The KU Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is an accredited 3-year full-time graduate program designed to prepare a generalist physical therapy practitioner and to foster lifelong professional development. The program begins in late May or early June and includes classroom, laboratory, research and clinical learning experiences. Students participate in 36 weeks of clinical internships at clinical affiliate sites.

As a leader in academic health sciences, the KU Medical Center provides ample opportunity for physical therapy students to interact with a large number of health care professionals as well as students from other disciplines.

Applications for this program are submitted online through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Detailed instructions on how to apply are available on the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science website. Students are admitted for the summer semester only. Applications must be received by November 1 for consideration.

Admission Requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution is required and must be documented by submission of official transcript indicating the degree has been conferred before entering the program. Official transcripts for all courses taken from all institutions attended are also required.
    Students with degrees from outside the U.S. may be subject to transcript evaluation indicating the degree is equivalent to a U.S. degree and meets the minimum cumulative grade-point average requirement.
  • Applicants must possess a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for his or her bachelor's degree program. Historically, applicants accepted to this program have had a cumulative GPA significantly higher than 3.0.
  • Applicants who are not native speakers of English, whether domestic or international, must demonstrate they meet the minimum English proficiency requirement.
  • A background check is required during the admission process; it may affect the student's eligibility to enter the program.
  • An official copy of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score, taken within 5 years of the first semester of enrollment in this program, is required and must be sent from Educational Testing Service to the Physical Therapist Centralized Application service using program code 7815. Applicants must submit scores for Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing sections of the GRE. To be a competitive applicant, recommended scores on the GRE should be within the 50th percentile on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections. The GRE scores are meaningful to the admissions committee, as these scores are highly predictive of success in graduate studies and national licensure examination.
  • Prior to entering the program, applicants must have completed the prerequisite courses in basic sciences, mathematics, humanities and social sciences with a grade of "C" or higher on each and a minimum 3.0 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale. Pass/fail, credit/non-credit or satisfactory/unsatisfactory scores are not acceptable; however, CLEP, ACT and Advanced Placement credits are acceptable when officially documented on a college transcript.
  • All prerequisite basic science courses must have been completed within the last ten years.
  • Three references are required, one of which must be from a physical therapist. It is recommended that the other two references be from a faculty member, advisor, employer and/or other person who can objectively attest to the applicant's aptitude, experience, and character.
  • Applicants are expected to possess a general understanding of health care and physical therapy based upon prior employment, observation or volunteer experiences. Although KU does not require specific hours be documented, applicants are encouraged to invest the time needed to acquire knowledge of the role of physical therapists in health care.

Applicants will be assessed based on these requirements. Applicants not meeting the above requirements may be eligible for provisional admission. After an applicant has been admitted, a program may defer an applicant's admission for one year after which time the applicant must submit a new application.

Admission requirements are subject to change. Students beginning course work in the summer term of 2017 will follow the 2016-2017 academic catalog. Students entering the DPT program in the summer term of 2016 follow the 2015-2016 academic catalog. Other years’ catalogs».

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at the University of Kansas is currently accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The program is designed to prepare a generalist physical therapy practitioner and to foster lifelong professional development. The program includes classroom, laboratory, research and clinical learning experiences.

Degree Requirements:

