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The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program accepts students who will begin in August of each year. The program is highly competitive and only admits up to 48 students per year. At the time of matriculation, applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree and completed all pre-requisite courses. The competitive applicant will have a strong grade point average (e.g. > 3.5 for both overall and in pre-requisite courses), strong GRE scores, knowledge of the physical therapy profession (gained through volunteer or paid experience), and excellent communication skills. 

How to Apply

Step 1. First, applicants must apply through the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Physical Therapy Central Application Service (PTCAS)

Step 2. Next, applicants must complete Western Carolina University’s Graduate School application and pay the application fee.

Step 3. Applicants must complete the CASPer assessment.

Step 1: PHYSICAL THERAPY CENTRAL APPLICATION SERVICE

Step 2: WCU GRADUATE SCHOOL APPLICATION FOR ENROLLMENT

STEP 3: Complete Casper Assessment

Application Deadline

The application deadline is September 1st. All application materials must be submitted to PTCAS and the WCU Graduate School by that date. Due to the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing requirements, we will not be holding in-person interviews. We will instead require the CASPer test (see below) be taken by all applicants in order to be considered for program acceptance. Additionally, we will be hosting optional virtual (Zoom) open houses for interested applicants (dates and times TBD).  NOTE: All applications with GRE scores below the minimum considered score will not be evaluated further. Applicants who wish to apply to the WCU DPT program but do not meet the minimum GRE score should retake the exam to achieve this minimum prior to submitting an application to our program.

Once your completed application has been submitted and transcripts verified in PTCAS, it will be reviewed by our Admissions Team. Due to the current pandemic precluding in-person interviews, our decision notification process is expected to begin in mid-November. Applicants will be notified they are receiving an offer of admission, waitlist or denied. Those on the waitlist can be offered admission as spots open up, however no timetable is given as this process evolves throughout the spring.

Application Requirements

More information can be found on our PTCAS program profile. All of the following application materials must be submitted through PTCAS.

Applications must include:

  • Official college/university transcripts from all previous coursework
  • Completion of prerequisite courses (see our PTCAS program profile): For students enrolled at WCU, students can take HPE 225: Applied Kinesiology II to meet this requirement. Please note this course has a pre-requisite of HPE 223: Applied Kinesiology I – Anatomy, Physiology, & Biomechanics or a co-requisite of BIOL 291. Additionally, (athletic training only) students may take ATTR 377: Physical Adaptations to Exercise course.
  • Three letters of recommendation completed per PTCAS guidelines
  • An essay written on a topic specified by PTCAS
  • Experience demonstrating that the applicant has chosen a career in physical therapy with thoughtful consideration and with a realistic understanding of the scope of physical therapy practice. Volunteer or paid experience with a physical therapist in at least two different clinical settings is strongly recommended. The minimum number of observation hours has been waived due to COVID-19.
  • An official copy of scores on the General Test of the GRE (GRE program code #0342) submitted to Western Carolina University PT-PTCAS by the Educational Testing Service. Your test fee entitles you to request that scores be sent to as many as four graduate institutions.
  • Complete CASPer test (see below)

Physical therapy practice requires certain aptitude, abilities, and skills to ensure success and client safety. Students accepted into the physical therapy program must attest to meeting these essential functions.

CASPer Instructions

All applicants applying to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Western Carolina University are required to complete an online assessment (CASPer), to assist with our selection process for the 2020-2021 Application Cycle.

CASPer is an online test which assesses non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program, and will complement the other tools that we use for applicant screening. In implementing CASPer, we are trying to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process.

In order to take CASPer, you will be responsible for securing access to a laptop or desktop computer with webcam and audio capabilities. You will require the following for both account creation and taking the test:

  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Valid email address
  • Working webcam
  • Working microphone
  • Reliable high-speed internet connection

Please go to www.takeCASPer.com to sign up for the Professional Health Sciences test (CSP-10101), under your specific country (USA), and reserve a test using your PTCAS ID# (www.ptcas.org) and a piece of government-issued photo ID. You will be provided with a limited number of testing dates and times. Please note that these are the only testing dates available for your CASPer test. There will be no additional tests scheduled. Please use an email address that you check regularly; as there may be updates to the test schedule.

 You will be provided with a limited number of testing dates and times based on the admissions timeline and requirements. Please note that these are the only testing dates available for your CASPer test, and you must select Western Carolina University for distribution before the posted Distribution Deadline. Likely, there will be no additional tests scheduled, but the most up to date information can be found by browsing the Test Dates and Times on takecasper.com.

To account for identity verification and payment processing timeline, ensure that you register for your test at least three days before your preferred test date and time. Last-minute bookings are not recommended. If you require testing accommodations for CASPer, you will need to submit the Accommodations Request Form signed by you and your qualified professional 3 weeks in advance of your desired test date. More information regarding CASPer accommodations.

Please direct any inquiries on the test to support@takecasper.com. Alternatively, you may use the chat bubble in the bottom right hand corner of your screen on the takecasper.com website to speak to a live agent.

The CASPer test is comprised of 12 sections: 8 video-based and 4 word-based scenarios. Following each scenario, you will be required to answer a set of 3 probing questions in 5 minutes or less. Halfway through the test, there is an optional 15-minute break.  The test typically takes between 75-90 minutes to complete. Each of the 12 responses are anonymized and scored by a unique rater, giving a robust and reliable impression of your personal and professional characteristics important to our program. No studying is required, however you are encouraged to familiarize yourself with the test format via the System Requirements Check and 12 section practice test prior to taking CASPer.  Additional helpful resources are available free of charge at https://takecasper.com/test-prep/ and https://takecasper.com/faq/.

CASPer test results are valid for one admissions cycle. Applicants who have already taken the test in previous years will therefore be expected to re-take it.

For a more detailed look at the CASPer test, please see this video.

Information for International Applicants

Citizens of other countries, whose degrees are not from U.S. institutions, must have their transcripts and full course descriptions translated into English and evaluated by a recognized credential evaluation service such as World Education Services. International applicants from countries where English is not the primary language must submit a minimum score of 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), or 79 (Internet-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and provide a statement of financial responsibility.

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