Frequently Asked Questions - Graduate Admission

1.   How many seats are available for graduate admissions?

Admission to the professional program as a graduate student is limited.  For fall 2021 we anticipate having approximately 10 seats available.


2.  How do I apply to Duquesne University’s Physical Therapy Program?

Application should be made through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) at


3.   What is PTCAS?

PTCAS is the centralized application service that allows you to use a single Web-based application and one set of materials to apply to multiple physical therapist (PT) education programs.


4.  Do I send GRE scores to Duquesne University or report them to PTCAS?

GRE scores should be submitted to PTCAS.  To submit your scores to Duquesne University the departmental code for physical therapy is 7603.


5.   Who should I call for more information?

Chris Hilf       
Director of Enrollment Management
Phone: 412.396.5653


6.   Where do I send letters of reference?

File your letters of reference with PTCAS as instructed by the service.


7.   How soon will I hear about my admission status?

Admission to the professional phase of the physical therapy program will occur on a rolling basis.  Notification of acceptance will begin in the late Fall.  Applications may be submitted through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) which typically begins receiving application in July.  Applications will be accepted through March 1 for the class that begins the following fall.


8. If I am on a waitlist, when will I hear if a seat has opened?

Waitlist decisions are made on a rolling basis. If an accepted applicant notifies the department that she/he will not be attending, a student on waitlist will be offered the seat. Students who are on the waitlist will be contacted at the latest by August 1st.


9.  What is the post graduation employment rate?

The post graduate employment rate for graduates is 100% within 6 months following graduation.  Many of our students have employment contracts prior to graduation.


10.   What are starting salaries for Physical Therapists?

Starting salaries for physical therapists can vary considerably, based on many factors such as location, type of facility, experience level, and degree.  A recent salary survey by APTA reported a median starting salary of $64,000 for therapist with 0-3 years experience and median salary of $85,000 for experienced physical therapists.


11.  Who teaches the basic science courses?

All of our faculty teaching basic science courses are experienced clinicians in addition to being basic science researchers.

Neuroscience Dr. David Somers, Physical Therapy Adjunct Professor
Anatomy Dr. Benjamin R. Kivlan, Physical Therapy Assistant Professor
Anatomy Dr. Anne Burrows, Physical Therapy Professor
Physiology Dr. Matthew Kostek, Physical Therapy Associate Professor


12.   Does anatomy class include cadaver dissection?

Knowledge of anatomy is essential to the physical therapist.  There are three ways anatomy is taught in physical therapy programs: full cadaver dissection – dissecting all regions of a cadaver; prosections studying previously dissected regions of a cadaver; or computer model - learning anatomy in virtual form on the computer screen.  While there are some benefits to each, Duquesne utilizes primarily full cadaver dissection.  This gives students an understanding of the nature of human tissues and an excellent three dimensional perspective of the human body. The instructor also makes use of computer models and refers students to various websites to use as resources, and when appropriate, uses prosections to further illustrate a point. Our anatomy class spans two full semesters.  The instructor teaches students respect for the individuals who donated their bodies to further the education of health care professionals.  At the end of each course, the remains of the individuals are cremated followed by a memorial service.  The remains are then returned to the appropriate caretaker.


13.   What is the complement of the physical therapy faculty?

Christopher R. Carcia, PhD, PT, SCS, OCS Associate Professor and Program Chair; Orthopedic & Sports Clinical Specialist
Diane Borello-France, PhD, PT Associate Professor
Anne Burrows,PhD,  DPT Professor
Kenneth Havrilla, PT, DPT, MS Assistant Professor, Assistant Chair & Director of Clinical Education
Benjamin R. Kivlan, PhD, PT, SCS, OCS, CSCS Assistant Professor and Orthopedic & Sports Clinical Specialist; Strength & Conditioning Specialist
Matthew Kostek, Ph.D., FACSM Associate Professor
Gregory Marchetti, PhD., PT, CPE Associate Professor and Certified Professional Ergonomist
Mary Marchetti, PhD, PT, GCS Assistant Professor and Geriatric Clinical Specialist
RobRoy Martin, PhD, PT CSCS Professor and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Martha Somers, DPT, PT Assistant Professor
Regina Harbourne, PhD, PT, PCS Assistant Professor and Pediatric Certified Specialist

All of the faculty teaching clinical and basic science courses are or were practicing clinicians.  This enables us to bring clinical examples to class to illustrate educational points.  The faculty have a strong working knowledge of the clinical environments for which they are preparing the students.  The combined experience of our faculty includes practice in acute care, intensive care, outpatient care, inpatient rehabilitation, home health, skilled nursing facilities, hospitals, and management. Several members of the faculty continue to work clinically on a part-time basis which helps them to improve their clinical skills and knowledge.

At Duquesne University, we are fully staffed and have a full complement of faculty.  Our faculty members have an open door policy and are available to students outside of class during the work week.  The non-faculty staff is equally dedicated to providing our students with excellent educational experiences and works diligently to support the work of our faculty and students.


14.  Is there a minimum grade point average required to stay in the program?

A minimum GPA of 3.0 must be maintained every semester after entering the professional phase of the program. If the semester GPA falls below 3.0 the student is placed on academic probation.  Failure to obtain a 3.0 GPA in any subsequent semester will result in dismissal from the program.  Consistent with our mission, extenuating circumstances are considered in cases of academic dismissal. Each student has a professional advisor from the physical therapy faculty and an academic advisor in the Dean’s office for support and guidance.  Additional support is available to students through various offices on campus.


15.   What is the clinical education experience like for this program?

The DPT includes 4 clinical education experiences, for a total of 40 weeks.

• Clinical Education I 12 weeks Year 2 of Professional Phase

• Clinical Education II 8 weeks Year 2 of Professional Phase

• Clinical Education III 8 weeks Year 3 of Professional Phase

• Clinical Education IV 12 weeks Year 3 of Professional Phase

Students are placed at sites according to a multitude of factors including their learning needs, professional goals, geographical preferences, site availability, and program needs.  Focusing on the student’s education, the clinical education faculty are dedicated to assuring that students have a well-rounded, complete, and learning-focused clinical education experience.


16.   What shadowing/volunteer/employment experiences are required of students?

To ensure that applicants to the program understand the nature of physical therapy, prospective students are required to have participated in at least 100 hours of shadowing, volunteering, or employment under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist.  These experiences must be with at least two different physical therapy patient populations prior to admission.  For example, an applicant may spend 50 hours working with clients in an outpatient orthopedic setting and another 50 hours working with clients in an acute care setting or in a skilled nursing facility, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation clinic, etc. It is not necessary that these patient populations be seen at different clinics or hospitals if one shadowing/volunteering site delivers care to multiple kinds of patients.


17.   What is the cost of Physical Therapy Graduate Education at Duquesne University?

Graduate tuition for the Physical Therapy program for 2017-2018 is $1,351.00 per credit; including fees.  Additional expenses for books, housing and clinical education are variable.


18.   Why should I choose Duquesne University?

The Duquesne University faculty are dedicated to educating competent and compassionate Doctors of Physical Therapy.  We are committed to the highest quality education both in the academic and clinical settings.  Our class sizes are small (35-40) and courses are taught by the 12 full-time faculty members supplemented by a large cadre of adjunct professors. You will be educated by faculty who are licensed physical therapists; have advanced degrees in the sciences, education, and rehabilitation; are clinical researchers; and have dedicated their professional careers to the education of students in physical therapy.  Our student-faculty ratio allows us to provide quality education while maintaining close professional yet personal contact with students.  Our graduates are well-respected clinicians with an excellent local and national reputation.