University of Texas at El Paso Academic Catalog

Academic Catalog

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy is a healthcare profession with the primary purpose of promoting optimal physical function and healthy living.  Physical therapists apply evidence-based practice with scientific principles to improve mobility by developing individualized treatment plans.  The goals are to prevent, improve, and/or maintain functional mobility at all levels of activity.  Physical therapy encompasses areas of specialization and includes the development of new approaches to more effectively meet existing and emerging health care needs.  Other professional activities that physical therapists participate in include research, education, community health promotion, and administration.  To learn more about physical therapy, visit the American Physical Therapy Association website.

UTEP offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.  The application process is very competitive with specific minimum requirements listed below.  The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at The University of Texas at El Paso is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website:  Graduates of the DPT Program are eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).  After successful completion of this examination, graduates apply for state licensure usually based on the results of the NPTE scores.  

A felony conviction may affect eligibility for Physical Therapy licensure in the State of Texas (or other states). Questions concerning Texas licensure may be answered by contacting the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, 333 Guadalupe Ste 2-510 Austin, TX 78701.

Program Mission

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Doctor of Physical Therapy Program will graduate highly qualified doctors of physical therapy prepared to provide culturally proficient and linguistically competent care in our border region and beyond. We endeavor to develop leaders who are committed to patient-centered care, evidence-based practice, our community’s health, life-long learning, and the advancement of the physical therapy profession.

Physical Therapy Curriculum 

The DPT curriculum is a lockstep curriculum where all didactic courses are offered only once following a lockstep sequence. During the first year, students complete courses in foundational and clinical sciences as well as general physical therapy examination and intervention procedures.  Clinical courses begin in the third semester including Cardiopulmonary Patient Management. 

During the second year, students continue with clinical courses focusing on patient examination and treatment with emphasis on integument, orthopedic, and neurological impairments. In addition, students study impairments specific and unique to pediatric patients. Most of the third year is devoted to clinical education.

The final didactic course addresses emerging trends in physical therapy.  Students also complete a final capstone project.

The full-time clinical experiences during the third year of the program occur at facilities located in various parts of Texas and the surrounding states.  The expense of relocating and working at these sites is the student's responsibility. 

Admission Requirements

A Bachelor's degree is required prior to admission.  The Required Prerequisites Course List is listed below.  Note that a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 on four point scale is required to apply to the program.

International students must take the TOEFL examination unless exempt (eg Bachelor degree obtained in the US).  In addition, 50 clock hours of volunteer or paid experience in a physical therapy setting is required, and must be supervised by a licensed physical therapist.

Minimum Admission Requirements

  1. Completion of a Bachelor's degree from an accredited educational institution
  2. Completed Physical Therapy application by set deadline
  3. Official transcripts from all universities or colleges attended must be sent to PTCAS by set deadline
  4. Completion of  38 hours of required prerequisite courses
  5. A minimum overall GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and a minimum prerequisite coursework GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
  6. Fifty (50) clock hours of documented volunteer or paid work experience in a physical therapy setting under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist reported to PTCAS by set deadline
  7. One recommendation from a physical therapist who supervised the applicant's work or volunteer experience sent to PTCAS by set deadline
  8. Two recommendations from individuals concerning the attributes which qualify the applicant for this program sent to PTCAS by set deadline (See for qualifying recommenders)
  9. Applicants from countries where English is not the first language are required to demonstrate English proficiency. Please consult the graduate school website for required scores.

NOTE: To engage in clinical rotations, which are a crucial element in the curriculum, all students in the Physical Therapy Program must undergo and pass a background check and drug screen prior to matriculation. Applicants will be responsible for the costs of obtaining a background check report and drug screen. In addition, students are required to obtain immunization required by the state of Texas and clinical affiliates.  Information is available at the College of Health Sciences compliance Web site. .

Prerequisite Courses

Applicants for the program should have completed the following prerequisite courses (38 semester credit hours):

  •  8 semester credit hours in biological sciences with labs (not botany) 8 semester credit hours in general chemistry with labs 8 semester credit hours in general physics with labs 4 semester credit hours in anatomy with labs AND
  • 4 semester credit hours in physiology with labs OR(a two course sequence in anatomy and physiology with labs totaling 8 credit hours 3 semester credit hours in psychology 3 semester credit hours in statistics

Recommended courses (not required for admission, but may contribute to success in physical therapy education):  Exercise Physiology, Medical Terminology, Public Speaking course (or participation in Toastmasters)

Selection Criteria

Completion of the above requirements makes a student eligible for selection, but does not guarantee admission to the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.  The final selection is competitive.

Admissions Process

The deadline for application changes from year to year and is available on the UTEP DPT website at and  Applicants will be informed of admissions decisions after all applications have been reviewed.

Degree Plan

Required Credits: 99

Doctor of Physical Therapy (All courses require a grade of C or better)
Required Courses:
DRSC 6301Normal Physiology/Embryology3
DRSC 6388Pathophysiology3
DRSC 6390Neuroscience3
DRSC 6495Anatomy for Rehab Sciences4
PT 6104Clinical Spanish in PT1
PT 6105Integrated Clinical Education1
PT 6106Biophysical Agents in PT1
PT 6107Surface Anatomy1
PT 6108Integument Patient Management1
PT 6109Imaging1
PT 6110Integrative Seminar I1
PT 6111Integrative Seminar II1
PT 6116PT Capstone Project I1
PT 6117PT Capstone Project II1
PT 6201Law and Ethics in PT Practice2
PT 6202Professional Practice in PT2
PT 6203Differential Diagnosis2
PT 6205Pharmacology in PT2
PT 6206Tests and Measures2
PT 6207Motor Control & Motor Learning2
PT 6208Patient Care Skills2
PT 6212Evidence Based Practice in PT2
PT 6213Advanc Exercise Pescription2
PT 6214PT Across the Lifespan2
PT 6215Special Populations2
PT 6216Research Methods for PT2
PT 6233Behavioral Science Topics2
PT 6307Cardiopulmonary Patient Mgmt3
PT 6311Musculoskeletal I3
PT 6312Musculoskeletal II3
PT 6313Musculoskeletal III3
PT 6314Neuromuscular Rehabilitation I3
PT 6315Pediatrics3
PT 6316Exercise Physiology/Prescr3
PT 6340Management and Finance in PT3
PT 6403Clinical Education in PT I4
PT 6404Clinical Education in PT II4
PT 6405Clinical Education in PT III4
PT 6407Med Kines and Motion Analysis4
PT 6414Neuromuscular Rehab II4
PT 6606Clinical Education in PT IV6
Total Hours99