The Tufts University School of Medicine Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program specifically targets traditional and nontraditional students with the demonstrated potential to navigate the academic rigors of a 2-year accelerated, hybrid model physical therapy curriculum. To be accepted into the Tufts DPT program, students must meet the following criteria.
Degree Requirements: Complete a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Tufts University School of Medicine DPT program accepts only degrees and courses from institutions accredited by agencies that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Prerequisite Coursework: Applications will be accepted as long as courses are in progress. However, all courses must be completed before matriculation into the DPT program. Completion of the following prerequisite courses with a grade of C or higher before the start of the DPT program is required. Credit awarded through AP exams may be used toward direct equivalent prerequisites if the AP credit was accepted by the prospective student’s undergraduate institution. At the time of application submission, prospective students must have at least 8 of the 12 required prerequisites complete in order to be considered for admission, as reflected by submitted transcripts. All prerequisite courses will be assessed for fit on a case-by-case basis.
- Applicants must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) and prerequisite course GPA of 3.00 or greater on a 4.00 scale.
- Pass/fail courses are not accepted for required prerequisite courses. If a course is repeated, the repeated course needs to be a grade C or better and will be averaged with the original course to calculate both the cumulative and prerequisite GPA. Credit awarded through AP exams may be used toward direct equivalent prerequisites.
- All courses must be taken within 10 years of the admissions cycle year (e.g., If applying in 2020, then courses taken since January 2010 will be accepted).
- The rigor of the institution will be taken into consideration, and it is strongly recommended that all courses be taken at a 4-year accredited institution. However, courses from 2-year accredited institutions will be accepted.
|Prerequisite Courses||Credit Hours||Required Lab|
|General Biology I||3 semester hours/4 quarter hours||Yes|
|General Biology II (may include an upper-level Biology course, such as Genetics, Microbiology, or Neuroscience)||3 semester hours/4 quarter hours||Yes|
|General Chemistry I||4 semester hours/6 quarter hours||Yes|
|General Chemistry II||4 semester hours/6 quarter hours||Yes|
|General Physics I||4 semester hours/6 quarter hours||Yes|
|General Physics II||4 semester hours/6 quarter hours||Yes|
|Introductory Psychology||3 semester hours/4 quarter hours||No|
|Abnormal, Developmental, or Lifespan Psychology||3 semester hours/4 quarter hours||No|
|Human Anatomy and Physiology I (Vertebrate anatomy will also be accepted)||4 semester hours/6 quarter hours||Yes|
|Human Anatomy and Physiology II (Anatomy and Physiology sequence may be taken as a series of Human Anatomy and Human Physiology or as part of a 2-course A&P sequence)||4 semester hours/6 quarter hours||Yes|
|Statistics or Research Design||3 semester hours/4 quarter hours||No|
|English Composition or Writing||3 semester hours/4 quarter hours||No|
Quarter System Courses: In MOST instances, completion of 3 quarters of Biology, Physics & Chemistry are required to fulfill the 2-semester requirement. These courses will be reviewed on an individual basis as institutions have different requirements and standards.
Official Tests Scores
All applicants must take the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within 5 years of the admissions cycle year. No minimum score has been established. For the GRE, the program considers Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. Applicants are encouraged to have overall GRE scores above the 50th percentile. Scores will be used in conjunction with other data to consider applicants. The GRE is required even if an applicant holds a previous master's or doctorate degree. Test waivers for the GRE will not be available.
English proficiency must be demonstrated in one of the following three ways for non-native English speakers:
- Provide evidence of enrollment for two or more years (four or more semesters) in a degree-granting college or university located in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand.
- TOEFL: The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) evaluates the ability of non-native speakers to understand and use English in an academic setting. Tufts University School of Medicine – like many other American universities, government agencies and businesses – requires candidates to submit their TOEFL scores. The TOEFL is REQUIRED if English is NOT the candidate's first language OR the candidate has a non-U.S. academic degree. Minimum TOEFL score required = 100 IBT. The USMLE will not be accepted.
