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Doctor of Physical Therapy Admission Requirements

Please join us for a DPT Information Session - Spring 2014 - March 26, 2014

We are pleased to announce that we will be offering an Information Session for our DPT program on Wednesday March 26th from 6-8pm, The event will include representatives from the Physical Therapy Faculty, Admission and Financial Aid. We will also have roundtable discussions with the current DPT students. To RSVP for the event please click here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
400 Hawthorne Ave - Bechtel Room (First Floor)
Oakland, CA 94609

Directions, Maps and Parking

Virtual Drop-Ins Now Available - Join an DPT chat room online
We are pleased to offer virtual drop ins to prospective DPT students.  You are welcome to virtually “drop in” and ask quick, general questions of an Admission Counselor.  This is entirely online.  Please click here for more information about the VIRTUAL DROP INS.  After you have reviewed the general chat information and are ready to start the chat click a date and time below to join the live chat.

  Dates and times are:

Please note that all times are Pacific Standard Time (California time zone).

Drop-In Counseling (Oakland only)
If you have a quick question or just need to know one or two things, drop-in counseling may be perfect for your busy schedule. No appointment is needed. Drop-in counseling is available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. These are brief visits designed to provide you with some quick information. Drop-in counseling is not available during the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's.

Counseling Appointments Are Now Available In Davis

In order to serve UC Davis students, Samuel Merritt University is pleased to announce that individual, one-on-one academic counseling appointments are now available in Davis. “Routinely UC Davis sends us the greatest number of applications for all programs at SMU,” says Anne Seed, Associate Director of Admission. Ms. Seed continues, “And over the years, we have found students from UC Davis to be extremely prepared for the rigorous academic nature of our health science programs. Finding The Work Shop, A Co-working Space, in downtown Davis, was the missing piece of the puzzle to allow us to meet UC Davis students where they work and live and go to school, IN DAVIS!”

Intended for all academic programs at SMU, one-on-one academic counseling sessions are available by scheduled appointment. Please click here for more information on the meeting location, available dates and times, and scheduling an appointment.

Applying for Admission

The DPT program at Samuel Merritt University participates in the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS).

Applications for each fall admission cycle are available on the PTCAS website beginning July. Please be advised that applications will only be accepted through PTCAS and the deadline for applications is October 1st. Instructions for submitting an application are available on the PTCAS website, We require that applicant e-submit their application by October 1st. Applicants must e-submit their PTCAS application by 11:59pm EST on the deadline date posted. Documents are not required to be received by the deadline date. Documents should be sent to PTCAS several weeks in advance of the deadline to ensure all items arrive in a timely manner.

Notifications regarding interviews (on-campus and required) are sent in late December and interviews are held in late January.  For a representative Application/Admission Processing Timeline for fall 2014, please click here.

Minimum recommended criteria for admission consideration includes:

  • Completion of baccalaureate and all prerequisites, from a regionaly accredited institution, by the end of spring term before entry
  • Minimum recommended cumulative GPA: 3.0 effective June 1, 2014
  • Minimum recommended prerequisite GPA: 3.0 effective June 1, 2014
  • Minimum GRE Verbal score of 150 and a minimum GRE Quantitative score of 144; the PTCAS institution code for the DPT program is 7593. On the former scoring scale a minimum Verbal score of 450 and minimum Quantitative score of 500 is required. We do not require the Analytical section of the GRE, nor is it taken into consideration when applying if taken. The GRE must be taken prior to the application deadline, and the verbal and quantitative scores must be entered into the PTCAS application prior to e-submitting. The deadline for official scores to be received is October 15th.  Please see for more information on registering and score reporting timelines for the GRE.
  • Supplemental Essay; in addition to the standard PTCAS essay questions. The PTCAS application will automatically prompt you to respond to our custom essay once you designate Samuel Merritt University on your application. Applications without the custom essay will be considered incomplete.
  • Inpatient Experience: a minimum of forty (40) hours of volunteer or paid experience in an inpatient physical therapy setting is required. Outpatient hours can not be used in lieu of the inpatient experience.The PTCAS Physical Therapy Observation Hours Verification Form must be signed by the physical therapist who supervised you and submitted through PTCAS. This form must be completed and verified by the end of the spring term prior to entry.
  • Two letters of reference; one from a professor (science or non-science) who can address your academic preparedness for a DPT program and one from a physical therapist who has supervised you in a clinical environment (inpatient or outpatient). You may also submit up to 2 additional letters of your choosing but this is not a requirement. Letters of reference are submitted through PTCAS.
  • TOEFL (U.S. citizens or international students) - The need for TOEFL will be assessed based on information provided by applicants on the application for admission; if required, a score of 100 must be achieved and official score results must be provided.


All prerequisites must be completed with a grade of "C-" or better by the end of Spring term before entry. We accept online classes from regionally accredited institutions. Please see the Course Resource Guide for helpful information regarding prerequisites.

General Psychology 3 semester units
Statistics 3 semester units
General Chemistry with lab* 8 semester units or 12 quarter units
Physics with lab* 8 semester units or 12 quarter units
Introduction to Biology with lab*+ 8 semester units or 12 quarter units
Human Anatomy with lab** 4 semester units or 6 quarter units
Human Physiology with lab** 4 semester units or 6 quarter units

*Prefer a standard 2-semester or 3-quarter course sequence.

+4 semester or 6 quarter units must be an Introduction to Biology course and the other 4 semester or 6 quarter units can be fulfilled by Microbiology, Genetics, or other Biology lab classes. Exercise Physiology will not fulfill this requirement.


** The Anatomy, Physiology prerequisites must be completed within the last ten (10) years from the time of application to the program.

International Transcripts

All foreign academic transcripts must be evaluated by a U.S. evaluation service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluations Services (NACES) for degree, course content, semester unit equivalencies, and science and cumulative GPAs prior to the application deadline. Information on NACES may be found at These evaluations should be sent to PTCAS along with any other US transcripts.

GPA Calculation and Course Repeat Policy

Overall GPA: All grades earned will be included in the overall GPA calculation. If a course is repeated, both the initial and repeat grade will be included in the overall GPA calculation.

Prerequisite GPA: Courses satisfying a prerequisite requirement may be repeated once if the initial grade earned is a C+ or below. If a prerequisite course is repeated, the new grade will be used in the prerequisite GPA calculation if available at the time of application.

Admission Statistics

Admission Statistics about all of SMU's programs are available on our statistics at a glance website.

Admissions Questions

All admissions questions should be directed to Lizzie Mayo, Assistant Director of Admissions, at 510-869-1550 or If you would like to schedule a counseling session please call 510-869-1550.