Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Tomika Ferguson

Second Advisor

Risha Berry

Third Advisor

Jonathan Becker

Fourth Advisor

Emma Wheeler


Data provided by the Physical Therapy Central Application System (PTCAS) suggests that despite the large numbers of applicants to Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs on an annual basis, a gap remains between the number of White and Black and Latinx applicants who are offered admission to DPT programs. Efforts made by DPT programs to increase the diversity of their incoming cohorts include the use of holistic review processes and enrichment programs to recruit more diverse classes. However, research suggests that the undergraduate experiences of students of color have an impact on their aspirations to graduate and professional schools, and determine their success in the graduate application process.

The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of Black and Latinx students as they navigate the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) admissions process. This study investigates the ways Black and Latinx students navigate the DPT admissions process, to better understand the recruitment and admissions processes of DPT programs. This qualitative study examined the Black and Latinx student experience of the DPT admissions process through a Critical Race Theory (CRT) framework using phenomenological methods.

Five main themes emerged from this study that describes how Black and Latinx students experience the DPT admissions process: overcoming challenges, seeking support, race and access, program choice, and, growth and leadership. These findings are discussed in relation to existing literature and CRT. Implications and recommendations for admissions professionals are provided.


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