Doctor of Physical Therapy

doctor of physical therapy working with patient

The highest level of preparation to answer your calling

For those interested in the deepest grounding in the science of physical therapy, the Doctor of Physical Therapy is the most intensive study of our profession available. The DPT is a three-year program with a heavy emphasis on the sciences. You will develop the foundation you need to make effective evidence-based decisions for your patients.

Your time in the program will feature intensive clinical work, putting into practice the technical knowledge you develop through your academic study. The program is defined by three traits:

  • You will learn and work as part of a team. Health care, today, is increasingly delivered by teams of professionals from many different disciplines working in collaboration. This is how you will learn at Samford. You will work in collaboration with people from a variety of programs.
  • You will use the most advanced technology. Lectures, labs and clinical experiences will utilize apps for education and support while providing care. You'll leave our program prepared to use current and developing technologies to work with your patients in your professional environment.
  • Service is central to everything we do. We believe that we are all called to serve, to use our skills and knowledge to make the lives of people better. You will have the opportunity to participate in service projects in communities at home and around the world.

Our mission is to help you become a life-long learner — to help you develop the knowledge, skills and experience you need to effectively answer the calling of your life. Your knowledge will be grounded in science, but your motivations powered by compassion.

Admission Requirements+

Doctor of Physical Therapy Admission:
PTCAS Application Opens: July 1, 2015
Application Deadline: October 1, 2015
Entry Month: May, 2016

Early Decision Program:
PTCAS Application Opens: July 1, 2015
Application Deadline: August 15, 2015
Entry Month: May, 2016

Admission to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program is competitive. Admission requirements include:

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university (degree in any field) or be in the senior year of undergraduate study. A completed bachelor’s degree is required prior to enrollment, as evidenced by a final official college/university transcript. You may receive conditional acceptance with a letter from your registrar stating you have, in fact, completed the requirements for the degree. The “conditional” status is removed once we receive your official transcript.
  • Cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • “B” or better in all prerequisite courses. All prerequisite courses must have been completed within 10 years prior to application. Required prerequisite courses include:
    • Biology I & II with labs
    • Chemistry I & II with labs
    • Physics I & II with labs
    • Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II with labs
    • Pre-calculus
    • Statistics
    • Psychology
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within the past 5 years with minimum scores of:
    • Verbal: 153
    • Quantitative: 144
    • Analytical: 4.0
    • Submit Scores to PTCAS, Samford Code: 1688
  • Ten hours of documented volunteer experience in each of three different physical therapy practice settings (30 hours total)
    • The program likes to see applicants spend at least a day and a half (10 hours) in 3 different settings, observing diverse patient populations (total = 30 hours +).  An example of this would be 3 half days in a children’s hospital outpatient center, 1 and ½ days in a skilled nursing facility; 1 long day with a PT seeing patients with sports injuries in the clinic, then also on the athletic field later in the evening.  The goal of these 30 hours should be to observe the most different practice settings so that the applicant can reflect on the different roles a PT professional can serve.
  • Three letters of reference submitted through the application system. The three required references should be from 1) current or previous professor, 2) work supervisor and 3) a licensed physical therapist.
  • International applicants or American citizens who learned English as a second language must score at least 550 (paper), 213 (computer) or 80 (Internet) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  • Participate in an in-person interview. 
Upon acceptance, a non-refundable fee of $500 is required to secure admission into the program. This fee is applied to the first semester's tuition. 

Exceptions to any admission requirements will be handled on an individual basis.

Students and applicants who seek accommodations must make a request by contacting the Section 504/Disability Access and Accommodation Coordinator, 205-726-4078 or

Application Process +

The steps below outline the application process for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. To apply, you are required to submit both an application through PTCAS as well as a Physical Therapy Supplemental Form. Before starting these applications, we recommend that you complete the following checklist:

  • Obtain student copies of your college transcripts to assist you in completing the coursework section for the application.
  • Print the instruction manual located under “Quick Links” found at
  • Create an application account at PTCAS simplifies the process of applying to all PT programs. Compete one application and send it along with other information to our centralized service. The PTCAS organization will verify your application for accuracy, calculate your GPA and send your materials to the Doctor of Physical Therapy admissions department at Samford University.
  • Request official transcripts from each institution attended by using the transcript request form in PTCAS.
  • Complete the form, submit it to the registrar's office of each institution attended and instruct them to enclose the form with your official sealed transcript. Transcripts must be sent to the PTCAS Transcript Department:
                                    PTCAS Transcript Processing Center
                                    P.O. Box 9112
                                    Watertown, MA 02471
    PTCAS accepts official transcripts sent directly from the registrar's office only. Please send transcripts as early as possible and no less than four to six weeks before the application deadline due to the time needed by PTCAS to verify your application.
  • Pay the initial service fee of $140 when submitting the PTCAS application.
  • Obtain three letters of recommendation from 1) current or previous professor; 2) supervisor; and 3) physical therapist. These letters of recommendation will be submitted through PTCAS. The references should attest to the applicant's academic ability and potential.
  • Please fill out ALL sections of the application.

