Physical Therapy students

Train to be a physical therapist

Gain extensive clinical experience and explore special interest areas at SRU

Physical Therapy (Doctor of Physical Therapy)

Offered by: Department of Physical Therapy

Click GRADUATE SCHOOL EVENTS to view upcoming Program Specific Information Sessions and Open House dates.

As the demand for highly qualified physical therapists increases, the DPT program at SRU is preparing the next generation of leaders in the field. According to the bureau of labor statistics, nationwide employment of Physical Therapists is projected to grow 17 percent between 2021 and 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) at SRU is a professional doctorate degree program designed to prepare graduates for clinical practice in physical therapy. Graduates from the SRU DPT program enjoy many opportunities for employment in a variety of settings, with 100% employment rates in recent years.


The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at SRU integrates basic science with clinical practice. A key advantage of this program for students is the variety of available clinical sites and length of time spent in clinical rotations through four different clinical experiences. Students also have the opportunity to pursue special interests related to physical therapy in professional exploration. These courses are designed to provide additional experience in a clinical specialty area, research, teaching, administration, and service.

There are two options for pursuing a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at SRU:

  • Traditional 3-year, full-time, entry level
  • Pre-Physical Therapy SRU 3+3 - 3 Undergraduate years + 3 Graduate years (for SRU undergraduates only)


SRU's Doctor of Physical Therapy offers the following:

  • Third in the USA to transition from a Master's level program to the Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
  • Maximum class size of 52 students


To apply, complete the  online application through PTCAS. Applications will be accepted from June 17 until November 1. Your PTCAS application must be e-submitted, completed and verified by November 1, 2024.  

The SRU DPT Program has a rolling admissions process which means applications are reviewed throughout the application process, applicants are encouraged to apply early as we will accept applications until the cohort is filled.  The admissions committee does a holistic review of each application, considering multiple factors when making admissions decisions (GPA, letters of recommendation, essay/short answer questions, observation hours, extra-curricular activities, leadership abilities, etc.).  

1. A minimum of a baccalaureate degree or completion of the first three years of the Pre-Physical Therapy SRU 3+3 and the following prerequisites:

       a.  Two courses of Anatomy & Physiology with labs
             We will accept any of the following:
             A&P: Advanced
             A&P: Combined course
             A&P: Human
             A&P: Separate courses
             A&P: Pathophysiology
             A&P: Physiology

          We will accept anatomy and physiology courses taken in sequence (e.g. A&P 1 and A&P 2) or we will accept              anatomy with a lab and physiology courses taken separately.

         b.  Two courses of Chemistry with labs

             We will accept any chemistry course with a lab. 

        c.  Two courses of Physics with labs

             We will accept any physics course with a lab. 

        d.  Two courses of Psychology

             We will accept any psychology courses.

        e.  One course in Statistics

             We will accept either of these statistic courses: Biology-Biostatistics and Mathematics-Statistics.  

2. An undergraduate grade point average and prerequisite grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Program averages grades of any courses that were repeated.   

All prerequisite courses must be completed with a C or better. Due to COVID-19, we will accept "pass" for Spring and Summer 2020 courses. However, we will rank them as a 'B' when analyzing grades. 

3. Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts from all institutions previously attended.

4. Recommended not required-official scores from the general test of the Graduate Record Exam scores. GRE scores are reportable for five years. SRU PTCAS code is 4802. 

5. Documentation of 50 hours or more of physical therapy experience with a licensed physical therapist at a minimum of two different facilities. In person hours are required and virtual hours are accepted as long as they represent no more than 25% of the total hours accumulated. 

6. Three references: The Slippery Rock University DPT Program requires three reference letters.  Please be sure to carefully review these requirements.  If the reference letter requirements are not fulfilled, then the application will not be considered complete.  It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure they have submitted the proper reference letters.

Each applicant MUST submit one reference letter from a licensed physical therapist.  Reference letters from physical therapy assistants (PTAs), athletic trainers, etc. will not be accepted for this requirement.

Each applicant MUST submit one reference letter from a faculty member, preferably from a higher-level course in the applicant’s major.

Each applicant MUST submit one professional or academic reference letter of their choosing. Preferred professional recommendations include physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, occupational therapists, athletic trainers, physicians or similar. Professional references may also include employers and volunteer supervisors.

Letters from family members or friends WILL NOT be accepted. 

Non-traditional students who have concerns about obtaining an academic reference can reach out to us directly to discuss an alternative.

7. Completed essay questions.


  • All prerequisites must have been taken within the last 10 years. The 10-year window is from when the student would begin the program. 
  • Online courses are permitted for all prerequisites. However, we encourage students to take Anatomy & Physiology in person.  
  • AP/IB courses are permitted except for Anatomy & Physiology. For Chemistry, Physics and Psychology we only accept one as AP/IB while the second prerequisite must be from a college-level course. 
  • Regardless of citizenship, if you are a non-native English speaker, you are required to submit scores that show proficiency in the English language. If applicable, the English proficiency requirement must be completed and score received in the English language.
  • Applicants who are offered and accept admission in the program are required to submit a deposit within two weeks of acceptance to hold a seat in the upcoming cohort. The $500.00 deposit is applied directly to the student's tuition for the fall semester.
  • If you are interested in visiting, please attend one of our open houses. This is the best opportunity for you to see campus and the facilities. Event dates are posted  here.


The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) at SRU is a professional doctorate degree program designed to prepare graduates for clinical practice in physical therapy. Graduates will be eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapist Examination (NPTE), successful completion of which is required for physical therapy practice throughout the United States. Licensing requirements vary by state. We strongly urge you to contact the licensing board in the state where you plan to practice.