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4+D.P.T. Pathway Leading to Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree
About the 4+D.P.T. Pathway
Liaison to the Undergraduate Departments: Ann T. Harrington, PT, DPT, PhD, PCS
This is a 4+D.P.T. pathway leading to the Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) degree from Arcadia University. Students frequently pursue an undergraduate major in a discipline such as Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, Sociology, Business or Health Administration, but students can choose any major that captures their interest and that enables them to complete the prerequisite courses.
Prerequisite courses needed for graduate-level study include Biology, Human Physiology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology and Statistics. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) advocates a strong liberal arts background and doctoral training. Its Vision Statement says that by 2020, physical therapy “will be provided by physical therapists who are doctors of physical therapy and who may be board-certified specialists.” The 4+D.P.T. year program offered by Arcadia University—four years of study leading to a bachelor’s degree plus approximately 2 years of graduate study leading to a Doctor of Physical Therapy—meets these recommendations.
The Pre-Physical Therapy program emphasizes the sciences but also includes a well-rounded background in the liberal arts. This combination prepares students for a health-care profession in helping people to overcome the effects of disease and injury and in the prevention of health problems.
Students who complete the program are prepared to work as physical therapists in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, sports-medicine centers, private homes, nursing homes, schools, private practices, specialized pediatric facilities, and wellness and fitness centers. They also can work as educators, researchers and consultants in a wide variety of organizations.
Students are strongly urged to work closely with the adviser from the chosen major to coordinate the requirements of the major and the prerequisite courses for graduate-level professional work. It is expected that the prerequisite courses listed below are taken at Arcadia University.
Study Abroad and Pre-Physical Therapy
Pre-Physical Therapy students are encouraged to spend a semester studying abroad. Many exciting opportunities are available. Sophomore year is the most convenient time for students to study abroad. Fall semester of the junior or senior year also is possible.
Students have taken a range of biology courses in Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. In addition, students have completed Undergraduate Curriculum requirements while studying abroad at some of the top universities around the world through Arcadia’s College of Global Studies. Students also have completed independent research projects or internships.
Visit the University’s website for more information about study abroad and for suggested course sequences. Since it is important that students plan ahead for study abroad, they should consult with their departmental advisers as soon as possible and make their intentions known to the the Office of Study Away ((215) 572-8514), which is located on the first floor of the Taylor Hall. Visit the University’s website for more information.
Applying to the D.P.T. Program
Students apply to the D.P.T. program in the Fall semester of their fourth year through PTCAS (www.ptcas.org) by the November 1 deadline. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for admission to the D.P.T. program. Students are strongly encouraged to take the exam at least one year prior to application and no later than the summer preceding their third undergraduate year. Applicants must meet the minimum required scores in all areas of the GRE as stated in the Arcadia entry level D.P.T. graduate catalog at the time of application. NOTE: the GRE code for the D.P.T. program is 7637.
What constitutes a completed D.P.T. application?
A completed application is the application, including essays, and all of the supporting documents (recommendations, GRE scores, and transcripts). Arcadia University students applying for assured admission must electronically submit their completed application by November 1. Applications are NOT reviewed until ALL materials are received by Arcadia. (This includes the PTCAS application, the required recommendations, and GRE scores.) The final decision will be made only after a full review of all application materials; as well as, professionalism and communication.
To meet the Assured Admission requirements, all of the criteria in the Arcadia University Undergraduate Catalog (by appropriate year of entry) must be met at the time of the application deadline; however, not all of the prerequisite courses need to be completed to apply or to be accepted. If accepted any remaining prerequisite courses need to be completed with a “C” or better in order to start the Physical Therapy program.
Upon acceptance into the program under the Assured Admission category, students will be required to pay a deposit in order to reserve a seat in the class. Scholarships are based on merit and any offer of scholarships or other assistance will be made known to the student along with the letter of acceptance to the D.P.T. program.
Students whose credentials do not meet the requirements that assure them admission to the D.P.T. program still may apply. They will be considered in relation to other qualified candidates in the general applicant pool. Please see the Graduate Catalog for the minimum requirements.
To maintain the ongoing quality of the Physical Therapy program, the University reserves the right to limit the enrollment in all its offerings.
