DPT Admissions

Entry to Profession Doctor of Physical Therapy (eDPT) Program

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is designed for those individuals with an undergraduate degree in a field other than physical therapy.  There is no undergraduate major that you must have to apply to our program and no major is more advantageous or disadvantageous for your application. Applicants should have a sufficient knowledge of the physical therapy profession to make an informed career choice. Applicants are required to visit with and observe physical therapists in a variety of practice environments.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program application is available through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Individuals wishing to apply to the UNC DPT program will need to use the PTCAS online application form.  Applications for Fall 2018 admissions will open July 29, 2017 via PTCAS and will close October 2, 2017 at 11:59 pm. 

Admission decisions are substantially influenced by the applicant's ability to demonstrate personal characteristics considered consistent with the expectations of professional behavior and the delivery of patient/client centered services. Applicants must demonstrate success in academic, clinical and professional aspects of the program.

Exposure to the diversity of the profession is important to enable applicants to make informed decisions about physical therapy as a career choice. We expect applicants to acquire a thorough exposure to the physical therapy profession. This exposure provides the applicant with meaningful information for both the written application and the interview (if selected).

Personal interviews are required for applicants who reach the final stage of the admission process.  Interviews are normally held in late January/early February, but those dates will not be finalized until late October. Preference is given to applicants who are North Carolina residents. 

Admission Requirements

(There are no exceptions to the policies and procedures outlined below)

  • Four-year degree or a senior on track to graduate from an accredited university or college with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Completion of prerequisites with a minimum prerequisite GPA of 3.2
  • The last date to submit your application is October 2, 2017 at 11:59 pm.  This is a firm deadline with no exceptions.   It is recommended that you submit your application at least 2 weeks before this date.
  • A minimum of three letters of recommendation must be submitted, and at least one must be from a physical therapist.
  • PTCAS will process your application and forward it to us - it is your responsibility to make sure that everything has been supplied to PTCAS.  It is recommended that you continually check your PTCAS application until YOU are certain all materials have been completed or received.
  • Minimum of 40% on each section of the GRE in one exam session.
  • The last date to take the GRE for Fall 2018 admission is September 29, 2017. The UNC DPT GRE Institution Code is 7733. We will not accept GRE scores submitted to UNC's Graduate School (5816) nor those older than 5 years old.
  • 100 hours of observing/ shadowing a physical therapist are required.  We require that observation/job shadowing be completed at a minimum of 3 different settings (with a minimum of 16 hours in any given setting). Additional hours in additional settings may be provided (whether they total more than 16/setting or not) once this minimum is achieved. To view more information about types of settings please visit PTCAS PT Settings website.
  • Please see the information about Supplemental Materials below.

Prerequisite Courses

Semester equivalents of the following courses are required to be considered for admission (see below).  These courses can be taken on-line or in-person at any accredited four-year institution or community college. Courses are weighed equally.  For example, a physics course taken at a community college is not given less weight than a course taken at four-year college or university.

Quarter System Applicants:  Applicants at universities on the quarter system need to take extra care to complete enough quarter hours to meet the minimum semester hour requirements below. Quarter conversion to semester hours: Quarter credit hours x .667= Semester credit hours.

  1. Introductory Statistics (minimum 3.0 credit hours) (A statistics course taken as part of a major would meet this requirement)
  2. Principles of Biology I with Lab (or equivalent introductory course) (minimum combined 4.0 credit hours with course and lab)
  3. General Chemistry I with Lab (or equivalent introductory course) (minimum combined 4.0 credit hours with course and lab)
  4. Human Anatomy with Lab (minimum combined 4.0 credit hours with course and lab)
  5. Physiology (minimum 3.0 credit hours)
    A four-hour semester course with lab that combines anatomy and physiology will satisfy both the human anatomy and physiology requirements (e.g., UNC's BIOL 252) However, if you start a two-part series, you must complete both parts (Anatomy and Physiology I & II).
  6. General Psychology (or equivalent introductory course) (minimum 3.0 credit hours)
  7. Exercise Physiology (minimum 3.0 credit hours; the lab is recommended if offered but not required). Some schools do not offer this course; please see our frequently asked questions page for some online options.  "Intro to Kinesiology" or "Intro to Exercise Science" will not meet this requirement.
  8. General Physics I with Lab (algebra-based is preferred) (minimum combined 4.0 credit hours with course and lab)
  9. General Physics II with Lab (algebra-based is preferred) (minimum combined 4.0 credit hours with course and lab)

