Application Requirements

Applicants to the three-year Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who currently and will continue to reside in the U.S. for the entirety of the program. They must also satisfy all requirements for USC Graduate School admission, which include:

Bachelor’s Degree

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university by the date of projected enrollment, which is in May of each year.

Minimum Cumulative and Science GPAs of 3.0

The admissions committee requires that you have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a minimum science GPA of 3.0. Higher GPAs tend to be more competitive within the applicant pool.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores

GRE scores are not required.

Work Experience

A minimum of 150 hours of clinical experience in a physical therapy setting is recommended, but not required. The Admissions Committee feels that applicants who have engaged in diverse clinical experiences tend to make a more informed decision when considering physical therapy as a professional career. We also recognize that some of these experiences present themselves in the context of having supported others who have received physical therapy services as patients. Through responses to the essay prompts and resume, applicants are encouraged to share these experiences with the Admissions Committee. If deciding to gain direct physical therapy exposure in a clinical setting, the Admissions Committee makes no distinction between volunteer or paid physical therapy aide experiences.

Prerequisite Courses

Grades of “C” or better are required in all prerequisite courses, outlined below. Prerequisite courses taken on a “pass/no pass” basis will not be recognized, and AP credits will not be accepted in lieu of college-level courses. All courses must be for science or pre-health majors. “Survey-style” courses will not be accepted in fulfillment of prerequisites.

  • Biological Sciences: A general biology series (Biology I and Biology II) with labs (8 semester hours).
  • Chemistry: A general chemistry series (Chemistry I and Chemistry II) with labs (8 semester hours). A biochemistry series (Biochemistry I and Biochemistry II) with labs (8 semester hours) will also satisfy the requirement.
  • Physics: A general physics series (Physics I and Physics II) with labs (8 semester hours).
  • Anatomy1: A human anatomy course with lab (4 semester hours).
  • Physiology1: A human physiology course with lab (4 semester hours).

1A combined two-course sequence in anatomy and physiology with lab (8 semester hours) will also satisfy this requirement.

  • Psychology: Two courses in psychology (totaling 6 semester hours). These courses may include general psychology, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, psychology of disability, etc.
  • Statistics and Mathematics: One college-level statistics course is required (3 semester hours). Courses taken within the biology, mathematics and psychology departments are accepted. An additional college-level geometry or trigonometry course is recommended (but not required).

Application Requirements

To apply to the DPT Program – hybrid pathway, you must submit the following items:

Online Application

You must complete the online application and pay a nonrefundable application fee of $90. Access the online application here.


Sealed, official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended, including any community college coursework, must be sent to:

University of Southern California
Application Processing Center
PO Box 30096 024-001
College Station, TX 77842

Please note: To be considered an official transcript, the transcript must be sent directly from your institution(s) or through an electronic transcript vendor retained by that institution. Transcripts submitted by enrolled or prospective students are considered unofficial documents, even if they are in a sealed envelope provided to you by the issuing university.

Many schools issue transcripts electronically, either through their own web services or through vendors. If this option is available through the institutions you attend(ed), please specify that your transcript(s) be sent to, as this will expedite the delivery of your transcript(s) and the completion of your application.

We recommend using a sense of urgency when requesting transcripts from your university, as the turnaround time can vary from school to school.


Three essays are required. Submit your essays within the online application. The essay prompts are:

1. Every person has a background, an identity, interests, or talents, which they feel their application would be incomplete without having mentioned. Describe the traits or experiences that make you unique, and explain how they will help you be a successful physical therapist.

2. Are there personal, cultural, economic or social experiences (NOT already addressed in your response to the first essay prompt) that have shaped your pursuit of physical therapy? If so, how? Have any of these experiences provided unique perspective(s) that you would contribute to the profession of physical therapy?

3. Please describe why you feel the hybrid online/on-campus model of DPT education at USC would provide a successful environment for you to complete the rigorous Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. Include any personal experiences, learning styles, or individual preferences that will support your success in the hybrid program.

Keep in mind that this prompt is updated periodically and may have changed by the time you submit your application.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required. You should request recommendations from individuals who can speak to your professional or academic readiness to attend a rigorous graduate program. These recommenders must be:

  • A physical therapist (PT) who has directly supervised you
  • A professor or academic reference who has taught you in at least one class
  • A person of your choice who is either another PT supervisor, academic reference, or can otherwise speak to your academic, personal, or professional qualities

Application Deadlines

Early Action DeadlinePriority Submit Deadline 1Priority Submit Deadline 2Final Submit Deadline
October 13, 2023
December 15, 2023
February 2, 2024
March 22, 2024

To learn more about the hybrid pathway, request information and an admissions counselor will contact you.

Request Information — Hybrid Pathway