Requirements for Assured Admission
Requirements for Students Who Enter Arcadia University as First-Year Students
These requirements apply to students who begin their undergraduate education at Arcadia University as first-year students.
- Students are encouraged to complete all of the prerequisite coursework at Arcadia University. Prerequisite courses must be taken through the appropriate department; e.g., Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Computer Science & Mathematics.
- Four courses in Biology:
- Modern Chemical Concepts I & II with lab (CH 101 & 102 or 111 & 112 )
- Physics I and II with lab (PH 201 & 202 or 211 & 212 )
- Two courses in Psychology or one course in Psychology and a second course in one of the following: Anthropology or Sociology
- One course in Statistics
- In consultation with the student’s undergraduate advisor, up to four (4) courses taken through another accredited institution may be counted as fulfillment of the required prerequisite courses. Courses must be directed towards science majors as appropriate.
- A minimum 3.4 overall GPA is required, calculated on all courses taken at any college or university. The GPA requirements must be met by the November 1st application deadline.
- A minimum 3.4 GPA is required in all courses taken in prerequisite areas at Arcadia and elsewhere. A grade of “C” or better must be earned in the minimum prerequisite courses listed above. (A “C–” is unacceptable for prerequisite credit.) When calculating the prerequisite GPA, the University includes all courses in the various areas. The GPA requirements must be met by the November 1st application deadline.
- The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for admission to the D.P.T. program. Students are strongly encouraged to take the exam at least one year prior to application and no later than the summer preceding their third undergraduate year. Applicants must meet the minimum required scores in all areas of the GRE as stated in the Arcadia entry level D.P.T. graduate catalog at the time of application. NOTE: the GRE code for the D.P.T. program is 7637.
- Students must have knowledge of the profession through documented work or volunteer experiences in at least one inpatient and one outpatient setting as defined by PTCAS. These observations must be completed by November 1st of the year of application to the program.
- Students must provide three letters of recommendation, at least one from a currently practicing physical therapist and one from a college professor who is able to judge the applicant’s academic qualification and readiness for rigorous work at the graduate level.
- Students must complete the last four semesters as full-time students at Arcadia University. This requirement may be waived for students who choose to study abroad during one of their last four semesters.
- Students must earn a bachelor’s degree from Arcadia University.
- Students desiring assured admission must submit their completed applications electronically to PTCAS by November 1 of the academic year of graduation from Arcadia University.
The final acceptance decision will be made only after a full review of all application materials; as well as, professionalism and communication.
Requirements for Students Who Transfer to Arcadia University
Transfer students who pursue an interest in Pre-Physical Therapy with Assured Admission to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program must meet the criteria for first-year students as well as the following:
- Transfer students must attend Arcadia with full-time status and complete a minimum of 64 credits. This requirement may be waived for students who choose to study abroad during one of their last four semesters.
- Seven courses in the prerequisite areas must be taken at Arcadia University.
- Students must complete BI 206 Human Physiology at Arcadia University or a 300-level Biology course with a lab (if Human Physiology is already completed elsewhere). All courses used toward the minimum prerequisite biological and physical science requirements must be directed towards science majors and taken through the appropriate science departments (e.g., Biology, Chemistry, Physics).
- Students may transfer two Psychology courses for the Pre-Physical Therapy prerequisites. If students are transferring only one Psychology course, then they must take either a second Psychology course (other than PY 111 ) or a course in Anthropology or Sociology.
- Students who transfer more than four prerequisite courses must take additional advanced courses to satisfy prerequisite requirements. These additional courses must be taken in one of the following areas: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Psychology.
- International Applicants: Official results from the TOEFL or IELTS are required for all students for whom English is a second language, except for non-native speakers of English who hold degrees or diplomas from post-secondary institutions in English-speaking countries (e.g. the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand). A course-by-course evaluation of all transcripts by an independent evaluation service based in the United States also is required. NOTE: International students applying to the Physical Therapy program must send scores to the PTCAS code 5312.
Essential Functions to Participate in the D.P.T. Program
Essential functions are the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective skills necessary for a student to participate in the physical therapy program and become a physical therapist.
View Essential Functions criteria.
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