What are the minimum admission requirements for the DPT program at UNLV?

ALL of the following minimum requirements must be met in order to be eligible for admission to the UNLV DPT program.

Visit the requirements page for more information.

What is the admission cycle timeline?

The annual application cycle opens in July each year. Applicants should submit PTCAS, KIRA and supplemental UNLV Graduate College applications before the October 1st application deadline. Late applications will not be considered. All “complete” applications are reviewed by Mid- October. The program does NOT use rolling admissions.

Visit the application page for more information on the timeline.

How many students apply and how many are accepted into the program each year?

Admission to the UNLV DPT program, like many professional programs, is very competitive. On average, the program receives between 400 to 800 applications annually. 48 new students are accepted to each incoming cohort.

Is it ok to begin the PTCAS application during the last year of my bachelors’ program or while I am still completing prerequisite courses?

Many applicants apply to UNLVPT during the final year of their bachelor’s degree program. Please note that all prerequisite coursework must be completed prior to starting the DPT program in June.

Applicants may have as many prerequisite courses pending as needed during the fall semester of the admissions cycle. Applicants should document pending fall coursework as such on PTCAS and will be required to submit fall grades via the academic update on PTCAS.

Applicants may have NO MORE than two UNLVPT specific prerequisite courses pending during the spring semester immediately preceding the anticipated summer of admission, and neither of those two pending courses may be A&P 1 or 2.

Where/When can I fulfill the prerequisite course requirements?

You may complete the 10 UNLVPT prerequisite courses at any regionally accredited institution. The program recommends applicants complete the majority of the science and math prerequisites at the university level. Applicants may take online coursework with the exception of Anatomy and Physiology labs. (See admission requirements)

Prerequisite courses that are taken on a pass/fail basis will not be accepted, unless the courses were taken during the summer, spring, or fall of 2020 during the Covid pandemic (See admission requirements) Applicants may not apply Advanced Placement (AP) courses towards the prerequisite complement unless said AP course appears on an official transcript from a regionally accredited institution and has both a letter grade and quality points/grade points assigned to it.

Applicants may not apply to a course with a grade below a “C” to a prerequisite. Those students with pending spring prerequisites during an active application cycle MUST realize that any offer of acceptance to the DPT program would be contingent upon satisfactory completion of all pending prerequisite coursework prior to matriculation into the program.

Applicants seeking admission for the 2024-2025 academic year (with classes commencing from June 2025) must ensure that all prerequisite coursework was completed during or after the fall 2014 semester/quarter, as coursework completed earlier than 10 years prior to the application cycle will not be considered.

I am a current or prospective UNLV undergrad student and I need help to determine what classes at UNLV fulfill the DPT prerequisite courses.

UNLVPT provides a list of pre-approved DPT prerequisite courses offered at UNLV via the UNLV DPT program webpage (Admissions tab). This resource is updated annually. Please download that resource along with this FAQ resource and have these handy for any future appointments with your undergraduate academic advisor.

UNLVPT does not provide individual one on one academic advising for prospective applicants. The program can clarify whether a specific course meets the DPT program prereq requirements but will NOT advise undergrad students on matters related to their undergrad degree program(s).

Current UNLV students enrolled in an academic program within the Division of Health Sciences at UNLV are encouraged to work with an academic adviser at the Division of Health Sciences Advising Center. UNLV students are also encouraged to utilize the advising services and programming offered through the UNLV Pre-Professional Advising Center.

For students not enrolled at UNLV please also refer to the perquisite courses requirements link referenced above as well as the UNLV Program Directory Page on the PTCAS website.

After you have reviewed each of the above linked resources, if you still have questions please direct those directly to the admissions committee at dpt.admissions@unlv.edu. To ensure a timely and accurate response you MUST provide the following information regarding courses you hope to apply towards the 10 UNLVPT prerequisites:

  • What institution did you take or plan to take the course?
  • Where is this institution located: City and State?
  • Was the course semester or quarter based?
  • How many credits was the course worth?
  • What was your letter grade for the course?
  • What year did you take the course?
  • You must also include either the course description from the appropriate course catalog and preferably the course syllabus for any completed coursework.
Will observation or volunteer hours in health areas other than physical therapy count toward the minimum observation hours?

No, only observation/volunteer/paid hours from a physical therapy department that were supervised by a licensed physical therapist will count toward the minimum hours required for admission.

Do I need to do observation hours in a hospital as well as an outpatient clinic, and how many hours are needed?

