Physical therapy 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-PT is not an undergraduate major, students need to select a major and complete all of the prerequisite courses needed for PT school. Common majors include:
  • Athletic Training
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Child Development
  • Exercise Science (Clinical, Kinesiology, Health Fitness options)
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychology

Suggested First-Year Courses

Fall schedule
  • BIO 110: Concepts of Biology
  • CHM 131: General Chemistry 1 OR CHM 120: Survey of Chemistry, CHM 127:  Lab
  • MTH 107: College Algebra OR MTH 130: Pre-Calculus
  • PSY 100: Introduction to Psychology

Spring Schedule
  • CHM 132: General Chemistry II OR CHM 342: Survey of Organic Chemistry
  • PSY 220: 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 students work with the PT programs they 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.

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

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

Bureau of Labor Statistics for Physical Therapists

Physical therapists, sometimes called PTs, help people with injuries, illnesses, or disabilities manage their pain and improve their movement and functional abilities. These therapists are often an important part of the rehabilitation, treatment, and prevention of patients with chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries.

Physical therapists typically work in private offices and clinics, schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. They spend much of their time on their feet, actively working with patients.

The median annual wage for physical therapists was $84,020 in May 2015.

Employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 34 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for physical therapy services will come from the aging baby boomers, who are staying active later in life. In addition, physical therapists will be needed to treat people with mobility issues stemming from chronic conditions, such as diabetes or obesity.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Physical Therapists, on the Internet at

For additional information:

Please contact the Health Professions Student Service Center at or by telephone at 989-774-2315.

The CHP student service center is located in the Health Professions Building, 1250.