Doctor of Physical Therapy - Hawaii Pacific University


HPU offers a holistic approach to admissions and recruitment reducing barriers to the physical therapy profession. Because of this approach, the GRE is not currently an admission requirement. We value diversity in our student body, and our faculty support every student’s academic and career success. Our two-year DPT model means our graduates can enter the workforce and earn an income sooner than students in a traditional three-year DPT program.

Join us for informational webinars each month. Learn more about HPU DPT's hybrid, accelerated model, admissions requirements, and our special ‘ohana!


Questions? Schedule a chat with HPU DPT's Admissions Advisor, Edward Smith. Click the button below and find a time that's right for you.


HPU DPT is now accepting applications for our Fall 2023 cohort. Collect your application materials and create a PTCAS login now.


Are you ready to apply? Download our interactive checklist and check off your materials as you finish!


Program Admission Requirements

  • Baccalaureate Degree
    • Complete a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution prior to class beginning. Admission may be granted pending completion of the degree.
  • 3.0 Cumulative GPA
    • If the cumulative GPA is less than 3.00 on a 4.00 scale, an applicant may still be eligible for admission if a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or greater has been achieved over the last 60 semester or 90 quarter-hour credits of coursework.
  • 3.0 Prerequisite GPA 
    • Complete all required prerequisite courses with an average GPA of 3.00 or greater on a 4.00 scale.
    • Grades Below "C-" (1.7) in prerequisite courses will not be accepted.
    • If a pre-requisite course is repeated, the credit hours assigned to the course may be counted only once in fulfilling the required number of hours. The pre-requisite GPA will be determined using the highest course grade achieved; however, both grades will be calculated into the cumulative GPA category.
  • 2 Professional References
    • Submission of two professional references. It is recommended, but not required, that one recommendation letter be from a licensed physical therapist. Letters from friends, family, clergy, or politicians are not accepted. 
  • 50 Hours of Volunteer or Employed Experience (Recommended)
    • Completion of 50 hours of volunteer or employed experience in two or more settings with a licensed physical therapist is recommended, but not required.
    • Completing the recommended requirements earns the applicant the highest score for this criterion in the review process and accounts for approximately 1/14 of the overall score.
    • There is no impact on the admissions decision if observation hours are beyond 50 hours or completed in more than two settings.
    • The Program will not consider any virtual or in-person observation hours that an applicant pays to complete.
    • Shadowing other healthcare professionals does not count towards observation hours recommendations.
    • Only the hours submitted at the time of application will be considered. 
  • English Proficiency
    • For all applicants for whom English is not their first language or those who have completed a degree and pre-requisite courses in a foreign country, demonstration of English language proficiency may be required through completion of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam or comparable HPU authorized English language proficiency. The minimum preferred TOEFL scores are internet-based 80 and above, computer-based 213 and above, paper-based test 550 and above.
  • Admissions Interview
    • Successful completion of a virtual, asynchronous admission interview through Kira Talent. Applicants are selected for interviews based on a holistic evaluation of their application and supporting materials.
  • Citizenship
    • Citizenship types eligible for admission: U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and DACA recipients.
    • HPU does not accept international students.

    • Eligibility for Federal Financial Aid is limited to US Citizens and US Permanent Residents. Candidates applying without US Citizenship or Permanent Residency are strongly encouraged to explore financing options before proceeding with the application process. Additional information may be viewed by visiting the Eligibility Requirements section of the Financial Aid website. 

  • Other
    • Ability to fulfill the technical standards and essential functions of the DPT program for admission.
    • Complete a Background Check prior to matriculation.


Prerequisite Courses Required for Admission

  • Biology 
    • (6 semester hours/8 quarter hours) laboratory recommended, but not required  *
  • Chemistry with laboratory
    • (8 semester hours/12 quarter hours) *
  • General Physics with laboratory
    • (8 semester hours/12 quarter hours) *
  • Anatomy and Physiology with laboratory
    • (8 semester hours/10 quarter hours)*
    • Applicants must complete Anatomy and Physiology courses within the last five years, prior to application, or demonstrate ongoing work experiences that have kept this knowledge current (e.g. physical therapist assistant, athletic trainer, etc.).
  • Statistics
    • (3 semester hours/ 4 quarter hours)
  • Any Psychology
    • (3 semester hours/ 4 quarter hours)
  • Abnormal or Developmental Psychology
    • (3 semester hours/4 quarter hours)
  • English Composition or Writing
    • (3 semester hours/ 4 quarter hours)


All letter-graded pre-requisite coursework is acceptable, no matter when the coursework was completed. However, we strongly recommend that applicants take refresher courses as needed to fully prepare themselves for our accelerated DPT program.

