GAP PT

Accelerated Special Consideration Programs for Physical Therapy

Mercer University’s Accelerated Special Consideration Programs (ASCP) offer high-achieving, first-time students enrolled in either the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) or the College of Health Professions (CHP) the opportunity to earn both a Bachelor of Science degree and a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree in six years,= and give students the security of a guaranteed interview with the PT program at Mercer University’s College of Health Professions (https://chp.mercer.edu/academics-departments/physical-therapy/dpt-program/).  

Eligibility. Students interested in earning special consideration status upon early application to the CHP’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program should be deemed “calculus-ready” upon admission (have a math index of 980 or higher, have college credit for pre-calculus through dual enrollment or CLEP credit, or achieve a score of 15 or higher on the math placement exam: https://aas.mercer.edu/for-students/placement-exams/).

Students must be enrolled in either the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) or the College of Health Professions (CHP) on the Macon campus as first-time college students who have not attended other colleges or universities after high school graduation. Transfer students are not eligible for this program, and students may not decline transfer credit to gain eligibility.

Declaration of Major. ASCP participants are required to declare a major within their respective college before completing 60 credit hours:

CLAS. ASCP participants enrolled in the CLAS must declare one of three major options:  Biology, Global Health, or Psychology. Required coursework for each option is shown in the ASCP-PT CLAS Options documents on the Pre-PT Track Page in the GPS course on Canvas. Note that this major serves as a “backup plan” for students to complete a bachelor’s degree in that field during year 4 should they not gain early admission to the DPT program.  In the case of early acceptance and matriculation to the DPT program, CLAS ASCP participants will transfer the coursework from the first two semesters of the DPT to the CLAS and complete the Bachelor of Science in Health Science, which is awarded in May of year 4. No minor is required with the BS in Health Science, but is allowed if a student can complete the minor requirements without deviating from the ASCP guidelines.    

CHP. ASCP participants enrolled in the CHP must declare Public Health or Kinesiology as their major (no minor required). In the case of early acceptance and matriculation to the DPT program, the CHP will use the specified coursework from the first two semesters of the DPT as electives to complete the Bachelor of Science in the declared major. Students who do not gain early admission to the DPT program will complete the Bachelor of Science in Public Health or Kinesiology in year 4 instead of entering the graduate program.

Declaration of Intent. To be guaranteed an interview upon early application to Mercer’s DPT program, students must read the program mission and description and the “Abilities and Attributes” document on the College of Health Professions website (https://chp.mercer.edu/academics-departments/physical-therapy/dpt-program/vision-mission-values-profile/). Students who believe they have the abilities and attributes described therein, are willing to work diligently to become the professional described in the profile, and who have achieved the minimum GPA’s for this program must submit a completed Declaration of Intent form to the Director of Pre-Health Professions Advising between Jan. 1 and Mar. 1 of year 2. Declaration forms can be found on the Pre-PT Track Page on the GPS advising course on Canvas.

Pre-professional Advising. ASCP-PT participants should maintain contact with their primary (departmental) advisor and with the pre-PT advisors in the Office of Academic & Advising Services (Ms. Honeycutt and Dr. Bokros) during their time as undergraduates. ASCP-PT participants must also complete a successful advising session with representatives of the DPT program during the second year of their undergraduate program

Coursework and Residency Requirements. Course requirements and suggested plans for scheduling the courses can be found in the ASCP-PT options documents on the Pre-PT Track Page in the GPS advising course on Canvas.    

CLAS. ASCP-PT participants enrolled in the CLAS must complete a minimum of 90 hours of coursework “in residence” at the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences by May of year 3, to include the courses shown in the specific option checklist.  

No transfer hours are allowed after high school graduation. With the approval of the CHP Director of Admissions & Student Affairs, dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate credit may be used to fulfill program requirements, but cannot count toward the semester hours required in residence by the program. Physical education and military science courses also cannot be used to satisfy this requirement.

