Application Requirements

Applicants to the three-year hybrid 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 August 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

The GRE is required of all applicants. A minimum score of 150 is strongly preferred on each component of the aptitude test, but higher scores are more competitive within the applicant pool. Test scores more than five years old will not be accepted.

USC requires only one official copy of GRE test scores from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). USC’s ETS institution code is 4852.

Work Experience

A minimum of 150 hours of clinical experience in a physical therapy setting is required. More competitive applicants typically exceed these minimum hours and accumulate their experience across a variety of settings. This work requirement can be completed in a volunteer or paid capacity.

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).
1*A combined two-course sequence in anatomy and physiology with lab (8 semester hours) will also satisfy this requirement. Return to footnote reference
  • 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 with lab 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 DPT@USC, 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.

Transcripts

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

Application Processing Services
DPT@USC
Suite 501
7900 Harkins Road
Lanham, MD 20706

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 appsvcs@dpt.usc.edu, 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.

Essays

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

  1. Describe a meaningful experience in your life. Reflect on how that experience influenced your personal growth, such as your attitudes or perceptions (4,500 characters).
  2. Describe a specific experience with a patient during your duties as a volunteer or aide in a physical therapy practice setting that made a notable impression on you and affirmed your desire to pursue a career in this field. (4,500 characters)
  3. Please describe why you feel the hybrid format of DPT education at USC would provide a successful environment for you to complete the rigorous DPT degree. Include any personal experiences, learning styles or individual preferences that will support your success in the hybrid program. (4,500 characters) 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 or academic reference (character witnesses are discouraged)

To learn more about DPT@USC, request information and an admissions counselor will contact you.

Request Information — Hybrid Program