Jump to main content

Physical Therapy

A Physical Therapist (PT) is a rehabilitation health professional with a Master’s or Doctoral degree in Physical Therapy. Although many practicing PTs have a Master’s degree, the Doctoral degree is becoming much more common and required by many employers. A physical therapist works with a patient to restore function, relieve pain, and reduce limitations from an injury. After initial assessment, PTs create a treatment plan designed to enable the patient to recover from the injury to the best of their ability. Because of the wide range of patients and injury types, PTs work in hospitals, clinics, schools, for professional sports teams, and in private practice. More information about pursing a career in physical therapy can be found below.

  • Prerequisite Coursework

    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. We recommend that you look carefully at the prerequisites for the schools to which you plan to apply.


    • Two semesters of General Biology: BIO 110 and BIO 111
    • Two semesters of Anatomy and Physiology: BIO 245 and 246 or BIO 341 and 350 - the exact course sequence depends on each PT school's specific requirements
    • 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
    • One semester of Math: Trigonometry (MAT 125) or Calculus (MAT 131) are recommended
    • One semester of College Writing: ENG 122 or similar


    • One semester of Cell Biology: BIO 210
    • One semester of Biochemistry: CHEM 381
    • One semester of Organic Chemistry: CHEM 331
  • Timeline

    Freshman Year

    • Focus on coursework
    • Learn to be a successful student
    • Learn how to study
    • Earn a strong GPA
    • Begin working on prerequisite courses
    • Begin community service
      Shadow a physical therapist
    • Start working or volunteering with physical therapists
    • Research various medical careers

    Sophomore Year

    • Continue to focus on doing well in your courses
    • Maintain a strong GPA
    • Continue working on your prerequisite courses
    • Continue community service
    • Look for leadership opportunities
    • Start or continue clinical experience
    • Meet with the prehealth advisors
    • Look for research opportunities
    • Consider who to ask for letters of recommendation

    Junior Year

    • Maintain a strong GPA
    • Finish your science prerequisites
    • Continue community service
    • Continue clinical experience
    • Continue leadership activities
    • Conduct research in your major
    • Study for the GRE
    • Take the GRE
    • Obtain letters of recommendation
    • Work on your personal essay
    • Meet with the prehealth advisors
    • Fill out
      PTCAS - it usually opens in early July
    • Submit PTCAS in August
    • Submit letters of recommendation

    Senior Year

    • Maintain a strong GPA
    • Prepare for interviews
    • Continue community service, leadership activities and clinical experience
    • Continue research experience
    • Meet with the prehealth advisors
    • Go to PT school interviews
  • How to Apply

    The process of applying to PTschool starts by filling out one application that will then be sent to the schools of your choice.  For PT programs, you will fill out the PTCAS application, which includes a space for your personal essay, your coursework history, your list of activities, your GRE score, and the names of your recommenders.  This application will open in early July so that you can begin to fill it out and then you can submit the application in August.  For more information on filling out the application go to "link to tutorial".

    Once the schools receive your application, some of them may send you secondary applications which require more information and ask a series of short answer/essay questions. You will need to fill these out and then send them to each school.

    After reviewing your secondary application and letters of recommendation, the schools will then invite students for interviews. This process typically begins and September and can last through February.  For more information on how to prepare for you interview go to our informational website and view our tutorial.

    After the interview process, students will either be accepted, denied or placed on a waitlist at each school.  From here each student then must decide where he or she will attend.

  • Statistics of Successful Applicants
    Data for 2016-2017 Cycle  
    Average Overall GPA of Accepted Students  3.57
    Average Science GPA of Accepted Students  3.41
    Average GRE of Accepted Students  304
    Total Number of Applicants  16,828
    Total Number of Matriculants  7,722
    Median Age of Matriculants  23
  • Other Resources