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Pre-Physical Therapy Advising

Physical therapy (PT) is an integral component of health care.  As a health profession, physical therapy focuses on the neuromuscular, musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary systems of the human body as these systems relate to human motion and function.  Physical therapists use mechanical force and movements to remediate impairments and promote mobility, function, and quality of life.  Students interested in physical therapy must have a profound interest in rehabilitating individuals with debilitating injuries or diseases.  Currently in Connecticut, only Medicare patients are required to obtain physician referral before visiting a physical therapist for treatment.  All other patients have direct access to physical therapists, and therefore do not need a physician referral.

As a college student preparing for graduate work in physical therapy, you should be aware of several steps necessary for admission into an accredited physical therapy program:

  • Contact PT programs to learn what specific prerequisite courses are required for admission
  • Complete volunteer work (‘contact hours’) in a physical therapy clinic
  • Find a physical therapist mentor and/or meet members of the field
  • Become familiar with the issues related to the field

Southern Connecticut State University students should select the EXS-Human Performance major while fulfilling the requirements for physical therapy graduate school.  The EXS-HP curriculum contains free elective credits that can be easily used to complete PT school prerequisites.
 
If you have questions, please contact the Southern Connecticut State University Exercise Science-Human Performance program coordinator, Dr. William Lunn.

Prerequisite Courses for DPT Graduate School

Since the exact prerequisite courses vary for each graduate school, it is important for the student to examine the graduate schools they are interested in attending during their sophomore or junior year to allow time to complete all of the prerequisite courses.  The list below contains the most common prerequisite courses when examining many physical therapy graduate program admissions requirements:

12 credits – Biological Sciences
4 credits – College Biology with lab
4 credits – Human Anatomy with lab
4 credits – Human Physiology with lab
     (or 8 credits of Human Anatomy & Physiology with lab

Note: 3-credit A&P courses or Exercise Physiology courses are NOT acceptable for these credits.

8 credits – General Chemistry with lab
8 credits – General Physics with lab
3-4 credits – Mathematics (at least precalculus)
3 credits – Exercise Physiology
3 credits – Statistics (in addition to the math course)
6-9 credits – Psychology
One introductory course required
One course in human growth & development and/or abnormal psychology are required

Typically, a grade of ‘B’ or better is required in all of these prerequisite courses.  SCSU courses that fulfill these requirements include:

BIO 120, Microbiology
BIO 200 and 201, Human Anatomy & Physiology I&II
CHE 120 and 121, General Chemistry I&II
PHY 200 and 201, General Physics I&II
MAT 122, Precalculus
EXS 485, Measurement & Statistics in EXS
PSY 100, Intro to Psychology
PSY 210/215/219/321, Infant & Child Development, Adolescent Development, Lifespan Development, Abnormal Psychology

Most PT schools have a minimum undergraduate GPA requirement of approximately 3.2 out of 4.0 for admission.  However, recent observation of admission practices indicates that your SCSU undergraduate GPA should be at least 3.5 to be seriously considered for physical therapy graduate school.

Test Requirement

Applicants to physical therapy graduate school must take the Graduate Records Examination (GRE).  This exam is normally taken at the end of the junior year or beginning of the senior year.  It is best to complete as much of the required biology, chemistry, and physics as possible by that time.

Internship Requirement 

In addition to the coursework described above, students must complete 10-100 hours (depending on specific school requirements) of documented observation in a physical therapy clinic.

Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor lists Physical Therapy as projected to grow 34% from 2014 to 2024, described as “much faster than average” for all occupations.  The 2015 median salary for a physical therapist with a DPT was $84,020 per year.

Resources

Students may investigate the physical therapy profession by visiting the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) web site.

Students are encouraged to examine physical therapy graduate school web sites as well as visit the campus in person to determine which school provides the best environment for them.  Here are the physical therapy schools available to SCSU students:

Physical Therapy Schools in Connecticut  

University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
University of Hartford, Hartford, CT
Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT

Other Schools SCSU Graduates Have Attended

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Boston University, Boston, MA
University of Delaware, Newark, DE
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Columbia University, New York, NY
Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY