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Admission Process and Program Information

Program Director: Z. Kapasi
Associate Director: M. Johanson


S. Wolf

Associate Professors

P. Bridges, B. Greenfield, M. Johanson, Z. Kapasi

Assistant Professors

D. Backus, K.L. Bishop, S. Blanton, M. Borich, B. Davis, K. Geist, T. Kesar, P. Nichols, T. Phillips, S. Pullen, B. Rogozinski, A. Rossi, M Sabatier, D. Shah, R. Trumbower


R. Nyberg, M. Wooden, L. Zajac-Cox

Senior Associate

D. Waldner

Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree program is a component of the Division of Physical Therapy, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. A professional, physical therapy curriculum was offered first by the Division of Physical Therapy in 1975 as a post baccalaureate certificate program and then changed to a professional level, master of physical therapy degree program in 1983 and to the doctor of physical therapy degree in 2001. The Division of Physical Therapy includes educational, research, and clinical programs. The mission of the division is presented below with objectives and curriculum information for the doctor of physical therapy degree program.

The Mission

The mission of the Division of Physical Therapy is to create an environment that facilitates the health, growth, and education of healthcare consumers, students, faculty and healthcare professionals through the exploration and implementation of innovative concepts and models in the field of Movement Science, applied with a concern for human values and diverse cultures.

The Division of Physical Therapy is committed to the development of proactive, ethically-engaged, caring leadership in the pursuit of excellence in scientific inquiry and in the application of validated scientific principles that allow optimal function in clients of all ages and levels of ability.

The students and faculty will pursue independent thought and learning over a lifetime and will experience the intrinsic rewards of individual effort and of membership in the physical therapy profession and in local, national, and international health care and scientific communities.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program is designed to:

1. Provide study and competence in promoting optimal human movement and function based on the biological, behavioral, physical, and medical sciences, including:

a. Understanding and applying concepts and principles of movement science.
b. Using critical thinking and problem solving in planning, implementing, and assessing both clinical and scientific practices.

2. Prepare proactive leaders in the multifaceted roles of clinician, educator, researcher, administrator, and consultant in individual, group, and community contexts.

3. Model and instill the values that promote professionalism and caring.

4. Facilitate student commitment to independent thinking and lifelong learning and to student realization of the intrinsic rewards of these attributes.

Students obtain basic competencies essential for physical therapy practice and for developing leadership skills within the profession. In addition, students in the DPT program conduct a research project and study in advanced specialized areas.

The practical application of physical therapy skills is based on a concept of health care with three major characteristics. First, the welfare of the client is the basis of health care. Second, health care is dynamic, and changes are constantly being made to incorporate advances in methods and in delivery in care. The scope of health care today includes the promotion of health and an emphasis on the rights and responsibilities of clients. Third, the quality of health care depends on the extent to which the needs of the individual client are met. Optimal functional movement is the goal of physical therapy.

Students develop competencies in the professional program using the problem-solving process to demonstrate expertise in applying a theoretical framework of basic, behavioral, social, and medical sciences to: (1) interpersonal communications; (2)participation in planning, implementing, and evaluating the teaching/learning process ; (3)provision of physical therapy therapeutic services;  (4) use of basic principles of research in critical analysis of concepts and findings generated by self and others; (5) participation in the administration of a defined physical therapy service; and (6) consultation with others for the purpose of providing comprehensive care.

The educational program promotes attainment of the foregoing competencies in the following ways. First, the problem-solving approach is incorporated throughout the curriculum and used to identify and affect the needs of the client and the health care system. The physical therapist identifies and resolves health care problems through program planning that relates to an individual client, a specialty area, and the total health care system. This problem solving requires consideration of the theoretical framework of the basic, medical, and psychosocial sciences, in addition to use of process skills relating to the practice of physical therapy. In each of the above contexts, the physical therapist identifies a need and alternative program plans for meeting that need, selects the most appropriate plan, implements the plan, and then evaluates and modifies the plan as necessary. The client, the physical therapist, other health workers and the health care system all are involved and must be considered in solving specific movement problems.

Second, the teaching/learning process is demonstrated and applied in all contexts, especially patient and colleague education. Also, the learning process is presented as it applies to the student's own learning, both during and after completion of the program. Continued learning is stressed as essential to professional development and evidence-based practice.