Submit official test scores to Samford University - Code: 1688.

For more information about admission to Samford University's Department of Physical Therapy, please contact:
Dr. Marian Carter
Assistant Dean for Enrollment Management and Student Services

Early Decision Program+

The Early Decision program is a binding option for applicants who have decided that a particular PT program is their first choice and that they will enroll if accepted. An Early Decision applicant can apply to only one PTCAS program until the program has decided to accept, deny, or move an applicant to “general” (regular) status. 

AUGUST 15 - Early Decision Deadline for Applicants

In addition to completing the PTCAS application, applicants must arrange for PTCAS to receive all of their official US transcripts and fee by August 17. Early decision candidates must take the GRE® and request scores by no later than July 31, if the GRE is required by the program. If an applicant’s application, transcripts, or fee arrive after the early decision deadline, PTCAS will automatically change the file from early decision to regular status.

SEPTEMBER 24 – Deadline for Programs to Submit Decisions to PTCAS for Early Decision Applicants 

ED applicants with "Denied" or "Early Admission to General" codes may apply to other programs in PTCAS for a fee of $40 for each additional program. There is no price differential for ED versus regular applicants in PTCAS.

ED applicants with one of the following acceptance codes can NOT apply to other PTCAS programs.

• Offer Made
• Offer Accepted
• Withdrew After Offer Accepted
• Declined Offer

PTCAS does not immediately notify ED applicants about a program's admission decision. Programs are expected to contact applicants directly about decisions. If; however, an ED applicant logs into the application after PTCAS has processed the program's Denied or General decision code in WebAdMIT, the applicant can designate additional programs at that time. On September 27, PTCAS will send a blast email to all ED applicants with Denied or General status, so they know they can to apply to additional programs in PTCAS.

PTCAS applicants choose to apply as Early Decision or regular (general) applicants at the time they apply.  Regular and ED applicants are able to submit the PTCAS application as soon as it opens.   Therefore, programs participating in the ED process receive a mix of regular and ED applicants via WebAdMIT.  ED applicants are given priority in the verification process. Programs may make admission decisions on both applicant types as they receive them.

To learn more about the Early Decision Program, contact Dr. Marian Carter.

Plan of Study+

Proposed Plan of Study for D.P.T. program
Summer 1 Semester includes: Human Anatomy (6 credits), Histology/Physiology (3 credits), Human Movement Science I (3 credits), PT Exam I (4 credits) -- Total Credits (16)

Fall 1 Semester includes: Neuroscience (4 credits), Pathophysiology (3 credits), Human Movement Science II (4 credits), Faith, Ethics, Healthcare and Physical Therapy (1 credit), PT Exam 2 (4 credits) -- Total Credits (16)

Spring 1 Semester includes: Human Movement Science III (2 credits), Medical Management of Health Conditions (2 credits), Evidence-Based Practice and Research Design (2 credits), Interprofessionalism and Healthcare (1 credit), PT Interventions (4 credits), Patient Client Management: Acute Care to Community (4 credits) -- Total Credits (15)

Summer 2 Semester includes: Pharmacology (1 credit), Evidence-Based Practice (2 credits), Health Care Service/Field Experience (4 credits), Professional Internship I (4 credits) -- Total Credits (11)

Fall 2 Semester includes: Human Movement Science IV (3 credits), Medical Management of Health Conditions II (2 credits), Teaching and Learning I (1 credit), Patient Client Management: Pediatrics (5 credits), Patient Client Management: Spine (5 credits), Capstone Project I (1 credit) -- Total Credits (17)

Spring 2 Semester includes: Medical Management of Health Conditions III (2 credits), Physical Therapy Practice Management (3 credits), Patient Client Management: Young Adults (4 credits), Patient Client Management: Lower Quarter (5 credits), Capstone Project II (1 credit) -- Total Credits (15)

Summer 3 Semester includes: Medical Management of Health Conditions IV (2 credits), Teaching and Learning II (1 credit), Patient Client Management: Older Adults (5 credits), Patient Client Management: Upper Quarter (5 credits), Capstone Project III (1 credit) -- Total Credits (14)

Fall 3 Semester includes: Professional Internship II (12 credits)

Spring 3 Semester includes: Professional Internship III (12 credits)

Total D.P.T. Program Credits: 128

Plan of Study]

Tuition & Fees+

Doctor of Physical Therapy tuition, per semester $10,934
Application fee $135
Campus life fee, per semester $25
Technology fee, per semester $175

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*Effective April 29, 2015 Samford University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the programs is progressing toward accreditation and may matriculate students in technical/professional courses. Candidate for Accreditation is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation.