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3+3 Early Assurance for the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

The 3+3 DPT program allows students to complete both their undergraduate degree and their physical therapy doctoral degree in SIX years rather than seven. To be guaranteed a place in the 3+3 DPT program, students must be accepted by both the participating undergraduate college and by SUNY Upstate. SUNY Upstate has established 3+3 programs with seven colleges:

Students transfer to SUNY Upstate after three years of college. The first year at Upstate counts for both the fourth year of undergraduate and the first year of graduate study. After completing their first year here, students receive a bachelors degree from their undergraduate institution. Upon successful completion of two more years of graduate work, students will be awarded a DPT degree from SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Students accepted under the Early Assurance program will not be required to take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam). Admitted Early Assurance students must complete all prerequisite courses with a grade of "C" or higher ("B" or higher preferred), and will be required to have a 3.3 cumulative and prerequisite GPA by the end of the fall semester junior year.  Students will also need to continue working or volunteering in a physical therapy setting while enrolled at their undergraduate college.

If unsure whether to apply for 3+3 Early Assurance or 4+3 Early Assurance, we recommend applicants apply 3+3.  Please note that applicants can not submit an application for both 3+3 and 4+3 DPT.

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Admission Requirements for the DPT 3+3 Early Assurance Program at SUNY Upstate Medical University

High school seniors who meet the following criteria will be considered for an interview for the 3+3 DPT program at SUNY Upstate Medical University:

  • Submitting ACT and/or SAT scores is optional
  • Recommended minimum unweighted High School Grade Point Average of 90% or higher
  • Four years of science and four years of math. Regents, Honors, AP, or IB courses recommended
  • Observational experience with a Physical Therapist through participation in a Health Explorers Post, New Visions Program, shadowing or volunteer work.  Applicants need to be able to articulate what Physical Therapists do and be knowledgeable about the field of Physical Therapy.  While there is not a minimum number of shadowing hours, we recommend DPT Early Admission applicants have at least 20 hours of shadowing by February 1 to be a competitive applicant.  Applicants can e-mail Student Admissions updates of additional shadowing completed after submission of the application no later than the February 1 deadline.

Admission to 3+3 DPT is competitive.

The Application Process for the 3+3 DPT Early Assurance Program at SUNY Upstate Medical University

  • Complete the SUNY Upstate 3+3 DPT application and submit the $65 application fee*. Applications open on September 1. On the application, under "Graduate Programs", select the application "Physical Therapy - 3+3 Early Admission, Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). Do not submit a SUNY application for SUNY Upstate for admission to Physical Therapy.
  • Submit an application to the participating undergraduate college(s). To be guaranteed a place in the 3+3 DPT program, students must be accepted by both a participating undergraduate college and by SUNY Upstate.
  • Submit to SUNY Upstate:
    • Official high school transcript. If your high school uses Naviance for transcripts, please have them mail your official transcript to our office as SUNY Upstate is not able to receive transcripts electronically from Naviance.
    • SAT and/or ACT scores. SAT code is 2547. ACT code is 2981.
    • 10-week grade report (first marking period grades/report card)
    • Two letters of recommendation. We recommend that at least one letter be from a science teacher and the second should be from a teacher, School Counselor, employer or a volunteer supervisor.  If possible, a letter of recommendation from a Physical Therapist that you have volunteered or worked for is strongly recommended.  Personal references will not be considered. Applicants will submit their reference's information when filling out their application for admission. Upon submission of the application, the references will receive instructions on how to submit them through MyUpstate.
  • While the deadline is February 1, we recommend applicants submit their application by January 2.  All supporting documents must be post-marked by February 1.  It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all items are received on time.  If you have a question about whether anything is missing from your application, please call our office at (315) 464-4570.
  • Qualified applicants will be contacted to set up an on-campus interview.
  • Mail** the official high school transcript; 10-week grade report; official SAT and/or ACT scores; and two letters of recommendation to:

SUNY Upstate Medical University
Admissions & Financial Aid 
766 Irving Ave.
1213 Weiskotten Hall
Syracuse, NY 13210

*Applicants with a fee waiver can have their School Counselor mail it to our office at the address above or via e-mail it to: admiss@upstate.edu.  Applicants who are eligible at their high school for free or reduced lunch can have their School Counselor notify our office about your eligibility at: admiss@upstate.edu.
School Counselors can also e-mail high school transcripts and grade reports to our office (admiss@upstate.edu) if it's sent from their high school work e-mail account.

Cost Information

Application*** Statistics:
Applications for 2020 entry - Applications: 117, Accepted: 21
Applications for 2021 entry - Applications: 94, Accepted: 15
Applications for 2022 entry - Applications: 74, Accepted: 22

***Application numbers include 3+3 Early Assurance and 4+3 Early Assurance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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How many years will the program take?

If you are accepted into the 3+3 program you will complete both your undergraduate and doctoral degrees in a total of six years. The 4+3 program takes seven years to complete. 

What GPA do I need to maintain my acceptance?

Students are require to achieve a minimum cumulative and prerequisite GPA of 3.3 at the end of the two semesters prior to enrolling, A minimum grade of “B” in each science course is recommended.

What type of degree(s) will I receive?

You will receive a Bachelor’s degree from your undergraduate college and a Doctor of Physical therapy (DPT) degree from SUNY Upstate Medical University. Students in the 3+3 program complete the fourth year of the undergraduate degree on the SUNY Upstate campus and receive their bachelor’s degree from their undergraduate college.

How much volunteer physical therapy experience do I need?

We expect you to have completed enough observation experience before applying so that you can discuss aspects of the PT profession as part of the admissions process. We recommend at least 20 hours. Once accepted as a 3+3 or 4+3 student, you will be required to complete an additional 80 hours of volunteer work in at least two different kinds of settings during your undergraduate college years.

Will I have to reapply when it’s time to transfer to Upstate?

No. Your application process is completed when you are accepted by Upstate to the Early Admission program. 3+3 students will be required to submit a deposit in the spring of the junior year; 4+3 students pay the deposit in the spring of the senior year.

If accepted to Upstate as a 3+3 student, what type of commitment am I making?

You will be asked to indicate to us whether or not you accept our offer of admission and you must notify us by May 1 with the name of the college you will be attending.

What should I do if I’m not accepted Early Admission by Upstate?

Students may be accepted to an undergraduate college, yet not be accepted by SUNY Upstate for the Early Admission program. If you are not accepted as a high school senior, you are encouraged to attend the college of your choice for the major of your choice, and then apply for regular admission to Upstate’s DPT program as a senior in college.

What if I change my mind and decide to pursue another profession? Am I committed to attend Upstate?

No, you may change your mind. We just ask that you notify us, in writing, that you are withdrawing your enrollment in the Early Admissions program.

I’m not sure if I want to apply for 3+3 or 4+3. Can I be considered for both?

Applicants can not submit an application for both 3+3 and 4+3 DPT. If unsure whether to apply for 3+3 or 4+3 Early Admission, we recommend applicants apply 3+3. Students admitted to the 3+3 program can change to 4+3 up until their first day of classes in the fall semester of their freshman year of college. They may be able to change at other times under certain conditions.