UNM pt


Division of Physical Therapy
UNM Health Sciences Center
MSC 09-5230
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
Phone: 505-272-5479
Fax: 505-272-8079

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Frequently Asked Questions

Changes due to Coronavirus:

The University of New Mexico PT Program understands that this is a difficult time for everyone and that several parts of the application process may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to helping future applicants by making the following changes in line with PTCAS recommendations for the 2020-2021 application cycle.

  • We will accept pass, credit and satisfactory grades for prerequisite courses taken in the Spring and Summer 2020 semesters for prerequisite requirements.
  • We will still accept online and/or distance learning courses for prerequisite courses.  Please verify with PTCAS that the institution is accredited to be offering that course and that they will verify grades from that institution. 
  • We will accept the new at-home GRE testing being offered by ETS but the deadline for taking the GRE is still October 1st, 2020.
  • We understand that applicants may have difficulty obtaining or completing the 45 required shadowing hours before the applications are due on October 1st, 2020.  We will extend the time available to complete your shadowing hours to December during the PTCAS academic update.  

General Questions

  • What is the application deadline? Your application is due by midnight (EST) October 1st. Do not wait until the last minute. PTCAS may encounter technical difficulties due to high volume of applications being submitted.

  • How many hours should I spend observing in a PT clinic? The PT program requires a minimum 45 hours of observation, with a recommendation of at least 15 hours in 3 of the 4 types of practice settings: Inpatient, Outpatient, Long-Term Care and Pediatrics. Most applicants have a minimum of 200 volunteer hours when they apply to the program. The program recommends that you get as much exposure to the PT profession (whether from volunteer or work opportunities) as you can so that you can positively answer the question “Is PT the profession for me?” 

    • We will extend the time available to complete your shadowing hours to December during the PTCAS academic update.

  • I’m submitting my application through PTCAS and it says I need to also submit the residency form – I’m not from New Mexico, do I need to submit this form? 

    This form is only required for New Mexico residents.   

    New Mexico applicants must complete and submit the following residency information form and supporting documentation on PTCAS by October 1st. 

Degree Questions

  • Does it matter what my degree is in? No, but a 4 year bachelor’s degree is required. Your degree must be completed by May 2020 (semester curriculum) or June 2020 (trimester curriculum).

  • Does it matter what school I attended for my degree? No, it does not

  • Do I need to major in a specific area to apply to the DPT Program? No, any major is accepted as long as you have met the requirements for the program.

GRE Questions

  • Do I send my GRE score to UNM? 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 UNM DPT Program or graduate admissions. The GRE testing must be completed by October 1st.

    • We will accept the new At-Home GRE testing being offered by ETS, but the deadline for taking the GRE is still October 1st, 2020.

  • If I repeat my GRE what scores do you use? We will utilize the highest individual score from each section, independent of the test. The GRE must be completed by October 1st.

Prerequisite Classes

  • What if I am taking a prerequisite class now? How do you get my grades? When you submit your original application, you will list any classes that you are registered for in the fall and planning to take in the Spring as in progress. In December after your application is submitted, you will complete an academic update through PTCAS.

    • When those grades have been verified, PTCAS will automatically update the grades and update your prerequisite and cumulative GPA’s.


  • Do I have to have all the prerequisites complete before I can apply to the program? No, you can be taking prerequisite classes in the Fall semester while submitting the application. Those classes must be listed as in progress in PTCAS and updated during the December academic update in PTCAS.

    • Our policy is that you are permitted to have one (1) final prerequisite to be taken during the Spring Semester after your application has been submitted. If you have more than one (1) outstanding prerequisite class yet to take after the December academic update, your application will be considered incomplete and will not move forward.

  • Can I use Advanced Placement courses for prerequisite classes? If you are trying to use Advanced Placement credits for a prerequisite class, please contact us so we can verify that it meets the specific class requirements and is listed appropriately on your transcript.

  • Do I need to send my transcript to you or can it be sent from my school? Send your transcripts to PTCAS. We are able to access your official grades and transcripts on PTCAS. 

    • If you are accepted to the program but had outstanding prerequisite coursework and/or you did not have your bachelor’s degree when you applied then you will need to send the UNM PT Program an official transcript to verify your degree status and completion of the final prerequisite class.

