General Program Information
- Is the program a Master’s or Doctoral degree?
- What degree do I need to enter the DPT Program?
- In what area of study should I get my Bachelors of Science Degree?
- If accepted, when would I begin my physical therapy course work in the DPT Program?
- How often during the year do you admit students to the DPT Program?
- Does my degree in physical therapy allow me to practice physical therapy?
- Are graduates of the program finding employment in physical therapy?
- Does the SDSU DPT program offer areas of specialty?
- How long is the program?
- Are there research opportunities within the DPT program?
- Do California state residents get preference?
- What is the history of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program?
- What is the expected salary for a Physical Therapist?
- What is the mean grade point average (GPA) for entering students?
- What grade point average is required to be accepted to the SDSU DPT program?
- What prerequisites are required to enter the program?
- When must I have my admission course work completed to be eligible for admission to the DPT Program?
- Where can I fulfill the prerequisite requirements?
- Do I have to take the Graduate Records Exam (GRE)?
- I’ve taken the GRE multiple times with multiple results. Which score will you use?
- What are the required GRE test scores to get into your program?
- If I have had a similar course, may I substitute it for a prerequisite?
- How many hours of experience do I need?
- Will observation or volunteer hours in health areas other than in a physical therapy department be counted toward admission requirements?
- I have been out of school for five years with a Bachelor of Science degree. Am I eligible to apply for your program?
- What is the process of being accepted into your program?
- How do I submit an application to the SDSU DPT program?
- How do I submit my letters of recommendation?
- Do you recruit minorities?
- Do minorities have preference over the general population?
- What are my chances of being accepted into the DPT program?
- What is the graduation rate for SDSU DPT students?
- What is the licensure rate for SDSU DPT graduates?
- What is the employment rate for SDSU DPT graduates?
- Can I work while I am in PT school?
- Is on-campus housing available at SDSU?
- What If I have a disability?
- What are the compliance requirements for participation in clinical education?
- May I observe a classroom session?
Is the program a Master’s or Doctoral degree?
The San Diego State University (SDSU) is an entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. Students who successfully complete the program will receive a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Degree and will be eligible to take the national licensure exam for physical therapists.
What degree do I need to enter the DPT Program?
To be considered for the DPT Program, verification of a Bachelors’ (BA/BS) degree is required.
In what area of study should I get my Bachelors of Science Degree?
Many students receive a degree in Kinesiology or Exercise Science to fulfill the prerequisites for Physical Therapy School; however, you may complete your degree in any area of study as long as you meet the minimum requirements needed to apply.
If accepted, when would I begin my physical therapy course work in the DPT Program?
All students begin their course work in May of the year they are admitted.
How often during the year do you admit students to the DPT Program?
Admission to the DPT Program occurs once a year. The application deadline is December 15th for Cal State Apply, and December 21st for Interfolio. Official transcripts and GRE scores must be submitted by January 12th of the application period. Students are admitted through the Graduate School with the agreement of the DPT Program. Please refer to the University Catalog for the University graduate admission application, procedures and deadlines. The due dates are subject to change each year, so please check the website for the most current deadlines.
Does my degree in physical therapy allow me to practice physical therapy?
No. Before graduates from accredited physical therapy programs can practice physical therapy they must pass a licensure board examination. Once the license examination has been passed, you are entitled to practice physical therapy in that state. All 50 states, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia recognize the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy examination as the standard for determining licensure eligibility.
Are graduates of the program finding employment in physical therapy?
There continues to be a strong demand for physical therapists. U.S. News & World Report added physical therapists to its list of top 20 best health careers for 2019. There is a high demand for physical therapists in the workforce despite the economic downturn. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapists is expected to grow by 28% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. According to APTA, with a low unemployment rate, physical therapists are now experiencing the best employment conditions since enactment of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The need for PTs is expected to increase into the foreseeable future as the U.S. population ages and the demand for physical therapy services grows.
Does the SDSU DPT program offer areas of specialty?
The SDSU DPT is a general degree which covers all basic aspects of physical therapy; we do not offer specialties, although there is opportunity for emphasis in an area through your choice of electives, clinical affiliations, and a scholarly doctoral project.
How long is the program?
The DPT program lasts approximately three years. The first year begins in mid/late May and the third year ends in mid-May. This includes didactic coursework and clinical requirements.
Are there research opportunities within the DPT program?
Students are required to complete a scholarly doctoral project as part of the curriculum. Please refer to the course curriculum and course descriptions.
Do California state residents get preference?
