Application information below applies to applicants in the 2018-2019 application cycle.

There are three separate components of the application process that must be submitted. Applicants are responsible for verification of receipt of all documents to PTCAS and the Graduate School.

1. PTCAS Web-Based Application

PTCAS Web-Based Application: The Physical Therapists Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) is a service of the American Physical Therapy Association and allows you to use a single web-based application and one set of materials to apply to multiple physical therapy education programs.

Your PTCAS application, submitted online prior to the appropriate deadlines, must include:

  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
    • Academic updates must be received by USD from PTCAS by the deadline in order to be considered as part of your application.
    • CLEP & pass/fail coursework - Applicants may not use these classes for prerequisite courses that require a lab component.
    • AP coursework - A minimum score of 4/5 must be met for any prerequisite coursework. A syllabus and score report must be sent to the physical therapy department to verify qualification of AP coursework. These documents can be submitted directly to or mailed Attn: Rita Humphrey at the address listed on the bottom of the page.
    • Applicants with a minimum cumulative and prerequisite GPA below 3.2 (as calculated by PTCAS) based on a 4.0 scale will not be considered.
    • Applicants can have no more than 2 incomplete prerequisites at the end of the fall semester. No exceptions will be made.
  • Three references where at least one reference is from a physical therapist
  • Essay
  • Minimum of 50 hours observing a licensed Physical Therapist
    • Your hours must be verified through PTCAS
    • If you desire a method for tracking observational hours, PTCAS has worksheets on their web site to track your hours. Minimum observation hours must be completed by the application deadline
    • Diversified shadowing experience is highly encouraged
  • Additional consideration will be given to applicants that have completed a post-baccalaureate degree by June 1 of the anticipated matriculating year

2. USD Graduate School Application and Fee

In addition to the PTCAS online application, all applicants are required to apply to the Graduate School and pay a $35 application fee. PTCAS applications will not be reviewed until the Graduate School application and fee are received.

You must submit the application and fee by the deadline, but we recommend submission at the same time as the PTCAS application. This will ensure the application moves forward in the review process.

Note: As part of your Graduate School application you do not need to submit transcripts, test scores, letters of reference or complete the personal statement. You can submit the application without these materials. The department will provide these items to the Graduate School on your behalf.

3. GRE Scores

Submit your GRE scores directly to PTCAS from the testing service using the USD PT/PTCAS Code - 7814. You only need to use the USD PT/PTCAS code and not the individual university and department codes. Due to changes in the GRE, it is strongly recommended that you complete your GRE exam by the dates below:

  • Early admission applicants (September 14 application deadline) should take the GRE before July 31
  • General admission applicants (December 3 application deadline) should take the exam by November 1
  • The oldest GRE scores considered will be Nov. 1, 2013


Full admission policies and procedures are available here.

Upon contingent acceptance into the physical therapy program, you will be asked to pay a $200 seat deposit, submit and pay for a criminal background check (approximately $100) and sign off that you are able to perform the tasks outlined in the Essential Functions and Technical Standards document.

Application Checklist

We encourage you to refer to our application checklist to keep your application organized.


General questions about your application, application status, or prerequisites may be directed to Rita Humphrey ( or 605-658-6356). For specific questions concerning decision processes, contact Becca Jordre (

Name Department & Office Contact
Rita Humphrey
  • Assistant Admissions Officer
Becca Jordre
  • Associate Professor