Pre-Physical Therapy

Academic Preparation for Physical Therapy Schools

To become a physical therapist, students must graduate from a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. Physical therapists provide health care services that help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease. They restore, maintain, and promote overall fitness and health.

The goal is to improve how an individual functions at work and at home by improving the client’s strength, range of motion, balance and coordination, posture, muscle performance, respiration, and motor function. Some physical therapists treat a wide range of ailments; others specialize in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, orthopedics, sports medicine, neurology, and cardiopulmonary physical therapy.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) identifies accredited physical therapy programs across the U.S., including in Texas.

Prerequisites for admission can vary by program and the classes listed below are common course prerequisites for programs in Texas. (SHSU course codes provided.)

  • 8 hours Human Anatomy & Physiology (BIOL 2403 and BIOL 2404)
  • 8 hours of General Chemistry (CHEM 1411 and CHEM 1412)
  • 8 hours of Physics (PHYS 1301 & 1101 and PHYS 1302 & 1102)
  • 8 hours of General Biology (BIOL 1406 and BIOL 1407)
  • 3 hours of Statistics (MATH 3379 or BIOL 4374, if ANOVA is required)
  • 3 hours of Introductory Psychology (PSYC 1301)
  • 3 hours of Developmental Psychology/Lifespan Human Development (PSYC 3374)
  • 1-3 hours of Medical Terminology (HLTH 2372)
  • 3-4 hours of Exercise Physiology (KINE 3373 & 3173)
  • 3 hours of additional math (MATH 1314)
  • Other recommended/required prerequisites may include (check with individual programs): Public Speaking (COMS 1361), English Composition (ENGL 1301 and ENGL 1302), Technical Writing (ENGL 3330), Sociology (SOCI 1301 or SOCI 2319 suggested), 3-4 hours of Advanced Junior/Senior level Biology (BIOL 3440 or BIOL 3460 or BIOL 3450 suggested), Advanced Exercise Physiology (KINE 4373), Biomechanical Analysis (KINE 4362), Motor Learning (KINE 3364), additional hours of Psychology/Sociology/Humanities.

While physical therapy programs typically require no specific undergraduate academic major, selecting a major in Kinesiology can be an efficient pathway for SHSU students. Other disciplines may offer a variety of interesting courses appropriate for students interested in physical therapy school. However, if you choose a different major, you must still complete the requirements for physical therapy school, and these may be in addition to the requirements needed to satisfy your degree plan for your selected major. Admission to an accredited Texas DPT program is highly competitive. For a composite list of PT programs and their prerequisite course requirements, please click here.

The Graduate Record Exam is required for admission to most PT programs. The Centralized Application Service for Physical Therapy Schools isPTCAS. PTCAS has a wealth of information regarding the application process, PT programs, and their requirements for admission.