Yes. San Diego State University is a State school, therefore preference is given to residents of the State of California. However, this does not imply that California residents receive automatic acceptance. Admission to Physical Therapy Programs is fairly competitive and all completed applications are processed. Consequently, several out-of-state students may receive admission into the SDSU DPT Program. California residency of graduate students is in accordance with the regulations of the Board of Regents and the laws of the State of California. A full statement of the regulations is available in the SDSU University Catalog. Out-of-state residents must pay the out-of-state graduate student tuition rate.
What is the history of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program?
General information about the DPT degree may be obtained from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) website.
What is the expected salary for a Physical Therapist?
Salaries for physical therapists vary according to factors such as geographical location, type of practice, and years of experience. Projected salaries are found here.
How much is tuition?
For the 2023-2024 academic year, the expected cost of in-state tuition is $8,598 per semester. Out-of-state tuition is expected to be an additional $396 per unit. Students are also expected to pay other SDSU campus fees. Please see University Catalog for more information.
Is Financial Aid available for the program?
Merit-based scholarships are offered through the SDSU Office of Financial Aid. Low-interest loans are also available to qualified applicants. International students do not qualify for these loans. Please contact the Financial Aid & Scholarship Office at (619) 594-6323 for more specific information.
How do I apply for Financial Aid?
The SDSU Financial Aid office can discuss information regarding specific financial aid options. Please contact the Financial Aid Office at (619) 594-6323 for more specific information.
What is the mean grade point average (GPA) for entering students?
According to the 2017-2018 PTCAS report, the mean overall grade point average was 3.41, and the mean prerequisite grade point average 3.57 for students entering all entry level physical therapy programs (on a 4.0 scale). For the most recently admitted class at SDSU (entering Summer 2022), the average overall cumulative GPA was 3.75, and the average prerequisite GPA was 3.71 on a 4.0 scale.
What grade point average is required to be accepted to the SDSU DPT program?
Acceptance is on a competitive GPA basis. The Admissions Committee reviews all aspects of the application, such as overall GPA, prerequisite GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, etc., when making an admissions decision.
What prerequisites are required to enter the program?
Regardless of undergraduate major there are specific prerequisite courses that are required:
- General Biology with lab and upper level biology with lab (2 courses/one year)
- Human anatomy with lab and human physiology with lab (2 courses/one year, only within last 5 years)
- General lecture and lab-based chemistry (2 courses/one year)
- General physics lecture and lab-based (2 courses/one year)
- General psychology and upper level psychology (2 courses)
- Statistics (one course)
- English writing
When must I have my admission course work completed to be eligible for admission to the DPT Program?
Students must complete the science prerequisites and graduation requirements prior to Summer 2023 (exact date TBD). Documentation of all prerequisite coursework must be received and verified (completed with a grade of “C” or above) by the Spring semester (or quarter) prior to the 2023 Summer semester.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Allowance: SDSU DPT will accept all pre-requisite lecture and laboratory courses completed via online/virtual for Spring, Summer, Fall 2020, Spring, Summer, Fall 2021, Spring, Summer, Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 semesters only although in-person labs are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. At the present time, Credit (from Credit/No credit classification) or Pass (from Pass/Fail classification) grades will be accepted in lieu of letter grades for Spring, Summer, Fall 2020, Spring, Summer, Fall 2021, and Spring 2022 semesters only (NOT Summer 2022). Credit or Pass grades will be credited as being completed but no grade value will be included in the final pre-requisite GPA determination. Thus, provided the option to take a course for a letter grade, a letter grade would generally benefit the student’s pre-requisite GPA and overall application.
Where can I fulfill the prerequisite requirements?
You may complete the prerequisite requirements at any accredited community college or university. However, it is recommended that most science and math prerequisites be completed at the University level.
Do I have to take the Graduate Records Exam (GRE)?
Yes. All applicants must have taken the GRE within the past five years. However, GRE scores used for a completed Master’s degree may be used. Please request that scores are sent specifically to SDSU Graduate Admissions Cal State Apply using the code (Code 4682). The GRE is not required for applicants with verified PhD degrees.
I’ve taken the GRE multiple times with multiple results. Which score will you use?
We will use the highest combined score earned at one testing session.
What are the required GRE test scores to get into your program?
GRE scores prior to 09/2011: Minimum combined Verbal and Qualitative score of 1000, and minimum Analytical Writing score of 4.0; GRE scores after 09/2011: Minimum combined Verbal and Qualitative score of 300, and minimum Analytical Writing score of 4.0. Our average GRE score for the most recently admitted class (entering Summer 2022) was a 307.7, with a 4.3 for the average writing score.
If I have had a similar course, may I substitute it for a prerequisite?
