Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions from Applicants to the Physical Therapy Program

Please make sure you have thoroughly reviewed the ORPAS Application Guide at https://www.ouac.on.ca/faq-application/orpas/, where you will find answers to many of your application questions.

Question: I am an international student. Can I apply to the PT Program?
Answer: Admission is restricted to candidates who are Canadian citizens or Canadian permanent residents (landed immigrants) prior to the closing date for receipt of applications.

Question: What type of degree do I need to apply to the PT Program?
Answer: Applicants must have a four year baccalaureate degree and a minimum of a second class standing (70%+) from a recognized university. In addition, applicants must have completed a full year credit course in introductory psychology and courses with substantive content in statistics, human anatomy and physiology at the undergraduate level. No preference is given to applicants who have studied in any particular University program and no preference is shown to applicants with any particular level of training (i.e. undergraduate vs. graduate degree). Place of residence, location of undergraduate university, and full time vs. part time status are also not selection criteria. 

Question: I attended CEGEP, followed by university. Does this degree qualify?
Answer: A CEGEP diploma, combined with a three-year Bachelor’s degree, is equivalent to a four-year Bachelor’s degree and is an accepted type of degree.

Question: In my 4 year Bachelor’s program, do I need to complete the thesis route, or can I complete the project route instead?
Answer: We do not have admissions criteria related to thesis or project routes in your 4 year Bachelor’s degree. However, completing the thesis route may help you build relationships and experiences that would contribute to your references.

Question: Is research experience taken into account when reviewing an applicant?
Answer: Research experience is not a mandatory requirement for admission into the Queen’s Physical Therapy program. However, completing research may help you build relationships and experiences that would contribute to your references. It will also prepare you for the research project all MScPT students undertake in the Program.

Question: I am Canadian but my first language is French. Do I need to write a language test (TOEFL, etc.)?
Answer: If you have lived in Canada or another English speaking country for 3 years or more, you do not need to write a language test.

Question: What prerequisites do I need to take?
Answer: Eligible students need to complete University level courses in introductory psychology (1.0 full year credit), statistics (0.5 half year credit), and courses with substantive content in human anatomy and physiology (minimum 0.5 half year credit each): Details on course content can be found here: http://rehab.queensu.ca/index.php/academic-programs/mscpt/admission

Question: Does my course fulfil the prerequisite requirements?
Answer: To determine if your course meets the prerequisite requirement, please review the PT Prerequisite Chart located on our website. If you do not find your course outlined in the chart, please review the description of prerequisite courses. If your course is not an exact match to prerequisite course outlined on our website, you will need to submit the course outline and syllabus to us by October 30 of the year you apply, for review to determine if it would be an acceptable prerequisite.

Question: Is there a minimum grade requirement for prerequisite courses? How recent does the course need to be?
Answer: Our preference is that students complete the prerequisite courses within the last five years. You must recieve a minimum of B- or 70% for all prerequisites but it is important to note that our sub-GPA cut-off is typically around 3.6-3.7/4.0 and a majority of the prerequisite courses fall with the second-class standing (70+). Please remember that it is assumed that you have retained the knowledge from your pre-requisite courses and if you are accepted into the program, you are responsible for having that knowledge readily available when starting courses. In particular, given the importance of human anatomy and human physiology, if you completed these courses more than 5 years ago, we recommend that you take a refresher course to ensure success in the PT program.

Question: How do I apply to the PT Program?
Answer: Applications are received through the Ontario Rehabilitation Sciences Programs (ORPAS) application centre at www.ouac.on.ca/orpas

Question: How do I know if my ORPAS application is complete?
Answer: After you have submitted your application, you can inquire online to determine which supporting documents have been received by ORPAS. Log in to your online application account and click on the appropriate link. This information will also be presented on the Verification of Application Data report that will be available online once your file has been reviewed by ORPAS. It is highly recommended that you double check all attachments to ensure you uploaded the correct documents.

Question: Your website says to upload course descriptions to ORPAS, where do I include the forms?
Answer: You can send course descriptions and any additional documents through SAM on ORPAS.

Question: How do my referees submit their Confidential Assessment Forms?
Answer: The Confidential Assessment Forms are embedded in the applicant’s application through the ORPAS portal. You enter your referee’s contact information in your ORPAS application, and they receive an e-mail from ORPAS to complete the reference online, or you can mail them a paper form to complete and return to ORPAS. When assigning your references, you will designate them as R1, R2 within your ORPAS application. Do not assign anyone as a "Confidential Clinical Referee," as this form is not used in the PT application process. It is your responsibility to ensure that your referees have submitted their assessments on or before the application date.

Question: I am planning on applying to both the Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy Programs. Can I apply to both? Additionally, should I have different people as my references for each program?
Answer: Through the ORPAS system in Ontario, students are able to apply to Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Language Pathology and Audiology. Students are free to apply to as many or as few programs as they choose. When applying to multiple programs, it is important that your application to the PT Program articulates your suitability to Physical Therapy, and that your references do the same.