*Applicants must complete these courses at the General or College level. Introductory-level science courses for "non-science majors" are not accepted. Introductory science courses for "science majors" (typically mid to upper 100/1000 level courses Example: BIOL 171/2 Introduction to Biology) may be accepted based on the institution, course description, and/or course syllabus.

Learn more about our prerequisites on our PTCAS Directory page

Application Procedures


Applicants will use the Physical Therapist Centralized Application System (PTCAS) available at to apply. PTCAS allows PT applicants to use a single Web-based application and one set of materials to apply to multiple PT programs. PTCAS is a service of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and is administered by Liaison International (LI), an education information technology company located in Watertown, Massachusetts.


NOTE: The current PTCAS application fees are $160 to apply to the first program and $60 for each additional program. Additional information may be found at


Procedure: Applicants will apply through PTCAS and submit a completed web-based application comprised of biographical data, colleges and universities attended, academic course history, physical therapy observation hours, list of reference providers, work experiences, extracurricular activities, honors, professional licenses, and school-specific questions or supplemental requirements. It is the applicant's responsibility to read and follow all PTCAS and program-specific instructions.


NOTE: Applicants should apply early. It can take up to 5 weeks for PTCAS to verify the file, once it is in

“complete” status. The HPU DPT Program does not review applications until they are verified by PTCAS. 

Applicants should follow these steps:

  1. Review the PTCAS instructions and program admission
  2. Create a PTCAS application
  3. Complete the “Colleges Attended” section first by entering all institutions
  4. Print a PTCAS transcript matching form for each institution
  5. Arrange for all official transcripts to be sent to PTCAS with the “Transcript Matching” form enclosed
  1. Enter all United States and Canadian college courses using personal copies of their transcripts
  2. Complete the References section for two (2) references, so their evaluators have adequate time to complete the evaluation process
  3. Complete the Observation Hours section, so a licensed physical therapist can verify their hours
  4. Following submission, updated transcripts can be sent directly to PTCAS for an "Academic Update"



Admissions Process

The DPT Admissions Committee and faculty will review completed applications (e.g., application and all required credentials) in the order of receipt on a rolling basis.

Applicants are evaluated based on cumulative GPA, prerequisite GPA, references, and all supporting materials received. Other factors considered include relevant work experience and/or observation hours. The DPT Admissions Committee will grant admission interviews by invitation only.

  • Interview process: The DPT Admissions Coordinator will coordinate interviews for all selected applicants. All interviews will be conducted asynchronously using a web-based video platform. Applicants will video-record and upload their responses to interview questions in real-time for review by the DPT Admissions Committee. Written responses (essays) or standardized questionnaires may also be part of the interview process and take place through the same web- based video platform.
  • Selection Process: The DPT Admissions Committee and faculty will accept students into the program based on a holistic evaluation of their application, supportive documents, and all applicants will be notified by email regarding final selection decisions. The Director of Admissions will make personal phone calls to applicants accepted into the program.
  • The DPT Admissions Committee will use a combination of academic performance, personal references, video interviews, written responses (essays), and standardized measures to ensure nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all applicants.


Candidate selection for Interviews & Acceptance into Program

The purpose of the interview is to become better acquainted with the candidate to ascertain their professional potential and alignment with both the DPT Program and HPU’s College of Health and Society’s mission, vision, and values.

Applicants may be selected for interviews before fully completing their application file. Minimum requirements for interview consideration include verified application, official transcripts, two recommendation letters, and a minimum of 8 of 12 prerequisite courses completed.

HPU ‘Ohana Prioritized Application Process: Current HPU students who have achieved 90 undergraduate credits toward their bachelor’s degree / HPU Graduate students / HPU alumni who have fully completed their application file and meet the minimum program requirements, are guaranteed an interview.

Following the completion of the interview sessions, the top candidates will be offered acceptance into the program. At this point, candidates can follow one of the routes below:

  1. The candidate accepts the offer and provides a non-refundable deposit to hold their spot in the program. Program deposits are due February 1st, for those offered admissions prior to January 15th. Following January 15th, applicants are provided 2 weeks to pay the seat deposit to secure their seat int he program. 
  2. The candidate accepts the offer and provides a deposit, but later withdraws their offer, forfeiting their deposit and position in the incoming class.
  3. The candidate accepts the offer and provides a non-refundable deposit to hold their spot in the program but fails to register for program, thus forfeiting their position in the incoming class.
  4. The candidate declines the offer.
  5. The candidate accepts the offer and provides a deposit, but requests deferral to the following cohort. 

