Physical Therapy (DPT)

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Prepare for a successful career as a Physical Therapist with a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from Indiana State University.

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Program Availability

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is a traditional, on-campus program offered on the Indiana State University campus in Terre Haute, Indiana. The program is designed for individuals with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university in any field other than physical therapy. There is no specific undergraduate major required. The program is open to eligible U.S. and international applicants. Admission is competitive. See admission requirements further down this page. The program is open to all applicants who received a bachelor's degree from a US accredited institution.

Why Earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy at Indiana State?

Indiana State’s Doctor of Physical Therapy is one of the most affordable DPT programs in the nation. Our graduates post stellar board pass rates and are highly recruited upon graduation. Typically, ISU DPT students receive additional clinical certifications which are included in regular tuition and fees. DPT students at ISU have extensive opportunities to participate in community engagement, which is a hallmark of the program.

Gain the Knowledge and Clinical Skills Needed for Success

Indiana State’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program will prepare you to become a successful physical therapist with the knowledge and skills needed to examine, evaluate, diagnose, and provide appropriate interventions for all levels of physical impairment in clients at all stages of life.

Your program of study will include classroom lectures and discussions, theory, laboratory study, a research project, and clinical education, during which you will gain supervised experience in areas such as acute, neurologic, and orthopedic care. You will work with members of the community early in your studies, including involvement in our student-run community engagement clinic.

Our program can be completed in three years of full-time study. We accept students into a cohort once per year, beginning with the first summer term (May). Part-time study is not an option.

Upon successful completion of program requirements, you will be prepared and eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).

Complete Extensive Clinical Education

The DPT’s clinical education component is a key element in ensuring your success post-graduation. Your clinical experiences will enable you to apply classroom knowledge to patients in the clinical setting.

You will engage in four clinical experiences. After year one, you will have a 10-week clinical experience to practice beginning skills learned in the first year. In the summer after year two, you will complete a second 10-week clinical experience that focuses on more advanced clinical skills. During year three, prior to graduation, you will complete 16 weeks of clinical experiences divided into one 10-week and one 6-week experience.

Your clinical experiences will take place in four different clinical practice settings to ensure your development as a well-rounded generalist clinician. We encourage you to complete at least one of your clinical experiences in a rural or underserved area. All students are required to complete clinical experiences outside of the area. The student will be responsible for all travel and housing costs associated with clinical rotations.

Learn in Exceptional Facilities

Facilities include our Clinical Instructional Laboratory, Instructional Examination Rooms, Applied Medicine Research Center, Physical Therapy Laboratory, and Occupational Therapy Laboratories. In addition, the Simulation Center, the Center for Sports Medicine and Performance, the Student-run Pro Bono Clinic,, and the Exercise Physiology, Biomechanics, and Motor Learning Laboratories support graduate coursework and research.

Learn with Other Healthcare Students

You will learn with and about other healthcare students, such as physician assistants, physicians, occupational therapists, nurses, nurse practitioners, athletic trainers, and social workers. This will help you develop an understanding of each healthcare professional's role and expertise, and it will promote teamwork and communication skills needed to enhance patient care.

Costs and Aid

The University’s Office of Student Financial Aid provides information and assistance regarding financial aid for graduate students. For information on aid and graduate tuition rates, visit Costs & Aid.

2023 Student Financial Fact Sheet

Learn from Our Excellent Faculty

As a graduate student in the Department of Applied Medicine and Rehabilitation, you will benefit from small classes taught by dedicated faculty mentors with diverse expertise and years of practical clinical experience.

Six of our faculty members are APTA Board-Certified Specialists. Recent faculty awards include the Excellence in Teaching Award presented to John Kiesel, PT, DPT, Associate Professor of Applied Medicine and Rehabilitation, by the College of Health and Human Services at Indiana State University. Dr. Howell Tapley received the university’s Faculty Award for Community-Based Learning and Scholarship in 2023. Faculty members within Indiana State's  DPT program are known for their many years of clinical experience.

DPT Program Outcomes

The DPT program’s current two-year graduation rate is 92.5 percent. The employment rate for our graduates dating from our inaugural class in 2018 to our Class of 2023 was 100 percent.

What You’ll Learn in the DPT Program

The DPT program includes 100 post-baccalaureate graduate credits. Core clinical hours are spent with physical therapy preceptors providing supervised client care for a total of 18 credits. The didactic and theory credits include laboratory time, service learning, practice hours using patient simulation/volunteers, and independent research culminating in a scholarly project.

Physical Therapy, Doctor of

Student Goals

  1. Students will practice in an ethical and legal manner utilizing effective oral and written interdisciplinary communication skills to patients and stakeholders within the profession, including those in rural and underserved areas.
  2. Students will demonstrate competent entry-level patient care skills and will be able to critically reason in examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention while functioning as autonomous practitioners.
  3. Students will promote health and wellness in their community.
  4. Students will demonstrate competence in accessing evidence-based literature, appraising the literature, and implementing it to enhance practice patterns.

Career Possibilities for DPT Graduates

Physical therapists practice in hospitals, outpatient clinics, schools, sports and fitness facilities, workplaces, and nursing homes, among other settings. They are an important part of preventive care, rehabilitation, and treatment for patients of all ages who have chronic conditions, illnesses, and injuries.

Because the need is so great, the career outlook for physical therapists is strong and salaries are excellent. U.S. News & World Report lists physical therapist as the #3 "best job" in health care and #6 overall, based on the number and percentage of projected openings from 2021 to 2031 as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Learn more about Indiana State’s DPT program with this short Video Introduction (3:26 min).

Accreditation

Indiana State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Higher Learning Commission

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Indiana State University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: https://www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 812-237-4428 or email howell.tapley@indstate.edu

CAPTE

Admission Requirements

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at Indiana State University participates in the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service, known as PTCAS. All applicants to the DPT program must apply and submit all application materials using the online PTCAS application. For details and instructions, visit the PTCAS website.

The DPT program accepts students into a cohort once per year, beginning with the first summer term (May). The annual application deadline for receipt of all application materials is usually mid-October. All application materials must be received by PTCAS before the deadline. Instruction and all deadlines are listed in PTCAS.

The Application Process through PTCAS for the DPT Program of 2025-2026 will be open from June 16, 2024, through October 15, 2024. Please watch this site for more information. We encourage you to review the website for valuable information on the Indiana State DPT program, prerequisites, questions, and more.

All applicants will need to attend an open house. We will hold our first in-person Open House on Wednesday, July 10, 2024, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. A second in-person open house and a separate virtual open house will be held later in the fall, with dates to be determined.

We will also have an Informational Zoom session on August 6, 2024, at 7:00 p.m.

To register for any event or schedule a personal tour, please email our Admissions Office at ISU-DPTAdmissions@indstate.edu.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree granted by a regionally accredited U.S. institution in any area except physical therapy, with a preferred minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale. The baccalaureate degree must be earned before enrolling in the program.

Applicants must have completed prerequisite coursework (listed below) with a preferred minimum GPA of 3.2.

Official GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores, including verbal, quantitative, and writing, must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Have all GRE scores sent to our program-specific code: 1710 - Indiana St U PTCAS. All GRE scores must fall within the past 5 years. There is no required minimum score; however, ISU uses a combined scoring of the Verbal and Quantitative GRE scores. We encourage you to review the average scores of previous cohorts to determine competitiveness.

A table showing an avaerage of Verbal and Quantitative GRE scores.

Applicants must submit an essay. (Guidelines are listed in the PTCAS.)

Applicants must provide recommendations from a licensed physical therapist, an academic source, and one other professional or academic reference. (Guidelines are listed in the PTCAS.)

Applicants are required to complete the Physical Therapy Observation/Experience requirement, which consists of a minimum of 60 hours of volunteer/observation experience or paid work under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. These experiences should include at least two different practice settings. Verification of observation hours is required. Applicants are encouraged to have their PT observation hours verified electronically through PTCAS at the time they apply rather than use a paper form. However, paper forms uploaded as attachments to the PTCAS application are also accepted.

