Physical Therapy

  • CSUN PT Gait Lab, PT Students in Nicaragua and in Vietnam

    Department of Physical Therapy

  • CSUN recepients of Campanella Scholarship

    Department of Physical Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply to your program if I am still in the process of completing my Bachelor’s Degree?

Yes, many people apply while they are in the last semester of their Bachelor’s Degree. Acceptance into the program is conditional upon successful completion of the degree (and any prerequisite courses still in progress) at least two weeks prior to the start of the Fall Semester in which they would begin attending classes in the PT Program.

What Bachelor’s Degree do I need to have to apply?

You can have a Bachelor’s degree in any major in order to apply; you simply have to complete the required prerequisite courses.

For students who still have to get their Bachelor’s degree and are interested in PT, we recommend the Kinesiology: Exercise Science major. It is a precursor to PT and has most of the prerequisite courses within the degree.

Can I take a prerequisite course for a grade of “Pass/Fail” or “Credit/No Credit”?

It is strongly recommended that all prerequisite courses be taken for a grade. If a grade of “Pass” or “Credit” is earned, we assume the grade to be the lowest grade allowed by that University which in most cases, is a “C”.

Is there a time limit as to how recently an applicant must have taken prerequisite courses in order to be admitted to your program?

There is no time limit for prerequisite courses. As long as you have the transcripts for the course is verified by PTCAS, we will accept the grade.

Do I have to take prerequisite courses at a four-year college or university?

We accept course work completed at any WASC (Western Association of Schools & Colleges) accredited institution or a recognized equivalent regional accrediting body. This includes community colleges as well as four-year institutions. There is no preference given to courses taken at 4 year institutions versus community colleges.

Are online courses accepted for prerequisites?

Yes, we online courses are accepted.

Can courses taken at a chiropractic college be used to satisfy the prerequisite requirements for admission to your program?

Prerequisite courses must be taken at universities or colleges accredited by WASC or a recognized equivalent regional accrediting body. As long at the school is accredited, and the official transcript is verified by PTCAS, we will accept the course.

I attended a university or college in another country. How do I determine if the courses I took qualify as prerequisites? How do you compute my GPA?

In order for us to review your academic qualifications, you need to have your foreign transcripts converted to US equivalents (Translated AND Evaluated) from the approved companies. Please visit the “International Applicants” link on our website for instructions on processing international transcripts.

Can I apply to your program with prerequisite courses still in progress?

Yes, however, applicants can only have 2 prerequisite courses in progress or planned by the application deadline.

When you apply through PTCAS you are asked to identify which prerequisite courses are “IN PROGRESS” ” and which are “PLANNED”. If accepted into the program or on the wait list, all prerequisites must be successfully completed with a “C” or better before the start of the program.

My grade point average (GPA) in the prerequisite courses is not great. May I repeat courses in order to raise it?

Applicants may repeat courses to increase their prerequisite GPA. If you are repeating the same exact course, PTCAS will average the grades. You may take a different course in the same subject area to avoid an average grade. As long as the course meets our requirement description, we will accept it. For example, if you took Bio 101 and received a “C” grade, you may take Bio 106 instead since we accept any Biology course.

Each University has different repeat guidelines, so you should check those schools that you want to apply to.

Does your program require that an applicant take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)?

Yes, all applicants must take the GRE. We accept the new and revised GRE as well as the old GRE (if taken within the last 5 years). You must send your official GRE scores to the 7794 code specifically.

If your cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) is less than 3.00, you must score above the 50th percentile on either the verbal or quantitative portion of the GRE in order to be eligible for acceptance.

Is it possible to attend classes part-time and thus lengthen the DPT program?

No, the DPT curriculum requires full-time attendance. All members of a starting cohort move on together.

What is a typical weekly schedule for students in your program during an academic semester?

Except in the third year of the program (when students usually take most of their elective units) students should expect to be on campus attending classes at least four days a week (sometimes five days). Early classes begin at 8:00 am. Late classes usually end by 5:00 pm. Classes taught by part-time faculty or with guest lecturers from the community may sometimes be scheduled later in the day (ending at 8 or 9:00 pm) to accommodate work schedules of presenters.

Can I work at an outside job while in the DPT program?

Due to the demanding academic load (both in and out of class) it is recommended that students not be employed outside of school while in the DPT program. Many students do, however, manage to work at outside part-time jobs while in the program. Outside employment is never an acceptable excuse for missing class or assignments.

Where do most students in the PT program live?

There are a large number of apartments in the San Fernando Valley in close proximity to the CSUN campus. Many students live in these, often sharing an apartment with classmates. In addition, there are over 1,600 bed spaces available in residence halls on campus. Suites are furnished, cable-ready and wired to the campus computer network. Some students commute to campus from other locations in the greater Los Angeles area. Visit http://housing.csun.edu/ for more information.

How large are lecture and lab classes?