  • Degree requirements are normally completed within 3 years of admission to the program although a maximum of 8 years is allowed.
  • Cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 for all KU graduate coursework.
  • Successful completion of the University’s Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement prior to the semester the research practicum is completed.
    • Successful completion of PTRS 750 Research in Evidence-Based Physical Therapy PracticePTRS 860 Evidence-Based Research Practicum I, and PTRS 861 Evidence-Based Research Practicum II meets the Research Skills requirement.
    • Successful completion of PTRS 817 Ethics in Health Care meets the Responsible Scholarship requirement.
  • Successful completion of a minimum of 110 credit hours.
  • Successful participation in 36 weeks of clinical internships as outlined in options1 and 2 below.
  • Successful completion of two written comprehensive examinations.  The first examination is taken in year 2 during the Summer (semester 4) and covers Semester 1-Semester 3 content.  The second examination is taken in year 3 during the Spring (semester 7) and covers Semester 1-Semester 6 content.  Students must pass each examination with a minimum 75% score.
  • Successful completion of a research practicum.  This requirement is met by completing the PTRS 860 Evidence-Based Research Practicum I and PTRS 861 Evidence-Based Research Practicum II courses.
  • Enrollment in a minimum of one (1) credit hour the semester the student will graduate.
  • Successful completion of the following PTRS courses:
    Core Courses (86)
    PTRS 702Physical Therapy Documentation and Health Informatics1
    PTRS 703Applied Anatomy1
    PTRS 704Physical Therapy Interventions I3
    PTRS 705Physical Therapy Interventions II4
    PTRS 710Advanced Topics in Human Anatomy6
    PTRS 711Applied Kinesiology and Biomechanics4
    PTRS 720Integrated Clinical Experience I1
    PTRS 730Integrated Clinical Experience II1
    PTRS 745Orthopedic Physical Therapy I6
    PTRS 746Musculoskeletal Conditions and Management3
    PTRS 750Research in Evidence-Based Physical Therapy Practice3
    PTRS 817Ethics in Health Care2
    PTRS 825Exercise Physiology3
    PTRS 826Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy5
    PTRS 828Medical Imaging1
    PTRS 830Integrated Clinical Experience III2
    PTRS 833Pediatric Physical Therapy3
    PTRS 840Integrated Clinical Experience IV2
    PTRS 845Orthopedic Physical Therapy II6
    PTRS 846Orthopedic Physical Therapy III3
    PTRS 852Neurologic Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation I6
    PTRS 853Neurologic Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation II6
    PTRS 855Pharmacology for Physical Therapists2
    PTRS 860Evidence-Based Research Practicum I1
    PTRS 861Evidence-Based Research Practicum II1
    PTRS 877Administration in Physical Therapy2
    PTRS 882Pathophysiology and Physical Therapist Screens6
    PTRS 890Specialties in Physical Therapy Practice2
    Clinical Internship (24)
    Choose either option 1 or 2 listed below.24
    Total Hours110
  • Options for completing the Clinical Internship requirement (minimum 24 credit hours),
    Option 1 for Fulfilling Clinical Internship Requirement (24)
    The student enrolls in three 12 week internships, two in the Fall and one in the Spring.
    PTRS 920Clinical Internship I8
    PTRS 921Clinical Internship II8
    PTRS 922Clinical Internship III8
    or
    Option 2 for Fulfilling Clinical Internship Requirement (24)
    The student enrolls in four 9 week internships, two in the Fall and two in the Spring.
    PTRS 920Clinical Internship I6
    PTRS 921Clinical Internship II6
    PTRS 922Clinical Internship III6
    PTRS 923Clinical Internship IV6
  • Students electing to pursue an international clinical experience enroll in PTRS 924 Specialized Internship as an elective 2-6 credit hour course.  The student enrolls in this elective course the semester they participate in the international clinical experience.  The number of credit hours for the course (2-6) are clinic specific. The total number credit hours for the Clinical Internship requirement (24) will remain the same for those completing an international clinical experience.  However, the total hours of either PTRS 920 Clinical Internship I, PTRS 921 Clinical Internship II or PTRS 922 Clinical Internship III will be decreased the semester of the international clinical experience by the number of credit hours the student enrolls in for PTRS 924.

Degree requirements and course descriptions are subject to change. Any courses taken as an equivalent must be approved by the Graduate Director and the Office of Graduate Studies. In most cases, use the catalog of the year student entered the program.  Other years’ catalogs».

This program is designed to prepare a generalist physical therapy practitioner and to foster lifelong professional development. It includes classroom, laboratory, research and clinical learning experiences. 

Below is a typical plan of study for completing degree requirements. In year three, students may choose from two options to fulfill the clinical internship requirement; regardless of the student's choice, year three requires 32 credit hours. The first instance of year three below indicates option one, and the second instance of year three below shows option two. All students in the program will complete a total of 111 credit hours.

Students electing to pursue an international clinical experience will enroll in PTRS 924 Specialized Internship as an elective 2-6 credit hour course. The student enrolls in this course the semester in which they participate in the international clinical experience. The number of credit hours for the course (2-6) are clinic-specific. The total number credit hours for the clinical internship requirement (24) will remain the same for those enrolled in PTRS 924. However, the total hours of either PTRS 920 Clinical Internship I, PTRS 921 Clinical Internship II or PTRS 922 Clinical Internship III will be decreased during the semester of the international clinical experience by the number of credit hours the student enrolls in for PTRS 924.

