Award Date


Degree Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Committee Member

Daniel Young

Second Committee Member

Merrill Landers

Number of Pages



Purpose The purpose of this study was to analyze the admissions process of the University of Nevada Las Vegas Physical Therapy (UNLVPT) program through the lens of racial equity. Methods A retrospective cohort of UNLVPT applicants between 2014-2019 was obtained from the physical therapy centralized admissions system and the UNLVPT admissions office. Applicant and application characteristics were compared by racial group. Results: Our sample included 2937 total applicants with 212 (7.2%) that were admitted and matriculated into the program. Applicants identified as 49% White, 24% Asian, 13% multiracial, 6% Hispanic, 2% Black, 0.2% American Indian, and 6% did not report their race. Those admitted were 56% White, 22% Asian, 11% multiracial, 5% Hispanic, 1% Black, and 5% did not report their race. The proportion of applicants admitted from within each racial group were not statistically different from the number that applied from each group X2 6.05(6), p=0.417. The proportions of applicants who submitted a complete application, before the deadline, and met minimum criteria were different across racial groups X2 39.6(6), p<0.001; 21% White, 15% multiracial, 14% Asian, 10% Hispanic, 6% Black, and 12% among those not reporting their race. Black applicants had significantly lower overall GPA (mean=3.1, 95% CI=3.0-3.2), prerequisite GPA (2.5, 2.2-2.8), and GRE scores (33.5, 29.3-37.8) but significantly higher virtual (3.7, 1.0- 6.4) and on-site (33.0, 26.2-39.9) interview scores compared to other applicants. iv Discussion and Conclusion: The proportion of applicants from minority racial/ethnic groups was not significantly different from the proportion of students admitted from those groups. Underrepresented minority groups more frequently submitted an incomplete application, after the deadline, without meeting minimum criteria. Despite having the highest interview scores, Black applicants had the lowest GPA and GRE scores. As GPA and GRE are reliable indicators of ability to complete DPT curriculum and pass the NPTE, applicants from minority racial/ethnic backgrounds, especially Black applicants, may need more support during undergraduate preparation to be successful applicants and DPT students. As the field of Physical Therapy continues to grow, DPT programs should continue to evaluate their assessment methods for incoming students, especially for students from minority backgrounds. There continues to be a need for research in diversity, equity, and inclusion within DPT program admissions to increase application success among underrepresented groups.


Physical Therapy Admissions; Diversity; Racial/Ethnic Minority Students


Physical Therapy

File Format


File Size

762 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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