Physical Therapy

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  • Physical Therapy FAQ


    Are there differences between the entry-level masters and doctoral degrees in physical therapy?

    The status of the entry-level physical therapist graduate with either degree is the same. All accredited professional entry-level programs are designed to provide a broad physical therapy background. The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education uses the same evaluative criteria to accredit these levels. The institution determines the degree to be offered. There may a difference in emphasis as a result of a specific program mission or individual faculty strengths.

    Is there a ranking of physical therapy programs?

    The American Physical Therapy Association does not rank programs. The accreditation process assures quality in physical therapy education.

    Why a post-baccalaureate degree?

    This educational process provides time for the student to obtain a broad liberal arts background and integrate the significant amount of material included in the physical therapy curriculum.  Over the years, the volume of scientific technology and literature in educational programs has grown well beyond what can be reasonably included in a baccalaureate program.

    There are additional expectations of the physical therapy professional with the changes in the health care delivery system and needs of society which are best met with the additional coursework and skills.

    How can I enhance my chance of admission to a physical therapy program?

    A high overall grade point average, especially in the prerequisite course work, and exploring as many aspects of the field as possible are helpful in the admissions process.  A record of observations and/or volunteer experiences in a variety of physical therapy practice settings, excellent writing,community service volunteering, and good interpersonal skills, and above average GRE scores are additional areas of emphasis.

    What factors should I consider in selecting an educational program?

    Personal considerations such as geographic location, cost, class size, faculty composition, degree awarded and design and length of the program will help you decide on a school. Present students, recent graduates and employers of graduates are sources of information on the strengths and weaknesses of programs.

    Is the physical therapist assistant program a stepping stone to a physical therapist program?

    No. The curriculum of the physical therapist assistant student differs from that of the physical therapist and does not provide the prerequisites needed for physical therapist education. However, there are accredited programs that are designed to permit experienced physical therapist assistants to continue working while they attend a physical therapist degree program on the weekends.

    What are the course requirements in the sciences?

    Required science courses include two biology courses with lab, two chemistry courses with lab, two physics courses with lab, and one advanced physical or biological science course with lab (e.g., genetics, histology, comparative anatomy, embryology, microbiology). Some advanced science courses may not include a lab. Science courses with lab that will count for science major credit are appropriate. Science courses designed for non-science majors will not meet specified pre-requisite requirements. In addition, a statistics course (education, math or psychology) is required and must be taken at a senior college or university in one of the three departments specified.

    Is Human Anatomy and Physiology accepted as a pre-requisite course?

    The Department of Physical Therapy is reviewing the pre-requisite courses for admission to the program.  It is anticipated that a combined human anatomy and physiology course will not be accepted as a biology pre-requisite for applicants entering the program in May, 2018.  Refer to the website to ensure enrollment in the appropriate pre-requisite courses.

    What undergraduate degree should I have?

    An undergraduate baccalaureate degree from an accredited four-year college or university must be completed in addition to the specific pre-requisite course requirements to be eligible to enter the program. All entering students are required to have an undergraduate degree with a background in the humanities, social sciences, physical and biological sciences. A particular degree or course of study is not recommended by the program; likewise, applicants are encouraged to choose a degree or course of study that will meet their personal career goals and provide opportunities for employment upon graduation. Although the application process is competitive, no particular major or course of study ensures acceptance or adequate preparation for pursuit of the professional physical therapy degree. Graduate courses cannot be used to substitute for pre-requisite requirements.

    What Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required?

    No minimal score required. All three sections of the exam are required. The reservation for taking the examination is due approximately 6 weeks prior to the date of the exam and scores are available a month after the exam. Availability of exam results must be considered when applying by a specific deadline.

    How do I apply?

    All applicants must complete the online application and pay the application fee by November 1.  Specific instructions for completing the DPT application are provided on the Physical Therapy website.  Support documents required to complete the application include the resume, essay, plan of study, and documentation of observation hours.  Complete the resume and essay in accordance with the instructions and upload each in the appropriate tab as indicated in the online application.  During the process of applying you may save the application prior to submitting it.  All observation forms must be mailed or faxed to the Office of Student Records and Registrar by the applicant to the address or fax number indicated on the form.  The plan of study is completed in the online application.  Each applicant must request that GRE scores and all transcripts (from each college attended) be submitted; GRE scores and transcripts will be sent directly to this institution by the GRE Testing Service and the colleges attended as requested by the applicant.  All application materials (transcript(s), observation forms, resume, and official GRE scores) must reach the registrar's office by the deadlines posted.  An applicant should submit the application data form and the deposit early.  The other application materials (transcript(s), observation forms, resume, and official GRE scores) must reach the registrar's office by the deadlines posted.

    What are the qualifications of program faculty?

    The academic and clinical faculty includes a diverse group of credentialed professionals and outstanding educators who are recognized for their expertise. Expertise within the program faculty includes clinical practice specialty areas, administration and research.

    Faculty members have publications and make poster, paper and workshop presentations regularly. They are recognized as leaders in professional and scientific associations locally, nationally and internationally. Faculty members encourage students to become actively involved in their chosen profession.

