Physical Therapy, DPT

School of Medicine

Program Description:

Our Physical Therapy Program is located within the School of Medicine at the University of New Mexico (UNM) Health Sciences Center, which is the largest academic health complex in the state of New Mexico. As a long-standing component of the UNM Health Sciences Center, the Physical Therapy Program is committed to offering an educational experience that provides the academic and clinical opportunities for individuals to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for the ethical and professionally competent practice of physical therapy.  Our program prepares students to function as autonomous professional practitioners and integral members of a health care team who are responsive to the health care needs of the individual and society at-large.  The aim of the program is to foster an attitude of responsibility and conduct that is consistent with the ethical and legal standards within the profession.  Inherent in this mission is the goal of educating leaders in physical therapy who are proficient in the areas of education, research, supervision, management, consultation, promotion of health, prevention of dysfunction and provision of care, in order to meet the needs of the citizens of New Mexico and the world.   

The UNM Physical Therapy Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), and our program has continually graduated excellent physical therapists since the first Physical Therapy Class of 1976.   Currently our program consists of a three year curriculum of professional course work and clinical training which leads to a clinical Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.  

Our entry level DPT curriculum is 34 months in length, with classes beginning in August each year.  Didactic content is presented in a uniquely integrated format.  The first year coursework emphasizes anatomy, orthopedics and evidence-based practice, and includes an 8-week orthopedic physical therapy clinical education component.  The second year focuses on various specialty areas such as neurological and cardiopulmonary disorders, pediatrics, gerontology, health promotion, and advanced manual skills.  In addition to didactic coursework in other specialty areas, the third year culminates in three final full-time clinical education rotations over a 28-week period.  Hospital and health care facilities throughout New Mexico, including rural health sites, and a limited number of facilities outside the state are utilized in the edifying clinical education experiences.  Prior to graduation, students also successfully complete and present an evidence-based capstone project under the supervision of a faculty member.  Personal attention is optimal for students in our program, since the class size of 30 is substantially smaller compared to a number of other programs.

All of the faculty members in the UNM Physical Therapy Program are committed to helping students achieve their goals of becoming excellent physical therapists.  There are 10 full-time core faculty members who have a wide variety of expertise in all areas of physical therapy. Many of the faculty have been physical therapists for more than 20 years and have extensive clinical as well as academic experience.  Core faculty are engaged in diverse areas of research and clinical practice, and there are also numerous adjunct faculty engaged in the educational mission.

Admission Requirements:

The application deadlines are in mid-October of each year.

Students are admitted once a year, with classes beginning in August. As part of the admissions process, the UNM Physical Therapy Program utilizes the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Prospective students must complete an online application to the PTCAS. To begin the PTCAS application process, visit the PTCAS website at  

Part I. For the PTCAS: Applicants must complete the PTCAS application by October deadline, and submit required documentation by the PTCAS deadlines, including:
1) Complete Online Application 
2) Official Transcripts from all Colleges and Universities Attended
3) Three Reference Letters (One must be from a Licensed Physical Therapist)
4) Application Fee (Financial Assistance is available for eligible applicants through the PTCAS)

"Submit your official GRE scores to code #7670 for the Physical Therapy Program at University of New Mexico.
GRE scores for code #7670 will automatically be sent to PTCAS. Do NOT send your GRE scores to the main university
or graduate admissions code.

Other notes about admission:

Applicants can be certified by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Residents of Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Wyoming are eligible to apply to our program under WICHE. For more information on WICHE, please call 1-800-279-9777 or visit their website at   Although the majority of our students are residents of New Mexico, residents of other states are invited to apply.

Applicants who appear to be best qualified will be invited for an interview.  Final selection will be made from the group of candidates interviewed, and will be based on science GPA, GRE scores, written materials including letters of reference, and interview. It is recommended that applicants have adequate exposure to the profession of physical therapy through volunteer or work experience.

The program's selection process does not discriminate against any student on the basis of gender, marital or parental status, race, color, religion, age, national origin or physical handicap.

