Application Requirements

Important information about the CSULB Department of Physical Therapy response to COVID-19

Due to the alterations and restrictions placed on many Colleges and Universities in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are making the following changes to the admissions requirements to our program:

  • We will accept online labs for prerequisite courses taken during the Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Summer 2021, Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 academic terms only. We will resume requiring in-person labs for prerequisite courses starting with the Summer 2022 academic term. 
  • We will accept the in-home version of the GRE offered by ETS from Spring 2020 to Summer 2022 only. We will not accept the in-home version of the GRE taken after Summer 2022 as the ETS testing centers are now open.
  • We will accept Credit/No Credit or Pass/No Pass grades ONLY for prerequisite courses taken during the Spring and Summer 2020 academic terms. However, we specify a STRONG PREFERENCE for letter grades for these courses.

To prepare for application into the program, the prospective student must follow an undergraduate program that includes appropriate physical, biological, and behavioral science prerequisite courses. Applicants must be in good academic, professional, and clinical standing at the last institution attended.

Requirements for Admission


Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in the United States by the time of matriculation into the Doctor of Physical Therapy program (which is usually late May). 

Applicants who graduate after the fall academic term of the application cycle, they will have their application reviewed only if all required prerequisite courses are completed by the end of the fall academic term of the application cycle (while all other prerequisite requirements are met by the PTCAS deadline). Any applicant whose graduation date is after the start of our program will not be considered for admission for that application cycle. For those applicants with graduation dates in May, consideration for admission will be done on a case-by-case basis dependent on the graduation/end-of-semester (of the applicants current college/university) date and the date of the start of our program.

While the majority of applicants have received a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, Exercise Science or Biology, the admissions committee will consider degrees of any major.

Applicants who have received a degree outside the U.S. should review the International Applicants section below.

  • The minimum required cumulative GPA is 3.0.  The cumulative GPA is calculated from official transcripts submitted to PTCAS, which may include coursework retaken for an improved grade.
  • A prerequisite GPA is calculated by the CSULB DPT admissions committee from courses submitted by the applicant as meeting the prerequisite requirements. The minimum required prerequisite GPA is 3.0.  All prerequisite courses must be successfully completed with at least a “C” grade. The admissions committee will consider the highest grade for any course retaken for an improved grade.
  • GPAs of 3.5 or higher tend to be more competitive in the applicant pool.

All prerequisite courses must be taken from an accredited institution within the United States or Canada, including community colleges. Online lecture courses are acceptable, but online laboratory or high school AP courses will not be accepted for credit.

To determine if coursework meets the program’s prerequisite requirements, consult with an undergraduate advisor at your university. Usually, if the course description is similar to the descriptions below, the course is likely to be accepted.

Check course equivalencies at CA community colleges on

The admissions committee recommends taking no more than 2 prerequisite courses in progress during the fall semester of the application year. Applicants with prerequisite courses in progress during the spring semester of the application year will not be considered for admission. No course may be repeated more than once for an improved grade and no more than 3 prerequisite courses may be repeated.

All prerequisite courses must be completed by the end of the fall academic term in the year applying. We will NOT accept prerequisite courses taken in the spring academic term of the year applying.

The CSULB DPT admissions committee will not review unofficial transcripts.

Human Anatomy and Physiology, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics sequences must be for science, pre-health or allied majors and have a laboratory component. Human Anatomy and Human Physiology must be taken within 5 years at the time of application. All other courses must be taken within 10 years at the time of application. CSULB undergraduate course numbers are listed in parentheses for purposes of comparison.

Human Anatomy and Physiology

At least 2 semester or 3 quarter courses are required to meet the requirement.

  • Human Anatomy (Biology 208): The gross anatomy, histology, and neuroanatomy of the human body. Designed for majors in physical education and the allied health fields. (Lecture and Lab)
  • Human Physiology (Biology 207): General introduction to the functional integration of human body systems. (Lecture and Lab)
  • General Biology III (Biology 213) may substitute for Human Physiology: Introduction to the functional biology of plants and animals and the abiotic and biotic factors that affect their distribution and abundance. (Lecture and Lab)
  • If human anatomy and physiology are combined, the course work must be a 2 semester/3 quarter sequence.

General Biology

At least 2 semester or 3 quarter courses are required to meet the requirement.

  • General Biology I (Biology 211): Evolution as a process responsible for biological diversity at all levels: molecular, cellular, organismal, population, and community. Phylogenetic and taxonomic survey of life. Science as method of inquiry. (Lecture and Lab)
  • General Biology II (Biology 212): Introduction to macromolecular and cellular structure and function and to fundamental genetic principles. (Lecture and Lab)
  • *General Microbiology may substitute for General Biology II.

