Pre-physical therapy students are completing the necessary prerequisite courses in order to apply to a graduate program in physical therapy (Doctor of Physical Therapy - DPT). Some PT programs require intensive science preparation, similar to pre-med preparation, while others have far fewer science prerequisites. Pre-PT students are also learning about the profession by volunteering with practicing professionals while developing their leadership skills and awareness of community needs.
Coursework required for most Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs
For more information on specific coursework for DPT programs, please refer to the PTCAS course Prerequisite Summary
- Human Anatomy and Physiology (with labs)
- Biology (including Microbiology)
- Chemistry (some general and organic)
- Physics (at least one course)
- Mathematics (requirements vary by program)
- Social and Behaviorial Sciences
- Statistics (at least one course)
DPT programs in Washington State
The University of Washington's Physical Therapy program requires the following prerequisites:
- Chemistry 142 and 152 General Chemistry or Chemistry 120 and 220 Inorganic and Organic Chemistry
- Biology 118 + 119 Physiology
- Biological Structures 301 Human Anatomy
- Physics 114 + 117 and 115 + 118 General Physics and labs
- Biology 180 + 200 or Biology 180 + Microbiology 301, 302 General Microbiology and lab (Biol 161 and 162 can also be used, although the course is not currently available at the UW)
- Statistics 220 Basic Statistics, or any introductory course in Statistics
- Any two courses in Behavioral Science, including Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology
Things to be aware of
Completion of some chemistry and a biology course are recommended before enrolling in microbiology.
The UW Physical Therapy program requires extensive observational exposure to physical therapists working in a broad variety of PT settings with different types of patients. Begin early.
Four letters of recommendation, at least one from a physical therapist, are required.
Preparing for the major
You should begin preparation early in your academic career. UW prerequisites can usually be fitted into most major curricula. For programs that require more extensive science preparation, careful planning is required.
UW’s PT program requires the Graduate Record Exam.
Websites to visit
- Physical Therapy Profession and Degree Program at the UW
- American Physical Therapy Association
- ExploreHealthCareers.org Career Overview
Apply widely. Physical Therapy programs are all quite popular. Not all schools have specialties in all areas. When you volunteer in a Physical Therapy setting, ask the therapists where they went to school and ask them to tell you about their experience applying and completing the program.