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 16th.

STEP 1: Complete the Graduate Studies Application

‚ÄčSTEP 2: Complete and submit the following within the application status portal after submission of your application:

  1. Clinical Experience Documents - Verified observations 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.
  2. Three Professional References - Examples could include a college instructor, healthcare professional, supervisor, etc. A submission link will be sent to your reference once you enter contact information within 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 to prompt a degree audit. Review the audit to ensure all degree, general education and support course requirements are completed. CCS400 can be completed during year 1 of the professional phase. Allow 4-6 weeks for processing.

Academic Requirements

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) 
  • *Pre-Professional GPA of 3.2 or higher (on a 4.0 scale)  A minimum course grade of "C" or better is required. Pre-professional science courses must be completed within seven years of matriculation.
    • Physical therapy prerequisite courses may be taken at any accredited University or college, including two- year campuses, and technical schools. A grade of “C” or higher is required for each prerequisite course. Advanced placement credits may fulfill prerequisites.
    • Biology, chemistry and physics prerequisites must be taken in a complete sequence, i.e. Anatomy and Physiology I with lab and Anatomy and Physiology II with lab.
    • No more than one prerequisite course may be outstanding at the time of application. All prerequisites must be complete by the end of the spring term. Pending courses completed in the fall term will be included in GPA calculations.
    • A maximum of one course within the pre-professional (biology, chemistry physics, and psychology) may be repeated for a higher grade.
    • The DPT program uses the last grade awarded in the pre-professional science GPA calculations if a course was repeated.
  • Courses identified with an asterisk are used to calculate the pre-professional science GPA (see the Carroll University catalog for course descriptions).
    • *Biology
      • Two semesters anatomy and physiology with labs or 2 general biology with labs (equivalent to Carroll's: ANP130 and ANP140 or BIO120 and BIO125)
    • *Chemistry
      • Two semesters general chemistry or college chemistry with labs (Equivalent to Carroll's: CHE101 and CHE102 or CHE109 and CHE110)
    • *Physics
      • Two semesters general physics with labs (Equivalent to Carroll's: PHY101 and PHY102 or PHY203 and PHY204)
    • *Psychology
      • One semester (equivalent to Carroll's: PSY101 and above). Up to one additional psychology course, at a 200-level or higher, will be included in the pre-professional GPA calculation if completed.
    • Statistics
      • One semester statistics (equivalent to Carroll's: CMP112 and CMP114 or one course such as MAT112 or PSY205)

Matriculation Requirements

Current CPR 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 the American Heart Association. 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. Approved course:

  • American Heart Association BLS for the HealthCare Provider
  • 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.

Medical Documentation

Medical Documentation needed for clinical experiences will be discussed in the first year of the DPT program. The faculty will discuss timing of immunizations to help students limit unnecessary cost or health care visits.
Copies of immunization proof and other required forms will be uploaded and stored in the Exxat database. Students should always maintain the original verification documents for their own personal records and should not give the sites or program the original documentation. The student is responsible for the cost of any required lab tests, x-rays, immunizations, or any other medical test required by the clinical facility unless otherwise indicated.

Program required immunizations (based on CDC recommendations):

  • MMR
  • Hepatitis B vaccine/informed declination (Declination form available at Carroll University Student Health Center)
  • Varicella immunization or titer
  • Tdap
  • Annual Flu Shot (to be completed each fall)
  • Annual TB skin test (details below)
  • Other immunizations may be required.
  • To participate in your clinical education experiences, you will need to comply with the host site policies. Students will be working with the program’s clinical coordinators to provide evidence of vaccination status.
  • *All students will be participating in on-campus patient care experiences and will be required to follow the Carroll University College of Health Science vaccination policies including COVID-19.
Per DPT Program policy, student exemptions from the immunization requirements will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If an exemption 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. Some clinical sites may have limited medical or religious exemptions.

Caregiver Background and Criminal History Check

On October 1, 1998, the State of Wisconsin, Department of Health, and Family Services mandated that all persons who seek to be employed and/or licensed in the caregiver industry must fulfill the Caregiver and Background Check requirements in Section 50.065 of the Wisconsin statute. Completing the background and criminal history check is a DPT Program requirement. If the check uncovers information that may prevent a student from participating in program activities, the student will be notified. When a background check identifies prior unlawful activity, the program does not guarantee clinical education experience placement or accommodation. Results of the background check are shared with program constituencies as appropriate. Background checks are performed by Universal Background Screening.

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