Question: Can I take additional courses to increase my GPA? Do they need to be upper level course credits?
Answer: Applicants can take additional courses to increase their cumulative and sub-GPA. The Physical Therapy program will accept additional undergraduate credits from a recognized university with a few exceptions that can be found on the OPRAS website: https://www.ouac.on.ca/guide/orpas-gpa-calculations/ Note: We will not accept undergraduate courses that have been used toward another graduate degree. We do not give preference to upper level courses and encourage applicants to take electives that interest them.

Question: I am planning to improve my GPA, and was wondering what type of courses would be most appropriate for it? Is there a preference in regard to degree or non-degree courses?
Answer: All university undergraduate level courses will contribute to the final GPA calculations equally. There is no special weighting for degree vs. non-degree courses, or part-time vs. full-time course load.

Question: I studied abroad during my undergraduate degree and my home university considered the courses as pass/fail or transfer credits. Will these grades be included in my GPA calculation?
Answer: If your home university counts the courses as a pass or transfer credit, then they will not be included in the GPA calculation. You can include your transcript from studying abroad in your application to ORPAS, if you wish, but this is not required when the courses are already included on your undergraduate transcript. WES transcript assessments are not required in this scenario. However, if you wish to have the grades from international university included in the GPA calculations, you MUST indicate this in your application and you MUST provide a WES evaluation.

Question: Are Practicum courses considered towards my GPA?
Answer: Practicum, placement, and internship courses are not included in the GPA calculation.

Question: I have a university undergraduate degree, but some of my courses were transfer credits from a college. Will my college courses be included in my GPA calculation?
Answer: If the university which grants your undergraduate degree lists your college courses as a pass or transfer credit, rather than a grade, these will not be included in the GPA calculation. Only the university undergraduate transcript is used to calculate the GPA. You must provide transcripts from all academic institutions attended.

Question: I have a college degree, or have taken college level courses. Will these be included in my GPA calculation?
Answer: A university degree is required for admission to the program, and college and diploma courses are not included in the GPA calculation. You must provide transcripts from all academic institutions attended.

Question: I have a graduate degree or have taken graduate level courses. Will these be included in my GPA calculation?
Answer: Graduate courses are not included in the GPA calculation. A graduate degree is not required for admission to our program. However, you must provide transcripts from all academic programs and institutions attended.

Question: Can you provide an estimate of the sub-GPA and cumulative GPA cut-offs for this year?
Answer: Every year we receive between 850 and 1000 applications. In order to create a shorter list of applications to review fully (including the other elements e.g. your personal submission and CASPer Test score), we set cut-off values for cumulative and sub-GPA cut-off values. The cumulative GPA cut-off value is 2.89. The minimum cut-off for sub-GPA varies by year depending on the applicant pool. In recent years, the sub-GPA cut-off has ranged between around 3.6-3.7/4.0, with approximately 1000 applicants.
Note: achieving these minimum values does not guarantee that you will be offered a seat in the program.

Question: How does ORPAS convert grades to a 4.0 scale when my undergraduate grades are on a different scale?
Answer: You can find ORPAS grade conversion information at www.ouac.on.ca/guide/orpas-conversion-table/

Question: What type of courses are not included in the ORPAS GPA calculations?
Answer: The following courses are not included in the ORPAS grade point average (GPA):

  • naturopathic and chiropractic medicine
  • consecutive Bachelor of Education programs
  • college courses (even if transfer credit is granted)
  • challenge for credit courses
  • practicums, placements, internships and activity courses
  • diploma or certificate programs
  • graduate courses
  • undergraduate courses taken as part of a graduate program

Question: I am finishing my degree in April but my application is due in January. Will my grades for courses completed after the application deadline get factored into my GPA calculation?
Answer: The GPA used in the admissions process is based on transcripts submitted in January, so if your degree is in progress at that time, the grades from all courses completed as of December 31 in the previous year will be included in the GPA calculation. Please ensure that the transcript submitted to ORPAS contains all courses completed by December 31. While the application deadline is in early January, transcripts can be submitted up until January 31. If you receive an offer of admission, it will be a conditional upon successful completion of your degree. You will need to submit your final transcript that confirms your degree by June 30.

Question: I am completing my undergraduate degree in the spring or summer semester. Can I apply for intake in September of the same year?
Answer: Final, official transcripts that confirm the completion of an undergraduate degree are normally required by June 30 of each year for entry into the PT Program in September. Please see the important deadlines listed on the ORPAS website: www.ouac.on.ca/orpas/orpas-dates When final transcripts, confirming degree completion, are not available until after June 30, students will need to apply the following year.

Question: Can I use a PhD student to fill out the confidential assessment form (i.e. reference)?
Answer: You must have a faculty member who has taught you and is familiar with your academic abilities complete the assessment form. A PhD candidate may ONLY be used as an academic reference if he/she was the course instructor for an academic term and was the individual who assigned the course grade. This does not apply to an undergraduate thesis course; a faculty member must complete the assessment in this instance.