CHP. Public Health Majors. ASCP-PT participants enrolled in the CHP and majoring in Public Health must complete 110 semester hours of undergraduate coursework “in residence” at the College of Health Professions and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in Macon by May of year 3, to include the courses shown in the specific option checklist. 

No transfer hours are allowed after high school graduation. With the approval of the CHP Director of Admissions & Student Affairs, dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate credit may be used to fulfill program requirements, but cannot count toward the semester hours required in residence by the program. Physical education and military science courses also cannot be used to satisfy this requirement.

Kinesiology Majors. ASCP-PT participants enrolled in the CHP and majoring in Kinesiology must complete 90 semester hours of undergraduate coursework “in residence” at the College of Health Professions and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences by May of year 3, to include the courses shown in the specific option checklist.  

No transfer hours are allowed after high school graduation. With the approval of the CHP Director of Admissions & Student Affairs, dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate credit may be used to fulfill program requirements, but cannot count toward the semester hours required in residence by the program. Physical education and military science courses also cannot be used to satisfy this requirement.

Academic Performance. To be guaranteed an interview upon application to the DPT program, all ASCP-PT participants must maintain overall grade point averages (GPAs) of 3.2 or higher for the first 90/110 semester hours of coursework (depending on the college of enrollment). A GPA of 3.2 is also required for all natural science coursework (indicated by red font on the checklists in the ASCP “Options” documents. Grades of “C” or above must be earned in all pre-PT courses; if a course must be repeated, both grades earned will be averaged when calculating student GPAs. Students may not elect to be graded on an “S/U” basis in those math and science courses required for the ASCP. If accepted, students must adhere to the academic standards of the DPT program once they have matriculated.  

Experiential Requirement. All ASCP-PT participants must obtain 60 hours of acceptable physical therapy and community service experience before matriculation into the DPT program, with documentation of at least 40 of those hours submitted with the PTCAS application. Forty of these hours should be experienced in at least two different types of physical therapy clinical practice settings, and 20 hours or more must be spent as an active participant in a service or community project. (Note that for CHP ASCP students majoring in Public Health, these 20 hours can also count as 20 of the 30 required service hours for the BSPH degree).   

Graduate Record Exam Requirement. To be guaranteed an interview upon early application to the DPT program, students must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test and submit the score with the PTCAS application (see next section). GRE scores are required, but there is no minimum score requirement. However, as with GPA, higher scores result in a more competitive application. Competitive scores have previously been a combined (Verbal and Quantitative) score of 300 or above, a verbal score of 150 or above, and an analytical writing score of 3.5 or above. If multiple attempts are made, the best attempt of each section will be considered.  

Application to the DPT Program. Students seeking special consideration status upon early application are required to submit an application to the CHP no later than October 1 of year 3. See the document, The PT School Application Process on the Pre-PT Track Page for details about the process.  In summary, the application includes:

  1. Submission of a completed application to the Centralized Application Service for Physical Therapy programs, PTCAS. The PTCAS application must include a GRE score and documentation of 40 hours of PT experience/ community service, and   
  2. Submission of a Supplemental Application directly to the CHP (available on their Web site; not listed here because the link changes every year). The supplemental application fee for ASCP-PT applicants is waived.         

Interview Requirement. Students who adhere to all guidelines for their respective programs will be guaranteed an interview with representatives of the CHP’s PT program. Students must not underestimate the impact that the interview has on their candidacy for PT school and should prepare accordingly. See the document, Preparing for the PT School Interview, as well as the links to other interview resources in the GPS advising course on Canvas. 

If Early Acceptance is Achieved. Students who have been accepted to the DPT program through the ASCP will be notified of their next steps to enroll in the graduate program by the Physical Therapy Department of the College of Health Professions.  

To complete their undergraduate degrees at the end of year 4, students must take the actions described on the Pre-PT Track Page in the GPS course on Canvas.