This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Examination of Diversity and Inclusion in Physical Therapy Admissions




Woods, LaDarius

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


The purpose of this study was to examine Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) admissions practices. This study focused on admission committees’ selection priorities and processes and their influence on diversity and inclusion. A survey was used to gather selection priorities, followed by semi-structured interviews to further explore their admission processes, rationale, and the impact of diversity and inclusion within their cohorts. The findings from this study identified cognitive constructs such as cumulative grade point average (cGPA), pre-requisite grade point average (pGPA), science grade point average (sGPA) and graduate record examination (GRE) as the most important admission variables. Programs used a common application, rubric to rank applicants, and committee meetings to finalize admission cohorts. Rubrics were described as consisting of cognitive variables such as GPA variations and GRE variations and non-cognitive variables such as interview and essay scores. Programs had admission constructs related to diversity, while no program had an admission construct related to inclusion. Programs that rated diversity higher than the profession average engaged in a holistic admissions process or valued non-cognitive variables at a nearly equal weight when compared to cognitive variables in their rubrics. To increase diversity within the physical therapy profession, the profession and programs could reassess their current practices to create a more equitable admissions process.