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Frequently Asked Questions

Applying to the Program

About the Program

What is it like to be a student in the physical therapy program?
The physical therapy program is a three-year graduate professional program. Students initially take a number of courses in the basic foundational sciences such as anatomy, neuroscience and pathophysiology. Then, clinical courses are introduced that focus on the examination and treatment of patients with problems involving different body systems. Students have the opportunity to practice physical therapy techniques on classmates and patient volunteers during clinical labs. The program culminates with clinical experiences in a variety of settings such as outpatient clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and many more, where students have the opportunity to examine and treat patients under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. Students in our program are also very active in 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.

How many students do you accept each year?
A maximum of 64 students are accepted annually.

Do I need a degree before I enter the program?
Yes. You must complete a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university prior to entering the Physical Therapy program. A specific undergraduate major is not required, but prerequisite courses must be completed prior to beginning the program.

What is a desirable GRE score?
Applicants are required to take the Quantitative, Verbal, Analytical / Writing components of the GRE, and scores must be reported before the application is complete. A specific score is not required, but the overall GRE score and the Verbal score are strongly considered in the admissions process. Applicants should strive to achieve scores around the 50th percentile to be competitive. During the admissions process, the highest GRE scores are considered. Contact the Office of Enrollment Management to confirm that the highest scores have been received.

What GPA do I need?
We require a minimum 3.0 grade point average (GPA) to be considered for admission to the program. The average GPA for admitted students has historically been 3.5 or higher. The GPA for prerequisite courses is calculated separately and also considered in the admissions process.

Can I retake a course and change my GPA?
The overall GPA is computed using all courses regardless of how many colleges or universities an applicant attended and how many times a particular course has been taken. By retaking a course, the overall GPA may improve slightly, but with a large number of credit hours, the effect of one course is minimal.

The prerequisite GPA is computed with the highest grades earned in a course. For example, if an applicant made a C (2.0) in Chemistry I and then took Chemistry I again and made an A (4.0), only the A would be considered in the computation of the prerequisite GPA. This can benefit some applicants since we consider prerequisite GPA in addition to overall GPA when ranking applicants for admission.

What are the statistics for your students performance on the national board exam?
Statistics for the pass rates for the past 4 years can be found in the chart below. The Physical Therapy Program at MUSC is proud to say that 100% of our graduates have obtained employment after passing the board examinations.

Overall Pass Rate
on the NPTE
201298%Not yet determined

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 and graduate courses taken. In addition, a master’s degree may benefit a competitive applicant by enhancing the overall presentation of the individual.

Are there any courses I should take if I get in the program?
Additional courses in anatomy, physiology, exercise physiology, movement science, kinesiology, and neuroscience are beneficial for applicants because of the focus on restoring movement and function for individuals receiving physical therapy.

What else affects the admissions decision?
The admissions committee reviews each qualified applicant’s portfolio (the letters of reference, resume, and other admissions materials). Experience in physical therapy, strong letters of reference, volunteer/service activities, and honors and awards enhance the application.

Does my undergraduate degree need to be in a specific area of study?
While a bachelor’s of science or arts degree is required for admission into the program, a particular major is not required. The program admits a diverse class with varied backgrounds and experiences.

Does it matter where I take my prerequisite courses?
Courses must be taken at an accredited institution; however, the program does not weigh or rank the institutions that applicants attend. We do recommend that applicants take a challenging curriculum at an institution that will provide rigor and has high academic expectations. However, we recognize that some applicants may have limited choices regarding where prerequisites are taken due to work or family obligations.

Do you take out-of-state students?
Yes. About a third of the class is from out of state. Many out of state students remain in the South Carolina following graduation.

I was told I am on the alternate list.  Can I find out what place I am on the alternate list?
Applicants are ranked on the alternate list using the same criteria as that used for early and regular admission cycles. Information about the actual position on the alternate list is not provided to the applicant. A number of students from the alternate list are accepted each year. It is possible for someone on the alternate list to be accepted for admission just prior to the start of the program in late May.

If I am not accepted this year, what should I do to reapply next year?
Applicants, who are not admitted, are encouraged to meet with a representative from the Division of Physical Therapy to review the applicant’s portfolio and receive suggestions for improvement prior to the next application cycle. Applicants must contact the Office of Enrollment Management to reactivate and/or update the application and will need to indicate their intention to reapply for either the early or the regular cycle for admissions.

Do students do a research project while in the program?
Students are not required to complete an independent research project while in the program but do perform literature reviews, learn about the research process, and learn to become critical consumers of clinical and scientific research. We also provide students with the skills to be able to write a case study. For individuals interested in more in-depth research opportunities, they may enroll in elective courses called Research Project and work with individual faculty or may work in one of our research labs such as the Neuromuscular Assessment or Motion Analysis lab on ongoing research grants and projects.

Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Download the DPT 2012-13 Student Handbook or download the 2013 PT Health Advisors Report.


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