Pre-Physical Therapy

Physical therapy (PT) is about improving movement, functional ability and quality of life for your patients. Gain the expertise needed to begin your graduate education and prepare to make a measurable and drastic difference in the lives of many. You’ll select a major of your choice while following the pre-physical therapy program of study.

Common Majors

Since Pre-Physical Therapy is not an undergraduate major, you'll need to select a major and complete all of the prerequisite courses needed for PT school. Here are a few choices:

  • Athletic Training.
  • Biology.
  • Biomedical Sciences.
  • Child Development.
  • Exercise Science (Clinical, Kinesiology, Health Fitness).
  • Neuroscience.
  • Psychology.

Suggested First-Year Courses

*Denotes Spring Schedule.

Concepts of Biology

General Chemistry 1 OR CHM 120: Survey of Chemistry, CHM 127: Lab

College Algebra OR MTH 130: Pre-Calculus

Introduction to Psychology

General Chemistry II OR CHM 342: Survey of Organic Chemistry

Developmental Psychology

Competency Course: ENG 101 OR Communication

University Program Course

Applying to Physical Therapy School

Certain basic requirements must be fulfilled before you can be accepted to a Physical Therapy program. Each PT program can have its own requirements. Below are the CMU courses we recommend to meet some common requirements:

HSC 214: Human Anatomy OR BIO 337: Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
HSC 215: Human Physiology OR BIO 392: Mammalian Physiology
HSC 544: Biostatistics OR BIO 500: Biological Statistics OR PSY 211: Introduction to Psychological Statistics
MTH 109: Plane Trigonometry OR MTH 130: Pre-Calculus OR MTH 132: Calculus I
PSY 100: Introduction to Psychology
PSY 220: Developmental Psychology (required)
PSY 250: Abnormal Psychology
Chemistry Option 1 - CHM 131: General Chemistry I and CHM 132: General Chemistry II
Chemistry Option 2 - CHM 120: Survey of Chemistry, CHM 127: Lab and CHM 342: Survey of Organic Chemistry
Physics Option 1 - PHY 130: College Physics I, PHY 170: Lab I, PHY 131: College Physics II, PHY 171: Lab II
Physics Option 2 - PHY 145: University Physics I, PHY 175: Lab I, PHY 146: University Physics II, PHY 176: Lab II


Physical therapy programs will have additional required or recommended courses and may also have credit hour requirements. It is strongly suggested that you work with the PT programs you plan to apply to and/or an advisor to review additional requirements.

Most PT schools utilize a centralized application service: Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). A supplemental application and fee may be required.

You must also complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). You are encouraged to meet with a faculty member or advisor to learn more about this standardized test.

Finally, if you are interested in PT school, you're required to seek PT exposure through observation hours, work or volunteer experiences in various clinical settings. Required hours will vary by PT program.