Enrollment in the DPT program is limited and admission is selective. New classes begin in late August of each year; students may not enter the program in the middle of the year. Application procedures must be completed in October 1.
Applications are submitted through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application System (http://www.ptcas.org/)
Applicants must meet the following criteria to be considered for admission:
- Verified PTCAS application with supporting letters of evaluation
- One letter of evaluation from a non-relative licensed Physical Therapist
- The second letter of evaluation should be from a licensed Physical Therapist, a college faculty, pre-professional committee or advisor, supervisor, or employer
- The PTCAS Cumulative GPA and Science and Math GPA must each be a 3.2 or higher
- Demonstrated plan to complete all prerequisite requirements
- 100 hours of observation with a practicing, licensed physical therapist in multiple settings with diverse patients populations encouraged
- Completion of a bachelor’s degree or demonstrated plan to complete a bachelor’s degree before starting the program
- Fulfillment of the English Proficiency Policy
- Fulfillment of Pacific University Essential Functions for Entry-Level Physical Therapy Education
- Participation in an interview
The Admissions Committee considers many factors, including:
- Strength and breadth of academic record
- Essay responses
- Strength of letters of evaluation
- Knowledge and motivation for the profession of Physical Therapy
- The quantity and quality of extracurricular and community activities
- Content of application forms and the care with which they have been prepared
- Professionalism and communication demonstrated throughout the admissions process and interview
Based on the criteria listed above, a limited number of applicants are invited for an on-campus personal interview. The interview is required and is a contributing factor in the admissions decision. It allows the selection committee to assess essential skills and traits which may not be reflected in the PTCAS application. In the interview, consideration is given to knowledge of the profession, motivation toward a career in physical therapy, the ability to think clearly and logically, poise, self-confidence, and verbal expression of ideas. Applicants admitted into the Physical Therapy Program at Pacific University must satisfactorily complete a criminal background check before the start of classes.
All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher and taken on a graded basis unless the course was switched to pass-fail grading by an institution during the spring 2020 or summer 2020 semesters due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Science prerequisite courses must be for science majors and pre-professional students (e.g. pre-physical therapy, pre-med, pre-pharmacy) and must include a laboratory. Low level, non-science major courses do not meet the prerequisites. All science and Statistics prerequisite coursework must have been completed within 7-years of the intended year of entry. Listed below are the prerequisites and the Pacific University courses which satisfy the requirements.
Biological Sciences: 12 semester or 18 quarter credits
- Must include general biology sequence (Botany portion may be excluded), complete human or vertebrate anatomy, and complete human or animal physiology courses. Sequential courses combining human anatomy and physiology are acceptable. A single course combining human anatomy and physiology will not meet this requirement. All courses must include laboratory. (If taken at Pacific University: BIOL 200 /BIOL 200L ; BIOL 201 /BIOL 201L ; HBIO 230 /HBIO 230L ; HBIO 231 /HBIO 231L .)
Chemistry: 8 semester or 12 quarter credits
- Must include a standard one-year course in general chemistry. Courses must include laboratory. (If taken at Pacific University CHEM 220 ; CHEM 230 .)
Physics: 8 semester or 12 quarter credits
- A standard two-semester course or the quarter system equivalent. This course need not be calculus based. All courses must include laboratory. (If taken at Pacific University; PHY 202 /PHY 204 [or PHY 232W /PHY 242 ].)
Psychology: 6 semester or 8 quarter credits
- Must include a course in general psychology and one additional course in psychology. (If taken at Pacific University: PSY 150 )
English/Writing: 6 semester or 8 quarter credits
- Must include one writing course beyond the introductory level. Courses taken to meet this requirement must be from an English or Writing department. A combination of writing-intensive coursework offered outside of an English or Writing department may be considered with valid evidence, such as syllabus, and must be approved by the Admissions Committee.
Statistics: 2 semester or 3 quarter credits
- It is recommended that statistics be taken in a department of psychology, sociology or mathematics.A course in Biostatistics is also accepted. (If taken at Pacific: MATH 207 , PSY 300 /PSY 301W .)
* Any courses used to satisfy this requirement must each be at least 2 semester credits or 3 quarter credits.
Pacific University Pre-Physical Therapy Program
Pacific University offers all of the pre-physical therapy course requirements for those students interested in preparing for the professional program. All pre-professional students complete bachelor degree requirements along with the pre-physical therapy requirements. Students should note that while there are advantages to completing the pre-physical therapy requirements at Pacific, doing so does not guarantee subsequent admission to the professional physical therapy program.
