Jul 13, 2024  
2021-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Therapy (PHTH), D.P.T.

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Physical Therapy Major

Admission Requirements

Admission to the DPT program at TSU is a competitive process with admission to the program occurring once annually. A maximum of 36 students are enrolled in each class. A Bachelor’s degree is required by the end of the spring semester in the year you expect to start the PT program.

The Department of Physical Therapy participates in the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service, known as PTCAS. Applicants applying to the entry-level professional physical therapist program will apply online using the PTCAS application. To learn more about the PTCAS application process, please visit the PTCAS web site at www.ptcas.org. Completed applications will be reviewed and admissions will be granted to qualifying applicants.

The Early Decision Option in PTCAS was eliminated in January 2020. All persons applying for the DPT program at TSU beginning with the 2020-21 cycle will apply using Regular Application.

The application submission period begins in July when PTCAS opens the application portal.

The deadline for applications is October 1.

To be considered for admission to the program, applicants must have:

  1. A baccalaureate degree.
    1. Official transcripts are required from all institutions attended. Transcripts are to be submitted to PTCAS, not the University.
    2. Posting of the baccalaureate degree must appear on your final undergraduate transcript.
  2. Completed application to the Graduate School and payment of application fee.
  3. A minimal prerequisite GPA of 3.0 is required. We do not consider overall GPA in our admissions decisions.
  4. Successful completion (C or better) of the following pre-requisite courses.
    1. Two (2) Biology courses with corresponding labs
    2. Two (2) Chemistry courses with corresponding labs
    3. Two (2) Physics courses with corresponding labs OR One (1) Physics course and a Movement Science course (i.e. Biomechanics, Kinesiology).
    4. Human Anatomy (or Anatomy and Physiology I and II in lieu of separate Anatomy and Physiology courses)
    5. Physiology (may be a general physiology or an exercise physiology course)
    6. Math-at least a level of math required to take Physics I
    7. Statistics/ Elementary Statistics
    8. Two (2) Psychology courses OR One (1) Psychology course and One (1) Philosophy/Logic (or equivalent) course
  5. The Admissions Committee may consider the substitution of similar/upper level courses for the required pre-requisites.

    Note: Prerequisite Course Substitutions: For information regarding substitutions/specific courses that fulfill the above prerequisites, please visit the Tennessee State University homepage on PTCAS.
  6. The GRE score must be submitted to PTCAS using the Code = 7759. A minimum score of 150 in the Quantitative section and a minimum score of 150 in the Verbal section of the GRE are required. An applicant with a 150 in just one section of the GRE may apply, but, those with 150/150 will be reviewed first. 
  7. A minimum of 40 hours of documented observation in at least two different physical therapy clinical settings. Settings may include acute, long-term rehabilitation, out-patient, skilled nursing facility, and/or home health. Your observation hours must be documented in your PTCAS application.
  8. Minimum of 2 letters of recommendations-one must be from a physical therapist. Recommendations must be submitted through PTCAS.
  9. Interview with the faculty (Invitations for interview are based on applicant prerequisite GPA and GRE scores).
  10. Written essay that assures proficiency in the ability to write, demonstrating analytical ability, appropriate grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Essay is completed during the onsite interview-Please do not send an essay with your application.

The application deadline is October 1.

Students who expect to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Spring just before beginning the program may be accepted pending the receipt of official transcripts including the degree earned Incomplete applications may result in your application being declared incomplete and result in non-admittance to the program.

International Students: Applicants with international undergraduate degrees should review the information outlined in the International Student Admission page of the Tennessee State University website and consult the appropriate sections of the Graduate Catalog.

Applicants who have been recommended to the Graduate School for acceptance into the DPT program are required to pay a non-refundable $250.00 reservation fee to secure their slot in the program. The reservation fee goes toward the cost of tuition once the applicant matriculates into the program.

Application Procedures

Admission to the Physical Therapy program requires all students to submit an Application form through PTCAS along with a payment of a $35.00 non-refundable application fee to Tennessee State University School of Graduate Studies and Research.

  • The Department of Physical Therapy participates in the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service, known as PTCAS. Applicants applying to the entry-level professional physical therapist program apply online using the PTCAS application. To learn more about the PTCAS application process, please visit the PTCAS web site at www.ptcas.org.

Financial Assistance

Upon acceptance into the physical therapy program, students may apply for available stipends or other financial aid.

Clinical Practicum Requirements

All students accepted for admission into the graduate program in Physical Therapy must meet the following requirements prior to enrollment in the clinical practicum:

  • Proficiency in medical terminology
  • Documentation that they are free from communicable disease
  • Tuberculosis screening and all required immunizations
  • Current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Basic First Aid certification
  • Health/Accident insurance coverage
  • Professional student liability insurance coverage
  • Criminal Background Checks: Criminal background checks and or drug screens may be a requirement for training at some affiliated clinical sites. Based on the results of these checks/screens, an affiliated clinical site may determine to not allow your participation in training at their facility. This could result in your inability to successfully complete the requirements of this program. Additionally, a criminal background may preclude licensure or employment.
  • The following Essential Functions that give the ability to perform, whether unaided or with reasonable accommodation, the following functions for a clinical practicum:
    • Critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgment;
    • Interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with individuals, families and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds;
    • Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to provide safe and effective physical therapy care;
    • Auditory abilities sufficient to monitor and assess health needs;
    • Visual acuity sufficient for observation and assessment necessary in physical therapy care;
    • Tactile ability sufficient for physical assessment and treatment;
    • Physical ability to assist moving, transferring and ambulating patients who have physical impairment or dysfunction.

If students are unable to perform the essential technical functions listed above, they have the right to request reasonable accommodations in accordance with TSU’s disability policy as described in the Tennessee State University Student Handbook.


Code of Ethics

The Code of Ethics by the American Physical Therapy Association has been adopted by the Tennessee Board of Physical Therapy as the standard to which all physical therapists are subject under Rule 1150- 01-14. Students in the physical therapy program are required to abide by the same standard. Students who violate the Code of Ethics and its interpretive document, the Guide to Professional Conduct, will be referred to the Physical Therapy Disciplinary Action Committee for disciplinary sanctions.  

Failing a Course/Dismissal

Earning a failing grade (F or U) in any course automatically results in dismissal from the program. Students dismissed due to a failing grade in a course may appeal for “Retention in Degree Program.” Should the appeal be granted, the conditions of appeal must be met as outlined in the notification.  


Students are required to have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher to graduate from the program. If a student’s cumulative GPA falls below a 3.0 during his or her tenure in the program, the student will be placed on academic probation the following semester. Probationary status requires the student to raise the cumulative GPA to a 3.0 or better by the end of the probationary semester. Subsequently, the student must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.0 for his/her remaining tenure in the program.  

In other words, a student is allowed to be on Probationary Status only once during his/her tenure in the Physical Therapy program. Failure to raise the cumulative GPA to at least a 3.0 by the end of the probationary semester will result in suspension from the Graduate School. Furthermore, a failure to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 throughout the rest of the program will result in suspension from the Graduate School. Students who have been suspended may appeal for “Readmission following Suspension.”  

Readmission following Appeal

A student who is readmitted following a granted appeal must maintain a semester-by-semester GPA of at least 3.0 throughout his/her tenure in the Physical Therapy program. Failure to accomplish a semester-by-semester GPA of at least 3.0 will result in Permanent Dismissal from the program. 

Additional Appeals

Only one appeal, whether granted or denied, is allowed during the student’s tenure in the Physical Therapy program 

Program of Study




Total Credits: 114

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