Doctor of Physical Therapy

Eastern Washington University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program is dedicated to quality graduate education. Our students gain hands-on experience with each of the major sub-disciplines of physical therapy practice: musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular and pulmonary, integumentary and research.

Our curriculum is designed to prepare leaders for the profession of physical therapy whose focus of practice is to diagnose and manage movement dysfunction and enhance the physical and functional abilities of the clients they serve.

Director of Admissions
Angela Merlo, PT, DPT, PhD

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In the DPT Program, students learn to:

  • Respond to the changing health care environment
  • Integrate the principles of teaching and learning in professional practice
  • Use ethical and moral principles in professional practice
  • Incorporate the principles of research in physical therapy practice
  • Practice physical therapy incorporating scientific knowledge and critical analysis
  • Value lifelong learning through personal and professional growth

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Application Process

Due to the COVID crisis and recommendations from the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT) and the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) we have made the following changes to our admissions criteria for the current admissions cycle.  

  • Online or distant learning will be accepted for all courses taken during the COVID restrictions period.
  • Prerequisite Courses with Lab. Labs will no longer be required by EWU for prerequisite courses taken during the COVID restrictions period.
  • Pass/Fail grades (or Pass/No Credit, Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) will be accepted for courses taken during the COVID restrictions period.
  • Observation hours are recommended, not required. We encourage applicants to gain as many hours as possible and diversify the physical therapy settings observed once restrictions are lifted.

For further questions, please contact:

Director of Admissions
Angela Merlo, PT, DPT, PhD

  • The application deadline has been extended until June 3, 2024. 
  • Acceptance and waitlist emails will be sent out through PTCAS from mid-November 2023 through mid-June 2024 as applications are received and reviewed.
  • Once accepted, students must pay a  nonrefundable $500 deposit by February 15, 2024, to secure their spot in the program. This deposit is applied to the first-semester tuition.

  • Have an overall GPA of 3.0 at the time of application.
  • Complete the GRE within five years of applying and have the official scores sent to PTCAS
    • The GRE code is 3789 for PTCAS.
    • You must achieve a minimum writing score of 4.0.
  • Have the following individuals complete a letter of recommendation through PTCAS:
    • One physical therapists
    • One current or former employer/supervisor/coach
  • Complete a bachelor’s degree at an accredited institution by July of the year of admission.

You must complete the courses below with a minimum GPA of 2.0 in each course by July 15 of the year you enter the program.

Biology (Zoology) with Labs
  • One quarter (or semester) of human anatomy
  • One quarter (or semester) of human physiology
    • The above can be satisfied by two courses in combined Anatomy & Physiology (A&P)
  • One quarter (or semester) upper-division course (300- level or above) in human, animal or exercise physiology (preferred)
  • One quarter (or semester) upper-division course (300- level or above) of your choosing in biology, zoology or movement studies
    • The course must be worth at least three (3) semester credits or four (4) quarter credits
    • Recommended courses include embryology, microbiology, developmental biology, cell biology, or movement studies courses such as biomechanics or kinesiology (preferred).
    • Note: classes in botany, fish and wildlife biology and ecology will not satisfy this requirement.
Chemistry with Labs
  • One-year of any chemistry series (with labs recommended).
Physics with Labs
  • One-year physics series (with labs recommended).
Behavioral Science
  • Any two courses in behavioral science including psychology, sociology or anthropology.
  • One quarter (or semester) in any discipline

Once an applicant has been notified of acceptance into the DPT Program, a non-refundable deposit of $500 will be required to reserve a place in the program. This deposit will be applied to the first semester’s tuition.

As a student who is considering a career in physical therapy, you should familiarize yourself with the licensing and other legal requirements that may be required to obtain licensure following successful completion of your degree.

The following cost estimates are subject to change. For the most up-to-date general tuition and fee information, visit the Student Financial Services website.