Typical Plan of Study

Year 1
SummerHoursFallHoursSpringHours
PTRS 703 (lab based course)1PTRS 7021PTRS 705 (lab based course)4
PTRS 710 (lab based course)6PTRS 704 (lab based course)3PTRS 7301
PTRS 8281PTRS 711 (lab based course)4PTRS 745 (lab based course)6
 PTRS 7201PTRS 746 (lab based course)3
 PTRS 8552PTRS 7503
 PTRS 8826 
 8 17 17
Year 2
SummerHoursFallHoursSpringHours
PTRS 8172PTRS 8302PTRS 826 (lab based course)5
PTRS 825 (lab based course)3PTRS 845 (lab based course)6PTRS 8333
PTRS 8601PTRS 852 (lab based course)6PTRS 8402
Completion of first of two written comprehensive examinations.  PTRS 8536
  Completion of second of two written comprehensive examinations. 
 6 14 16
Year 3
SummerHoursFallHoursSpringHours
PTRS 846 (lab based course)3Option 1 Clinical Internship - the student enrolls in three 12 week internships, two in the Fall and one in the Spring. Option 1 Clinical Internship - the student enrolls in three 12 week internships, two in the Fall and one in the Spring. 
PTRS 8611PTRS 9208PTRS 922 (Enroll in this course Spring Year 3, will not start the course until March.)8
PTRS 8772PTRS 921 (Enroll in this course Fall Year 3, the course extends through February.)8 
PTRS 8902  
 8 16 8
Total Hours: 110
Option 2 for Year 3
Year 3
SummerHoursFallHoursSpringHours
PTRS 846 (lab based course)3Option 2 Clinical Internship - the student enrolls in four 9 week internships, two in the Fall and two in the Spring. Option 2 Clinical Internship - the student enrolls in four 9 week internships, two in the Fall and two in the Spring. 
PTRS 8611PTRS 9206PTRS 9226
PTRS 8772PTRS 9216PTRS 9236
PTRS 8902  
 8 12 12
Total Hours: 32

Technical Standards

The technical standards identify the requirements for admission, retention, and graduation of applicants and students, respectively.

Because a Doctor of Physical Therapy signifies that the holder is eligible to sit for the American Physical Therapy National Examination and signifies that the holder is prepared for entry into the profession of physical therapy, it follows that graduates must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical, private, community, or school-based situations and to render a wide spectrum of physical therapy services. Therefore, the following abilities and expectations must be met by all students admitted to the program.

  1. Observation: The candidate must be able to learn from experiences in the basic sciences and in the clinical physical therapy laboratory that involve performing visual and tactile examination and interventions and accurately assessing substitution, compensation patterns, abnormal responses to exercise or activity.
  2. Communication: Communication includes not only speech but reading and writing. The candidate must be able to assimilate information from written sources (texts, journals, medical/school records, etc.). The candidate must be able to attain, comprehend, retain, and utilize new information presented in written formats as well as produce appropriate written documentation. The student must be able to communicate accurately and effectively with patients, caregivers, physicians, other health professionals, clinical facility staff, faculty and staff, peers, and the community in general. Communication includes timely response to emergency/crises situations, as well as more routine communication as situationally appropriate. Communication includes the ability to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture and perceive non-verbal communications.
  3. Sensorimotor: Candidates must have gross motor, fine motor and equilibrium functions reasonably required to carry out assessments (palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers) and to provide physical therapy intervention. A candidate should be able to execute motor movements required to provide therapeutic intervention (patient transfers, exercise and application of electrotherapy) and emergency treatment to patients. Quick reactions are necessary not only for safety, but for one to respond therapeutically. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
  4. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative, Quantitative and Problem Solving Skills: Candidates should have cognitive abilities including measurements, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physical therapists requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the applicant should be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships to understand the spatial relationships of structures.
  5. Judgment: The candidate will be expected to demonstrate judgment in classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings which shows an ability to make mature, sensitive and effective decisions in the following areas: 1) relationships with supervisors, peers and patients/clients, 2) professional behavior, 3) the effectiveness of intervention and research strategies. He/she must demonstrate an understanding of the rationale and justification for his/her performance.
  6. Behavioral and Social Attributes: Candidates must possess the emotional health required to utilize their intellectual abilities fully, exercise good judgment, complete all responsibilities attendant to the physical therapy diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and their families. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients/clients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal communication skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the education process.

It is the student’s responsibility to notify the DPT program if there is any reason he/she cannot meet the expectations for the DPT program described above, with or without accommodations. Reasonable accommodation will be considered and may be made to qualified students who disclose a disability, so long as such accommodation does not significantly alter the essential requirements of the curriculum and the training program, or significantly affect the safety of patient care or others.  Students may contact KU Office for Academic Accommodations to discuss accommodations.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply to the program. Applicants whose response indicates that they cannot meet one or more of the expectations will be reviewed further by the KU Office for Academic Accommodations, with applicant and faculty input, to determine if any reasonable accommodations are possible to facilitate successful completion of the DPT curriculum and preparation for the national registry examination.

Learning assistance, academic performance enhancement, and psychological services at KU Medical Center are free, confidential, and available at Student Counseling and Educational Support Services.