Temporary Admission Requirement Change for the 2020-2021 Application Cycle Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Admissions Requirements
  3. Prerequisite Courses and Requirements
  4. Application Deadline Information
  5. Supplemental Materials
  6. School-Specific Questions
  7. Tuition, Fees, Scholarships, and Applicant Aid
  8. Admission Statistics
  9. Volunteer/Job Shadowing
  10. Deferral of Admission Policy


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 who wish to apply to the UNC DPT program will need to use the PTCAS online application form. The application for Fall 2021 admissions will open in July.


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 and professional aspects of the program.

Personal interviews are required for applicants who reach the final stage of the admission process.  If two applications are essentially equal, preference will be given to the North Carolina resident.

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 overall cumulative GPA of 3.0 or a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours. P/F grades will be omitted from GPA calculations.
  • Completion of prerequisites with a minimum prerequisite GPA of 3.2
  • All of your application materials need to be received by PTCAS by September 15, 2020, at 11:59 pm. This is a firm deadline with no exceptions. It is recommended that you submit your application at least two weeks before this date.
  • A minimum of three letters of recommendation must be submitted.  It is recommended that one be a physical therapist but not required.
  • 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 percent on each section of the GRE in one exam session.
  • The last date to take the GRE for Fall 2021 admission is August 29, 2020.  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 five years old.
  • Observation hours are recommended not required.  We recommend 100 hours in at least 3 different settings.
  • Please see the section on Supplemental Materials below.

Prerequisite Courses and Requirements

Prerequisites Updated

Semester equivalents of the following courses are required to be considered for admission. These courses can be taken online 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. Second course in human biology. (lab recommended) (minimum 3.0 credit hours). Examples of potential courses include Microbiology (MCRO 251), Genetics (BIOL 202), and Cell Biology (BIOL 205), and Immunology (MCRO 449).
  4. General Chemistry I with Lab (or equivalent introductory course) (minimum combined 4.0 credit hours with course and lab).
  5. General Chemistry II with Lab (minimum combined 4.0 credit hours with course and lab).  (Organic Chemistry 1 is acceptable.)
  6. Human Anatomy with Lab (minimum combined 4.0 credit hours with course and lab)
  7. Physiology (minimum 3.0 credit hours). This is a four-hour semester course with a 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).
  8. General Psychology (or equivalent introductory course) (minimum 3.0 credit hours).
  9. 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.
  10. General Physics I with Lab (algebra-based is preferred) (minimum combined 4.0 credit hours with course and lab).
  11. General Physics II with Lab (algebra-based is preferred, minimum combined 4.0 credit hours with course and lab).

For 2020-2021 application cycle only: To avoid disadvantaging prospective students who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pass/Satisfactory science prerequisite credits are accepted during the semesters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, for our program admissions, we strongly encourage our applicants to opt for letter grade if available. P/F grades will be omitted from GPA calculations.

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

Prerequisite Requirements

  • Applicants must plan to complete all prerequisite courses by the end of the fall semester of the year in which you apply. If you expect to apply during the summer/fall of 2020 for entry to fall 2021, you must have all prerequisite coursework completed by the end of fall 2020. There are no exceptions to this policy.
  • At least nine prerequisite courses must be completed before the fall semester begins (e.g., only two or fewer may be in progress during the 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. Review our list of PT-Prereqs_2020_Update. Course descriptions here are to be used as guides and suggestions.

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, email the course description to the registrar.

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 I requirement.

Application Deadline Information

All application materials, including transcripts, GRE scores, and recommendation letters for the 2020-21 admissions cycle, must have arrived at PTCAS the application deadline date of September 15, 2020.   The supplemental application and fee, which is separate and distinct from the PTCAS application, must be completed by September 22, 2020.  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.

Supplemental Materials

The following supplemental materials are required:

  1. GRE scores (Institution code #7733). See UNC PTCAS page for specifics.
  2. UNC Specific Questions. These questions will be answered via PTCAS.
  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 $95 must be submitted to UNC-CH by September 22. Specific directions related to the supplemental application and fee will be emailed after the application is submitted to PTCAS and routed to UNC-CH.

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 three to four business days of your application being sent to UNC-CH via PTCAS.

School-Specific Questions

PTCAS does have two additional questions that are asked of every applicant. An essay question in the “Supporting Information” section of the application, questions about the impact of the COVID19 outbreak, and a question for re-applicants in the “Program Materials” section.

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.

Through the generous donations of alumni and friends, the Division of Physical Therapy provides some scholarships to some students. 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. Learn more about departmental scholarships and awards.

Review the current per-semester tuition and fee information (page 6) tuition information for the DPT program is under the heading of GRADUATES—Doctor of Audiology, Doctor of Physical Therapy…

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-CH 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 number, to dptadmissions@unc.edu.

Admission Statistics

We admit 30-32 applicants each fall for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Admission is highly competitive. Applicants must score a minimum of 40 percent on each section of the GRE. Here are the UNC DPT Admissions Stats 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 (Recommended Not Required)

  1. Volunteer or shadow at several (at least three) different places that represent three different PT settings. We recommend 100 hours in at least 3 different settings.  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 possible. 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. We strongly encourage supervisors and recommendation providers to electronically submit the information requested for verification of observation hours. Applicants must 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 (and received by PTCAS) by September 15, 2020.  Do not wait a week before the 15th to complete these steps.  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.

Deferral of Admissions Policy

With the limited number of positions that can be offered to prospective physical therapy students, the program

expects that students accepted to the UNC Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program will enroll in the year in which they are accepted. The program’s policy on deferral of admissions is provided here.