Note:  Course names vary from institution to institution.  For example, a "General Physics" course at one institution may be called "Physics 101", "College Physics 1", or "Introduction to Physics I" at another.   You do not need to submit a course evaluation for these.  Our prerequisite courses are all introductory courses; more advanced or specialized courses are not acceptable.

DPT prerequisite changes for applicants applying in the summer of 2019 for admission in Fall of 2020:

Two additional courses are required

  1. General Chemistry II with Lab (or equivalent second level course) (minimum combined 4.0 credit hours with course and lab)
  2. Second course in human biology (not botany) such as one of the following:

microbiology (MCRO 251)

genetics (BIOL 202)

cell biology (BIOL 205)

immunology (MICRO 449)


general biology II (with lab) if concentration of material is on human biology

To Meet the Prerequisite Requirements

  • Applicants must plan to complete all prerequisite courses by the end of the Fall semester of the year in which you apply.  So, if you expect to apply during the Summer/Fall of 2017 for entry to Fall 2018, you must have all prerequisite coursework completed by the end of Fall 2017.  There are no exceptions to this policy.
  • At least seven (7) prerequisite courses must be completed before the Fall semester begins (e.g., only two (2) or fewer may be in progress during that Fall semester.)
  • Must be mathematically possible to obtain or maintain a cumulative prerequisite GPA of 3.2 if you have courses in progress

Prerequisite courses must be completed at a regionally accredited school in the United States or Canada. This includes community colleges. Click here for a list of course descriptions that we've found to be acceptable. Please note that the course descriptions here are to be used as guides and suggestions. For further assistance with selecting the appropriate course, please contact your assigned advisor at your home university.

We do not accept substitutions for entry-level Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Psychology courses as these entry-level courses are generally prerequisites for the higher level prerequisites. For example, "Abnormal Psychology" could not be used to replace the "General Psychology" requirement.  Understand that each prerequisite course has been established to ensure that every applicant has the basic foundation necessary to enter this program. Some courses are too narrow and others too broad in their focus and content, making them unacceptable substitutions. If you have questions about a course you've taken, click here to email the course description to the registrar.

Note:  We are glad to help you navigate prerequisite course requirements.   Please send requests only for those courses that do not clearly meet the noted requirement. Do not verify courses that meet the requirements.  For example if your school offers "General Chemistry I" or "Introduction to Chemistry I" then you can feel confident that it will meet our general chemistry requirement.

Application Deadline Information

All application materials, with the exception of GRE scores and the supplemental application and fee for the 2017-18 admission cycle, must have arrived at PTCAS by the application deadline date, October 2, 2017. Applicants should, per PTCAS instruction, continue to monitor their application to ensure materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation, verified PT hours, etc.) have arrived at PTCAS.  The character limit for UNC Specific Essay Questions is 2500 characters or approximately 1/2 page.

Supplemental Materials

The following supplemental materials are required:

  1. GRE scores (Institution code #7733). See UNC PTCAS page for specifics.
  2. UNC Specific Essay Questions. These questions can be found by designating UNC to receive your application. The character limit for UNC Supplemental Essay Questions is 2500 characters or approximately 1/2 page.
  3. Supplemental Application and Fee paid by debit or credit card.  The supplemental application will ask NC General Assembly required questions about military service, community standards, and residency (for those who wish to claim NC Residency for Tuition Purposes)
  4. The supplemental application and fee payment of $85 must be submitted to UNC by October 10th. Specific directions related to the supplemental application and fee will be emailed after the application is submitted to PTCAS and routed to UNC.