The general regulations of the University apply to all students enrolled in the Physical Therapy Program unless otherwise specified. Other matters of academic or professional importance specific to physical therapy students, for which there are no standing provisions, may be referred to the Director of the School of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training.
Professional and Academic Standards
Students are expected to demonstrate behavior consistent with the Pacific University Code of Academic Conduct, the Physical Therapy Code of Ethics, and the most current physical therapy state and federal laws governing the conduct of physical therapists. The Physical Therapy Program reserves the right to define professional competence and behavior, to establish standards of excellence, and to evaluate students in regard to them. See Sections on Academic Policies and Professional Behaviors in the current Physical Therapy Program Student Handbook.
Agreement to abide by the policies and procedures of the University and the School is implicitly confirmed when students register each term. Students are expected to adhere to the various administrative and academic deadlines listed in the academic calendar and in course syllabi. Failure to do so may jeopardize their standing in the Physical Therapy Program and may constitute grounds for probation or removal from the School. Students must maintain good standing in the program in order to be eligible for, or continue on, any School administered scholarships.
Good standing in the Physical Therapy Program is defined as: continued enrollment, satisfactory academic progress, development of sound clinical skills, behavior that leads to professional competence and positive interpersonal and professional relations, and appropriate professional/ ethical conduct and attitudes. Students are evaluated regularly in these areas according to standards set forth in the University Catalog, the Physical Therapy Program Student Handbook, the Clinical Education Manual and elsewhere.
Students will be given regular feedback on their progress in the program. A student who is not performing adequately according to the standards will receive notification through written feedback and/or individual advisement. After receiving such warning, failure to improve performance before the next scheduled evaluation may result in academic probation.
The catalog in effect at the time of a student’s initial enrollment indicates the specific requirements for that student. Students leaving the program for 3 consecutive terms or more must apply for readmission to return, and would re-enter the program under the requirements in effect at the time of readmission.
9 credits or higher is a full-time course load; 6 credits is half-time.
The Physical Therapy Program does not accept transfer credit.
Auditing: At the discretion of the respective faculty member, the Physical Therapy Program may allow currently enrolled Pacific University students to audit courses. Students must declare the audit option before the end of the add-drop period; once the audit option has been declared, the course cannot revert back to the graded option.
Non-Degree Seeking Students: Alumni, current students, and applicants accepted into the program are not permitted to study as non-degree seeking students.
The Physical Therapy Program uses the following grades:
A = 95-100 (94.5 – 100)
A- = 90-94 (89.5 – 94.49)
B+ = 87-89 (86.5 – 89.49)
B = 83-86 (82.5 – 86.49)
B- = 80-82 (79.5 – 82.49)
C = 77-79 (76.5 - 79.49)
F = less than 76.5
P = Pass (equivalent to B- or above)
N = No Pass
I = Incomplete
W = Withdrawal
X = Place-holder for a Continuing Course
Didactic Courses: Each course syllabus will state whether an “A-F/I” or “P/NP/I” scale is used for that course.
Clinical Education Experience: The grading system is P, NP, and I.
Incomplete (I) grade: An instructor may issue an incomplete grade if the majority of coursework is completed satisfactorily, but health or other extenuating circumstances keep the student from completing the course. An “I” grade is not a substitute for a failing or otherwise undesirable grade; it cannot be granted to a student who is failing a class and wants additional time to submit make-up work in order to improve a grade. Prior to submitting an “I” grade, the instructor and the student complete an Incomplete Grade Contract detailing the requirements for completion and submission of all remaining work and specifying a timeline for completion. After submission of the work, the instructor completes a Grade Change Form and submits it to the School Director for approval; the form is then processed by the Registrar’s office.
Withdrawal (W) grade: A student may choose to withdraw from a didactic course through the week that corresponds to completion of 2/3 of the course and receive a “W” grade. It is the responsibility of the student to notify the instructor and the Registrar’s Office regarding withdrawal from a class; failure to do so may result in a failing grade. If the student chooses to withdraw from a course, he/she can continue with the remainder of the courses within that semester. However, the student will not be able to progress within the program until he/she re-takes the course the following academic year. In order to be eligible to re-take this course, the student must be in good academic standing. Students also need to consider that a course withdrawal will impact their ability to complete the program in the 4.5 academic year maximum for completion.