General Chemistry

At least 2 semester or 3 quarter courses are required to meet the requirement.

  • General Chemistry I (Chemistry 111A): Introduction to the principles of chemistry including chemical bonding, solution properties and chemical equilibrium and kinetics. (Lecture and Lab)
  • General Chemistry II (Chemistry 111B): Continuation of the study of chemical principles with application to inorganic systems. Includes application of modern bonding theories to inorganic molecules and study of trends and reactivities of the elements and their compounds. Qualitative inorganic analysis and extensive solving of aqueous equilibrium problems are emphasized. (Lecture and Lab)
  • *Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry or a combined Organic/Biochemistry course can substitute for General Chemistry II.

General Physics

At least 2 semester or 3 quarter courses are required to meet the requirement.

  • General Physics I (Physics 100A): Considers properties of matter, mechanics, wave motion and heat. (Lecture and Lab)
  • General Physics II (Physics 100B): Considers electricity, light, and atomic and nuclear physics. (Lecture and Lab)
  • *Algebra or Calculus-based physics are acceptable.


One course (semester or quarter) in statistics is required. It is strongly recommended that the statistics course be taken from either the mathematics, psychology or biology department at your university. While the lecture component is required, the lab component is optional (unless required by your university).

  • Biostatistics (Biology 260): Probability and statistics used in the description and analysis of biological data. (Lecture and Lab)
  • Statistics in Human Movement Science (Kinesiology 483): Evaluation and analysis of measuring devices and resulting data used in Kinesiology. Interpretation of data using appropriate statistical analyses. (Lecture and Lab)

General Psychology

One course in General Psychology is required (semester or quarter).

  • General Psychology (Psychology 100): Introduction to the scientific study of human behavior. Designed to provide the student with a basic background for further study and for practical application in everyday life. Topics include biological foundations of behavior, motivation, emotion, learning, memory and thought processes, personality, development, social behavior, abnormal behavior, and methods of therapy.
  • *Abnormal Psychology may substitute for General Psychology.

Official scores from the General Aptitude Portion of the GRE is required of all applicants. The GRE must have been completed within 5 years of application. A minimum score of 150 on the verbal component, 150 on the quantitative component and 4.0 on the analytical component are recommended to be competitive.  The highest overall score reported by test date, but not by sections from different test dates, will be used.

We strongly recommend that applicants take the GRE no later than 1 month prior to the PTCAS application deadline to allow PTCAS to process and verify the scores. Taking the exam any closer to the deadline may result in an incomplete application.

You must send a copy of your GRE scores to both PTCAS and CSULB Enrollment Services. CSULB’s PTCAS institution code is 7782 and CSULB Enrollment Services’ code is 4389.

A minimum of 100 experience hours and 1 site/setting are required. The hours must be under the direct supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist. Hours submitted under the supervision of any other healthcare provider (i.e. MD, PA, NP, RN, OT, ATC, DC, PTA, etc.) will not be accepted. Hour(s) obtained via Virtual Observation will not be accepted.  

Credit will be given for up to 400 verified paid or volunteer hours across up to 4 verified sites/settings. Having more than 400 hours or more than 4 sites/settings will not negatively affect your application score.

Your experience hours must be verified by PTCAS to meet the prerequisite requirement. Experience hours obtained outside the USA will not meet the prerequisite requirements except for experience hours obtained in Canada or on a US military base under the supervision of a licensed PT from the USA or Canada.

Three letters of recommendation are required.

  • One recommendation must be from an instructor or academic reference who has taught you in at least one class. We strongly recommend an instructor from a prerequisite course.
  • One recommendation must be from a licensed PT who has directly supervised your experience hours.
  • One recommendation should be from an employer.  If an employer is not available, then the third letter of recommendation can be from another instructor/academic source or licensed PT. If your employer is a licensed PT then that person can serve as an author of the third letter of recommendation.

A personal essay is required per the PTCAS application prompt.


Out-of-State Applicants

Applicants whose primary residence is outside of California will be subject to out-of-state fees. No preference is given for either in-state or out-of-state applicants. Cohorts typically consist of 10-15% out-of-state applicants.

View more information regarding requirements for California residency on the Enrollment Services site. 

International Applicants

Applicants with a bachelor's degree from an institution outside the U.S. are required to submit the appropriate information to the College of Professional and Continuing Education (CPaCE) prior to applying to CSULB.

Background Requirements

Before applying to the program, please be aware that you must meet the background requirements for Physical Therapist licensure required by California Laws and Regulations Related to the Practice of Physical Therapy (Section 2635, and understand that background checks may be required by selected clinical internship agreements as well as by future employers.