Applicants accepted in the program must maintain minimum standards through the completion of all outstanding pre-requisites and overall GPA course work.

  • Applicants who fail to complete all pre-requisite courses, either through lack of registration or grade work below a C- (1.7 grade point), will not be granted entrance into the These applicants will need to re-enter the general pool of applicants for the following year.


Transfer of Credits

Transfer credits are not accepted for HPU’s DPT program. Applicants who were previously enrolled in a DPT program at another institution and who are offered admission to the HPU DPT Program, must start their degree from Year 1, Term 1, and meet all requirements to graduate.



If an applicant is accepted and requests deferment, a position in the class may be held for one year. The Admissions Committee is not required to offer a deferment but can choose this option with a viable candidate. A written request to defer admission for one year may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The applicant must provide a deposit at the time of deferment. Students must continue to report grades earned after removing themselves from consideration and cannot fall below standards.



The remaining candidates will be notified that they are on the waitlist for our program. Candidates are provided the option of remaining on the waitlist or asking to be removed from consideration. This process will be ongoing until the admissions cycle is closed.

Waitlist candidates are accepted into the program based on the availability of spots, which is determined by the higher ranked candidates confirming or declining acceptance into the program. Waitlist candidates are offered spots until a complete class is created.

Technical STandards & Essential Functions


Technical Standards: The Technical Standards of Hawai`i Pacific University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program (non-academic prerequisites) define the essential functions that an applicant must be able to perform to be admitted to the DPT Program, to progress satisfactorily, and to graduate. Upon matriculation, students must attest to meeting the Technical Standards and Essential Functions of the physical therapist student.

Essential functions of the physical therapist student refer to all non-academic criteria that are necessary to participate in the educational program. These include basic motor and communication skills, intellectual abilities, behavioral and social attributes, and other requirements. Listed below are considered minimum abilities required in the educational process of a physical therapist. The integrity of the curriculum must be maintained, and those elements deemed essential to the education of a physical therapist must be required and completed. In developing these criteria, the DPT Program faculty affirm the following expectations of our admissions candidates:


Observation: A student must be able to observe and monitor fellow students, patients, simulated patents, caregivers, volunteers, and faculty. The essential observation functions require the use of senses (e.g. vision, hearing, touch, smell) and include, the student must be able to:

  • Observe movement patterns, activities and
  • Observe signs related to physical status (e.g. vital signs, symmetry and condition of the skin, soft tissue & wounds) and behavioral status (e.g. facial expressions, tone & volume of voice).
  • Read information, in virtual and face to face classrooms and clinical environments such as course materials, patient medical record, diagnostic tests, dials, displays and equipment related to patient care.


Communication: A student must communicate in a professional manner that meet the needs of the target audience (fellow students, faculty, staff, patients, caregivers, health care team members, policy makers & third-party payors) in written, verbal and nonverbal forms. The essential communication standards include, the student must be able to:

  • Receive and respond to verbal and written communications in an appropriate and professional
  • Obtain and report information verbally and in writing using the English
  • Participate in student, curricular and community group
  • Apply teaching principles for patients, caregiver or simulated caregiver skill development to manage patients and simulated patients in academic and clinical


Physical Performance Skills: A student must have sufficient mobility, coordination, gross and fine motor skills to manage heavy or immobile patients or simulated patients and equipment necessary for academic and clinical activities typically performed by a physical therapist. These essential physical performance functions include, the student must be able to:


  • Safely lift, push, pull and carry heavy or immobile
  • Generate and apply force (strength and power) with all body
  • Move their body with adequate joint and soft tissue range of motion and
  • Apply timely reactions to maintain safety to self and
  • Apply body mechanic principles to maintain safety to self and
  • Apply fine motor skills and hand dexterity to safely perform examination and therapeutic


Cognition: A student must have the requisite cognitive abilities necessary for timely problem solving, safety judgment, and reasoning in academic and clinical settings. The essential cognitive functions include, the student must be able to:

  • Measure, calculate, analyze, comprehend, integrate, and synthesize a large body of
  • Assimilate, understand and integrate information from multiple sources such as textbooks, published literature, internet, and presentations.
  • Select and utilize appropriate verbal, non-verbal, and electronic
  • Utilize critical thinking skills and create effective solutions in all levels of the
  • Assess self-performance to continually improve professional skills and implement plans for professional growth and development.