Students with disabilities:

If you have a physical or learning disability, you are asked to self-report your educational needs prior to matriculation. Technical Standards for physical therapy students are defined by the program and are available upon request. Evaluation of the disability by a physician or other appropriate professional must be presented at the time of the report in order for accommodations to be arranged.

Information about general student services at UNM, including admissions and NM residency criteria, can be obtained by calling 1-800 CALL UNM (225-5866), or calling Financial Aid at (505) 272-0008, or accessing the UNM Current Student Page.

Preparation for admission:

# 1 Volunteer Experience: The program requires that you get at least 45 hours of experience (whether from volunteer or work opportunities) via a variety of experiences in different areas of PT, so that you can positively answer the question “Is PT the profession for me?”   

# 2 Prerequisites: Admission to our program requires completion of prerequisite courses with 36 hours of specific sciences and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the prerequisites.  Prerequisite courses must be completed by December of application year with a grade of C or better, with only one out-standing prerequisite in the spring with advanced approval.  Final transcripts must be sent to the UNM Physical Therapy Program.  Prerequisite courses may be taken at any accredited college or university.  The following is a list of the general prerequisites.


General Prerequisite

Exercise Physiology

300-level or above (3 hrs)

Anatomy & Physiology

(8 hrs) with lab

Chemistry (8 hrs)

Statistics (3 hrs)


(8 hrs) with lab


Psychology (6 hrs) Developmental and/or Abnormal Psychology recommended

UNM Physical Therapy Program Policy on Web-Based Prerequisite Courses

1. In order for the University of New Mexico to accept credits earned from a web-based course, that course must appear on a transcript from an accredited college or university. Applicants are strongly urged to contact the UNM Admissions office at (505)277-2447 prior to registering for an on-line course. If UNM accepts the course as “transfer credit”, the Physical Therapy Program will accept it also.

2. Only courses in exercise physiology, psychology and statistics will count as a prerequisite if taken on-line. Courses that feature a lab component (chemistry, A&P and physics) will not be accepted as a prerequisite if taken on-line.

New! Online Course - Clinical Exercise Physiology offered by the UNM PT Program

PT 351 Clinical Exercise in Physical Therapy/ CRN # 17851 / 3 credit hours

This course addresses the principles of the physiology of the human body during exercise with emphasis on the cardiopulmonary and neuromuscular systems. In addition, this course addresses an overview of selected pathological conditions of these systems relevant to the practice of physical therapy.

Prerequisite: By permission of the instructor, Dr. Burke Gurney. Phone (505) 272-6850 or email

#3 Bachelor’s Degree:   Admission to our program requires completion of a bachelor’s degree (or higher). A degree in any field is acceptable, as long as the prerequisite courses are also completed.  To apply you must have a minimum Overall GPA of at least 2.67. Degree must be completed by the Spring semester after you have applied.

#4 Graduate Record Exam (GRE):  Admission to our program requires GRE scores on the General test AND the Writing Assessment.  The GRE must be taken within 5 years of application.  Relevant websites are for the GRE at, and for Prometric Testing Services at Highest scores will be used when test retaken. Use code 7670 to have scores reported to PTCAS.

Admissions Procedures

In addition to the requirements of completing a bachelor’s degree in any field, having at least a 2.67 GPA overall and a 3.0 in science prerequisites, and taking the GREs within 5 years, applicants also write an essay and obtain 3 letters of reference (one must come from a physical therapist).  Based on these initial criteria, the top qualified applicants will be invited for an interview, usually held in late January.  Following the interview process, up to 30 students are selected for the next UNM DPT class.  

Nondiscrimination Policy

The admission procedure in the Physical Therapy Program at the University of New Mexico does not discriminate against any student on the basis of gender, marital or parental status, race, color, religion, age, national origin or physical handicap.

For more information please see the Physical Therapy program website at

Contact Information:

Amy Dunlap: Program Manager
(505) 272-5756