Frequently Asked Questions
Applying to the Program
- What is a physical therapist?
- Where do physical therapists work?
- What degree is offered at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)?
- How many students do you accept each year?
- Do I need a degree before I enter the program?
- Do you take out-of-state students?
- I was told I am on the waiting list. Can I find out what place I am on the waiting list?
- If I am not accepted this year, what should I do to reapply next year?
About the Program
- Do students do a research project while in the program?
- What is attending the physical therapy program like?
- Download the DPT 2014-2015 Student Handbook
What is a physical therapist?
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.
Where do physical therapists work?
Physical therapists practice in a broad range of inpatient, outpatient, and community-based settings, including the following: hospitals (e.g, critical care, 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.
Do I need a degree before I enter the program?
Yes. You must to have a Bachelor of Science or Arts from an accredited program prior to entering the physical therapy program. A specific major is not required, but specific prerequisite course work is required.
What scores are needed for the GRE?
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 60thpercentile 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, only the highest GRE scores for each section are considered. Applicants are advised to contact the Office of Enrollment Management to confirm that the highest scores have been received.
What grade point average is needed for admission?
Decisions for admission are made on a competitive basis, with the applicant’s undergraduate GPA factoring into the decision. A minimum 3.0 grade 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.
Can I retake a course and change my GPA?
The overall GPA is computed from all courses taken as an undergraduate, regardless of how many colleges or universities an applicant attended or how many times a particular course was taken. By retaking a course, the GPA may improve slightly, but with a large number of credit hours, the effect of one course is minimal.
If I have attended graduate school, or have a Master’s degree, will this help?
The overall GPA is computed using grades from all undergraduate courses taken. Applicants who have entered a graduate program will not have the grades from these courses counted in the calculation of the overall GPA. However, a master’s degree may benefit an applicant by improving the applicant’s profile.
Are there any courses I should take or that would help me if I get in the program?
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.
Other than grades and the GRE scores, what else is factored into the admissions decision?
An admissions committee examines each qualified applicant’s portfolio (the letters of reference, resume, and other admissions materials) and scores these. 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.
Does it matter what my undergraduate degree is in, and where I take my prerequisite courses?
While a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of arts degree is required for admission into the program, a particular major is not required. The program admits a diverse population of students with varied backgrounds and experiences. 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.
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.
I was told I am on the alternate list. Can I find out what place I am on the alternate list?
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.
Do students do a research project while in the program?
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.
What is attending the physical therapy program like?
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.