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1. Can I take classes at a community college? Are online classes acceptable?

We accept credits from any regionally accredited school in the U.S. or Canada, whether in-person or online. The grade received is far more important than the school attended. Community college or online courses tend to be more convenient for those who are working while completing their prerequisite work. Taking community college or online courses will not diminish an applicant’s chances of being accepted to our program.

2. How many volunteer hours do I need to qualify for admission?

100 hours of observing/shadowing a physical therapist are recommended – but not required. We recommend that observation/job shadowing be completed at a minimum of three different settings (with a minimum of 16 hours in at least three settings). Additional hours in other settings may be provided (whether they total more than 16 hours/setting or not) once this minimum is achieved. View the PTCAS definition of settings. For example, these settings can be obtained at a single location such as a large hospital.

3. What if I am an international student?

International students are required to complete all prerequisite work at a regionally accredited school in the U.S. or Canada.

4. Who can write my letters of recommendation?

There are no specifications for the letters of recommendation. We recommend that at least one written by a physical therapist but it is not required. Applicants should pick those who know them best and can speak to their capabilities. This does not include family members or friends but can include employers, supervisors, professors and those in advisory roles.

5. Is there a part-time program for physical therapy?

No, there is no part-time program offered. This is a very strenuous curriculum that is covered over three calendar years. Students are generally in class around 30 hours per week. Additional time is needed for group projects, lab review, and clinical practice.

6. What is the preferred undergraduate major for physical therapy?

There is no preferred undergraduate major for physical therapy.

7. Can I make a substitution for a prerequisite course?

General biology, general chemistry, physics, and general psychology cannot be substituted as they are usually prerequisites for higher level courses. If there is a question in regards to course content, we ask that a copy of the course description be submitted. A decision will be rendered in a relatively quick amount of time.

Understand that the prerequisite courses have been established to ensure that every student has the basic foundation necessary to enter the program. Some classes are too broad and some are too narrow in their focus and content, and thus unacceptable substitutes. Also, know that academic major requirements are irrelevant to our prerequisite requirements. We will not make exceptions because of curriculum conflicts. It is the student’s responsibility to make the necessary adjustments.

8. What happens if I have not completed all the prerequisites?

All prerequisites must be completed by the end of the fall semester in which you apply and seven of the nine prerequisites should be completed before that fall term starts. To apply to the Fall 2022 deadline (to enter the program during the Fall 2022 term) you must have completed or plan to complete all prerequisites by the end of December 2021. So that each student is considered equitably, there are NO EXCEPTIONS to this policy.

9. What are program costs?

View page five of the UNC-CH’s 2020-21 Tuition & Fees  document for the current per-semester tuition and fees for both in-state and out of state. Tuition is subject to change every year based on recommendations submitted by the board of trustees and final decisions are made by the Legislature.

10. What is the average GPA? How are the GPAs calculated?

View our most recent UNC DPT Admissions Stats.

PTCAS outlines its standardized set of GPA information about what GPAs include, exclude, and how +/- grades are evaluated on its website.

11. How do I know if my prerequisites are acceptable?

Please review the UNC-CH course descriptions for Prerequisites. If the course description for your class is similar but the course has a different name, it is acceptable. You can also check this following equivalency list. It matches community college courses to UNC courses.

12. I received AP credit for a class on the prerequisite list, will this class still count?

You will receive credit for that course; however, that course cannot be considered in the GPA calculation.

13. I have already graduated and am having a hard time finding an exercise physiology course.

Below are some options that previous students have found to complete this requirement. This information may change at any time. You will have to check with each institution about enrollment procedures.

The U.S. Sports Academy also teaches an online course for exercise physiology that we will accept. The course call name and number is SAR 520 Exercise Physiology and can be found on the USSA website. We will not accept CER 520.

Cal Berkeley Extension

MCELLBI X421-Exercise Physiology (three credit hours)

American Public University/American Military University

SPHE 314 – Exercise Physiology (three credit hours)

NC State University

HESM 478-601 Exercise Physiology and Sports Science

University of New Mexico

PEP 351 Clinical Exercise in Physical Therapy

Concordia University – St Paul, Franklin University, and UNC Wilmington have online undergraduate degree programs in Exercise Science which includes an exercise physiology classes. You will need to contact that department to see if non-degree students can take the course.

14. Is there a time limit for prerequisites?

There are no time limits for prerequisite courses; however, it is advised that you audit a course that was taken more than 10 years ago.

15. Do you have information sessions I can attend?

Yes. The Division of Physical Therapy offers information sessions throughout the summer beginning in May. We are not able to offer any individual tours.

16. Is there a supplemental application or fee to complete after I submit my application via PTCAS? Where can I find the link?

Yes. You must complete a supplemental application and pay both the PTCAS fee and an additional UNC-CH fee. This link will be emailed to you within three to four business days after you submit your application to UNC via PTCAS. The supplemental application will require you to answer state-mandated questions about military service, community standards, and residency.   If you wish to apply for residency for tuition purposes you must use the University of North Carolina’s Residency Determination Services.   To find out more information and to apply for residency, please click this link:

17.    Does the program allow deferment of admission?

With the limited number of positions that can be offered to prospective physical therapy students, deferrals are only considered under extreme circumstances. The program’s policy on deferment of admission is provided here.