Pre-Physical Therapy

Formation for Doctor of Physical Therapy

See more in the Course Catalog.

Is Pre-Physical Therapy a Major?

No, the term “Pre-PT” refers to a course of study intended to prepare students for a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. A student can be any major and still be Pre-PT, but will be most successful in a major he or she is passionate about. However, there are common prerequisite science courses required or recommended by DPT programs. In addition, most DPT programs require a student to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and the majority of DPT programs require a certain number of observation hours with a licensed physical therapist.

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Rigorous Liberal Arts Formation

Doctor of Physical Therapy programs are academically intensive, requiring a heavy load of memorization and the comprehension of complex scientific ideas. Furthermore, becoming a physical therapist necessitates the ability to critically analyze, process, apply, and communicate the learned information. A mixture of science and liberal arts classes will give a strong base for successfully completing a doctoral degree in physical therapy.

Benedictine College offers a variety of rigorous courses in the sciences and liberal arts that will provide not only the prerequisites needed, but also the liberal arts framework that helps with critical analysis as well as both written and oral communication.

Best Majors for Pre-Physical Therapy

There are common prerequisite courses you have to take to be admitted to physical therapy school, and several majors will allow you to take these prerequisite courses within the major. These majors are academically rigorous, preparing you for the demands of physical therapy school. Some examples of majors for physical therapy school are Biology, Exercise Science, or Psychology. According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), these are also the most common majors among matriculated physical therapy students.

Outside the Classroom

Doctor of Physical Therapy programs expect students to not only have a strong academic record, but also have a strong record of leadership and service outside of the classroom. Students should seek out service opportunities both at the college and in the broader community that demonstrate a desire to help others with compassion and empathy. Furthermore, students should demonstrate the ability to be a leader in different environments, establishing a clear intrapersonal maturity. Benedictine College has numerous opportunities to be involved in student organizations, academic groups, and community service projects both at home and abroad.

Strong Student-Faculty Relationships

Doctor of Physical Therapy programs expect students to have strong letters of evaluations, vouching for the student’s academic aptitude and overall motivation. Depending on the program, it is required or recommended that at least one of these letters comes from a college professor under which the student has studied. At Benedictine College, because of small class sizes and professor-guided service and research opportunities, students have numerous opportunities to interact one-on-one with professors. This builds relationships that will not only help with recommendation letter writing, but will provide sustainable professional relationships that will provide a basis of community learning during a student’s undergraduate career and beyond.


Martha Z. Carletti, Ph.D.

Director of Advising for Pre-Medical Healthcare Professions
Associate Professor of Biology
Contact by Email

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What Classes Should I Take to Prepare for Physical Therapy School?

BIOL-1121General Biology 1 with lab
BIOL-1122General Biology 2 with lab
CHEM-1200/1201General Chemistry 1 with lab
CHEM-1210/1211General Chemistry 2 with lab
PYSC-1000General Psychology
EXSC-3303Basic Nutrition
EXSC-3366Physiology of Exercise
ATHC-2325Medical Terminology and Conditions
PSYC-3901Abnormal Psychology

Suggested Pre-Physical Therapy Activities

  1. Engage Intellectually
    1. Display a curiosity in learning different subjects
    2. Strive to both learn and retain information
    3. Attend lectures & academic discussions
  2. Familiarize Yourself with the Healthcare Field
    1. Shadow a physical therapist
    2. Observe at different locations and in various fields
    3. Obtain at minimum 100 observation hours
  3. Develop your Research Skills
    1. Work with professors on individual research projects
    2. Present research findings either at Discovery Day or any applicable science conferences
  4. Perform Volunteer and Service Work
    1. Engage the community
    2. Show empathy and understanding of others
    3. Broaden appreciation of diverse backgrounds and experiences
  5. Reflect on the Journey
    1. Recognize strengths and weaknesses
    2. Seek opportunities to improve

Physical Therapy Schools That Have Accepted Recent Benedictine Graduates

  • Central Michigan University
  • College of St. Scholastica
  • Concordia University – St. Paul
  • East Carolina University
  • Midwestern University (Arizona)
  • Rosalind Franklin University
  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
  • University of Illinois – Chicago
  • University of Kansas Medical Center
  • University of Saint Mary
  • Washington University – St. Louis
  • Wichita State University

For more information on preparing for Physical Therapy School see:

Be sure to take advantage of the post-graduate support and guidance provided by the Benedictine College Student Success Center.