Other than what is listed on the Prerequisite Coursework grid (see Admission Requirements), no courses may be substituted for a required prerequisite course.
How many hours of experience do I need?
Experience in a Physical Therapy setting, under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist is required. The minimum amount of volunteer work needed is 100 hours. A variety of types of clinical settings (for example: inpatient hospital settings, rehabilitation facilities, and outpatient clinics) is recommended so that the applicant will have a well-rounded perception of the physical therapy profession.
Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19). SDSU still desires that students meet the 100 minimum observation hours of experience. Although paid or volunteer experiences might be limited due to recent Coronavirus pandemic, SDSU currently believes that there will eventually be ample time to obtain hours by the December 21 Supplementary application deadline. Applicants unable to meet the 100 minimum hours may submit a letter requesting an exception. The letter should briefly explain why they were unable to meet the requested minimum hour requirement.
Will observation or volunteer hours in health areas other than in a physical therapy department be counted toward admission requirements?
No. Again, only the hours spent observing or volunteering in a physical therapy department (e.g., hospital or outpatient) under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist will be counted toward the hours required for admissions.
I have been out of school for five years with a Bachelor of Science degree. Am I eligible to apply for your program?
All interested persons are encouraged to apply to our program. We value life experience in physical therapy applicants.
What is the process of being accepted into your program?
The admissions process involves submitting an application to SDSU Graduate Admissions through Cal State Apply, and submitting supplemental materials through Interfolio. After applications are reviewed by the SDSU DPT program, you will receive an email by early February stating whether or not you have been accepted into the program, or have been placed on the waiting list. If you are accepted into the program, the email will also include a date by which you must pay a deposit to reserve your spot in the program.
How do I submit an application to the SDSU DPT program?
Applicant information is required online via Cal State Apply and Interfolio. While there is a $70.00 fee to the Graduate School, there is no supplemental fee or application to the DPT program. See the application process page.
How do I submit my letters of recommendation?
The three required letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically via Interfolio. One letter of recommendation must be from a licensed physical therapist with whom you have volunteered, worked or observed, and one from a professor for whom you have completed a course. The remaining letter must come from another licensed physical therapist you have had a professional association and can appropriately evaluate your potential as a student in the physical therapy program, from another professor or instructor for whom you completed a course and can speak to your ability in a classroom setting, or an individual that the applicant worked, volunteered, served or participated with in a professional environment or setting.
Do you recruit minorities?
The SDSU DPT program is committed to recruiting and matriculating minority students for a career in Physical Therapy. We are committed to multicultural diversity in the program.
Do minorities have preference over the general population?
All applicants are expected to meet the same admissions requirements. Each applicant is evaluated on an individual basis.
What are my chances of being accepted into the DPT program?
We accept approximately 36-38 students into each class. Approximately 500 students are expected to apply to our program for the 2023-24 Academic year. We strongly encourage everyone who is interested in a physical therapy career to apply.
Do you have a part-time curriculum?
The DPT curriculum is a three year full-time commitment. We will not offer a part-time option.
Does the DPT program offer night classes?
Most coursework takes place during the day, but a few classes may be scheduled in the evening.
What is the graduation rate for SDSU DPT students?
Our overall graduation rate for our most recent five classes is 99.5%.
What is the NPTE licensure rate for SDSU DPT graduates?
Our ultimate pass rate is 99.6%; our first time pass rate is 94.9%.
What is the employment rate for SDSU DPT students?
The employment rate for our five most recent cohorts (Classes of 2017-2021) was 100% (within 6 months of licensure).
Can I work while I am in DPT school?
Due to the time intensive nature of the Program, outside employment is discouraged.
Is on-campus housing available at SDSU?
On-campus housing is available for students. Additional information about on-campus housing is available online.
What if I have a disability?
See the SDSU DPT Program Technical Standards for Admission (pdf) and/ or contact the SDSU Student Disability Services (619) 594-6473 for information concerning disabilities and reasonable accommodations.
What are the compliance requirements for participation in clinical education?
To participate in clinical education (clinical clerkship and internships), student must comply with the SDSU student code of conduct, nondiscrimination policies, including diversity, equity, and inclusion policies, and vaccination requirements, including, but not limited to, measles/mumps/rubella, tetanus/diphtheria (TDap), Provaricella (chicken pox), hepatitis B, and COVID-19 (seasonal flu vaccinations are highly encouraged). Non-compliance with these and any other University or agency policies may delay a student’s ability to graduate on time, may require a leave of absence, may require the student’s withdrawal from the program, or may lead to dismissal from the program.
last updated: 9/14/2022