University of Southern California

Information about Physical Therapist program at University of Southern California



University of Southern California (A4, D6, F1, PR)


Last Updated by Program: 02/04/2004


Address:   Division of Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy

University of Southern California

1540 East Alcazar Street, CHP 155

Los Angeles, CA90089-9006


Phone:   (323)442-2900 Fax:   (323)442-1515

Admissions/Student Inquiry Phone:   (323)442-2890 

Financial Aid Phone:   (323)442-2670 


Web Address: 

Program E-mail: 



James Gordon, PT, EdD, FAPTA

Associate Dean and Chair



  Accreditor:   Western Association of Schools and Colleges/Accrediting Commission for SeniorColleges and Universities

  Carnegie Classification:   Research Universities (very high research activity)



  Date of Initial Accreditation:  Master’s degree, June 1946 (no longer offered) DPT degree, November 1995

  Current Accreditation Status: Accreditation

  Next Visit   2008

  Five Year History:   Accreditation



Doctor of Physical Therapy



The entry-level doctor of physical therapy program is a 3-year full-time program consisting of six semesters and two summers of 115 graduate credits. The first 2 years are focused on academic and clinical course work including relevant clinical rotations. The third year consists predominately of challenging clinical experiences as well as advanced courses and seminars. Graduation occurs at the time of the university ceremonies in May. The Department also offers the MS and PhD degrees for advanced research training, a post-professional DPT for graduate physical therapists, and two residency programs for specialized training in Orthopedic and Neurologic Physical Therapy.



Students have 2-week clinical clerkships in the middle of the second, third, and fourth semesters and 6-week clerkships during the first two summers. The third year is divided into two semesters each comprised of 16-week clinical clerkships (one 5-days/week and one 3-days/week). The total time spent in clinical clerkships over the 3 years is 44 weeks.



There are 21 full-time and 40 part-time faculty members. All of the full-time faculty hold post-professional doctoral degrees. Over the past 3 years, the full-time faculty has averaged two publications in peer-reviewed journals. The faculty to student ratio is 1 to 8.



Total enrollment for the university is 31,000. There are 248 entry-level professional DPT students and 44 advanced students (MS, PhD, Post-Professional DPT).



Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree to be admitted to the entry-level DPT program. Although the minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) that is preferred for admission is 3.0 and the minimum Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores required are 500 in each of the verbal, quantitative, and analytical portions, most applicants are well above these requirements. International applicants are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Test of Spoken English (TSE). Applicants must also complete the following prerequisites with a C- or better: 4 courses in the biological sciences including human anatomy and human physiology (as separate courses); 2 semesters of college physics and college chemistry (organic chemistry and/or biochemistry is preferred); 1 course in each: college mathematics (calculus preferred), English composition, and English literature or history; and 2 courses in psychology. Kinesiology, exercise physiology, child development or growth and development, motor learning, neurobiology or physiological psychology, general biology, and a cross-cultural course in sociology are highly recommended. All science courses must have laboratories. Candidates should be computer literate. Prior clinical experience in a physical therapy setting is highly recommended (volunteer or paid). Applications are available annually during October and the postmark deadline is December 1. Admission decisions are made beginning in January; courses begin in late August. Health insurance coverage is required during the academic and clinical portions of the curriculum (USC health insurance may be waived with proof of other current coverage). In the past year, 216 persons applied, and from that number 82 students were enrolled.



97% of admitted students graduate from the program (3-year average).



Tuition for the 2004-05 academic year is approximately $37,000 (three semesters for first and second year students). Tuition for third year students is approximately $23,000 (two semesters only).University of Southern California (USC) is a private university, therefore, state residency is not required. Students arrange their own housing accommodations. Most entry-level DPT students receive some form of financial aid, usually loans. However the Department offers a variety of scholarships to students, based on both need and merit.



The Department of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy is located in the city of Los Angeles on the Health Sciences Campus approximately 10 miles from the University Park Campus where the liberal arts and other programs are located. The campus is close to Pasadena, where many students find housing. Beaches and mountains are within a 30-45 minute drive. Los Angeles is served by LAX, Burbank, Long Beach, and OrangeCountyAirports. The city is a Mecca of social diversity with museums, theaters, concerts, and sports providing entertainment and cultural enrichment.