Have questions about our program or admissions process? Here's some answers to some of the questions we receive most.


What are you looking for in students admitted to your program?

All of an applicant's admission materials are valued and considered. Well written essays and strong references are important, as are volunteer and extra curricular experiences, which do not have to be related to physical therapy or health care. Returning older students are appreciated and their work history is valued. We suggest you think of what you would like the admission committee to know about you and then determine where in your Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service application you can put this information. We have a custom question included in the application: What would you like us to know about you that is not reflected in your application? Please remember we do not interview candidates.

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How many applications are received?

For the class that that began in June 2017, 528 applications were submitted, of which 335 met all our application requirements. These applications were fully reviewed and considered. Applications that do not meet all our eligibility requirements, including our physical therapy observation requirement and  minimum cumulative GPA, science GPA and GRE scores, are not reviewed.

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Which admission deadline should I use?

Provided UW-Madison is your first choice and your application is complete and strong as possible by Aug. 15, you are encouraged to apply using early decision. Early decision applicants are notified during the week of Sept. 18 if they are offered admission, denied, or told their application will be considered again with applicants who apply by Nov. 1. Most applicants will use the Nov. 1 deadline. During the week of Dec. 18, these applicants will know if they are offered admission, denied admission, or will be placed on a wait list.

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Can I apply before graduating from college or completing all the prerequisite courses?

Yes. However, applicants can have no more than two outstanding prerequisites when they apply. It does not matter which two prerequisites are incomplete. Also, a bachelor’s degree and all the required prerequisite courses must be completed before the program begins. Applicants admitted with outstanding prerequisites are required to earn a grade of "B" or higher in these courses.

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Are UW-Madison students or Wisconsin residents preferred for admission?

No. The rigor of the academic background of each applicant, along with all the information in each application, is considered. This includes the undergraduate school attended; however there is no inherent preference for UW-Madison students or Wisconsin residents.

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Can prerequisite courses be taken at technical schools or two-year campuses? Are online course accepted? Can these courses have been taken over five years ago?

Yes. There is no admission preference based on where or in what format prerequisites are taken. However courses must be taken for credit from a regionally accredited college or university. There is no time limitation as to when courses were taken.

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Can advanced placement courses satisfy prerequisites?

Yes. As long as AP courses are listed for credit on your transcript, they can fulfill our prerequisites.

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Is there a preferred undergraduate major for admission to the program?

No. The most common majors are kinesiology and exercise science, however most students have other majors. Students with a variety of majors are valued in our Program.

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What are the average GPA and GRE scores of students?

For students starting our program in 2017, their average GPAs and GRE are (ranges in parentheses):

Cumulative GPA: 3.76 (3.13-4.0)
Science GPA: 3.65 (range 3.06-4.0)
GRE Verbal: 156 (146-167)
GRE Quantitative: 155 (146-163)
GRE Writing: 4.5 (3.5-5.0)

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What scholarships and financial aid are available?

There are a number of program scholarships that students can apply for in the spring of their first and second years. Please refer to the scholarship information and Office of Student Financial Aid for loan and aid information. Also, please refer to the university Office of Student Financial Aid for loan and aid information.

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Can I attend the program part-time?

No. The curriculum is full-time, including summers.

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Is it possible to work while being a student?

The curriculum is intense and students are not encouraged to work. However, some students do work part-time, typically working about 10 hours per week.

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Are there "older" students in the program?

Yes. Approximately one-quarter of our students graduated from college between two and 10 years before starting the program. Ages of the students in our program range from 22 to 39.

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Do physical therapy students interact with medical students?

Our students work with medical students and other health profession students as part of MEDiC and through various projects and class activities. A strength of our campus is the numerous health professional programs offered, including medicine, pharmacy, physician assistant, occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, master of public health and nursing.

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Is there a research component of the program? Are students required to do research?

UW-Madison is a level-one research institution, one of only 40 in the U.S. that offer a Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. Research principles are included throughout the curriculum and there are three courses that directly address research. Students write a research proposal; however they are not required to produce novel research. Research is highly valued and research principles are included throughout the curriculum. There are numerous opportunities for students to conduct research with faculty and other UW-Madison researchers through the program. Independent study research credits can be taken by students interested in doing additional research. Tuition does not increase if independent study credits are taken.

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