Third, the physical function or dysfunction of the client and the use of preventative, and therapeutic interventions to improve function is the physical therapist's area of expertise. Generally, physical therapists are specialists in motor behavior, which encompasses the neuromusculoskeletal, pulmonary, and cardiovascular systems. The theoretical bases in the medical sciences for this area of expertise include human growth and development, pathophysiology and related medical management, physical therapy, clinical evaluation measures and therapeutic interventions, and health services management. Knowledge and skills in these areas are naturally sequenced, i.e., birth to aging, function to dysfunction, and general to specific. Learning in the content areas is integrated: classroom experiences with clinical experiences and content areas with process skills.

Fourth, recognition of the rights and dignity of the client is emphasized in all aspects of the program. Study and practice in reflective listening occurs initially. Then these concepts and skills are applied throughout all classroom and clinical experiences. Opportunities to practice interpersonal skills with patients from multiple cultures are embedded throughout the curriculum.

Fifth, the scientific inquiry process is applied in evidence-based practice and clinical research. Evidence-based practice underlies the clinical courses. Working in small groups with a faculty mentor, students complete an original research project.

Finally, in addition to skills discussed above, administration, and consultation are observed and practiced by the student in both the clinic and the classroom. The problem solving, teaching-learning, and interpersonal processes are used as the student masters concepts and strategies associated with each area. Also, the student plans, implements, and evaluates projects in each area. These projects are designed to meet the need of a specific administrative agenda or clinical or community setting.

The doctor of physical therapy degree curriculum is approved and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, telephone 703.706.3245. Graduates are eligible to take the licensing examination required for the practice of physical therapy.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements are reviewed and revised annually. Applicants should verify current requirements with the Division of Physical Therapy and should be sure to use the current application materials. The following requirements must be satisfied for admission:

1. Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.

2. Applicants must submit the followingto the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS): official transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended; a completed application form; Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (institutional code 5187); a brief written statement that includes professional goals, perception of the role of physical therapy, and a brief autobiographical sketch; and recommendation forms completed by three referees, which should include a physical therapist familiar with the applicants suitability for the profession, an undergraduate or graduate advisor, an instructor in a major field, or an employer and hours of experience in physical therapist patient settings. A minimum Grade Point Average (3.0 on a 4.0 point system) is required. The required GRE scores include: the verbal test score, the quantitative test score and the analytical writing test score. A minimum of 1,000 points is required for a composite verbal and quantative score and a minimum of 3.0 is required for the analytical writing score.

3. Applicants must have successfully completed a three-semester-hour equivalent course in anatomy within five years of matriculation. The anatomy course must include a lecture component on human anatomy and a laboratory requiring either dissection of mammalian specimens or study of prosected mammalian specimens. Required topics include structures of the following systems: musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, and the peripheral nervous systems. Also, study of the gastrointestinal system is recommended.

4. Applicants must have successfully completed a three-semester-hour equivalent course in human or mammalian physiology within five years of matriculation. The physiology course must be accompanied by laboratory studies. If a laboratory is not offered with the physiology course, a biology laboratory may substitute for the laboratory requirement, providing the biology laboratory includes the appropriate content. The physiology course or the biology laboratory course should cover all the following topics, although four of the five are acceptable: cell structure and function; cardiovascular, respiratory and digestive function; excretory function; and reproduction and development.

5. Applicants must have successfully completed a course in statistics within five years of matriculation. The course(s) should cover nonparametric and parametric statistics, including both analysis of covariance and multivariate analysis of variance. Use of statistical techniques with data sets, interpretation of statistical results, and computer interaction in data analysis are required.

6. Applicants must have successfully completed a four-semester hour equivalent course in physics I and a four-semester hour equavalent course in physics II within five years of matriculation. The course(s) should include a laboratory and should cover mechanics, sound, light, wave motion, heat, electricity, magnetism, and nuclear physics. The course does not have to be calculus-based. Enrollment in more than one physics course may be necessary to obtain the above content.

