Jun 14, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Pre-Physical Therapy 3+D.P.T.

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3+D.P.T. Biology Major Leading to the Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree

About the 3+D.P.T. Pathway

Liaison to the Undergraduate Departments: Ann T. Harrington, PT, DPT, PhD

This is an accelerated program from a Biology major into the graduate Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) degree program at Arcadia University. Qualified applicants will be contacted by Enrollment Management for review.

During their first three years of study, students take prerequisite coursework and Undergraduate Curriculum requirements. In the fourth year of study, students begin their graduate coursework, but will not receive the B.A. in Biology until they have successfully completed the first year of the D.P.T. program. This pathway allows a student to fulfill all of the Undergraduate Curriculum and major requirements and the requirements of the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in five years. The 3+D.P.T. program provides a pathway to ensure that the undergraduate coursework taken by the student meets the expected prerequisites and required background knowledge for the D.P.T.

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 that helps people to overcome the effects of disease and injury and prevent 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/fitness centers. They also can work as educators and consultants in a wide variety of organizations.

Admission Requirements

Applying From High School

Qualified applicants will be contacted by Enrollment Management for review. Students can only matriculate into the 3+D.P.T. program directly from high school. Highly selective admissions criteria will be used to choose academically talented students capable of handling the accelerated schedule. Applicants are expected to have taken academic science and mathematics classes in each year of high school, including one year each of biology, chemistry, and physics. Matriculated students will not be accepted into the 3+D.P.T. program, (Note: Matriculated students can follow the 4+D.P.T. pathway leading to assured admission in Arcadia’s D.P.T. program for qualified students.)

At the end of the first year, students must have at least a 3.2 GPA in their major and overall to stay in the program. At the end of the second year, students must have at least a 3.4 GPA in their major and overall to stay in the program

At the completion of their third year of undergraduate study, students will be evaluated to ensure that they meet the qualifications to begin graduate coursework. At this point the students must have met the following criteria:

  • Completed all major and Undergraduate Curriculum requirements.
  • Maintained a 3.4 GPA and have received no less than a “C” in any of the required courses for the D.P.T.
  • Earned at least 110 semester hours by the end of the third year.
  • Received an acceptable recommendation from their academic advisor in the Biology Department.
  • Take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and achieve the minimum acceptable scores.

At the start of their fourth year, students in the 3+D.P.T. program begin their studies in the D.P.T. program. Two undergraduate-level courses, BI 477 Movement Systems Foundation II: Force and BI 478 Integrated Patient Management II: Acute Medical Conditions, are taken in this fourth year and are only available to students in the 3+D.P.T. program. These courses are equivalent to PT662 and 672 taken by the other D.P.T. students.

Applying to the D.P.T. Program

By the Fall semester of their third year, students in the 3+D.P.T. program must have completed, or made arrangements to complete, all application criteria for the assured admission program including observations in two clinical settings (one inpatient and one outpatient as defined by PTCAS). These observations are expected to be completed by before the Fall of the year of application to the program.  A minimum of two (2) and maximum of three (3) letters of recommendation are required, at least one from a currently practicing licensed physical therapist and one from their academic advisor in the Biology Department.

Students apply to the D.P.T. program in the Fall semester of their third year through PTCAS (www.ptcas.org) by the specified Priority 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 (the two previously stipulated recommendations, GRE scores, and transcripts). Arcadia University students applying for assured admission must electronically submit their completed application by the Priority deadline specified in PTCAS. 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.  Additionally, all successful applicants must display appropriate levels of professionalism and communication.

To meet the Assured Admission requirements, all of the criteria in the Arcadia University Undergraduate Catalog (by appropriate year of entry) and all of the prerequisite courses need to be completed by the end of the third year. 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. 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 automatic admission to the D.P.T. program will be decelerated to the traditional four-year Biology degree. They still may apply for assured admission to the D.P.T. program, but they must meet the minimum requirements for assured admission at the time of application. Please see the Graduate Catalog for the minimum requirements as specified on the Pre-Physical Therapy webpage. To maintain the ongoing quality of the Physical Therapy program, the University reserves the right to limit the enrollment in all its offerings.

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.


The First Year

Fall Semester (16 credits)

The Second Year

Fall Semester (18 credits)

Spring Semester (22 credits)

The Third Year

Fall Semester (20 credits)

Spring Semester (20 credits)

The Fourth Year

Fall Semester

  • PT607— Introduction to PT Theory & Practice
  • PT661— Movement System Foundations I: Motion
  • PT663— Movement System Foundations III: Energy
  • PT664— Movement System Foundations IV: Motor Control 
  • PT658a— Exposure to PT in a Health Care system
  • BI477 (PT662)— Movement System Foundations II: Force 

Spring Semester

  • PT671— Integrated Patient Management I: Acute Musculoskeletal Injury
  • PT658b— Exposure to PT in a Health Care System 
  • PT673— Integrated Patient Management III: Progressive Neurologic Conditions
  • PT691— Differential Diagnosis & Intervention: Extremity I
  • PT692— Differential Diagnosis & Intervention: Extremity II
  • BI478 (PT672)— Integrated Patient Management III: Acute Medical Conditions

Summer Sessions

  • PT737— Clinical Simulation Experiences 
  • PT761— Movement System: Advanced Analysis & Intervention I
  • PT793— Differential Diagnosis & Intervention III: Spine 1
  • PT774— Integrated Patient Management IV: Chronic Medical Conditions 
  • PT794— Differential Diagnosis & Intervention IV: Spine 2

The Fifth Year

Fall Semester

  • PT775— Integrated Patient Management V: Non-progressive Neurologic Conditions
  • PT795—Differential Diagnosis & Intervention V: Pain
  • PT758— Clinical Education Experiences 

Spring Semester

  • PT 824— Management & Leadership Principles in a PT Setting
  • PT 835— Enhancing Activity and Participation 
  • PT846— Health Promotion
  • PT862— Movement System: Advanced Analysis & Intervention II
  • PT787— Experiential Learning 
  • PT858— Clinical Education Experience II 

Summer Semester

  • PT859— Clinical Education Experience III 
  • PT887a/b— Independent Study- Research/International ProBono Experiences 

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