- IELTS: The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a standardized test of English language proficiency for individuals who are not native English language speakers. The IELTS is an alternative option for applicants to demonstrate English language proficiency when applying to the DPT program. Minimum IELTS score required = 7.0.
Submission of two (2) recommendations; one from a licensed physical therapist and one from someone of the applicant's choice. It is suggested, but not required, that the second recommendation be from a professor whom the student had in class. Recommendations cannot consist of family, friends, clergy, or politicians.
Completion of a minimum of forty hours of observation, volunteer, or work experience with a licensed physical therapist is required. Evidence of hours must be uploaded electronically in the form of a document with a minimum of the applicant’s name and number of hours along with the supervising PT’s name, signature, and PT license number.
Successful completion of an admission interview. Applicants are selected for interviews based on a holistic evaluation of their application and supporting materials. Submission of all required application material does not guarantee an interview.
The Technical Standards of the Tufts University School of Medicine’s DPT program (non-academic prerequisites) define the essential functions that an applicant must be able to perform in order to be admitted to the DPT program, to progress satisfactorily, and to graduate.
Essential functions refer to all non-academic criteria that are necessary to participate in the educational program. These include basic motor and communication skills, intellectual abilities, behavioral and social attributes, and other requirements. Listed below are considered minimum abilities required in the educational process of a physical therapist. Each person will be evaluated on an individual basis. Tufts University School of Medicine reaffirms its commitment to be flexible, innovative, and creative in trying to meet any special needs of students. The integrity of the curriculum must be maintained, and those elements deemed essential to the education of a physical therapist must be required and completed. In developing these criteria, the DPT program faculty affirm the following expectations of our admissions candidates:
Observation: The candidate must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences. A candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensation. It is enhanced by the functional use of the sense of hearing and of smell.
Communication: A candidate should be able to speak, to hear and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, families, peers, and faculty. Communication includes not only speech, but also reading and writing. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the health care team.
Motor: Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers. A candidate should be able to execute motor activities reasonably required to provide general care, to perform diagnostic procedures and to provide emergency treatment to patients.
Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, a critical skill demanded of physical therapists, requires all of these intellectual abilities. Candidates and students must be able independently to access and interpret medical histories or files, identify significant findings from history, physical examination, and laboratory data, provide a reasoned explanation for likely physical therapy diagnoses, and recall and retain information in an efficient and timely manner. The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature in formulating physical diagnoses and plans is essential. Good judgment in patient assessment, diagnostic and therapeutic planning is crucial; students must be able to identify and communicate their knowledge to others when appropriate.
Behavioral and Social Attributes: A candidate must possess the mental and emotional health required for full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities associated to the physical therapy diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to learn the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that should be assessed during the admissions and education process.
All students will undergo criminal background checks before matriculation into the program. Some clinics may require additional checks prior to attending clinical experiences. Applicants should be aware that a prior criminal background could restrict the ability to obtain professional state licensure. Acceptance into the DPT program does not imply or guarantee that a student will be able to obtain such licensure.
Disability Support Services
If you have documented learning or physical disabilities and will need accommodations for your classes, you will need to submit the Request for Disability Support Services to the Associate Dean of Public Health and Professional Degree Programs.
The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement is an agreement among member states, districts, and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of post-secondary distance education courses and programs. SARA covers all interstate placements in clinical or practical situations among SARA member states, no matter the nature of the main program. However, some placements may also be subject to the rules of professional licensing boards, in which case the placement must also meet such requirements. SARA does not supersede professional requirements imposed by such boards. State authorizations can be quite complex depending on the student's home state. Students interested in Tufts University School of Medicine’s DPT program should check this site for updates, but also follow-up with local licensing agencies to determine any potential concerns within their home state. Currently, all states with the exception of California are part of the SARA initiative.
You are considering an academic program that leads to a professional license in your state, it is highly recommended that you first seek guidance from the appropriate licensing agency in your home state, before beginning the academic program located outside of your state. It is the student's responsibility to contact the appropriate licensing board in his/her home state to confirm whether our DPT program, at Tufts University School of Medicine, will meet the requirements for licensure in that state.