No, however prior to application to the program, applicants should fully explore the nature of the profession of physical therapy. Applicants are encouraged to volunteer in or observe various physical therapy facilities in order to gain a broad understanding of the various roles and responsibilities of the physical therapist.

A minimum of 100 total observation hours distributed across one or more settings is requiredObservation, volunteer, and paid hours are acceptable. Examples of physical therapy settings include but are not limited to inpatient acute care hospitals, inpatient rehab hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, long-term acute care hospitals, extended care facilities, home health agencies, schools, and outpatient clinics. 

When considering outpatient settings, the following types of clinics will be considered unique settings: orthopedics, pediatrics, vestibular/balance, cardiopulmonary, wound care, and pelvic health.

How should I document and submit my observation hours for verification?

Observation hours must be submitted and verified via the applicant’s PTCAS application. Detailed instructions can be found on the PTCAS website

How is the overall PTCAS GPA calculated?

UNLVPT uses the PTCAS calculated overall GPA. This overall GPA is calculated using ALL college level coursework as reported to PTCAS via official transcripts from ALL institutions that the applicant attended. The overall GPA will include ALL completed undergraduate, post-bac, and graduate level coursework at the time of application submission. The overall GPA calculated by PTCAS includes ALL attempts in the case of course retakes.

Applicants are encouraged to visit PTCAS to have a clear understanding of how this GPA is calculated.

How is my prerequisite GPA calculated?

UNLVPT will consider those courses that the applicant has “tagged” as prerequisites on their PTCAS application as long as these courses meet the minimum prerequisite requirements. In the event that a prerequisite course is retaken for a better grade, the program will use the higher grade.

In the event that the applicant has taken more than the required number of courses in a particular prerequisite category, the program will select the courses with the highest grades as long as each course meets the minimum prerequisite requirement for that category.

What is a competitive GPA and GRE score?

The average GPA and GRE percentile scores for the most recently admitted cohort of UNLV DPT students are always available via the UNLV Program Directory Page on the PTCAS website. It is important to note that while the reported averages may seem high, the GPA range for accepted students often spans from 3.0 to 4.0.

Similarly, when considering the GRE score, while the reported average GRE percentile scores for admitted students is typically high, however the distribution of GRE scores for accepted students covers a wide range of scores. Thus, applicants who have met ALL minimum admission requirements are encouraged to apply.

Prospective applicant questions such as “Is my GRE score competitive?”, “Should I retake the GRE?”, or “Can someone review my transcripts to see if I will be a competitive applicant?” will not be entertained by the admissions committee.

How do I get an interview?

If you have submitted a complete application prior to the application deadline on October 1st, the admissions committee will evaluate your application materials including your grades, test scores, essays, letters of recommendation, and your observation hours. If you are granted an interview, you will be notified at the email address you have on file at PTCAS.

What GRE score does UNLVPT require?

UNLVPT does NOT have a minimum GRE score, but does prefer a composite score of 300 or higher in the verbal and quantitative sections and a 4.0 or higher on the writing section. However, each application is considered on a case-by-case basis for the GRE. In the event of a GRE retake, the highest score from each of the three sections of the GRE will be considered even if the highest scores are obtained on different testing dates. Official GRE scores MUST be submitted via the PTCAS application portal using reporting code 7618. Scores sent to other reporting codes may not be considered.

I am in college. How can I best prepare for PT school?

First, explore the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) Careers & Education page to learn about the profession of physical therapy. Arranging opportunities to observe or volunteer with local PTs is a great way to learn about the profession.

Second, examine the coursework you have taken and determine which courses you will apply towards the UNLV DPT prerequisites. If you are unsure which courses to choose, you can find a detailed list of potential course options at the UNLV Program Directory Page on the PTCAS website. Work with your undergraduate academic advisor to make a good plan to complete these courses.

Third, if your college has a Pre-Professional Advising Center, use it!

Fourth, if your college has a Pre-PT or other pre-professional health sciences club, get involved! This provides a great chance to network with other future professionals, gain leadership experience, and to refine your academic and professional goals. Be sure to identify and leverage the resources on your campus.

Fifth, complete the required observation/volunteer experience in a physical therapy department. While there, engage in the process. What does this mean? Examples include taking note of how the PT communicates effectively with staff, patients, and the community at large. Asking relevant questions to help you better understand what the PT or other staff are doing and why. If appropriate in the setting you’re at, talk with patients to learn about the patient experience with physical therapy and the health care system in general. As a PT it will be vital that you can connect with people and appreciate and understand their unique point of view and values.