7. Applicant must submit a supplemental application to the Division of Physical Therapy.

8. Applicants must have experience using the following computer applications: word processing, communications, database, and statistics. Experience may be gained through formal computer courses or practical experience with the above applications.

9. Applicants in the final stage of admission screening are asked to have a formal interview.

10. Preference is given to applicants with practical experience in physical therapy and health care, which is supervised by a physical therapist. Such experience may be in a variety of service settings and should be of sufficient length to have given the applicant exposure to various problems encountered by persons with illness or disability.

11. Preference is given to applicants showing academic achievement in the biological, physical, and social sciences; courses should be above the introductory level and may have been taken at the baccalaureate or post-baccalaureate level. The student should seek academic preparation that assists in developing skills necessary to integrate problem-solving with the study of sciences, provides knowledge necessary to succeed in science courses within the professional curriculum, and promotes an understanding of human interactions, specifically those interactions with persons with illness or disability. Courses that could satisfy completion of emphasis areas may include, but are not limited to, biological science (vertebrate anatomy, physiology, biology, zoology, microbiology, genetics, embryology); physical science (chemistry, physics, mathematics); and social science (psychology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy).

12. Applicants are evaluated for selection on the basis of probable academic success in the curriculum; experience in and knowledge of the profession of physical therapy; and personal attributes such as commitment, maturity, and effective interaction with people.

13. Applicants must be approved by the Admissions Committee and Faculty.

14. Compliance with the Technical Standards of the Division of Physical Therapy is required.

15. Enrollment is limited and competitive; all qualified applicants may not be admitted. Applications are considered as received. Priority consideration is given, however, to applications received by November 1.

Admission, Regulations  and General Requirements

An applicant's registration and class attendance are considered his or her agreement to comply with University rules and regulations as published in the bulletins and other official publications, including amendments and revisions made during the student's continued enrollment.


Admissions contact information and supplemental application:

The Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Visit for detailed information and for the application. The PTCAS phone number is 617-612-2040.

Emory University Doctor of Physical Therapy Program
Phone number: 404.712-5660

Medical History Report and Physical Examination Report

A recent medical history report and physical examination recorded on University forms is required upon acceptance to the University. Students may not register until these reports are on file with the Emory University Student Health Service.

A new medical history report and physical examination form are required for reenrollment after an attendance lapse of one year or more. For readmission after withdrawal for medical reasons, clearance by designated University health officials is required.

International Students

Qualified international students may be admitted in limited numbers to most programs. In addition to the documents required of all applicants, an international student must also furnish the following:

1. In the case of an applicant from a non-English-speaking country, evidence from the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey, of a minimum score of 600 on the written exam, and a minimum score of 250 on the computerized Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); applicants to the physical therapy program must also have a satisfactory score on the Test of Spoken English (TSE);

2. A statement from a responsible person certifying that the applicants financial resources are sufficient to meet the necessary expenses; and

3. A statement from a qualified physician describing any emotional or physical illnesses suffered by the applicant during the preceding five years, or certifying freedom from such illnesses. Some programs require additional examinations and/or supporting documentation.

Admission of a student is subject to the discretion of the executive associate dean of the Office of Medical Education and Student Affairs and the director of admissions. Additional academic requirements for admission to each program are given in the catalog section describing that program.

Applications must be accompanied by official records from all schools attended. Such original documents, if not in English, should be accompanied by an authenticated English translation and should show dates of attendance, level of study, list of subjects, time devoted to each subject, examination grades for final average, an explanation of the grading system used, and scholastic rank among students in the applicant's graduating class. Diplomas or certificates for qualifying examinations taken by the applicant also must be presented.

If accepted, the applicant will receive an official letter certifying admission and containing information on registration and pertinent dates. Prospective students should make no plans to leave their country until they have received a letter of acceptance and form I-20 or IAP-66 from the University division in which admission is sought. Except for the summer semester, each international student is required by U.S. immigration laws to register for at least twelve hours of course study for each semester in residence.

For more information, visit the International Student Scholar Programs at, or call 404.727.3300.

Notice of Acceptance and Intent to Matriculate

The applicant will be notified of acceptance or rejection as promptly as possible after the admissions committee takes action on his or her application. Applicants are required to notify the program in writing of their intent to accept the position offer.