Behavioral and Social Attributes: A student must possess maturity, emotional health, and physical abilities required to fulfill all responsibilities in academic and clinical settings. Essential behavioral and social functions include, the student must be able to:

  • Act in an ethical, legal, and responsible manner consistent with the Core Values and Professional Behaviors outlined by the American Physical Therapy Association.
  • Engage in patient care delivery in all settings and deliver care to all patient populations including but not limited to children, adolescents, adults, vulnerable adults, or persons with developmental
  • Demonstrate behaviors that protect the safety and well-being of fellow students, faculty, staff, patients, simulated patients, and
  • Recognize and demonstrate respect for cultural, ethnic, ethical, and value differences among students, faculty, staff, patients, caregivers, and other health care professionals.
  • Participate in collegial productive group and team activities with diverse
  • Manage personal and work-related stresses that may be physically, emotionally, psychologically or intellectually challenging in a timely professional
  • Demonstrate flexibility and adaptability to changing situations and
  • Always maintain personal
  • Adhere to timeliness and attendance
  • Transportation and access to curricular on-campus and off-campus

For more information, please reference the DPT Student Handbook.


The State of Hawai‘i law mandates that certain health requirements be cleared before students can enter into postsecondary institutions (Hawaii Administrative Rules, Title 11, Department of Health, Chapter 157 Examination and Immunization). Students must submit proof of these requirements for enrollment at the university. There are additional requirements for participation in the DPT program as there are specific requirements for clinical education in healthcare facilities. Health and immunization forms are to be completed and signed by a licensed healthcare provider. Health requirements will be maintained and tracked in EXXAT, an education management software, for the duration of the program. 

A one-time submission of certain health requirements is required. Deadlines for requirements are determined based on the University or Program requirement. Proof of the following must be provided: 

  • Personal health insurance throughout the entire program
  • Satisfactory and current physical examination
  • COVID-19 Vaccine
  • Tuberculosis Clearance via QuantiFERON-Gold Blood Test, Tuberculin Skin Test, or documentation from a healthcare provider assessing tuberculosis status with a copy of any diagnostic reports
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine (2 doses) OR immunity by titer
  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, & Pertussis (Tdap) vaccine (at least 1 dose) within the last 10 years
  • Varicella (Chickenpox) Immunization (2 doses) OR immunity by titer OR verification of a history of varicella disease or herpes zoster
  • Hepatitis B vaccine series (3 doses) OR immunity by titer

Recurring submissions of the following health requirements will be required during the program. Proof of the following must be provided: 

  • Annual Tuberculosis Clearance via a QuantiFERON-Gold Blood Test, Tuberculin Skin Test, or documentation from a healthcare provider assessing tuberculosis status with a copy of any diagnostic reports.
  • Annual Influenza vaccine (to be given during influenza season: October through May)
  • Tdap vaccine if it expires during enrollment in the program 
  • Any health insurance changes

Please note that individual clinical facilities may have specific health requirements. It will be the responsibility of the student to make sure these are met. Documentation from outside of the U.S. on these health requirements may need to be reviewed per the HPU Registrar:  Information on medical and religious exemptions can also be found on this website. 

For more information about the immunization of Health Care Workers, refer to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Recommended Vaccines for Healthcare workers or Immunization of healthcare workers: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Hospital Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC).



Criminal background checks and drug testing are becoming mandatory at medical institutions as a requirement of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). Individuals working in health care facilities often must consent to and be cleared to work through criminal background investigations and/or drug screenings. This is also a common policy/requirement in many physical therapy corporate entities and individual clinics.  

The HPU DPT Program requires all students to complete a criminal background check prior to formal enrollment or matriculation in the DPT program. An additional background check and/or drug test may be required prior to beginning clinical experiences in year two of the program. Applicants should be aware that a prior criminal background could restrict the ability to obtain professional state licensure. Acceptance into the DPT program does not imply or guarantee that a student will be able to obtain such licensure. 


Health Insurance

Students are responsible for purchasing and maintaining health insurance coverage during their entire tenure in the DPT Program. Students must provide verification of personal health insurance to the DPT program to be kept on file.

The health insurance marketplace provides information about available health insurance plans in the United States. To be eligible to enroll in health coverage through the Marketplace, you must live in the United States; must be a U.S. citizen or national (or be lawfully present); and cannot be incarcerated. To see if you are eligible and what is available in your state, go to  or contact 1-800-318-2596.

Acceptance and matriculation rates

The program  will provide  acceptance and matriculation rates  as this information becomes available. 


Careers in physical therapy

Physical therapists help people live healthy and active lives. Are you ready to be a PT?  Learn more about becoming a PT on the American Physical Therapy Association's  Careers Page.