Washington Residents and PSEP Funded

CategoryYear 1 (DPT1)Year 2 (DPT2)Year 3 (DPT3)Program Total
DPT Differential$2,250.00$2,250.00$1,500.00$6,000.00
Course Fees$1,998.60$426.75$726.00$3,151.35
EWU Fees$1,537.50$1,537.50$945.00$4,020.00


CategoryYear 1 (DPT1)Year 2 (DPT2)Year 3 (DPT3)Program Total
DPT Differential$2,250.00$2,250.00$1,500.00$6,000.00
Course Fees$1,998.60$726.00$426.75$3,151.35
EWU Fees$1,120.83$1,120.82

Non-Residents Who Establish Washington State Residency

CategoryYear 1 (DPT1)Year 2 (DPT2)Year 3 (DPT3)Program Total
DPT Differential$2,250$2,250$1,500$6,000
Course Fees$1,998.60$726.00$426.75$3,151.35
EWU Fees$1,537.50

Download EWU Doctor of Physical Therapy Financial Facts

Thank you for your interest in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Eastern Washington University. For students interested in applying for Fall of 2024:

  1. Review application deadlines and prerequisite information on our website.
  2. Pay the $80 EWU Physical Therapy Program application fee.
  3. Complete and submit the EWU Doctor of Physical Therapy application through PTCAS.

The application deadline has been extended from October 2, 2023, until June 3, 2024, for admission in the Fall of 2024. We will be evaluating applications continually until the DPT cohort is filled.  Once the cohort is filled, competitive applications submitted before the June 3rd deadline will be placed on a waitlist.  We strongly suggest you submit your application as soon as possible to improve the chances of being admitted into the cohort versus waitlisted.  Admission decisions will occur on a rolling basis as applications are reviewed.

Applications for Fall of 2025 will not open until July 2024.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Overall acceptance rate: 7%
  • Average overall GPA: 3.86 (ranging from 3.52 – 4.0)
  • Average prerequisite GPA: 3.89 (ranging from 3.58- 4.0)
  • Average GRE Verbal score: 73% (ranging from 41% to 96%)
  • Average GRE Quantitative score: 61% (ranging from is 32% to 88%)
  • Required minimum GRE Writing score: 4.0
  • In-state: 43% | Out-of-state: 56%
  • Matriculation rates: 38

Admission to the Physical Therapy Program is based both on academic achievement and non-academic factors which ensure that candidates can complete the essential functions of the academic program required for graduation.

The initial application review serves to assess whether the student has met all minimum requirements for admission, including GPA, GRE, and specified letters of recommendation. Once minimum requirements have been verified, a complete review of the application will take place.  Reviewers are looking for well-rounded applicants with various life experiences, including extracurricular activities, work experience, volunteerism, research experience, strong essays, and community service.

We do not evaluate course work or transcripts for admission eligibility prior to application. You may direct individual questions to

No, there is no preference given to in-state or out-of-state applicants. Students currently or previously enrolled at Eastern do not receive any preferential treatment as applicants to the Physical Therapy Program.

Lower division (100- and 200- level) prerequisite courses taken at community colleges are accepted for all prerequisites listed, with the exception of the two biology prerequisites specifically designated “300- level or above.” These must be completed at a four-year institution.

When a course is repeated (an identical course), the grades of each of the two courses will be averaged for a grade for that particular prerequisite. The averaged grade will then be used to calculate the overall prerequisite GPA.

Certain courses taken in departments other than biology or zoology may fulfill specific biology prerequisites They are typically offered through exercise science programs.

No. The DPT Program cannot be attended on a part-time basis. It is a full-time, sequentially structured program. Students enter the program in August. The program spans eight consecutive semesters.

No. The EWU Doctor of Physical Therapy Program does not accept students who wish to transfer into the program from another DPT program. Students who wish to complete their DPT education at EWU are encouraged to apply for admission to the program according to the application process, and if accepted, will matriculate at the beginning of the program.

Rationale: Doctor of Physical Therapy curricula vary widely in terms of content, order, and timing; it is therefore difficult to assess the didactic and clinical expertise of a student who wishes to transfer into the program and receive some credit for DPT courses already completed at another institution.

Institutions for the clinical experiences are varied and include, but are not limited to, facilities in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Utah, Colorado, Texas, Alaska, Hawaii, and Nebraska.

Professionalism & Physical Therapy

Professionalism is expected by those who are trained to do a job well and is demonstrated when that professional uses skill, good judgment, and polite behavior expected from a professional. Epstein and Hundert define professional competence as “…the habitual and judicious use of communication, knowledge, technical skills, clinical reasoning, emotions, values, and reflection in daily practice for the benefit of the individual and community being served.”

The American Physical Therapy Association has compiled several documents that describe the professional conduct expected of a Physical Therapist. These documents include:

This set of documents guide professional physical therapist practice and focus on the five roles of a practicing physical therapist. As these documents form the basis upon which Professionalism in Physical Therapy is examined, you should be familiar with the information each contains. As you complete your graduate DPT education and step into your professional role, or your “professional you,” you will be held to the standards outlined in these documents. This process of growing into your “professional you” will require you to participate in activities where you can try on these behaviors, assess the effect of your action, then plan your action when the next opportunity comes along.

