Admission and Application Process
COVID-19 NOTICE: Please scroll down to Temporary Policies.
Up to 36 students are admitted into the DPT Program through a competitive process, with a new class beginning each fall.
Applicants to the DPT Program choose one of three admission tracks: Individuals interested in Track I must submit applications through St. Ambrose University. Individuals interested in Track II or Track III must submit applications through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service.
Track I: High School Seniors – Application Deadline, December 1
Track I is exclusively for high school seniors planning to enroll at SAU. Each year, up to 15 high school seniors are granted placement in Track I conditionally reserving them a place in the DPT class that begins during their senior year at SAU.
Track II: College Juniors – Application Deadline, December 1
Track II allows undergraduates from both SAU or other institutions to apply their junior year for consideration of entry into the DPT class that begins during their senior year at SAU.
Track III: College Seniors and College Graduates – Application Deadline, December 1
Track III is the more traditional application process for individuals who are in their senior year of college or hold a bachelor's or graduate degree from an accredited four-year college or university.
The St. Ambrose University Physical Therapy Department admits individuals who are committed to excellence, leadership, service to their community, seek equity and inclusion in our society, and are academically prepared for the rigors of graduate education. Students who enter our program with creativity, curiosity, persistence, strong communication skills, adaptability, a positive mindset, and a commitment to lifelong learning are best prepared for a successful career as a physical therapist. Because we believe our student body should reflect the diversity of the communities they will serve, we recruit students with a range of life experiences and backgrounds.
Applicants are not required to select a particular major in order to be eligible for admission to a physical therapy education program. Common undergraduate majors among DPT students at SAU are Exercise Science, Human Performance and Fitness, Sport Management, Psychology, and Biology.
Applicants must complete these prerequisite courses before enrollment to the DPT Program:
Note: St. Ambrose University Physical Therapy Department will not accept online lab courses to satisfy prerequisite requirements. All lab courses must be taken on campus.
|General Biology (with labs)||Biology 199 & 200||8|
|Human Anatomy & Physiology I & II (w/ labs)*||Biology 230 & 232||8|
|General Chemistry (with labs)||Chemistry 105 & 106||8|
|College Physics (with labs)||Physics 203 & 204||8|
|Introduction to Psychology||Psychology 105||3|
|Upper Level Psychology/Sociology elective||Psychology 255**||3|
*At SAU, human physiology is combined with anatomy in a two-semester sequence of courses with labs. A human physiology course with labs fulfills this requirement.
**At SAU, any upper level psychology/sociology will meet this requirement. PSYCH 255 Brain and Behavior is strongly recommended.
The Physical Therapy Department will follow guidelines set forth by the St. Ambrose University Office of the Registrar for accepting College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam results towards prerequisite courses. For example, students can take the psychology CLEP exam and receive course equivalent for PSYC 105. This would count as meeting one of our psychology prerequisites.
While there is a CLEP exam for Biology, the Registrar's policy is to only give the equivalent of BIOL 101, which we do not accept as a biology prerequisite. The full list of Course Equivalents for CLEP exam can be found here.
During the pandemic, many undergraduate institutions closed campuses and moved courses to online instruction. Due to that fact, the SAU PT Department developed the following temporary policies.
Online and/or distance learning courses: The SAU PT Department will accept online or distance learning prerequisite courses – including lab courses – only from the spring, summer, and fall of 2020, as well as spring and summer of 2021, to satisfy requirements.
Pass/Fail or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory courses: The SAU PT Department will accept spring and summer of 2020 coursework that is graded on a Pass/Fail or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis to fulfill a prerequisite course requirement.
PT shadowing/observation hours: Some applicants may have difficulty obtaining or completing shadowing experiences as facilities adjust to providing care during this public health pandemic. Due to that fact, the SAU PT Department will recommend Track I-high school applicants to complete 10 observation hours and Track IB (Class of 2025)/II/III-college applicants to complete 25 observation hours in at least one setting (ideally two settings) for the 2022-23 admissions cycle. In-progress observations hours will be accepted until application deadline.
Applicants who encounter difficulty with meeting these recommendations are still encouraged to apply and be prepared to discuss alternative sources used to learn about the profession of physical therapy and the overall healthcare system.
Track I is a "3+2.5" plan of study (three years of undergraduate study plus 2.5 years in the DPT Program). It is exclusively for high school seniors who are enrolling as freshmen at St. Ambrose University.
Each year up to 15 high school students are granted placement in Track I positions conditionally reserving them a place in the DPT class that will commence with their senior year in college.
First year DPT courses are applied toward completion of the undergraduate degree, which must be awarded prior to the beginning of the second year of the DPT Program.
Criteria for Admitted Track I Students
Students attending SAU and admitted into Track 1 as high school seniors are required to meet the following criteria in order to advance into the DPT Program the fall of their senior year at St. Ambrose University:
- Submit a plan of student detailing how an undergraduate degree will be earned prior to the beginning of the second year of the DPT Program
- Earn and maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.30/4.00 and a prerequisite grade point average of at least 3.30/4.00 by the end of the fourth semester
- Complete all prerequisite courses with a grade of "C" or above prior to entering the DPT Program
- Complete a second application form for the PT Department
- Complete the GRE, with a combined score of 295 or higher on the verbal and quantitative sections.
- Submit document of 50 hours of observation with a licensed PT in two or more settings, to include inpatient and outpatient hours
- Submit official transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended
- Submit two letters of reference, with one from an SAU faculty member
- Complete an on-site personal interview with DPT faculty members
- Complete all bachelor's degree requirements in major other than those to be completed in the first year of the DPT Program
Track I: Application Criteria and Process
To apply for a Track I position, high school seniors will need to:
- Complete the St. Ambrose University online general application
- Meet the entrance requirements of St. Ambrose University
- Have completed the equivalent of one year each of high school biology and chemistry; One year of high school physics is strongly recommended
- Attain a minimum of 3.5/4.0 unweighted high school GPA
- Score a minimum of 24 on the ACT or 1160 on the SAT
- Have completed and provided documentation (.docx) of at least 20 hours of observation with a licensed physical therapist in one or more physical therapy settings
- Complete an acceptable on-site personal interview with DPT faculty members
- Complete a PT Department Track I application (.docx)
Track II: College Juniors
Track II is a "3+2.5" plan of study (three years of undergraduate study plus 2.5 years in the DPT Program). First year DPT courses are applied toward completion of the undergraduate degree, which must be awarded prior to the beginning of the second year of the DPT Program.
Students from SAU and other institutions may utilize Track II. Track II students must have completed all bachelor's degree requirements in their major other than those to be completed in the first year of the DPT Program. Students from institutions other than SAU will need a letter from the respective Registrar's Office indicating that the first year of DPT courses will be credited toward the bachelor's degree and that the bachelor's degree will be awarded prior to the start of the second year in the DPT Program.
Track III: College Seniors and College Graduates
Track III is a "4+2.5" plan of study (four years of undergraduate study plus 2.5 years in the DPT Program). Individuals who are in their senior year of college, hold a bachelor's degree, or a graduate degree from an accredited four-year college or university may apply using Track III. The bachelor's degree must be awarded prior to the fall they anticipate entering the DPT Program.
PTCAS Regular Decision
Spring Decision Deadline: December 1
- Complete all prerequisite courses with a grade of "C" or above prior to enrollment in the DPT Program.
- Applicants who will not complete the prerequisites by the date of their application submission must provide a detailed plan for completion of the remaining courses found in the Supplemental Application portion of the PTCAS Application.
- Attain a minimum 3.0/4.0 cumulative and prerequisite GPA in all undergraduate coursework or a minimum cumulative graduate GPA of 3.25 / 4.0 for 18 or more semester hours in an approved graduate science degree program.
- Document at least 50 hours of observation with licensed physical therapists in two or more physical therapy settings to include inpatient and outpatient. All hours must be completed at the time of submitting application.
- Complete the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and submit official results to PTCAS.
- Submit official transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended through PTCAS.
- Submit two references from individuals well acquainted with the applicant through PTCAS.
- All international students are required to submit official results from the TOEFL exam and must score at least 600 (written), 250 (computerized) or 100 (internet).
- International students are required to have their transcripts evaluated through the World Education Services (WES).
- Submit an application to SAU through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS)
- Complete an acceptable on-site personal interview with SAU DPT faculty members.
SAU requires applications to be submitted through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS).
The following is submitted directly through PTCAS:
- Official transcripts from all institutions of higher education that you have attended. Do not send your transcripts to SAU.
- Two references. A form will be provided by PTCAS for the persons providing the references to complete. Please note that if another school you are applying to requests more than two references, SAU will receive all the references submitted.
- Personal essay. PTCAS will list the specific requirements of the essay.
- Documentation of a minimum of 50 hours of clinical observation in two or more physical therapy practice settings, including inpatient and outpatient, with licensed physical therapists. The hours must be completed at the time of submission of the application.
- Official results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). These must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service to PTCAS (SAU code #7742).
- PTCAS charges $155 for the first program you apply to and $60 for each additional program. SAU does not have an additional supplemental fee.
After applications are received and reviewed by SAU, a personal on-site interview will be scheduled for selected applicants. St. Ambrose participates in rolling admissions, the admissions officers begin assessing applications as they come in and are able to interview before the December 1 deadline.
Please note that due to the competitiveness of the program, not all applicants will be invited for an interview.
All requested information must be submitted to PTCAS by the SAU application deadline.
Carrie Meador-Bliss, Program Coordinator
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Center for Health Sciences Education
1320 W. Lombard St.
Davenport, IA 52804