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Pre-Physical Therapy Program


Physical therapists are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals who have medical illnesses or injuries that limit their ability to move and perform activities. They provide care to people with back and neck injuries, sprains/strains and fractures, arthritis, burns, amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, conditions such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida, and injuries related to work and sports; they evaluate and diagnose movement dysfunction and use interventions to treat patients. PT's often consult and practice with a variety of other professionals, such as physicians, dentists, nurses, educators, social workers, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and audiologists. (From the online Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011

Physical Therapy is typically a two-and-one-half-year graduate program after students have completed an undergraduate degree at a four-year college. Graduates of most physical therapy programs will earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree and are required to be licensed in the state or states in which they practice. Physical therapists may also be certified as clinical specialists through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS).

Application Process

An overall GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) is the minimum for consideration for admission to the UIC DPT Program in all prerequisite course work (including elective science courses).The mean overall GPA of the UIC entering class is typically in the 3.6 to 3.7 range.

Also a broad exposure to physical therapy in more than one clinical setting is strongly recommended. A suggested minimum for candidates applying to the UIC DPT program is at least 50-60 total hours in two or three different settings, both inpatient and outpatient.

36 students admitted each year
Mean cumulative GPA: 3.76
Mean science GPA: 3.72
Mean GRE score (verbal & quantitative combined): 1179

Students can apply to many physical therapy schools by using the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Not all Physical Therapy Programs participate in PTCAS; applicants should check the "Directory" link on the PTCAS website, or check the individual school's website, to determine whether the program is participating

For the 2011-2012 admissions cycle, PTCAS opened on July 5, 2011, and will close on June 1, 2012. Applications to UIC are considered for the July start date only. Check with the schools for deadlines.

PTCAS has introduced a new Early Decision option for 2011-12. Applicants who choose this option must submit their applications and all required materials by August 15, 2011. Check the PTCAS Directory page to identify participating programs.

The UIC DPT Program has its own early admission plan which is separate from the PTCAS Early Decision option. Applicants with outstanding GPAs (generally a 3.75 or higher) and a GRE score of 1100 or higher (verbal and quantitative combined) may be considered for this plan. The PTCAS application deadline is September 15, and notification is by December 1. Applicants not selected for early admission are automatically placed in the regular applicant pool.

The University of Iowa's Graduate Program in Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science acknowledges the importance of recognizing and understanding cultural diversity the program's faculty, staff and students strive to promote trust, respect and appreciation for individual differences in matters of practice, research and education.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test is required for admission to the UIC DPT Program. Arrange to take the test early to ensure receipt of the scores prior to the application deadline.

For more information about the test and to register, visit the GRE website:

Three letters of recommendation are required to apply to the UIC DPT Program. One letter must come from a physical therapist and another from a professor in the applicant's major area of study. The third letter may come from someone who knows the student well, such as a supervisor or advisor. Letters, whether paper or electronic, are sent directly to PTCAS.

The UIC Physical Therapy Admissions Committee requires personal, on-campus interviews. Candidates selected will be contacted to arrange an interview, scheduled in January and notification of acceptance normally made by early March. Each interview is conducted by two interviewers from either the DPT faculty or from clinical PT staff at the UIC and VA Hospitals and includes certain questions asked of all applicants.

On the PTCAS application, applicants are required to disclose and explain any felony or misdemeanor convictions. Applicants offered admission to the UIC DPT Program are required to provide signed consent for conducting an External Criminal Background Investigation in addition to providing a signed Release of Information Waiver. Applicants should also be aware that some clinical education sites will require drug screening for students performing clinical rotations.

Non-U.S. citizens are eligible for admission to the UI Graduate Program in Physical Therapy. However, the UIC Program only accepts coursework from U.S. institutions, and only a small percentage of U.S. physical therapy programs admit non-citizens. Since the odds can be challenging, non-citizen students should thoroughly research and carefully consider such a decision and discuss it with their pre-physical therapy advisors early in their undergraduate years.

Contact the Office of Admission