    Can I apply to more than one program on the medical center campus?

    Students are encouraged to apply to multiple programs. Each admissions process is a separate activity.

    What is the length and sequence of coursework within the program?

    The program is three calendar years in length. Learning activities within the program include lecture, practical laboratory experiences and clinical education assignments. The first year of the program focuses more upon classroom and laboratory activities on the campus, the second and third years include more clinical applications coursework and clinical education experiences. The clinical education experiences require the student to temporarily relocate with at least one period being at an affiliated organization outside of the state. Students are responsible for their own living expenses during this time.

    When can I apply?

    Applications are available in July preceding the date of enrollment. Students may apply for the program during their final year of enrollment in a baccalaureate program and be admitted contingent upon successful completion of the degree program. All prerequisites for the program must be completed before enrolling in the program.

    Is there a waiting list?

    No, students who are not accepted for admittance during one enrollment year must submit a new application for any other enrollment year. This includes all forms, documentation and transcripts.

    What is the application process?

    All applicants must use the online application process; observation forms must be completed and mailed or faxed to the Office of Student Records and Registrar.  The physical therapy admissions committee reviews all student applications that are complete, i.e. all requested documentation is received.  From this group of applicants, the most competitive are invited for an interview.  The specific characteristics for review are academic records (prerequisite GPA and overall GPA), written communication skills, knowledge of physical therapy, GRE scores, verbal communication skills, problem solving and professional judgment abilities, and experiences and personal attributes as documented on the personal resume and essay.  All components of the process are included in determining the admitted class.

    If documented on my college transcript, will Advanced Placement (AP) or CLEP courses meet any of the prerequisite requirement(s) for application to the physical therapy program?

    Neither AP nor CLEP courses will meet any of the specified prerequisite course requirements for entry into the physical therapy program.  Required and overall GPAs are calculated for each applicant based on course grade and credit hours received in each course.  In combination with other components of the application, the required and overall GPA for each applicant provides a meaningful comparison of academic capability and success across defined course options for all applicants.

    What is the average GPA of students accepted into the program?

    The average GPA is usually over a 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. The range is from a 3.00 to 4.00. To be considered for admission, both the overall GPA and the pre-requisite GPA must be at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

    Will the MCAT, GMAT or a foreign doctor of medicine degree substitute for the GRE pre-admissions requirement for the DPT?

    The GRE will not be waived.

    Is there a salary difference between the master's and doctoral degree graduate at entry into the profession?

    In the only information available, graduates with either degree are considered entry-level with no salary differential. Over time the individual with a higher degree may more readily obtain a higher level position.

    What is the eligibility of out of state residents?

    The University of Mississippi is a state supported institution.  Preference is given to Mississippi residents.  Out-of-state applicants may be considered only when positions are available after all qualified applicants with Mississippi residency have been admitted and the expected class enrollment has not been met. 

    What is the salary for a physical therapist?

    The salary for a beginning therapist is dependent upon the type of clinical setting, the size of the community and the region of the country. Current information can be obtained on the internet at

    How many students are accepted each year into the entry level program?

    One class of 50 students are admitted each year. Classes begin during the summer semester. The available resources, market demand and the number of qualified students determine the class size.

    How many observation hours are required? How do I get the hours? Who arranges them?

    Applicants are required to have a minimum of 40 hours of observation in physical therapy departments or practices.  A maximum of 20 hours may be used from any one site. Observation in a variety of clinical settings is encouraged.  The observation forms are posted on the physical therapy webpage; applicants may print as many forms as needed.  An observation form from each clinical site must signed by a licensed physical therapist and the license number included.  Observation hours must be in the current year of the application.  Hours earned through employment will not be accepted.  No more than a total of 20 hours may be counted from all internship experiences completed for a degree.  Applicants are responsible for arranging their own observation hours.

    Can I work or attend the program on a part-time basis?

    The program is not designed for part-time enrollment. The educational program is sufficiently intense that employment limits necessary study time. Work is discouraged and a variety of financial aid opportunities are available.

    May I visit the School of Health Related Professions, Department of Physical Therapy, prior to applying?

    Each year SHRP has two planned visitation days to acquaint potential students with the programs available at UMMC-SHRP.  The days are scheduled in the spring and fall of each year.  Specific dates can be found on the SHRP Academic calendar available on the SHRP website.  Personal appointments may be scheduled with a representative of the PT Department by contacting the Pre-Admission Counselor at 601-984-5587 or by email at

    When and where may I complete an application?

    The online DPT application is open by July 1 of the year preceding enrollment. The link to apply for the DPT Program is available on the PT website under the Admissions tab/Application Procedure. All information requested in the online application must be completed.

    All applicants pay a non-refundable application fee of $25. All support documentation must be received by the Office of Student Records and Registrar by November 1. More information may be obtained from the Office of Student Records and Registrar for admission. The address is: 

    University of Mississippi Medical Center
    Office of Student Records and Registrar
    2500 North State Street
    Jackson, Mississippi 39216-4505
    Phone: (601) 984-1080