Prerequisite Courses for Physical Therapy

There is no set list of courses that are required by all physical therapy schools, as each school has its own specific list of prerequisites.  However, there is a core of courses that are required by most programs as well as some commonly recommended coursework.   The information listed below comes directly from the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service Course Prerequisites Summary document. This document summarizes the most common prerequisites and then lists each school’s requirements individually.   The full document can be found at http://www.ptcas.org/PTCAS_Courses_2011_12_FINAL_forApplicants.pdf.  We recommend that you look carefully at the prerequisites for the schools to which you plan to apply.

There are 146 physical therapist (PT) education programs participating in PTCAS during the 2011-12 admissions cycle. Percents below only reflect the 144 programs that provided course prerequisite data for the PTCAS Web site (www.ptcas.org) as of August 10, 2011. Percents were rounded to the nearest whole number and refer to both required and conditionally required courses.   Programs may change course prerequisites at any time and may have additional requirements, recommendations, or policies that are not reflected in this summary or on the PTCAS Web site. Programs may also allow applicants to substitute courses or choose different prerequisite tracks. Applicants should contact programs directly to determine whether a particular course will fulfill a prerequisite.

ANATOMY AND/OR PHYSIOLOGY (A&P)
99% require at least one course in anatomy or physiology
89% accept combined or separate A&P courses
6% only accept separate A&P courses (e.g., Anatomy, Physiology)   
5% only accept combined A&P courses (e.g., Anatomy & Physiology I, Anatomy & Physiology II)

BIOLOGY
83% require one or more courses in biology or biological science
29% require a one-year sequence in biology (e.g., Biology I, Biology II) and no additional biology
11% require two courses in biology / biological science, but not necessarily in sequence
35% require only one course in biology or biological science
8% require more than two courses in biology or biological science

CHEMISTRY
99% require one or more courses in chemistry
94% require a one-year sequence in chemistry
4% require a single chemistry course

PHYSICS
99% require one or more courses in physics
96% require a one year sequence in physics
3% require a single physics course

SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES
Applicants may be required to complete particular social and behavioral courses or may be permitted to complete any courses in the subject. Programs commonly allow applicants to substitute specialized psychology courses (e.g., Abnormal) for general psychology requirements.
95% require one or more courses in social or behavioral science
65% require one or more psychology courses only (and no other social or behavioral science)
30% require one or more social or behavioral science courses (but not explicitly in psychology)
12% require a single course in psychology or other social and behavioral science
61% require two courses in psychology or other social and behavioral science
22% require more than two courses in psychology or other social and behavioral science

STATISTICS
97% require a course in statistics

MATH
26% require one or more courses in math
74% do not require a course in math

Colorado Programs Prerequisite Courses

There are two physical therapy programs in Colorado; the Regis University School of Physical Therapy and the University of Colorado Physical Therapy Program. The course prerequisites for this program are listed below; however,  please be aware that these can change so you should always research the program as you progress through your undergraduate education.

Regis University School of Physical Therapy

  • Two semesters of Anatomy and Physiology: BIO 245 and 246 or BIO 341 and 350
  • Two semesters of General Biology: BIO 110 and BIO 111
  • Two semesters of General Chemistry: CHEM 111 and 112
  • Two semesters of Physics: PHYS 220 and PHYS 221
  • Two semesters of Behavioral Science courses: these can be a wide range of courses
  • One semester of Statistics: STAT 150

For some additional recommend courses see http://www.regis.edu/rh.asp?page=study.dpt.prereq

University of Colorado Physical Therapy Program

  • One semester of Anatomy: BIO 341
  • One semester of Physiology: BIO 350  Note – two semesters of courses with anatomy and physiology combined (such as BIO 245 and 246) do NOT fulfill this prerequisite
  • Two semesters of General Chemistry: CHEM 111 and 112
  • Two semesters of Physics: PHYS 220 and PHYS 221
  • Two semesters of Psychology: these can be from a variety of psychology courses
  • One semester of College Writing: ENG 122 or similar
  • One semester of Math: Trigonometry (MAT 125) or Calculus (MAT 131) are recommended
  • One semester of Statistics: STAT 150
  • At least one semester of upper level science courses: Cell Biology (BIO 210) and/or Biochemistry (CHEM 481) are strongly recommended

In addition to the required courses, the following are strongly recommended:  Cell Biology (BIO 210), Biochemistry (CHEM 481), Organic Chemistry (CHEM331) and Exercise Physiology (SES 322).

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