Doctor of Physical Therapy

*As you review the information below, feel free to reach out to Mr. Arnie Mejias with live questions from 8:30 a.m. until 12 p.m. on Thursday mornings (unless otherwise noted) via Facebook (as "Arnaldo Mejias" with the Honors College logo as his icon) and Skype (username:

First-time in college (FTIC) USF students who have been admitted to the Honors College and are interested in a career in physical therapy are offered a guaranteed admission pathway to USF Health's School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences (SPTRS) to complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).

Students must continue to meet all the benchmarks of the program, including a successful interview with SPTRS. There is a GRE requirement for this program beginning Fall 2018. The SPTRS requires that all students who apply to the USF DPT program submit GRE scores as part of their application. They do not have a specific minimum score for admission, but the selection committee will review the scores as part of the student selection process.


The undergraduate years of study will be completed at the Honors College at USF and the doctoral training will be completed at the School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences. Students applying for this guaranteed admission pathway program will complete a major in Biomedical Sciences (BMS). The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) will be conferred after the successful completion of the physical therapy program.

Honors College academic advisors will provide oversight of the student's progress in meeting Honors requirements and will coordinate overall completion of the undergraduate years of the program. The School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences will provide oversight of the 3-year medical school curricular components of the program.

Initial Eligibility Requirements

Formal Continuation Process
Eligible students shall declare their intent to pursue the program no later than April 1 of the Spring term of their first year of undergraduate enrollment.
Note: PTCAS applications may be submitted beginning in early July of each year. Since PTCAS reviewers need four to six (4-6) weeks to verify applications; we strongly encourage students to submit their applications early.

USF GAP Program Requirements

Undergraduate Research
Students are required to complete a minimum of two (2) semesters of undergraduate health-related research. Research may be lab-based or clinical in nature. Prior to starting the research project, students must obtain approval from the Honors College GAP advisor. Students should submit proposal for their Undergraduate Research to the Honors College GAP advisor for review.

Students often opt to complete their research as their Honors College Thesis (IDH 4950/4970). In this instance, students should plan to begin their research a semester prior to the two-semester thesis.

The purpose of this requirement is to immerse students in research so they gain a full understanding of all aspects of the research process, including inquiry, developing and testing hypotheses, methodology, analyzing/interpreting results, gathering conclusions and considering implications/future potential projects. This also includes learning whether or not students enjoy research and would like it to be integrated into their career and to learn to understand scientific/medical literature. Ideally, student researchers would have their own projects and data with which to work. However, since this is not always possible, there are students (not enrolled in thesis) who work closely with faculty mentors (or doctoral-level students working for principal investigators), assisting them with the various steps in the research process (and many times being responsible for individual tasks).

Honors College Curriculum
Prior to matriculation to the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, students must complete the Honors College curriculum, a two semester thesis (IDH 4950/4970), a special section of IDH 3600 in Biomedical Ethics, and fulfill the global/cultural experience requirement. Students must also complete any additional courses needed to fulfill requirements for FKL (Foundations of Knowledge & Learning) or Enhanced General Education.

Observational Experience & Community Service
By May 15 of Year 1, students must submit a minimum of ten documented contact hours in community service and five documented contact hours of observational experience. Only hours completed after high school graduation will apply toward the GAP program.

Students must complete a minimum of 80 documented contact hours of medical experience and community service (40 hours each) by Year 3. Students who opt to apply to PT schools outside the GAP program should plan to complete additional hours.
Students must document hours through the appropriate online forms. Hours must be verified by an on-site supervisor. In the case of observational experience, an email confirmation from the physician is required. A form for later PTCAS use will be used. For community service, an email confirmation from the volunteer/site coordinator is required.

Observational Experience:
Students must complete a minimum of 40 contact hours of approved observational experience by June 1 of Year 3. Acceptable experience is defined as observing a doctor of physical therapy (DPT). Students should consult with the GAP advisor to ensure that their observational experience is suitable to fulfill the program's requirement.

Community Service:
A career in physical therapy is a career in service; therefore, service is an important component of a student's preparation. Students in the GAP program must complete a minimum of 40 contact hours of service by the time they submit their primary PTCAS application to the Morsani College of Medicine School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences. Service may be completed on or off-campus but must be affiliated with a recognized non-profit organization which provides donated services for public benefit. Examples of appropriate service activities include Habitat for Humanity, Reach Out and Read, Relay for Life, United Way, Metropolitan Ministries, and service projects organized through USF's Center for Leadership & Civic Engagement.

Students may volunteer in a hospital or clinic in order to obtain patient-care experience; community service of a non-medical nature is also strongly encouraged.

Note: Volunteer activities that are religious or political in nature are not accepted toward this requirement. If you are unsure whether or not your intended service experience is appropriate to meet the GAP requirement, please check with the GAP program advisor.

School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences Interview
Students must have a successful formal interview with the School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences after the first year. Interviews are typically conducted in May. Honors College advisors are available to assist students in preparing for the formal interview.

Letters of Recommendation
Students must prepare to submit letters of recommendation via PTCAS at the time of application to the DPT program. The SPTRS requires a minimum of 2 letters, both of which must be from licensed Physical Therapists. PTCAS will allow you to upload up to 4 letters of recommendation. Please ensure that you use two of the four spots for PT letters to meet their requirement, as they do not permit direct receipt of any materials.

For help from the Honors College please email Mr. Mejías: