Sep 21, 2023  
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Professional Entry-Level Doctor of Physical Therapy Program (DPT)

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This degree can be completed through an on-campus program or through a hybrid online/on-campus program. The curriculum comprises six semesters plus two summer sessions for on-campus students and three summer sessions for hybrid students, resulting in completion of the required 115 units. Clinical experience (clerkship) is part of the curriculum during all three years. The Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy awards the DPT to enrolled students who have satisfactorily completed the three-year curriculum. For successful completion, students must pass all course work with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75, meet all professional standards and pass all clinical clerkships.

Admission Requirements (Entry-Level)

Applicants are required to complete the equivalent of a U.S. baccalaureate degree at an accredited college or university prior to matriculation. Prerequisite course work must include: a minimum of four semesters/six quarters of course work in the mammalian biological sciences (and must include one course in human anatomy with laboratory and one course in human physiology with laboratory), two semesters/three quarters of chemistry course work with laboratory (which may include general chemistry, organic chemistry or biochemistry), two semesters/three quarters of physics course work with laboratory, a minimum of two courses in psychology (which may include general psychology or abnormal psychology), and one college-level statistics course (generally from the biology, mathematics and psychology departments). A minimum of 150 hours of clinical experience in a variety of physical therapy settings is required. This can be in a volunteer or paid capacity. Applicants should be computer literate.

Students from foreign countries must have completed one year of study in the United States prior to application. Credits from foreign institutions must be approved by the USC Office of Graduate Admission.

Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)

The GRE is required of all applicants. In general, minimum scores of 150 are required on each of the general test measures of verbal and quantitative ability.


Applications for the on-campus program are submitted through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) Website, and must be completed by December 1 of each year for the class beginning the following fall. Hybrid program applications will be available through our technology partner’s Online Application and Recommendation System (OARS). For the initial hybrid class, entering in June 2018, applications will be completed by April 17. Only one class is admitted each year for each program.

The Admissions Committee reviews all information submitted. Applicants may request a personal interview. It is highly recommended that all applicants make an appointment to visit the division’s office located on the Health Sciences Campus and talk with students and members of the faculty.

Notice of Acceptance

Notice of acceptance in the on-campus program will be sent to successful candidates no earlier than December of the year prior to the August program start date (with the exception of Early Decision applicants who are typically informed of a decision by late September) and continually thereafter until the class is filled. In no case will an acceptance be offered earlier than one year before anticipated enrollment. Applicants to the hybrid program will be reviewed on a rolling basis with notices of acceptance sent to successful candidates continually until the class is filled.

Candidates in the on-campus program should reply to an offer of acceptance within three weeks enclosing a $1,000 deposit (nonrefundable), which is credited to tuition at the time of registration. Candidates in the hybrid program should submit their initial $1,000 deposit within 10 days of an offer of acceptance. A second nonrefundable $500 deposit is required by mid-May of the program start year (also to be applied in its entirety as a tuition credit). A letter of withdrawal is required if applicants wish to relinquish their place in the class; release is granted automatically upon receipt of the letter.

Degree Requirements (Entry-Level)

The DPT is awarded to enrolled students who have satisfactorily completed the three-year curriculum of 115 credits (depending on electives chosen). The minimum number of credits required for graduation is 115. The minimum GPA required for graduation is 2.75. Clinical experience (clerkship) is part of the curriculum during all three years.

The Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy uses a system of student evaluation and grading that is designed to encourage self-reliance, to stimulate the student’s independent quest for knowledge and to promote excellence in clinical and academic achievement.

Faculty of the program are responsible for establishing evaluation criteria appropriate to the objectives of each course and for specifying the manner in which evaluative information is to be gathered. For clinical evaluation, descriptive comments based on the student’s performance are submitted by faculty and clinical instructors to the student’s permanent file.

Required Courses

Third Year Requirements

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