Physical Therapy 3+D.P.T. Accelerated Program

About the 3+D.P.T. Pathway

This is an accelerated program from a Biology major into the graduate Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) degree program at Arcadia University.

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 six 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, researchers and consultants in a wide variety of organizations.

Study Abroad and Pre-Physical Therapy

Pre-Physical Therapy students are encouraged to spend a semester studying abroad. Many exciting opportunities are available.

Since 1997, 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 Pathways to Study Abroad ( and suggested course sequences. Since it is important that students plan ahead for study abroad, they should consult with their advisers as soon as possible and make their intentions known to the Department Chair and the Associate Dean of International Affairs.

Admission Requirements

3+3 Accelerated Physical Therapy Program

Applying From High School

Students must apply for admission into the 3+D.P.T. program directly from high school. Highly selective admissions criteria will be used to select 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 3.0 GPA in their major and overall to stay in the program. At the end of the second year, students must have at least a 3.2 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 3.2 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 letter of recommendation from the Chair of the Biology Department and from the pre-PT liaison.
  • Taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and achieved the minimum acceptable score as noted below.

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, BI475 and BI476 (Biomedical Foundations I and II), are taken in this fourth year and are only available to students in the 3+D.P.T. program. These courses are equivalent to PT675 and 676 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). A letter of recommendation will be required from the Chair of the Biology Department, from a currently practicing, licensed physical therapist, and from the pre-PT liaison.

Students apply to the D.P.T. program in the Fall semester of their third year through PTCAS ( by the November 1 deadline.

The GRE is required for admission to the D.P.T. program. Students are strongly encouraged to take the exam after their first year of undergraduate study and no later than the summer preceding their third undergraduate year. Applicants must meet the minimum required scores in all areas of the GRE: (1) Verbal Reasoning ≥ 150, (2) Combined Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning ≥ 300, (3) Analytical Writing ≥4.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 and all of the supporting documents (the three previously stipulated 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.)

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 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.

To maintain the ongoing quality of the Physical Therapy program, the University reserves the right to limit the enrollment in all its offerings.


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