At the present time our Fall 2014 DPT class will consist of 32 students. Typically all attend lecture classes together. Lab classes are split, with a maximum number of 16 in each section. Elective classes can be smaller.

Where are classes held? Does PT have its own labs? Will I need a car?

The Dept. of Physical Therapy is located in Jacaranda Hall (JD) on the main campus. Lectures are typically taught in classrooms within the building, and are sometimes shared with other departments. Students may be asked to attend labs or presentations in clinical settings off campus. The Dept. of PT has six dedicated labs in JD and one lab shared with the Dept. of Communicative disorders in another building. These labs are as follows:

  • General-Purpose Teaching Labs (3): treatment tables and a variety of equipment for evaluation and treatment.
  • Anatomy Lab: cadaver dissection.
  • Applied Physiology Lab: ergometry, energy cost studies (cart-based and telemetered systems), body densitometry, isokinetic assessment, EKG.
  • Gait/Biomechanics Lab: 3-D motion analysis, kinesiological EMG, force plates, automated gait analysis; balance studies (Balance Master System).
  • Vestibular/Balance Lab (shared): Vestibular assessment, balance studies (Equi- Test system).

Students are encouraged to carpool to off-campus sites. It is difficult, however, to go through the program without access to reliable transportation (public transportation in the greater Los Angeles area is not comparable to that in most major Eastern cities).

Will I get to see patients in on-campus labs, or only during clinical rotations?

Individuals in the community with a variety of disabilities volunteer to participate in lab experiences. This is common in labs dealing with gait, neurological disorders, and pediatrics. In addition, a full week of clinical experiences is generally scheduled within each spring semester. There is also an opportunity for selected students to work with a faculty member at Student Health Services on campus treating patients with primarily orthopedic dysfunction.

How much time is spent in full-time internships?

Full-time clinical experiences supervised by physical therapists occur every summer following each academic year (3 summer’s total).

  • First year: 6 weeks
  • Second year: 12 weeks
  • Third year: 12 weeks

What types of clinical settings are available to students for internships?

CSUN has contracts with over 250 clinical sites throughout the state in which students are placed for clinical experience. These include private clinics, acute care hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, schools, and extended care facilities. Students are exposed to a variety of settings in the course of the program. Full-time clinical assignments in the summer are made by the clinical coordinator in consultation with the students and faculty. Selection of locations takes into account as much as possible where students will be living during the placement period.

I am interested in research. Will I have an opportunity to do research while a student in the DPT program?

Students may opt to complete a research project or a doctoral project. To complete research they must be sponsored and supervised by a faculty member. Students interested in a more active research experience are encouraged to work with individual professors on faculty directed studies being carried out in our laboratories. Elective units for independent study are offered to those students who choose to become actively involved in such projects. Current faculty research activity is ongoing in the areas of 3-D motion analysis, kinesiological electromyography, bone density, energy cost analysis, vestibular/balance function, orthopedics and pediatrics.

I am already a PT licensed in the US with a bachelors degree and would like to take graduate work in PT. Can I do it at CSUN?

The DPT is an entry-level degree and is not designed for those who are already therapists. You will need to look elsewhere for an advanced degree in PT. Post professional degrees are offered at some other institutions. See the website of the American Physical Therapy Association for information (http://apta.org/education). At CSUN you could, however, earn a Masters degree in a related subject at such as Kinesiology (MS) or Health Sciences (MPH).

I am a physical therapist trained in another country and wish to be licensed in the United States. Can you help me?

You should contact the Physical Therapy Board of California (http://ptb.ca.gov/) to get information regarding your situation and how to become licensed.

I am a physical therapist trained in another country. I need to take one or more courses at an accredited PT program. I also need to locate a hospital in which to do an internship. Can you help me?

At this time the PT program at CSUN does not allow enrollment in its classes unless the student has been accepted into the regular DPT curriculum. If you need classes in basic sciences you should contact the Dept. of Admissions and Records about course offerings through CSUN Extension. Our contracts with clinical locations to provide internships are specifically limited to our DPT students. We therefore cannot assist you in a clinical placement.

I am a MD trained in another country. I am unable to be licensed as an MD in the United States because I cannot arrange a residency (or because of other restrictions). Can I come into your program and become a PT without repeating courses?

If you have the equivalent of at least a bachelor’s degree, you are free to apply to the MPT program like any other applicant. If accepted you will be expected to complete all courses within the curriculum regardless of your previous training.

I am a Chiropractor (DC). I would like to be licensed as a PT as well. Given my training can I come into your program and not have to repeat courses that were included in my chiropractic training?

See answer to previous question.

I have further questions can I speak to an advisor?

If you are in the Southern California area we offer group advisement sessions each semester, usually two sessions a month. A current schedule can be found on our website. If you unable to attend one of our advisement sessions, you may review the Advisement PowerPoint on our website.