Pre-Physical Therapy Course Requirements

The course prerequisites for admission to PT programs vary significantly among programs. Visit the institutional website or the PTCAS directory to determine what courses are required by each institution.

Most PT programs have minimum grade point average (GPA) requirements. These minimum scores vary by institution and may be low as compared with the average GPA of applicants offered admission. The average overall GPA for admitted students is approximately 3.5.

The following courses are required by most PT programs. You should be able to successfully incorporate these courses into your overall UMW curriculum within the framework of any UMW major program. These courses may not be taken Pass/Fail, Credit/No Credit, or through a long-distance or on-line learning program.

  • General Biology (2 semesters with lab): Biology 121 & Biol 132 – or – Biology 125 & 126.

  • General Chemistry (2 semesters with lab): Chemistry 111 & 112.

  • College Physics (2 semesters with lab): Physics 101 & 102 (Gen. Physics I, II) – or – Physics 105 & 106.

  • Introductory Statistics.   STAT 180, BIOL 260 and PSYC 261 fulfill this statistics requirement.

  • A Psychology course. PSYC 100 (General Psychology) is recommended.  Some schools require an additional Psychology course.  Additional pertinent psychology courses include PSYC 301 (Social Psychology), PSYC 311 (Abnormal Psychology), PSYC 339 (Health Psychology), PSYC 331/332 (Devlopomental Psychology).

  • Human Anatomy (BIOL 384)*

  • Human Physiology (BIOL 413)*

* Some PT programs only accept anatomy and/or physiology courses completed in a biology, neuroscience, anatomy, or integrated physiology department. PT programs may not accept a combined anatomy and physiology (A&P) course or those completed in other departments, such as kinesiology. Visit the PTCAS directory (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. to determine what type of anatomy and physiology courses are required for admission.

Other Admission Requirements

GRE – Most PT programs require applicants to complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Programs may have minimum acceptable scores and last acceptable test dates. Policies regarding the consideration of multiple sets of GRE scores vary by institution.

Physical Therapy Volunteer Experience – Many programs require applicants to have a certain number of volunteer or paid PT experiences working with patients under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. The program may specify the settings and types of experiences required. Applicants may also be required to have a licensed physical therapist verify the hours. This experience may be an important factor in the admissions process. Respectfully contact physical therapy clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities (eg, nursing homes), and other healthcare settings in your area to find observation opportunities. APTA cannot assist you in these efforts.

References – Many physical therapist programs require 1-4 letters of reference (also known as “letters of evaluation” or “recommendations”) as part of the admissions process. You may need to submit references from a particular individual, such as a physical therapist, science professor, or academic advisor. If references are required, select individuals who meet the program’s requirements; know you well; and can speak to your maturity, dependability, dedication, compassion, communication skills, leadership, and any hands-on experience in the field.