Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science

  • Admission to the DPT Program

    Admission to the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is contingent on the completion of a baccalaureate degree and all prerequisite course work from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university. Individuals should have completed the majority of the science course requirements and have GRE scores prior to the application deadline of November 1. Only candidates who have earned, or who will earn their baccalaureate degree before the class begins in July will be considered for admission.

    Course Requirements

    The following prerequisites must be completed prior to enrollment in the program:

    Biological Sciences

    A complete introductory course in principles of general biology or zoology and advanced course work in biology or zoology (for which an introductory course is prerequisite) equivalent to 12 semester hours;


    A complete introductory course equivalent to 8 semester hours; 


    A complete introductory course equivalent to 8 semester hours; 


    A systemic human physiology course equivalent to 3 semester hours;


    Courses equivalent to 6 semester hours;


    A college-level mathematics course, at the level of trigonometry or higher, equivalent to 3 semester hours;


    A statistical methods course equivalent to 3 semester hours.

    All science courses must include the appropriate laboratory instruction. The prerequisite courses must be taken for a letter grade. Credit awarded through the AP testing program may be applied to the mathematics requirement only.

    Grade-point Requirement

    An overall grade-point average of 3.0 or above (on a 4.0 scale) is the minimum for consideration for admission. A grade-point average of 3.0 or above in all prerequisite course work is recommended.

    Graduate Record Examination

    The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test is required for admission. Arrange to take the test early to ensure receipt of the scores prior to the application deadline.  

    Early Admission

    The DPT Program also has an early admission plan. Applicants with outstanding GPA's (generally a 3.75 or higher) and outstanding GRE scores (generally each section at or above the 50th percentile) may be considered for early admission.  Application procedures are the same as those for regular admission. Applicants interviewed but not selected for early admission would automatically be placed in the final general applicant pool. Questions regarding early admission should be directed to The deadline for early admission is August 1.

    Professional Opportunities

    Changes in the health care system have made possible many practice opportunities for physical therapists. In addition to hospital based practice, an increasing number of physical therapists select private practice. In the last several years, areas of specialization have become available in orthopedics, cardiopulmonary, electrophysiology, neurology, geriatrics, pediatrics, and sports physical therapy. Some potential practice settings are as follows:

    • General or specialized hospitals and nursing homes
    • Private physical therapy clinics or offices
    • Home health agencies
    • Skilled nursing facilities and rehabilitation centers
    • Corporate or industrial health centers
    • Fitness centers and sports training facilities
    • Athletic facilities
    • Schools or pediatric centers
    • Community and governmental agencies
    • Education or research centers

    Criminal Background Checks

    Enrollment in the DPT Program will be contingent on a successful criminal background check. Those applicants accepting admission offers will be contacted by the PTCAS background check service vendor, Certiphi Screening, Inc. via email to start the background check process. Their email will include a link to a secure, online form that will request additional information and your consent to initiate the background check process. The background check fee will be $72 per applicant and will be paid to Certiphi by the applicant. The applicant is given an opportunity to review the results before they are released to us. Applicants should also be aware that some clinical education sites require drug screening for students performing clinical rotations.

    Cultural Diversity Statement

    The University of Iowa's Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences acknowledges the importance of recognizing and understanding cultural diversity. The department's faculty, staff, and students strive to promote trust, respect, and appreciation for individual differences in matters of practice, research, and education. Efforts are made to provide a supportive environment, one appreciative of human differences, while cooperating with each other in the constructive expression of ideas and actions. Please visit the University's Office of Cultural Affairs and Diversity website for additional information and resources.