Applicants are required to complete the Acuity Insights Assessments, a standardized, multi-part online assessment that measures different competencies and attributes that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of the DPT program. The assessments complement the other tools that we use for applicant review and evaluation. In implementing Acuity Insights Assessments, we are trying to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process.

Acuity Insights Assessments consists of Casper, a 90-110 minute online, open-response situational judgment test. You will register for the assessments for CSP-10101 - U.S. Professional Health Services. Go to AcuityInsights.app to create an account and for more information on important dates and requirements.

International students must have completed a bachelor’s degree and prerequisite courses from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university. The Test of English as a Foreign Language may be required.

Prerequisite Courses

Applicants are encouraged to complete as many prerequisite courses as possible prior to submitting the application for admission. It is preferred that all science/math prerequisites be completed prior to submission of the application (human anatomy/physiology, biology, chemistry, physics, and statistics coursework). However, up to 8 hours of prerequisites, including math/science courses, are allowed to be pending at the time the application is submitted.

Please note that all prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of C or higher (C-minus not accepted) prior to beginning the DPT program, and they must have been completed within the past 7 years. Prerequisite coursework may be retaken two times for a total of three attempts. Advanced Placement courses are not accepted. All courses must be completed at an accredited U.S. college or university. All labs must be taken in person/on campus, as online labs will not be accepted.

Note: An * indicates that only courses designed for science majors are accepted.

Prerequisite Courses

One course in Human Anatomy or the first course in the series of Anatomy and Physiology I & II. Anatomy content should include the skeletal and muscular systems of the human body. The equivalent of ISU BIO 231 & lab or ATTR 210 &lab. (Exception for ATTR 210 taken prior to fall 2022)

One course in Physiology or the second course in the series of Anatomy and Physiology I & II. Physiology content should cover various systems including: cardiovascular, endocrine, respiratory, etc. Equivalent of ISU BIO 241 & lab or PE 220 & lab

One course in biology to include either general biology, microbiology and/or cellular biology, (Botany not acceptable). Equivalent of ISU BIO 112 & lab or BIO 101 & lab, BIO 102 & lab

Content must include atomic and molecular structure. This course should be the first in the Chemistry I & II series. The equivalent of ISU CHEM 105 & lab

In addition to Chemistry I listed above. This course should be the second course in the Chemistry I & II series and must include a lab. The equivalent of ISU CHEM 106 & lab

Non-calculus or calculus-based. Equivalent to ISU PHYS 105 & lab

Non-calculus or calculus-based. Equivalent to ISU PHYS 106 & lab

Course content should include mean, median, mode, standard deviation, t-tests, etc. The equivalent of ISU AHS 240 Intro to Biostatistics is preferred; however, psychology and business statistics courses may be accepted.

The equivalent of ISU ATTR 225 Medical Terminology

Students must complete two courses in Psychology. One of these courses must be the equivalent of either ISU PSY 368 Abnormal Psychology or ISU PSY 266 Developmental/Lifespan Psychology

Coursework in Clinical Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology, and Life Science, including a cellular/developmental component, is highly recommended.

Pass/Fail Coursework

We recognize that COVID-19 changed academic plans across the country in ways that are outside of the student’s control. Our program will accept pass/fail grades for Spring 2020 courses with no disadvantage to the applicant. To enable us to make informed admission decisions, we do encourage as much coursework as possible be taken that is traditionally graded (versus pass/fail). This is especially true of our prerequisites.

Technology Requirements

Students must own a laptop computer and tablet. Any questions regarding technology requirements should be directed to the program prior to purchase. No formal coursework is required. However, students are expected to be proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

DPT Technical Standards

Applicants should review these technical standards, which have been established for candidates/current physical therapist students.

Application Instructions

The following are application instructions for the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at Indiana State University

First Step: Apply Using PTCAS

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at Indiana State University participates in the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service, known as PTCAS. All applicants to the DPT program must apply and submit all application materials using the online PTCAS application at apta.org/cas/ptcas.

Next Steps

Once the applicant has applied and submitted all application materials to PTCAS, the University will receive notification from PTCAS and review the applicant’s materials.

Selected DPT applicants will receive instructions for completing the admission process, including applying to Indiana State University and attending an Open House, either virtually or in person.