Frequently Asked Questions


A physical therapist is a healthcare provider educated to diagnose movement dysfunction and direct programs of care for individuals of all ages who have functional limitations or disabilities due to injury or disease, or for prevention. Physical therapists work to restore, maintain, and promote overall fitness and optimal quality of life as related to movement and health.

Physical therapists practice in a broad range of inpatient, outpatient, and community-based settings, including the following: hospitals (e.g, intensive care, acute care, and subacute care settings), outpatient clinics or offices, rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing, extended care, or subacute facilities, home health, academic or research centers, schools (preschool, primary, and secondary), hospice programs, corporate or industrial health centers, athletic facilities (collegiate, amateur, and professional), fitness centers and sports training facilities.

About the Program

MUSC offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

The Division of Physical Therapy is currently exploring a hybrid option for the DPT program. IT has been approved by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education but still needs to be vetted and approved by CAPTE. A formal announcement about the program will be made once more information is available.

We accept up to 68 students each year. The program begins in late May.

The program begins in late May.

Professional graduate school is very different than undergraduate education. Students may be in class from 8:00 in the morning or earlier, and not finish until late in the evening some days. Students are expected to dress and act in a professional manner while attending lecture and seminar classes. Laboratory courses require students to dress to allow practice of techniques and skills. Students need the ability to both physically and mentally focus for extended periods of time. Information learned in a course early in the program will be used throughout the program. Students should study not only for tests and exams, but study to learn and to apply what is learned across a career. Didactic (e.g., lecture, reading) learning is only a part of PT school. Students also practice professional skills throughout the program. Good motor skills and coordination are very important. Students in the program are also very active in volunteer and service activities for the College, the University, the community, and the profession. Students have been very generous with their time and energy in organizing, conducting, or supporting multiple charitable events.

There are several research laboratories associated with the program (the Neuromuscular Assessment Laboratory and the Motion Analysis laboratory), and several of the faculty are actively involved in clinical research. Students in the DPT program are afforded opportunities to work with faculty on research projects as electives beginning in the second year of the curriculum. Students are not required to generate an independent research project. Students do perform literature reviews, study the research process, and learn to become critical consumers of clinical and scientific research.

Applying to the Program

Yes. You must to have a Bachelor of Science or Arts from an accredited institution prior to entering the physical therapy program. A specific major is not required, but specific prerequisite course work is required.

A particular major is not required and the program does not weigh or rank the undergraduate institutions that an applicant attends. We do recommend that applicants take a challenging curriculum as they pursue the undergraduate degree, and take the prerequisite courses at an institution that will provide rigor and high academic expectations. This allows the applicant to be best prepared for the rigors of the PT curriculum. It is important for applicants to understand that time management skills are very important in a professional graduate program. A large volume of material must be mastered, and retained across the educational experience, and then after graduation. Students are required to develop attitudes and skills to allow for lifelong learning. A challenging course of study as an undergraduate helps to prepare applicants for the DPT program.

Applicants must have a minimum of 40 hours of experience, either paid or volunteer, with a minimum of two patient populations in at least one physical therapy setting. Patient populations may include pediatrics, young adults, geriatrics, athletes, etc. A minimum of 10 hours of experience must come from a single patient population. There are no other time requirements for additional patient populations.

Examples of patient populations include:

  • Outpatient clinics
  • Private practice
  • Hospital affiliated
  • Sports medicine
  • Hospitals
  • Acute care
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Home health
  • School systems
  • Skilled nursing facilities

Yes, the program will accept online or in-person coursework from a regionally accredited institution for any prerequisite course.

Yes, the program will accept AP credits. When you apply you will need to submit your official scores report demonstrating a score of 3 or higher.

Applicants are required to take the Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical / Writing components of the GRE. The scores must be reported before the application is complete. While a specific score on the GRE is not required, it is strongly recommended that applicants take the GRE as many times as needed to have competitive scores. Scores in the 60th percentile will generally put an applicant in the competitive range. If the applicant’s grade point average is lower, higher GRE scores may improve the application. During the admissions process, the highest GRE score for each section are considered.

Decisions for admission are made on a competitive basis, with the applicant’s undergraduate GPA factoring into the decision. A minimum 3.0 grade cumulative and prerequisite point average (GPA) is required in order to be considered for admission to the program. The average undergraduate GPA for admitted students has historically been 3.6.

MUSC calculates GPA without forgiveness. This means that your overall GPA is computed from all college courses (undergraduate and graduate) you've taken, regardless of how many colleges or universities an applicant attended or how many times a particular course was taken. By retaking a course, the prerequisite GPA may improve slightly, but with a large number of credit hours, the effect of one course is minimal.

A master’s degree may benefit an applicant by improving the applicant’s profile as your overall GPA is computed using grades from all college courses taken.

The program admits a diverse population of students with varied backgrounds and experiences. An admissions committee examines each qualified applicant’s portfolio (the letters of reference, and other admissions materials). Experience in physical therapy, strong letters of reference, volunteer/service activities, leadership activities, and honors and awards assist applicants in improving the profile score. Applicants should develop goals and a plan early in their academic career for demonstrating these attributes.

Physical therapists must be able to communicate clearly and effectively in both verbal and written formats. Courses in public speaking and courses that improve the applicant’s ability to write are very beneficial. Physical therapists use research to make clinical decisions regarding best practice. Therefore, courses on research design, data management, and analysis are of benefit. A major focus for physical therapy is human movement and function. Additional courses in anatomy, physiology, exercise physiology, movement science, kinesiology, and the neurosciences are also beneficial to the applicant.

The DPT program at MUSC desires to recruit and admit a diverse population of highly qualified students, who demonstrate the potential to be excellent physical therapists and citizens. To meet this goal, the program accepts the most qualified applicants. While the majority of students are from South Carolina, the program welcomes out of state students, with many remaining in the state following graduation.

Typically, we have students who are admitted after being on the alternate list. Applicants are ranked on the alternate list using the same criteria that are used admission. The position on the waiting list is not provided.

Applicants must contact PTCAS and the Office of Enrollment Management to reactivate and/or update the application. Applicants should take steps to enhance the application by improving GRE scores, retaking prerequisite courses, gaining additional experience in physical therapy, and increasing engagement in service and leadership activities.