Graduate students

Requirements for Doctoral Degree: D.P.T.

Policy Number: 100803

Current Policy

Category: Academic » University Requirements

Fees may apply. See Registrar for current fees.


The following section describes the general requirements for the Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) program. Students can find more specific information about this academic plan through Degree Search or by contacting the Physical Therapy department.

D.P.T. Plan

The Doctor of Physical Therapy is a clinical doctoral plan that emphasizes clinical experience and didactic study (lecture, reading, and observation). This degree emphasizes the development of competencies in examination, evaluation, diagnosis, applying interventions, and evidence-based practice.

Individuals who wish to enter into the physical therapy profession must complete this degree, which is known as the “entry-level doctoral degree.”

The degree requires at least 112 units. Prerequisite courses are not included in this total.

The degree is designed to be completed in 33 months of full-time study.

This plan does not require a dissertation. It does include an internship experience requirement equivalent to two full semesters (32 weeks).

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • baccalaureate degree with an overall GPA of at least 3.0
  • quantitative Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score of at least 146 (550)
  • verbal GRE score of at least 149 (440)
  • analytical Writing GRE score of at least 3.5
  • three letters of recommendation, with at least one letter from a licensed physical therapist

Before beginning the program, students must have completed approximately 41 units of undergraduate course requirements in anatomy and physiology, general chemistry, physics, general psychology, statistics, and abnormal or developmental psychology. Some of these requirements may have been part of the student's bachelor's degree.

Complete and submit the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) application.

Complete and submit the Northern Arizona University Graduate College application.

Application for and Admission to Candidacy

There is no discrete candidacy stage associated with this degree.

Time Parameters to Complete Degree

Students who are admitted to the D.P.T. program with an earned master's degree have eight years to complete all requirements for the doctoral degree. The eight year period starts with the student's first semester of doctoral study at Northern Arizona University. If the student does not complete the degree in eight years, the student may petition the Graduate College for one extension of this time limit.

Students who start the D.P.T. program with a bachelor's degree, have ten years to complete all requirements for the doctoral degree.

Students can petition for exception

Students may petition for an exception to any academic, non-grade-related,graduate regulation, in writing, to the associate dean of the Graduate College. The student’s letter of petition should be endorsed by her/his advisor and department chair.

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