*Please note that the supplemental fee and application are separate and distinct from the fees charged by PTCAS. 

You will be automatically emailed the link to complete the supplemental application within 3-4 business days of your application being sent to UNC Chapel Hill via PTCAS.

Again, please note that this supplemental fee is in addition to the fee paid to PTCAS.  Applications received without the required supplemental application and fee cannot be processed.

Fee Waivers

A waiver for the DAHS supplemental fee is available to qualified individuals. If you applied for, and were granted, a fee waiver for the PTCAS application, you will be granted a waiver for the UNC Department of Allied Health Sciences (UNC DPT) fee. Please send a brief note of confirmation regarding the PTCAS waiver and/or a copy of the PTCAS waiver confirmation, with your PTCAS ID #, to the dptadmissions@unc.edu.  

Tuition, Fees, Scholarships, and Applicant Aid

The UNC Office of Scholarships and Applicant Aid is the best source of information about applying for all forms of financial aid. Please visit their Web site http://studentaid.unc.edu/ for information about how to apply for financial aid.

Through the generous donations of alumni and friends, the Division of Physical Therapy provides some scholarships to applicants enrolled in the Physical Therapy program. Prospective applicants who are offered admission are automatically considered for all available scholarships and awards. Additional information about scholarships and financial aid will be made available at the time the offer for admission is made to the prospective applicant. For further information on departmental scholarships and awards, please click here.

To review the current per-semester tuition and fee information, click here and proceed to page 5 of the pdf form. Tuition information for the DPT program is under the heading of GRADUATES—Doctor of Audiology, Doctor of Physical Therapy….

Admission Statistics

We admit 30 applicants each fall for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Admission is highly competitive for these seats. To be considered, applicants need at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and a prerequisite GPA of at least 3.2.  Applicants must score a minimum of 40% on each section of the GRE. Click here to review the admission statistics for the most recently admitted classes.  There is no one piece of your application that is more important than another, your entire application is considered when you apply.

Volunteer/ Job Shadowing

Volunteer work is a very big aspect of our Physical Therapy admissions. We are looking for applicants who can demonstrate an understanding of physical therapy.  We require a minimum of 100 shadowing hours in at least 3 settings (e.g. outpatient clinic, hospital, home health, nursing home).   At least three settings should have a minimum of 16 hours invested.

  1. Volunteer or shadow at several different places. Sometimes applicants will choose to only visit a local hospital. While the physical therapy department may be an excellent one, it may not represent the diversity that actually exists in the profession. In addition, the applicant should consider obtaining experience with home health agencies, private practices, skilled nursing facilities, pediatric developmental centers, educational settings (schools), and sports medicine clinics.
  2. Physically observe the activities of the Physical Therapists. If you volunteer, your activities may be limited unless you specifically request to shadow a physical therapist. It is also important to observe procedures for documentation, managerial support, business practices, etc.
  3. Know that variety in physical therapy experience is more valuable than total hours. Understand what you are observing so that you can speak knowledgeably about the discipline.  
  4. While we do accept paper documentation, we strongly encourage supervisors and recommendation providers to electronically submit the information requested.  Applicants should keep accurate contact information so that you can enter the information into PTCAS.  Applicants should inform supervisors and reference providers about when you plan to submit your application so that they can be prepared to receive the email and complete their necessary steps.  All references and shadowing hour verifications are required to be completed by October 2, 2017.  Paper documents can sometimes be difficult to read and not fully convey what you learned.   PTCAS has designed the electronic verification process to be consistent and gather as much information as possible.    

For questions regarding Admissions contact the Division of Physical Therapy at dptadmissions@unc.edu.

Note:  please be sure to read this and the Frequently Asked Questions page thoroughly before contacting us.  A vast majority of questions are answered on those two pages.  Many applicants email us wanting "confirmation" that the information provided on these pages is accurate or asking questions that readily available.