Physical Therapy

What is Physical Therapy (PT)?

Physical therapy is “a professional health discipline directed towards the prevention or alleviation of movement dysfunction, and towards the enhancement of physical capacity. The ultimate goal of Physical Therapy is to assist the client/patient to achieve the highest possible level of independent function. Exercise, therapeutic modalities and consultative strategies are used to maximize function. In addition, physical therapists educate their patients and the community about the prevention of disabilities and promotion of health.” (Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto)

What are the common academic requirements for PT programs?

  • Completion of a 4-year undergraduate degree.
  • Minimum academic requirement to apply is typically a B/75%/3.0 in the final 2 years, but successful applicants usually have an A-.
  • Prerequisites vary by institution but may include courses in biology/life science (human anatomy and physiology), statistics, psychology and humanities.

Tips for a successful Nursing application

  • Start Early! Physical Therapy programs require a high GPA. Many look for demonstrated interest in healthcare in your application.
  • Improve your GPA: Visit the AA&CC and the Centre for Teaching & Learning to improve your academic skills. AA&CC Events & Workshops are available via CLN
  • Cultivate References: Get to know a few professors early so that they write a strong reference letter for you.
  • Get Involved: Join volunteer and cocurricular activities that demonstrate your skills and ongoing interest in a career in PT.

Where can I study PT?

There are 5 physical therapy programs in Ontario:

  • McMaster University
  • Queen’s University
  • University of Ottawa (program only offered in French)
  • University of Toronto
  • Western University

Be sure to visit each university’s website for more information on their program and specific admission requirements.

How do I apply?

The application process is centralized through OUAC’s Ontario Rehabilitation Sciences Programs Application Service (ORPAS)
Applications are typically due at the beginning of January.

Typical Application Timeline
Begin 1 year prior to your desired Fall start:

  • October – Create your OLSAS account
  • November – Complete the online application
  • By January – Submit all supporting documents
  • April – Interviews at McMaster and U of Ottawa
  • May – Admission decisions are sent to applicants

Application Components
Application components vary by institution but may include:

  • References/Confidential Assessment Forms
  • Official Transcript(s)
  • Computer Administered Profile (CAP)
  • Personal/Applicant Statement
  • Interview (MMI)

What is CAP?
At U of T, top applicants (ranked initially by GPA) will be invited to complete the Computer Administered Profile (CAP) on-site:

  • 2-hour exam
  • short and long answer questions
  • designed to assess personal attributes, life experiences, knowledge of profession, critical thinking & problem solving skills
  • graded by 3 individuals: a professor, a PT student and a practicing Physical Therapist

Statement of Intent
Some schools require a 500-word applicant statement:

  • Explain why you have chosen PT as a career and demonstrate your knowledge of the profession and its scope of practice.
  • Explain why you have chosen the program at [school].
  • Describe strengths, experiences, attributes, leadership

How Much Does it Cost?

All health care programs have a significant tuition cost, because hiring strong instructors and providing up-to-date facilities cost a great deal. Each institution’s fees are different. Annual tuition for Ontario students ranges $8,000-12,000.

What other considerations are there?

  • The MScPT program generally takes 2-years to complete on a full-time basis.
  • The program consists of courses and field placements.
  • To call oneself a Physical Therapist or Physiotherapist, which is a protected title, registration with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario is required.

Where can I find more information?

Please note: While this tip sheet aims to ensure accuracy, requirements do change. Consider it a starting point for your further research. Visit individual Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences websites for detailed, up-to-date information about admission requirements and application procedures.