Essential Functions for Admission, Promotion and Graduation

Observation requires the functional use of vision, hearing and somatic sensations. A student must be able to observe lectures, laboratory dissection of cadavers, lecture and laboratory demonstrations, and observe microscopic studies of tissues. The student must be able to observe a patient accurately, observe digital and waveform readings and other graphic images to determine a patient’s condition. Examples in which these observational skills are required include palpation of peripheral pulses, bony prominences and ligamentous structures, visual and tactile evaluation for areas of inflammation, and visual and tactile assessment of the presence and degree of edema.

Communication includes speech, language, reading, writing and computer literacy. Students must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients to elicit information regarding mood and activities, as well as perceive nonverbal communications. Students must also be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with other members of the health care community to convey information essential for safe and effective care.

Students must possess sufficient motor function to elicit information from the patient examination, by palpation, auscultation, tapping, and other evaluation maneuvers. Students must be able to execute movements required to provide general and therapeutic care, such as positioning large or immobile patients, gait training using therapeutic aids and orthotics, positioning and performing manual mobilization techniques, performing nonsurgical wound debridement, and placing electromyographic electrodes. These skills require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movement, equilibrium, and the integrated use of touch and vision.

To effectively solve problems, students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate and synthesize information in a timely fashion. For example, the student must be able to synthesize knowledge and integrate the relevant aspects of a patient’s history and examination findings to develop an effective treatment program. In addition, students must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of anatomical structures.

A student must possess the psychological ability required for the full utilization of their intellectual abilities, for the exercise of good judgment, for the prompt completion of all responsibilities inherent to diagnosis and care of patients, and for the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Students must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to a changing environment, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients. As a component of their education, students must demonstrate ethical behavior.

In addition to the abilities specified above, students must be able to successfully complete, with or without reasonable accommodation, all required components of the curriculum.

In order to evaluate competence, the Physical Therapy Program employs periodic examinations, both written and practical, as an essential component of the curriculum. Successful completion of these examinations is required of all students as a condition for continued progress through the curriculum.

Demonstration of clinical competence is fundamental to the career of the student. The process of evaluation of the clinical performance of the student is an integral and essential component of the curriculum. Although reasonable accommodation will be made, participation in clinical experiences and the evaluation of that participation is required. The Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI) is the evaluation tool used.

Persons with disabilities are an integral part of the Eastern Washington University community, and the provision of equal access to programs, services, and activities through reasonable accommodation is a campus-wide responsibility and commitment. In accord with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990:

“The Washington State Law Against Discrimination, RCW 49.60; and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act which prohibits discrimination against individuals on the basis of disability, Eastern Washington University strives to make academic accommodations for students with identified special needs. Students with disabilities must register with the EWU Student Accommodations and Support Services (SASS) office (509.359.6871; Tawanka 124) if they require special accommodations. EWU shall provide reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities and is committed to ensuring that discrimination against disability does not occur.”

Determining what is reasonable accommodation for students in the Eastern Washington University Physical Therapy Program is an interactive process which the student should initiate with the Chair of the Physical Therapy Program, the student’s physical therapy advisor, and SASS. SASS can be reached at 509.359.6871.

Eastern Washington University, Department of Physical Therapy, endeavors to select applicants who have the ability to become competent physical therapists. As an accredited physical therapy program, the Department of Physical Therapy adheres to the standards and guidelines of the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association. Admission and retention decisions are based not only on prior satisfactory academic achievement but also on nonacademic factors that serve to ensure that the candidate can complete the essential functions of the program required for graduation.

In November 1999, the Eastern Washington University, Department of Physical Therapy, adopted the following essential functions for admission, promotion, and graduation for its entry-level professional program. Physical therapy is an intellectually, physically, and psychologically demanding profession. It is during the rigorous three-year curriculum that the student begins to develop the qualities needed to practice physical therapy. Students acquire the foundation of knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors needed throughout the physical therapist’s professional career. Those abilities that physical therapists must possess to practice safely are reflected in the essential functions that follow.

Candidates for the degree must be able to meet these minimum standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, for successful completion of degree requirements (see “Reasonable Accommodation.”)