Sixth, identify potential people who you’ll ask to write your letters of recommendation. Make sure these people know you well enough to speak to your many strengths.

Seventh, get involved with your community through volunteer and community service. It’s important to build these habits of the heart now as they are vital to providing compassionate care as a future PT.

Eighth, seek out opportunities to develop spoken and written communication skills. Take challenging upper division writing courses and when possible, research classes that push you to hone your ability to communicate clearly and effectively.

Ninth, develop leadership skills. Seek out opportunities to learn how to be a good teammate. Learn to benefit your “team” in both supporting and leadership roles. Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and continually seek to refine this set of skills.

Finally, complete the necessary coursework to earn a baccalaureate degree in the field of your choice.

Does it matter where I went to school as an undergraduate?

Applicants may complete their baccalaureate degree at any regionally accredited institution. If an applicant completed their baccalaureate degree or undergraduate coursework outside of the United States, there are additional requirements when submitting these transcripts/documentations to PTCAS. Please see our program directory page on PTCAS for details.

Do Nevada State residents get preference?

Yes, UNLV is a state school; therefore, preference for admission to the DPT program is given to Nevada residents. See UNLV Program Directory Page on PTCAS.org for details on the number of in-state vs out-of-state students accepted to the most recent incoming cohort. Typically, around half of each cohort is from Nevada.

Nevada residency of graduate students is in accordance with the regulations of the Board of Regents and the laws of Nevada. A full statement of the regulations is available at the Graduate College.

For more details visit the UNLV graduate student residency page.

Are scholarships available?

Yes, several scholarships are available to current UNLVPT students. First, second, and third year DPT students may apply for scholarships through the physical therapy department.

Current students apply for UNLVPT sponsored scholarships annually during the Fall Semester. Student UNLVPT scholarships are awarded each year during the Spring Semester. Historically, around half of all enrolled UNLV DPT program students receive some UNLVPT sponsored scholarship monies.

A limited number of second year UNLV DPT graduate or teaching assistant positions may also be available to currently enrolled second year UNLV DPT students through a competitive application process during the spring of the first year in the program. Visit the current students page for more scholarship details.

Does my doctor of physical therapy degree allow me to practice physical therapy?

No. The DPT degree is required to be eligible to sit for the national physical therapy exam (NPTE). Once the graduate passes the NPTE they then apply for a state license to practice as a physical therapist in the state of their choosing. Each state has its own state board of physical therapy that is responsible to issue licenses for PTs in that state. A list of state licensing authorities can be found on The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy website

What if I have a disability?

Students with documented disabilities or those who have received accommodations at any time in the past as a student are strongly encouraged to contact the UNLV Disability Resource Center (DRC) immediately upon acceptance to the program. The DRC works with students to ensure that those with documented disabilities receive appropriate accommodations. Accepted students should not wait to arrive on campus to start this process.

What is the passing rate for UNLV graduates on the physical therapy licensure exam?

Since 1998, every student who has graduated from the program has passed the licensure exam. Details regarding the UNLV DPT program acceptance rate, graduation rate, and National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) pass rate are housed on the UNLV Physical Therapy Department webpage.

Can I go to PT school part-time?

No. The DPT program is a full-time lock-step program where enrolled students’ progress through a pre-planned curriculum as a cohort.

Can I work while I am in PT school?

Due to the rigor and time intensive nature of the UNLV DPT program, outside employment, especially during the first two semesters, is discouraged.

I have a cumulative GPA of 2.8, but my prerequisite GPA is 3.5, can I still apply?

Applicants must meet ALL of the minimum requirements to remain eligible for consideration for admission to the DPT program. In the scenario above, while the applicant’s prerequisite GPA met the minimum requirement, the applicant’s overall (cumulative) GPA did not meet the minimum 3.0 level. Thus, the applicant in this scenario is not eligible for admission to the DPT program.

Where can I go for my clinical experiences while I am in the DPT program?

UNLVPT maintains contracts with many clinics and hospitals throughout the United States. The majority of UNLVPT clinical partners are located in the Western U.S. During the fall semester of the first year in the program, students are oriented to the clinical education program and will have the opportunity to communicate their preferences for clinical learning sites/settings/and locations. Students are NOT guaranteed any specific location for clinical experiences. Furthermore, it is expected that all students will have the ability to travel outside of Las Vegas for at least one of their clinical experiences. The ultimate decision as to the specific location of student clinical experiences is determined by the UNLVPT Director of Clinical Education (DCE) working in conjunction with the UNLVPT clinical education committee as well as UNLVPT’s clinical partners.