  • Are there any time restrictions on prerequisite courses? Anatomy/physiology prerequisites must be taken within the last 5 years. There is no expiration date on the other prerequisite classes that meet the acceptable course, credit and lab criteria.
  • Can I use Web-Based courses for prerequisites? For the University of New Mexico (and PTCAS) to accept credits earned from a web-based course, that course must appear on a transcript from an accredited college or university. Therefore, if the online course you have taken or plan to take is offered by UNM or CNM (or any other accredited college or university), and it satisfies our requirement, the course will be accepted. All course work is verified through PTCAS. If you have questions regarding validity of an institution please contact PTCAS directly.

  • Pass/Fail or CR/NC options are NOT acceptable for prerequisitie courses except for those courses taken during the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 academic semesters. We will accept pss, credit and satisfactory grades for classes that were affected by the Coronavirus outbreak during the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 semesters.

Academic Updates in PTCAS

  • Do I need to perform an academic update in PTCAS?  If you have outstanding coursework, have incomplete prerequisites or are still taking any additional classes that will go into your overall GPA, you MUST complete an academic update in December. 

  • Applicants for the 2020-2021 cycle will have until December during the PTCAS academic update to fulfill their 45 observation hours due to delays caused by the Coronavirus.

Am I a competitive candidate?

There are many qualities that make up a competitive candidate and although it is difficult to paint a picture of someone guaranteed to get in, here are some guidelines:

  • Excellent prerequisite GPA- higher than the minimum requirement.

    • What is a competitive GPA? The average overall GPA for the class of 2023 is 3.58, with a prerequisite GPA of 3.68. If you are near those values you would be considered competitive. The farther away you get the less competitive you are.

  • Demonstrated ability to successfully complete rigorous course loads.

    • Have you taken 12+ hours of rigorous science classes together and scored A’s and B’s in those classes? This shows us you can excel in similar situations in our program.

  • Quality preparation for the GRE General Test so that you score well above the minimum requirements of 20th percentile for the quantitative section and 25th for the verbal.

    • What is a competitive GRE score? The average scores for the Class of 2023 were Verbal: 60th percentile; Quantitative: 46th percentile. Click here for more information on the GRE and for GRE Prep courses. The GRE testing must be completed by October 1st.

      • If you take the GRE 3-4 times and are not improving please consider a test prep class for test taking strategies.

  • Exposure to various specialties within physical therapy (orthopedic, pediatric, neurologic, acute care…) this helps you to understand what the field of PT has to offer and where you might fit into that. Ask Questions, talk to the people you shadow find out if PT is right for you!

    • The program requires 45 observation hours.

    • Wanting to help people is a noble cause however there are many types of jobs where you can help people. Being a PT is wonderful but it is not for everyone. Observation hours help you to understand the immense knowledge needed to treat patients and some of the complicated issues that go into being a PT. Knowing you have considered the career in its entirety and can talk about your ideas and goals as a future PT helps our program have confidence you have the grit to make it through the program.


The application process works in 2 parts. The first part is to present an application that aims for the best in your GPA’s, test scores, essays, and all other PTCAS application requirements so that you are considered a top applicant and granted an interview.

  • The essays in PTCAS are meant to help us get to know you better. Take the time to understand the questions and fully answer it. Be reflective and have other people read your answer to gauge if you are expressing yourself clearly.

  • Strong letters of recommendation- be sure to carefully consider the people you ask to write your letters, you want to know that they will go the extra mile and include detailed information about you because we are not allowed to call and contact them.

The interview is the second part which if granted, gives you the opportunity to let the panelists know who you are, why you want to be a PT, how you would contribute to the field, and how you will overcome obstacles to succeed once admitted. This second portion gives us the opportunity to see the whole picture.

It is important to note that the UNM DPT program is 3 years full time, with classes and clinical experiences taking place in the spring, summer, and fall semesters- it is pretty much 8-5 Monday-Friday with some weekends and many evenings required for REACH Lab and other projects. The content is compounding and rigorous even for experienced students so it is very important to have a clear plan when entering the program.

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