application materials) - at least one must be from a licensed physical therapist.
  6. Completion of the prerequisite courses with no grade in any prerequisite course below a "C" (2.0 on a 4.0 scale);
  7. A positive evaluation following an interview with the Physical Therapy Admissions Committee.

Note :  Applicants who have completed all of the pre-requisite courses or who have no more than one pre-requisite course still outstanding at the time of application will be given priority by the PT Admissions Committee when scheduling interviews.

*While we require completion of bachelor's degree, we do not recommend or require a particular undergraduate program of study. 

Prerequisite Course
Credit Hours
General Biology with lab
General Chemistry with lab
General Physics with lab
Human Anatomy*
3 - 4
Human Physiology*
Exercise Physiology
3 - 4

*No combined Anatomy & Physiology courses will be accepted without approval by the Physical Therapy Department Review Subcommittee

Science courses (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) are to be the science courses designed "for majors". If you are not sure if the courses you are taking are acceptable, contact the .

Essential Functions & Technical Standards

All students accepted for admission into the DPT program must meet the following Essential Functions/Technical Standards prior to enrollment in clinical education courses.


  • Students are required to demonstrate proficiency in medical terminology by the end of the first semester. This requirement can be met through successful completion of a course in medical terminology or by a passing score of 80% or above on a departmentally administered examination in medical terminology
  • A physical examination verifying that the student is in good health and free from communicable disease
  • Tuberculosis screening and other immunizations required by the clinical sites
  • Current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Basic First Aid certification
  • Health/Accident insurance coverage
  • Professional student liability insurance coverage; and
  • The ability to perform, either unaided or with reasonable accommodation, the following essential functions for clinical practicum in physical therapy
  • Critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgment
  • Interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds
  • Communication abilities sufficient for interaction with others in verbal and written form
  • Physical abilities sufficient to move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces
  • Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to provide safe and effective physical therapy care
  • Auditory abilities sufficient to monitor and assess health needs
  • Visual ability sufficient for observation and assessment necessary in physical therapy care
  • Tactile ability sufficient for physical assessment and treatment
  • Physical ability to assist moving, transferring, and ambulating patients who have physical impairment or dysfunction.


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