X grade: An instructor may issue an “X” grade for successful completion of semester requirements for a course that spans multiple semesters. The “X” is replaced with a final “P” grade if all required components of the course are successfully completed or an “NP” grade if all required components of the course are not successfully completed.
Remediation of any practical or written examination within a course is at the discretion of the respective faculty member and will be stated in the course syllabus. There is no remediation for the final course grade.
Graduate students earning a cumulative 3.50 GPA or higher will graduate “With Distinction”
Academic Standing and Progression through the Program
Progression through the program. All courses within a semester must be satisfactorily completed before a student may enroll in courses in the subsequent semester. If a clinical education experience is not completed secondary to personal/medical reasons, faculty will determine whether a student is allowed to progress through the program.
Timeline for completion of program. A student must complete the curriculum in no longer than 4.5 academic years from matriculation. Progression delayed by personal/medical reasons will be evaluated by faculty on a case-by-case basis.
Good Academic Standing: A student is considered to be in good academic standing if he/she: (1) completes didactic courses with a grade of 79.5% (B-) or better, and (2) passes didactic courses and clinical education experiences graded as P/NP. A student remains in good academic standing if he/she receives no more than one grade of C in a didactic course.
Probation: Academic probation indicates concern about the student’s performance in the program. By placing the student on academic probation, the student is notified of the faculty’s concern regarding past performance. A student is placed on academic probation following the attainment of one F/NP grade (either didactic or clinical course) or C grades in two didactic courses in the curriculum.
The Director will notify the student in writing that he/she has been placed on academic probation, and that he/she will remain in this academic standing for the remainder of the program. This letter will contain an Action Plan pertinent to that student. The Director will also notify the Registrar that the student should be placed on academic probation.
Probation with Suspension: A student is placed on probation with suspension for either of the following reasons:
- If a student receives one F/NP grade in a didactic or clinical course, the student is suspended from the program at the end of that semester in which the F/NP grade was received. The Director will notify the student in writing that he/she has been placed on suspension with an Action Plan pertinent to that student. Before progressing further through the program, the student must repeat failed coursework when offered in the subsequent academic year.
- Violation of the Code of Academic Conduct or the Physical Therapy Code of Ethics. The Director will notify the student in writing that he/she has been placed on suspension with an Action Plan pertinent to that student. This Action Plan will outline criteria to be met for the student to re-enroll in the program.
Dismissal: A student is dismissed from the program for any of the following reasons:
- Attainment of two F/NP grades in didactic or clinical courses,
- Attainment of one F/NP in didactic or clinical courses and two C grades in didactic courses,
- Attainment of three C grades in didactic courses,
- Inability to complete the curriculum in 4.5 academic years. As noted above, progression delayed by personal/medical reasons will be evaluated by faculty on a case-by-case basis,
- Flagrant and intentional violations of the Code of Academic Conduct or the Physical Therapy Code of Ethics. No previous warning is required for this type of dismissal.
Leave of Absence or Administrative Withdrawal: If the student leaves the program for a personal/medical reason, documentation of such must be provided to the Director and the Registrar. The student will have the opportunity to re-enroll the following academic year in the semester that the student did not successfully complete. In the case of a medical leave of absence/medical withdrawal, the student must provide a letter of medical clearance to the Director and Registrar before re-enrollment.
In general, program decisions regarding academic standing are final. A decision may be appealed only if the student can show that 1) there was an error in the procedure used by the faculty, 2) there is new evidence sufficient to alter the decision, or 3) the sanction imposed was not appropriate to the severity of the violation of professional or academic standards. The Director’s office informs the student of faculty actions.
Appeals should be filed with the Executive Dean of the College of Health Professions within 10 days from the date of notification of the original action. Students are not allowed to attend class until the student has filed an appeal. Further appeals may be pursued through the University Standards and Appeals Committee.
Individuals convicted of a felony may not be eligible for licensing in Physical Therapy. Students are urged to contact the appropriate licensing agency for further information.
For details of professional and academic standards, academic policies and procedures, clinical policies and procedures, the appeals process, and the academic conduct policies, please see the following documents:
- Physical Therapy Program Student Handbook
- School of Physical Therapy Clinical Education Manual
- Physical Therapy course syllabi
- Additional resources are available in the Director’s Office.