Competitive Admission | Doctor of Physical Therapy

Competitive applicants who complete 60 or more undergraduate degree credits at Carroll and will earn or have earned a bachelor's degree from Carroll receive a mathematical preference in consideration for the professional phase of the program. The DPT program may be completed in as little as six total years of study. Competitive admission students apply to the professional phase of the DPT program during their junior and/or senior year at Carroll.

Carroll's Pre-Health Professions program offers guided education planning for admission to the DPT program. The programming is based on national data that includes identifying DPT program options, selecting an appropriate undergraduate major and prerequisite courses, and GRE exam and DPT application preparation.

Competitive admission students include high school students not selected for direct admission, undergraduate transfer students, Carroll alumni, and direct admission students who did not progress within their cohort. Competitive students must follow the professional phase admission process instructions outlined in the graduate catalog for the admission cycle to which they apply.

The number of competitive admission seats vary from year to year. 

Application Process

Competitive students may apply in the junior year if pursing a 3+3 program, or senior year, or as an alum.

Applications for the fall term open July 1st. The priority deadline is November 1st. No applications will be accepted after January 16, 2022.

STEP 1: Complete the Graduate Studies Application to Carroll

STEP 2: Complete and submit the following

  1. Clinical Experience Document OR Alternate Essay 
    • Observation in at least two unique settings for a combined minimum of 16 hours is required. Practice settings include inpatient acute care, inpatient rehab/sub-acute rehab facility, nursing home facility/extended care, outpatient free-standing PT or hospital clinic, school/pre-school, industrial/occupational health, or home health. An observation form is required for each experience.
    • Submit clinical experience documents to or mail to Carroll University Office of Admission, 100 North East Avenue, Waukesha, WI 53186
    • If you were unable to complete the observation hours due to the Covid-19 impact, watch this video and provide a statement (typed, 750-1000 words) using the following prompt:
      • Explore the nine specialty areas of physical therapy practice and explain how your approach may differ in each.
  2. Three professional references (examples could include a college instructor, healthcare professional, supervisor, etc.) Please find a link to share with your references when submitting your application.
  3. Personal Statement
    • Describe a meaningful experience in your life. Reflect on how that experience influenced your personal growth, such as your attitudes or perceptions.
  4. Resume
  5. Health science statement
  6. Safety and Technical Standards form

STEP 3: Submit Official GRE Record to Carroll University (School Code 1101, Dept. Code 0619)

STEP 4: Submit the application for graduation through the Registrar’s Office (allow 4-6 weeks for processing).

Submit supplemental application materials within the application status portal.

Additional materials can be sent to:

Carroll University Office of Admission
100 North East Avenue, Waukesha, WI 53186

Please document observation hours on the Clinical Experience Documentation form.

Academic Requirements

Matriculation Requirements

Current CPR and First Aid Certification

CPR certification will be required by the third semester of the Program. The Program will offer CPR training options in the second or third semester of the DPT program.
Some students may choose to become or have been certified before they enter the Program. The following are CPR certification guidelines if students choose to complete CPR before entrance into the Program.  
The CPR certification must be through either the American Heart Association* or the American Red Cross. Certifications must include CPR and AED for adults and pediatrics, including 2-person rescuer and bag valve mask. Courses must include completing in-person skills checks. Certification for American Red Cross CPR/AED may be available upon request on campus to Carroll University students. Approved courses include: 

  1. American Heart Association
    1. BLS for the HealthCare Provider (often with First Aid)
  2. American Red Cross
    1. CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers (often with First Aid)
    2. BLS for the HealthCare Provider (often with First Aid)
    3.  Lifeguard and Water Safety Training

A more rigorous certification course, such as EMT or OEM, may be approved at the Program's discretion.
Students are responsible for maintaining currency in certifications throughout the Program.
*Note some clinicals require American Heart for CPR. 

Health Screening and Background Check

Physical Therapy professional phase students are required to have completed a health screening, updated immunizations and tuberculosis screening according to current Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for health professionals, criminal background investigation and drug screening as required by internship placement sites. Exceptions to the immunization requirements will be considered on a case-by-case basis where, for example, a student has an allergy to a vaccine or one of its components. If an exception to the immunization requirements is approved, the University cannot guarantee that its affiliated hospitals and clinics will allow the student to participate in patient care, which is a fundamental requirement of the clinical education component of the Program.

Admission Questions

Please contact Dave Buehler at 262-524-7359 or email

Candidates are welcome to schedule an individual meeting to discuss any questions about the program or application process at this link.

The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy Program admits qualified students regardless of race, color, creed, sex, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or disability that does not interfere with the performance of professional physical therapy practice as provided by law. Applications and credentials for admission to the physical therapy program must be submitted for processing to the Carroll University Office of Admission. Decisions are made on applications by selection committees in the program, and applicants are notified through the Office of Admission.
Admission and standards are subject to change based on regulatory, licensing and or certification needs.

Panoramic View of campus