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Mailing Address:
Physical Therapy Program
Campbell Bldg, Rm 309
500 W University Ave
El Paso, Texas 79968

Physical Address:
Physical Therapy Program
UTEP College of Health Sciences
1101 North Campbell Street
El Paso, Texas 79902-0581

Physical Therapy is a healthcare profession with the primary purpose of promoting optimal physical function and healthy living.  Physical therapists apply evidence-based practice with scientific principles to improve mobility by developing individualized treatment plans.  The goals are to prevent, improve, and/or maintain functional mobility at all levels of activity.  Physical therapy encompasses areas of specialization and includes the development of new approaches to more effectively meet existing and emerging health care needs.  Other professional activities that physical therapists participate in include research, education, community health promotion, and administration.  To learn more about physical therapy, visit the American Physical Therapy Association website at

The Physical Therapy Program offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.  The application process is very competitive with specific minimum requirements listed below.  The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at The University of Texas at El Paso is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website:  Graduates of the DPT Program are eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).  After successful completion of this examination, graduates apply for state licensure usually based on the results of the NPTE scores.  

A felony conviction may affect eligibility for Physical Therapy licensure in the State of Texas (or other states). Questions concerning Texas licensure may be answered by contacting the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, 333 Guadalupe Ste 2-510 Austin, TX 78701.

Physical Therapy Program Mission

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Doctor of Physical Therapy Program will graduate highly qualified doctors of physical therapy prepared to provide culturally proficient and linguistically competent care in our border region and beyond. We endeavor to develop leaders who are committed to patient-centered care, evidence-based practice, our community’s health, life-long learning, and the advancement of the physical therapy profession.

Physical Therapy Curriculum 

During the first year, students complete courses in foundational and clinical sciences as well as general physical therapy examination and intervention procedures.  Clinical courses begin in the third semester including Cardiopulmonary Patient Management. 

During the second year, students continue with clinical courses focusing on patient examination and treatment with emphasis on integument, orthopedic, and neurological impairments. In addition, students study impairments specific and unique to pediatric patients. Most of the third year is devoted to clinical education.

The final didactic course addresses emerging trends in physical therapy.  Students also complete a final capstone project.

The full-time clinical experiences during the third year of the program occur at facilities located in various parts of Texas and the surrounding states.  The expense of relocating and working at these sites is the student's responsibility. 

Admission Requirements

A Bachelor's degree is required prior to admission.  The Required Prerequisites Course List is listed below.  Note that a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 on four point scale is required to apply to the program.

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required, and while there is no minimum score required, the score will be considered in the competitive admissions process.  International students must take the TOEFL examination unless exempt (eg Bachelor degree obtained in the US).  In addition, 50 clock hours of volunteer or paid experience in a physical therapy setting is required, and must be supervised by a licensed physical therapist.

Minimum Admission Requirements

  1. Completion of a Bachelor's degree from an accredited educational institution
  2. Completed Physical Therapy application available at by set deadline
  3. Official transcripts from all universities or colleges attended must be sent to PTCAS
  4. GRE (Graduate Record Examination) Official Scores must be reported to PTCAS and to UTEP through ETS
  5. Completion of 40-44 hours of required prerequisite courses
  6. A minimum overall GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and a minimum prerequisite coursework GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
  7. Fifty (50) clock hours of documented volunteer or paid work experience in a physical therapy setting under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist
  8. One recommendation from a physical therapist who supervised the applicant's work or volunteer experience
  9. Two recommendations from individuals concerning the attributes which qualify the applicant for this program (See for qualifying recommenders)
  10. Completion of TOEFL (Required of International Students, minimum score determined by the Graduate School)

NOTE: To engage in clinical rotations, which are a crucial element in the curriculum, all students in the Physical Therapy Program must undergo and pass a background check and drug screen prior to matriculation. Applicants will be responsible for the costs of obtaining a background check report and drug screen. In addition, students are required to obtain immunization required by the state of Texas and clinical affiliates.  Information is available at the College of Health Sciences compliance Web site. .

Prerequisite Courses

Applicants for the program should have completed the following prerequisite courses:

  • Biology with Lab - 8 Credits
  • General Chemistry with Lab - 8 Credits
  • General Physics with Lab - 8 Credits
  • Physiology with Lab - 4 Credits (upper division) OR 8 Credits (lower division) 
  • Psychology- 6 Credits (should include at least one course covering life span OR Abnormal Psychology)
  • Speech/Communication - 3 Credits 
  • Statistics- 3 Credits

Selection Criteria

Completion of the above requirements makes a student eligible for selection, but does not guarantee admission to the Physical Therapy Program.  The final selection is competitive.

Admissions Process

The deadline for application changes from year to year and is available on the UTEP DPT website at and  Applicants will be informed of admissions decisions after all applications have been reviewed.

