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Physical Therapy FAQ

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.

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 in a variety of physical therapy practice settings, excellent writing skills, participation in community service, volunteer activities, good interpersonal skills, and above average GRE scores are additional areas of emphasis. Ongoing community service is strongly recommended.

What factors should I consider in selecting an educational program?

Personal considerations such as geographic location, cost, class size and faculty composition will help you decide on a program. Additionally, the design and length of the program, including the availability of face-to-face faculty interaction, should be included in the decision process. Present students, recent graduates and employers of graduates are good sources of information.

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. UMMC does not offer this type of program.

What are the course requirements in the sciences?

Prerequisite science courses include two biology courses with lab, two chemistry courses with lab, two physics courses with lab, and one advanced (300 level or higher) 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 prerequisite requirements and are not acceptable for a prerequisite course. In addition, a statistics course (education, math or psychology) is required and must be taken at a four-year college or university in one of the three departments specified.

At least 5 of the 8 prerequisite courses must be completed by the end of the fall semester in which the application is submitted.  Applicants accepted for admission must successfully complete all prerequisite courses with a grade of "C" or above and the prerequisite and overall GPA must be a minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale by the end of the subsequent spring semester, with final grades documented by the official transcript.  

Is Human Anatomy and Physiology accepted as a prerequisite course?

Combined anatomy and physiology courses are not accepted to fulfill the two biology course prerequisite requirements.  

Even though combined anatomy and physiology are not required prerequisite courses, students have commented that the content was helpful during the DPT program.  

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. 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 and graduate level grades are not considered for overall and prerequisite GPAs.

What Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required?

No minimal score required. Verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections of the exam are required. in order for the test results to be received in a timely manner, complete the examination at least one month prior to the application deadline to give GRE adequate time to report the score to UMMC. GRE scores must be received by the Office of Enrollment Management by the application deadline.

When can I apply?

Applications are available in July preceding the date of enrollment. Students must apply for the program during their final year of enrollment or after completion in a baccalaureate program and be admitted contingent upon successful completion of the degree program. All prerequisites for the program must be completed with a grade of "C" or higher and a minimum overall and required GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale before enrolling in the program.

How do I apply?

All applicants must complete the online application and pay the application fee by Nov. 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. Transcripts from all universities attended must be submitted. The application may be saved during the application process and prior to submitting it. 

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 actively publish 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 the professional association.

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

Students may 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 beginning in May. Learning activities within the program include lecture, practical laboratory experiences, interprofessional education activities and clinical education assignments. The first year of the program focuses on classroom and laboratory activities on the campus. The second and third years include more clinically applicable coursework and clinical education experiences. The clinical education experiences require the student to temporarily relocate with at least one experience being at an affiliated organization outside of the state and one being out of the metro Jackson area. Students are responsible for their own living expenses during this time.

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. Upon selection of the class, an alternate list is generated. Once the class is enrolled, the alternate list is closed.

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. 

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. in addition, a grade of "C" or higher must be earned for any required course.  

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

No. The GRE will not be waived.

What is the eligibility of out-of-state residents?

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is a state-supported institution. As such, 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. Historically, the classes are composed of Mississippi residents.

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. 

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

One class of 50 students is 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 with the license number included. Observation hours must be in the current calendar 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.

Due to the effects of COVID-19, the observation hour requirement for the class entering May 2022 is waived.  

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 website. Personal appointments may be scheduled with a representative of the PT Department by emailing Dr. Joy Kuebler, Physical Therapy Pre-Admission Counselor, or calling (601) 984-5587.

Planned campus visitation days may be presented through webinar or on campus.  Please refer to the website for specific dates, times, and locations.   

Is on-campus housing available?

Housing is not available. However, many local rental and purchase properties are available throughout the Jackson metro area. Visit the UMMC off campus housing site for more information.

When and where may I complete an application?

The online DPT application is open by July 1 of the year preceding enrollment.  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 Enrollment Management by Nov. 1. More information may be obtained from the Office of Enrollment Management. 

Felicity Broderick, Student Admissions Officer
Office of Enrollment Management
University of Mississippi Medical Center
2500 N. State St.
Jackson, MS 39216-4505
(601) 984-1080