110 Cordelia Camp
69 East University Way
Cullowhee, NC 28723
828.227.7398 tel
800.369.9854 toll-free tel
828.227.7480 fax


Physical Therapy – Graduate Degree

Degree Offered: Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.).

Program Description: The D.P.T. curriculum is a 33-month program (including summers) with 34 weeks of full-time clinical internships.

The programs' mission is to prepare students to become physical therapist clinician generalists who are able to practice in a wide variety of settings, to participate in delivery of primary care and interdisciplinary health care services, and to respond effectively to the special needs of rural and under served populations.

No thesis is required, but all students are expected to complete a major project before graduation. 

Learning experiences include laboratory and clinical assignments, service learning projects in community agencies, and traditional basic science courses. 

Request More Information Graduate School Apply Now Very Important Prospect


Guidelines on Applying to the Program:

 1.   Submit an application through the Physical Therapy Central Application Service (PTCAS) that will require the following:

    • Official college/university transcripts from all previous coursework
    • Official copy of scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination submitted to Western Carolina University PT-PTCAS (Institution Code 0342) by the Educational Testing Service
    • Three letters of recommendation, including one from a physical therapist and one from a teacher qualified to evaluate academic success and potential for graduate study
    • Essay written on a topic specified by the PTCAS
    • Pre-requisite courses (listed per PTCAS guidelines)
    • Paid or volunteer experience with a licensed physical therapist in a variety of settings (listed per PTCAS guidelines)

2.    Submit an application through the WCU Graduate School online application system, “Apply Yourself”

  • Complete the application form (general information)
  • No additional supplemental information needs to be submitted through this application process.  All of this will be included in your PTCAS application and sent to the Department of Physical Therapy at Western Carolina University.

Application Deadline: October 1

All application material must be submitted and received by October 1st.  All application materials must be submitted to PTCAS by that date.  Only applications received by that date will be considered in the initial review of applications. Applications received after October 1 will be considered only if the class is not filled from the initial applicant pool.

Early Decision deadline: August 15.  Read more about the Early Decision process.

If you have questions about the on-line application process, you can contact:

Graduate School and Research
110 Cordelia Camp Building 
Western Carolina University 
Cullowhee, NC 28723-9022 
Telephone: 828-227-7398 or 1-800-369-9854 (within the USA only)

What We Expect from Applicants:

Information for International Applicants

  • Citizens of other countries, whose degrees are not from U.S. institutions, must have their transcripts and full course descriptions translated into English and evaluated by a recognized credential evaluation service
  • International applicants from countries where English is not the primary language must submit a minimum score of 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), or 79 (Internet-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and provide a statement of financial responsibility.

Related Documents

Number of Graduate Faculty: 8

Number of Students: Up to 32 per year  

Location of Course Offerings: 

  • Courses are taught in Cullowhee.
  • Clinical laboratory assignments are scheduled in clinical facilities located throughout western North Carolina.
  • Full-time clinical internships are scheduled in clinical facilities throughout the United States.

Graduate Program:
Karen Lunnen, Ed.D.
Department Head
Department of Physical Therapy

Todd Watson, D.P.T.
Admissions Committee Chair
Department of Physical Therapy

Departmental Website: Physical Therapy


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