Probation and Dismissal

The UTEP Physical Therapy Program has established the following policy concerning academic probation, clinical affiliations, and potential dismissal from the program. This policy is designed to supplement the UTEP Graduate School policies on academic probation and dismissal. If a student is dismissed from the PT Program, no consideration for readmission will be given.

  1. An F grade in any PT curriculum course will result in immediate dismissal from the program.
  2. No more than two (2) C grades will be permitted in the PT curriculum required courses. A third C grade will result in immediate dismissal from the program.
    • Students must maintain a PT Program semester GPA of 3.0 or greater and overall PT Program GPA of at least 3.0 to avoid academic probation. If a student is on academic probation for more than one consecutive semester or for more than two non-consecutive semesters during the program, s/he will be immediately dismissed from the program.
  3. If the student is placed on academic probation, any scheduled clinical experience during the following semester will be delayed until the student is off probation. The student must complete all clinical requirements to graduate.
  4. If the student fails the safety-related criteria or earns a grade below a 75% on the comprehensive practical examination in the Integrative Seminar Courses (PT 6110 or PT 6111), the student will be given an opportunity to repeat the combined practical examination within a time period agreed upon by the instructor and student.  If the student again fails either the safety-related criteria or earns below an 84% on the repeated practical examination, the student will be dismissed from the program.
  5. Students must be enrolled full-time in the PT Program. If a student drops a course in any semester, the student will be dismissed at the end of the current semester.

Inquires can be made to:

Physical Address:
Physical Therapy Program
UTEP College of Health Sciences
1101 North Campbell Street
El Paso, Texas 79902-0581

Mailing Address:
Physical Therapy Program
Campbell Building #309
500 W University
El Paso, Texas 79968

Degree Plan

Required Credits: 99

Doctor of Physical Therapy (All courses require a grade of C or better)
Required Courses:
DRSC 5301Normal Physiology/Embryology3
DRSC 5388Pathophysiology for Health Sci3
DRSC 5390Neuroscience for Hlth Sciences3
DRSC 5495Anatomy for Health Sciences4
PT 5102Surface Anatomy1
PT 5103Patient Care Skills1
PT 5104Spanish Medical Terminology1
PT 5105Integrated Clinical Education1
PT 5204Test and Measures2
PT 5216Research Methods for PT2
PT 5233Behavioral Science Topics2
PT 5311Modalities in PT Practice3
PT 5340Management/Finance in PT3
PT 5407Med Kines & Motion Analysis4
PT 5413Clinical Educ. in Phys. Ther I4
PT 5425Clinical Ed in PT II4
PT 5425Clinical Ed in PT II4
PT 5443Clinical Ed in Phy. Ther III4
PT 6108Integument Patient Management1
PT 6109Imaging for Phy. Therapists1
PT 6110Integrative Seminar I1
PT 6111Integrative Seminar II1
PT 6116Phys Ther Capstone Project1
PT 6117PT Capstone Project II1
PT 6201Law & Ethics in PT Practice2
PT 6202Professional Practice in PT2
PT 6203Differential Diagnosis for PT2
PT 6205Pharmacology in Phys Rehab2
PT 6207Motor Control & Motor Learning2
PT 6210Clinical Exercise Physiology2
PT 6211Emerging Trends in PT2
PT 6304Evidence-Based Practice in PT3
PT 6307Cardiopulmonary Patient Mgmt3
PT 6311Musculoskeletal I: Spine Rehab3
PT 6312Musculoskeletal II: Lwr Qtr3
PT 6313Musculoskeletal III: Upr Qtr3
PT 6314Neuromuscular Rehabilitation I3
PT 6315Pediatrics3
PT 6302PT Exercise Prescription3
PT 6414Neuromuscular Rehab II4
PT 6606Clinical IV Internship6
Total Hours103

DIRECTOR: Dr. Deborah Diaz


Kathleen A. Curtis 
Contact Information:; 915-747-7201 
Education: BS, University of Tulsa; MA, San Jose State University; Ph D, University of California

Associate Professor

Deborah Diaz 
Contact Information:; 915-747-7248
Education: BS, California State University, Long Beach; MA, California State University, Long Beach; Ph D, University of California Los Angeles

Associate Clinical Professor

Loretta S. Dillon 
Contact Information:; 915-747-8215
Education: BS, University of Texas at El Paso; MA, University of Texas at El Paso; DPT, Arizona School of Health Sciences

Assistant Professors

Ellen C. Dengler 
Contact Information:; 915-747-7610
Education: Ph D, University of New Mexico

Celia M. Pechak 
Contact Information:; 915-747-7289
Education: BS, Marquette University; Master of Public Health, University of Hawaii; Ph D, Texas Woman's University

Justin Sipla 
Contact Information:; 915-747-5000
Education: BA, Univ. Calif. Los Angeles; MS, Stony Brook University; Ph.M., Stony Brook University; Ph D, Stony Brook University

Assistant Clinical Professor

Michelle L. Gutierrez 
Contact Information:; 915-747-5000
Education: DS c PT, University of Alabama at Birmingham