instructor demonstrates procedure for studentApplication Process

Application Deadlines:

November 1, 2019 - Documentation must be submitted to Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS).

Application Procedure:

This program participates in the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). For more information regarding specific PTCAS application requirements, procedures and fees, visit the PTCAS website.

The PTCAS application must be completed by November 1, 2019 for the class beginning in January 2021. Applicants should send all application materials directly to PTCAS. PTCAS will verify the application information and send completed applications to the program.

Following the program's receipt of the PTCAS application, the UAB Doctor of Physical Therapy Program will review the packet. Completed applications are reviewed by members of the admissions committee. Based on the review, applicants are selected for interview. Interviews will be held on Friday, January 17 and Friday, January 24, 2020. Admissions decisions are finalized by April, 2020.

Transfer of Credit Policy:

The UAB DPT Program will not accept transfer credits from other DPT programs because of the lack of consistency among DPT curricula.


Admission Requirements

The applicant must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university within the United States in a field other than physical therapy. Acceptance will be based on the student's academic ability and aptitude for a career as a physical therapist. The candidate is expected to satisfy the following requirements:

  • Complete the PTCAS application by November 1, 2019.
  • Have a minimum 3.0 (A=4.0) for the following grade point averages: 1) cumulative, 2) prerequisite, and 3) last 60 semester hours.
  • 75% of prerequisite courses (i.e., 38 credits of prerequisite courses) must be completed by the end of the fall semester of the year of application. For example, applicants submitting their application on November 1, 2019, must have 75% of prerequisite courses completed by the end of the fall of 2019.
  • The applicant must have a grade of C or better in all prerequisite courses.
  • Complete at least 40 hours of documented observation of physical therapy in various settings (e.g., hospital, outpatient clinic, pediatric clinic).
  • Documentation must be submitted to PTCAS by the November 1 deadline.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation to PTCAS.
    Note: PTCAS only accepts 4 total letters of recommendation. UAB will only accept letters of recommendation from PTCAS. A letter from a Physical Therapist Assistant will not be accepted in lieu of a letter from a Physical Therapist.
    • Letter 1: Written by a physical therapist who has interacted with the applicant for at least 20 hours in a clinical setting.
    • Letter 2: Written by a physical therapist who has interacted with the applicant for at least 20 hours in a clinical setting.
    • Letter 3: Written by a professor with whom the applicant had significant interaction in an academic setting.
  • Complete the GRE and have scores sent to PTCAS. The GRE code is 7801.
  • If invited, complete a personal interview with the Department of Physical Therapy faculty. Interviews will be held on January 17 and January 24, 2020.

Prerequisite Requirements

Course requirements are listed in semester credit hours.

Arts and Humanities

  • English Composition - EH 101, 102 (6 hours).

Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Psychology (6 hours).

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

  • Precalculus with Trigonometry - MA 106 (3 hours).
  • Statistics (must be taken in Math, Psychology, or Sociology) - MA 180, PY 216, or SOC 410 (3-4 hours).
  • Physics* - PH 201/211 lab, 202/212 lab or PH 221/231 lab, 222/232 lab** (8 hours).
  • General Chemistry for science majors with labs* - CH 115/116 lab, 117/118 lab (8 hours).
  • Biology - BY 123 and BY 124, BY 115 (12 hours)
  • Human or Mammalian Physiology* - BY 116 (4 hours)
  • Medical Terminology - AHS 350 (1-3), may be taken online.

*For these prerequisite courses, credit older than ten years from the application deadline must be validated by examination or other appropriate mechanism.

**The physics course sequence must be designed for science majors and include laboratory sessions. A minimum of 8 semester hours is required. The following topics must be studied: mechanics, heat, electricity and magnetism, wave motion and sound, and light.

It is strongly recommended that applicants take the following courses: practical reasoning or logic course, biomechanics or kinesiology and upper level biology (physiology).

Essential Functions

Fundamental tasks, behaviors, and abilities necessary to successfully complete the academic and clinical requirements of the program and to satisfy licensure/certification requirements, if any, have been outlined and are available upon request from the academic program office. Students requesting disability accommodations must do so by filing a disability accommodation request in writing with the UAB Disability Support Services Office.

Post-Acceptance Requirements

Students who are accepted into the UAB Doctor of Physical Therapy program must:

  • Complete the UAB Graduate School application and include the graduate school fee.
  • Complete the UAB medical history questionnaire and physical.
  • Provide proof of required immunizations, and receive satisfactory screening by the UAB Medical Center Student Health Service.
  • The UAB Doctor of Physical Therapy program will submit all transcripts that were submitted through PTCAS to the Graduate School; however, you will be responsible for sending any transcripts that were either not submitted or do not show degree awarded.
  • Complete a criminal background check and drug screen before the first semester as specified by the Department of Physical Therapy.
  • State law regulates the practice of Physical Therapy. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to review the non-academic eligibility requirements for licensure to practice physical therapy upon completion of the program. These may be obtained from each individual state's Board of Licensure for Physical Therapy.

Evaluation Criteria

Applicants are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Overall GPA, Prerequisite GPA, last 60 hours GPA and GRE scores.
  • Quality of answers to the essay questions on the PTCAS application.
  • Quality of interview.

PTCAS Application Recommendations

Please avoid these common mistakes as you complete your PTCAS application:

  1. All college transcripts were not sent to PTCAS. This includes all courses taken at community colleges, even during high school.
  2. The proper letters of recommendation were not completed. The physical therapist letters must be from licensed physical therapists who have spent enough clinical time with you to attest to your work ethic, curiosity about the field and interactions with clients and other clinicians. The professor letter must be from a professor whose course you took as an undergraduate student and who can attest to your academic strengths.
  3. Observation hours were not verified. At least 40 hours must be verified at the time of application. We will not accept a student who does not have this requirement completed.

Admissions Process Timeline

  • July to November 1 – Complete PTCAS application.
  • December - Students notified about interview status.
  • January 19 and 24, 2020: Interviews.
  • By April - Admission decisions finalized and students notified.
  • January - Program begins.

Accreditation Statement

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314: telephone 703-706-3245 email: website: If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 205-934-3566 or email

CAPTE Accreditation Verified logo.