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Frequently Asked Questions

What is your minimum GPA?

A cumulative GPA of 3.20 is required to be considered for admission.  All college coursework, including transfer credit and retaken coursework, is used in calculating the cumulative GPA. The average GPA for incoming students is approximately 3.50 for both cumulative and prerequisite course work.

Why is the GPA calculated by the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) different from the one on my university transcript? Which GPA will DMU use?

Oftentimes, the difference in GPAs between what PTCAS calculates and what appears on a university transcript has to do with re-taken courses. If a student re-takes a course for a better grade, many universities will only count the higher grade in its GPA calculation. PTCAS, however, counts both the original grade and the re-taken grade when it calculates a GPA. DMU only uses the GPAs provided by PTCAS. More information on PTCAS grade calculations.

Do you require the GRE?

Yes. All applicants to the doctor of physical therapy program must submit GRE scores. The GRE institution code for Des Moines University is 2256.

Do I need to finish all of the requirements before I can apply?

No. Students must be prepared to finish all requirements prior to orientation in August, but they can apply before all prerequisites are completed. This includes both course work and PT observational experiences.

When is your application deadline?

The doctor of physical therapy program participates in the web-based Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Applications begin July 5 for the class that begins the following August. The deadline is December 15. Because of the rolling admission policy, it is in your best interest to apply early.

How many applications do you get each year?

It varies, but in recent years we have received between 500 and 600 applications for the 52 seats in the class.

What can I do to be a more competitive applicant?

In addition to a high GPA and lots of varied experiences in physical therapy, we like to see a strong background in the hard sciences. The admissions committee also looks for applicants who are knowledgeable about the field and are truly motivated to become physical therapists.

What kind of scholarships do you offer?

The College of Health Sciences offers scholarships to incoming students based on previous academic performance. In the past, most of these scholarships have ranged from $1,000 to $5,000 for selected students. All students who are accepted into the program are automatically eligible for these scholarships; there is no separate application required.

I don’t have a bachelor’s degree, can I still apply?

A bachelor’s degree is required for entrance into the program, but you can apply prior to receiving the degree. The physical therapy program is an entry-level doctorate program and requires that all students have a bachelor’s degree when they matriculate in August. We will accept students with bachelor’s degrees in any field.

Can I earn my bachelor’s degree from Des Moines University?

No. DMU does not offer bachelors programs. You must complete a BA or BS degree from another accredited institution before starting at DMU.

What kind of observational experience is required and what kind of experiences count?

Applicants are required to observe physical therapists at work in various settings. We require that you spend at least 100 hours observing licensed physical therapists.  As part of that time, you must spend at least 20 hours in each of the following three settings: Acute Care, Neurological Rehabilitation, and Orthopedics.  We encourage applicants to observe in other settings as well.  Possible options include: Cardio/pulmonary care, Electrophysiology, Geriatrics, Pediatrics, Women’s health, and Sports Medicine

What is your placement rate for graduates, and what is the average salary?

We have traditionally had a 100% placement rate upon graduation for most of our classes. Students often receive job offers from the sites where they completed clinical rotations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapists is expected to grow faster than average for the next decade. They estimate that the median annual earnings of physical therapists was $76,312 in 2010.

Do you have a preference for Iowa applicants?

No. We do not have an in-state preference. Because we are a private institution, we do not take applicants’ state of residence into consideration when making acceptance offers. We are looking for the best and brightest applicants, regardless of their state of residence.

If you have additional questions, contact admission office at 515-271-7854 or ptadmit@dmu.edu.