Question: Does my reference need to provide examples of my research experience?
Answer: The referees are not asked to provide research experience although they can certainly add it if they wish. They are asked to complete a form and attach a letter which should correspond with the items in the form.

Question: Can I submit an academic reference from a college professor or is there a preference for an academic reference from a University professor?
Answer: One reference must be completed by someone who holds an academic position at a post-secondary university and is qualified to judge your academic ability. Positions such as teaching assistant, laboratory coordinator or athletic trainer do not qualify as academic referees.

Question: Can I submit two academic references, or do I need one academic and one professional?
Answer: One reference must be academic. The second reference may be either academic or professional and should be completed by someone who can assess your work performance, interpersonal skills and suitability for studies in Physical Therapy. Neither of the references may be submitted by relatives or friends.

Question: I have been out of university for more than 5 years. Can I submit 2 professional references instead of 1 academic and 1 professional reference?
Answer: It is important to provide a full picture of your capabilities, both academic and professional. If you are experiencing difficulty with obtaining an academic reference from your previous university study, then you may include 2 employer/professional references in your application ONLY with the approval of the Queen’s Physical Therapy Program Admissions Coordinator. A note will be made with respect to this special circumstance with your application. You may wish explore the possibility taking a course on a part-time basis to have access to a more recent academic reference.

Question: Do my referees only fill out the Confidential Assessment Form, or should they submit this form in combination with a reference letter?
Answer: The Confidential Assessment Forms are embedded in the applicant’s application through the ORPAS portal, and these have instructions for the referee on them. In the instructions, it is recommended that the referee also provide a letter of assessment to expand on the categories ranked in the form.

Question: Can you provide a personalized review of my application file?
Answer: Due to the large volume of applicants, we do not have the resources to offer specific feedback to students on their applications. Information about the application criteria and process can be found at www.ouac.on.ca/orpas. The application process, as explained on the ORPAS website, provides potential applicants with sufficient information to apply to the program. To ensure fairness in the application process for all applicants, it is not possible for anyone in the PT Program to provide additional information beyond what is posted on the ORPAS site, nor can we review applications to provide feedback, give specific advice about your application package. Every year, we receive approximately 850-1000 applications in the Physical Therapy Program, most of whom have excellent academic records, volunteer and professional experiences, and who expressed passion about the profession of Physical Therapy. We use an objective, standardized, and fair approach to reviewing and ranking these highly qualified applicants for admission to the program.

Question: I would like to come for a tour. How can I sign up?
Answer: A campus tour is a great way to get a general sense of the Queen`s atmosphere. These can be booked here: http://queensu.ca/admission/campus-tours. On your walk around campus, you could acquaint yourself with some of the buildings we use, including the Louise D Acton building and the Clinical Education Centre, as well as the School of Medicine building, Botterell Hall and Bracken Library. These buildings are all close together, on Stuart and George Streets. http://www.queensu.ca/campusmap/main The School of Rehabilitation Therapy, in the Louise D Acton building, is open Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm. With advance notice, a staff member may be available to greet you. Over the summer, we are not able to offer personalized tours of the School of Rehabilitation Therapy. Please know that if you are accepted to the Queen’s PT Program, you will get a full tour during our September orientation week.

Question: Are there opportunities to specialize in a particular population within the program? Are there electives or optional courses in the program, or will all students be taking the same set of courses?
Answer: Similar to other Canadian Physical Therapy programs, Students graduate from Queen’s as generalist clinicians. As such, our program covers a wide breadth of content and clinical experience without specialization. Currently, all students take the same courses in a set sequence. In addition, all students are given the opportunity for clinical training (field placements) in the key areas of physical therapy practice (i.e. musculoskeletal, neurology, cardiorespiratory) and practice settings (i.e. acute hospital, rehabilitation, community). Although not guaranteed, students with specific interests (e.g. pediatrics), may request clinical experiences in these areas, or pursue additional experience through participation in additional experiences through research or other extracurricular (volunteering) opportunities.

Question: Do students take the PT licensing exam as part of the 2 year PT course at Queen's or do we complete this after graduation on our own?
Answer: Students take the CAPR exam independently of the PT program. Canadian-educated candidates may attempt the Written Component of the PCE in their final term of academic study. To attempt the Clinical Component of the PCE, Canadian-educated candidates must have completed their full course of study and must be eligible for graduation. Information regarding requirements and exam times can be found at the following link: http://www.alliancept.org/taking-the-exam/

Question: Where can I find information about physiotherapy as a career path?
Answer: Information about the physiotherapy profession is widely available online. We also encourage you to learn about the profession by speaking to physiotherapists inside or outside your community. As a start, you can find information through our professional association, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association’s website: https://physiotherapy.ca/

Still have a question?

The ORPAS application centre also has a list of commonly asked questions, found at: