What is a physical therapist?
Physical therapists provide services to patients who have impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions related to environmental or personal factors. Physical therapists assist patients in restoring health; alleviating pain; examining, evaluating, and diagnosing changes in physical function and health status resulting from injury, disease, or other causes. Physical therapists are also involved with intervention, prevention, and the promotion of health, wellness, and fitness. They are employed by hospitals, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing facilities, home care, school systems, industrial settings, athletic facilities, and in private practice.
About UND PT
The UND physical therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
Mission Statement and Program Goals
The mission of the Department of Physical Therapy is to prepare physical therapists with the clinical, professional and critical inquiry skills to provide quality physical therapy services. The professional services provided by a physical therapist demand a strong background in the liberal arts and clinical sciences as well as high moral and ethical standards. In addition to clinical practice expectations, responsibilities in teaching, service and critical inquiry are an integral part of the educational experience.
The student will demonstrate the skills necessary for the entry-level practice of physical therapy.
The student will demonstrate advocacy skills for health and wellness at the individual and societal level.
The student will provide service to the community and/or to the profession.
The student will develop critical inquiry skills related to clinical and basic science research.
The student will develop the skills required for life-long learning.
The pass rate on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) is typically above average for first-time test takers. The two-year graduation rate for students admitted to the program is 96% (2022-2023 graduates). The graduating class in 2023 demonstrated a graduation rate of 94%. The two-year average employment rate reported by licensed graduates within twelve months of graduation was 100% (2022-2023 graduates) and the 2023 graduating class reported 100% employment. The weighted, ultimate two-year pass rate on the NPTE is 96% (2022-2023). The first-time NPTE pass rate for the 2023 graduating class was 80% while the two-year first-time pass rate (2022 & 2023) averaged 84.1%. NPTE examination and pass rate information can be found on the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy website.
- Rates do not include the mandatory fees of $1,737 per academic year.
- Physical Therapy tuition is billed at a flat full-time rate for each fall and spring. Summer tuition is billed at 60 percent of the per semester rate.
- Additional course and/or program fees may be charged based on the student's enrollment. Please refer to these categories below for additional information.
- Online courses (excluding Distance, Engineering and Space Studies) are assessed resident tuition, regardless of state of residence. Tuition for online courses is not capped at 12 credits.
The first three years of the curriculum are considered pre-physical therapy (or pre-professional curriculum). The professional component of the D.P.T. curriculum includes three full academic years including two summer sessions.
All required coursework listed for the pre-physical therapy curriculum must be completed or underway before the student can apply to the professional program. There is a 90-credit pre-physical therapy entrance requirement. When coursework is near completion, the student is eligible to apply to the professional program that year.
Students interested in the physical therapy program at UND should stay in contact with the P.T. department to keep informed of the pre-professional and professional curriculum requirements.
Students should be broadly educated in the sciences and humanities. The Department of Physical Therapy recognizes that, since physical therapy deals with people, an understanding of literature, art, history, ethics, and philosophy is an adjunct to a physical therapist. Science and humanities are both viewed as necessary for the practice of physical therapy.
The list of courses and credits below indicate the core prerequisites all applicants must complete, with a letter grade, prior to admission to the physical therapy program. It is strongly recommended that students be computer literate prior to entering the professional program. In addition, students may take additional electives from any field of study; however, the depth of the pre-physical therapy education should demonstrate that students have progressed from simple to complex studies in at least one content area. This requirement might typically be demonstrated by a discipline major, but in any case should demonstrate a basic comprehensiveness and integrity of study within a particular content area. This does not suggest that a separate undergraduate degree must be awarded; however, the breadth and depth in a discipline should be demonstrated. Course credits equivalent to a minor, i.e., approximately 20 credits at UND, in a particular discipline could accomplish this requirement. The prospective student should include eight (8) credits from upper level courses, i.e., 300 and/or 400 numbers.
- Two semesters of General Biology (8 cr.)
- Two semesters of General Chemistry (8 cr.)
- Two semesters of General Physics (8 cr.)
- Two semesters of human Anatomy & Physiology (8 cr.)*
- One semester of Introductory Psychology (3 cr.)
- One semester of Developmental Psychology (3 to 4 cr.)
- One semester of Abnormal Psychology (3 cr.)
- One semester of a Public Speaking course (3 cr.)
- One semester of an undergraduate statistics course (3 cr.)
- Essential Studies requirements
*May be attained through individual courses of one semester of human anatomy and one semester of human physiology.
All of the prerequisite coursework must be completed before entering the professional program; however, the prospective student may be enrolled in preprofessional coursework at the time of application. All science prerequisite courses must be completed for a grade; S-U and pass/fail grading are not accepted.
The Department of Physical Therapy does not require a bachelor's degree for admission. At least 90 credits and course credits equivalent to a minor as determined by the discipline are required. This is typically represented by at least 20 credit hours in a particular discipline and should include 8 credits of upper division courses (i.e. 300 AND/OR 400 level courses).
A minimum of 90 semester hours of credit from an approved college or university is required.
Students must apply for the professional program through the PTCAS system. All students entering the professional program must also be admitted through the UND School of Graduate Studies. WICHE-eligible students should also apply through the WICHE certification process.
The professional education component of the D.P.T. requires three full academic years including two summer sessions following completion of the pre-physical therapy entrance requirements.
Students must be formally accepted into the professional education component of the D.P.T. and endorsed by the Chair of Physical Therapy. NOTE: Acceptance by the UND Office of Admissions or the School of Graduate Studies does not constitute acceptance into the professional program in Physical Therapy.
No student will be allowed to remain in the program or complete the full-time clinical experiences unless they attain a letter grade of at least "C" in the major courses. Once students are admitted to the School of Graduate Studies, they must maintain a 3.00 GPA in all of the professional coursework. See UND graduate catalog requirements for the physical therapy degree requirements.
To advance to candidacy, the student must successfully complete the initial comprehensive examination, and maintain a cumulative School of Graduate Studies GPA of > 3.00 AND/OR a summer session GPA of >3.00. Students who fail to advance to candidacy during the first year will be dismissed from the professional program. After advancement to candidacy, the student is expected to maintain a cumulative GPA of > 3.00. The School of Graduate Studies will monitor the cumulative GPA, which must be > 3.00, If the cumulative GPA is not > 3.00, the School of Graduate Studies policies for probation and dismissal will govern the student's status.
Students in the professional program should be aware that there are special requirements for clinical uniforms, professional liability insurance, medical insurance, a current immunization record, and CPR certification. These requirements must be met prior to any clinical contact with patients. In addition, a criminal background check is required prior to starting the professional program. The student is responsible for travel, housing, and food costs, in addition to the payment of tuition, during the full-time clinical experience semesters. The majority of these experiences will be completed at geographical locations other than the city of Grand Forks.
Prospective students should be aware that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to obtain a professional license to practice physical therapy.
The faculty reserves the right to place on professional probation or to cancel the registration of any student in Physical Therapy whose performance in the classroom or the clinic is unsatisfactory.
The UND Department of Physical Therapy participates in the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service known as PTCAS. Applicants to the entry-level physical therapist education program must apply online through PTCAS. A supplemental application is required for the UND School of Graduate Studies; however, applicants may disregard components related to recommendations/references, essays/personal statements, and official transcripts as those documents submitted through PTCAS are used for acceptance decisions. PTCAS application process and calendar of deadlines may be found at www.ptcas.org. WICHE-eligible students must apply for WICHE certification. Alaska students should contact the Department of Physical Therapy and the Alaska WICHE office.
APPLICATION OPTIONS: The Physical Therapy program accepts 52 students per year. Acceptance into the program is on a competitive basis, with the major determinant being the basic science GPA. Final acceptance into the professional physical therapy program is also dependent on cumulative GPA, GRE scores, reference letters, a personal interview, and other components of the completed application. Applicants are referred to the UND Department of Physical Therapy website for complete information about the admissions requirements and process.
There are three different options for admission to the professional DPT program at UND during the current application cycle (2021-2022). Early acceptance interviews will occur in September and additional acceptance options will occur in November and February. Individuals with fully completed applications, verified transcripts and higher prerequisite science GPAs receive a scheduling preference for interview dates.
Option 1: Early Acceptance
- Applicants who 1) have completed all science prerequisite courses with a GPA of 3.7 or higher AND 2) are ND residents OR have completed all post-secondary (post-high school) coursework at UND.
- Application Deadline: August 15
- Interview Timeline: September
- Applicants who 1) have completed 8 of the 10 science prerequisite courses with a GPA of 3.5 or higher at time of application AND 2) will have completed all science prerequisite courses by the end of December.
- Individuals who submit complete applications will be considered for interviews and acceptance.
- Application Deadline: October 15
- Interview Timeline: November
- Individuals who submit complete applications by December 15 will be considered for interviews and acceptance. Any applicants from Option 1 and Option 2 without a previous acceptance notification will be considered for admission in Option 3.
- Application Deadline: December 15
- Interview Timeline: February/March
Acceptance is on a competitive basis, with the major determinant being the science prerequisite grade point average (SGPA). The basic SGPA is defined as: biology (8 semester credits), chemistry (8 semester credits), physics (8 semester credits), anatomy & physiology (8 cr.), and psychology (7 semester credits).
- The average SGPA of students accepted into the professional program ranges between 3.6 and 3.8.
- For admission to the program, the SGPA will be the most important factor but cumulative GPA and Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are also considered.
- All Science prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade. S-U and Pass/Fail grading are not accepted.
- A student will be allowed two retakes or replacements (as per departmental approved list) maximum and the student will select the retakes to be incorporated into the SGPA.
- All course retakes must be completed by the end of the fall semester of the admission year to be computed in the SGPA.
- If students are retaking courses during spring semester of the year they are applying, the original grades will be used to compute the SGPA.
- Reference letters, a personal interview, and other personal qualifications are also considered prior to final acceptance.
- Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, prospective students were expected to complete at least 60 hours of observation prior to admission, 40 of which must be with a physical therapist. The UND PT department recognizes that the COVID pandemic has limited the available opportunities for observation hours and, therefore, the requirement for observation hours was suspended. We continue to highly recommend completing observation hours to increase knowledge of the field of physical therapy prior to program application.
- Acceptance by the UND School of Graduate Studies does not constitute acceptance into the professional program in Physical Therapy.
Semester rates are based on current, approved tuition rates and are subject to change each year. Dollar amounts are for tuition only. University fees are variable.