Pre-Physical Therapy Advising

Students prepare for entry to a graduate program in physical therapy by obtaining a baccalaureate degree, completing the prerequisite course work for entry into specific programs, and by obtaining a broad variety of volunteer clinical experience under the direction of a physical therapist (200-500 hours). Students may complete undergraduate degrees in any area. Most physical therapy programs are three-year programs offered at the doctoral level, and require submission of scores for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE – general test only).

Specific information on each physical therapy program can be obtained from the Prospective Students link on the American Physical Therapy Association home page at Program prerequisites, statistics, and curriculums are presented by geographic location. Students are encouraged to review prerequisite courses early in their academic planning and to develop a plan of study within the first quarter of entry to Western.

Pre-Physical Therapy is not a major at WWU. PT schools do not require a specific major. A student can do any major at Western, and do the course pre-requisites for specific PT schools to be qualified to apply. Examples of Western majors that cover some or all of the prerequisites include: Biology-Anthropology, Community Health and Kinesiology.

Program Checkpoints

Freshman/Sophomore Years

  • Meet with a Pre-Physical Therapy advisor to complete a plan of study.
  • Complete:
    • MATH 114, 115 (Math 114 or Math 115 fulfills QSR GUR requirement)
    • Chemistry series (Chem 161, 162, 163) (Completion of Chemistry or Physics series fulfills Natural Sciences GUR requirement)
    • PSY 101 (PSY 101 contributes to fulfillment of SSC GUR requirement), plus another course in a behavioral science, such as psychology, sociology, or anthropology*.
    • BIOL 204, 205 (or BIOL 101)**.
    • Physics series (Physics 114, 115, 116).
    • Statistics (MATH 240, KIN 307, or BIOL 340).
    • Other GURs.


* Select a behavioral science course beyond Psychology 101 by examining the requirements of PT schools you are interested in being qualified to apply to, to see if they have any specific requirements.

** Biol 101 alone, or combined with a 200-level biology class will not meet the requirements for some PT schools (e.g., U of WA requires BIOL 204, 205)

Please contact your major department advisor for major and graduation requirement advising.

Junior Year

Work on completing:

  • BIOL 348, BIOL 349 (see warning below***).
  • Other Physical Therapy prerequisites*****.
  • Clinical experience hours. See your pre-PT advisor for assistance setting up clinical experience hours.
  • Major requirements.
  • Prepare for the Graduate Records Examination (GRE).

*** Only HHD and Biology/Anthropology majors are allowed to register for Biol 348 at WWU. Students in other majors requiring Biol 348 for professional school may be granted an override if they request one from the instructor at least three weeks prior to phase I of registration.

**** You must examine the requirements of PT schools you wish to qualify to apply to, and ensure you complete their requirements by discussing these requirements with your advisor so they can be included in your plan of study.

Senior Year

  • Take the GRE in the fall
  • Request letters of recommendation from professors, administrators and professionals.
  • Complete remaining Physical Therapy prerequisites.
  • Complete major requirements.
  • Two quarters before graduation, meet with major faculty advisor for major evaluation and apply for graduation.

Example of how WWU classes may be used to meet EWU DPT school requirements

Lower Division Anatomy: BIO 348

Lower Division Physiology: BIO 349

ONE Upper Division Biology: BIO 321 and 322 Genetics and lab OR BIO 345 and 346 Fundamentals of Microbiology OR KIN 410 Motor Control OR KIN 308 Human Growth and Motor Development OR KIN 311 Biomechanics OR KIN 312 Kinesiology

ONE Upper Division Physiology: BIO 467 Comparative Vertebrate Physiology OR KIN 413 Physiology of Exercise

Chemistry: General Chemistry 161, 162, 163

Physics: Physics 114, 115, 116 Principles of Physics I, II and III

Behavioral Science: Any two courses in behavioral science including psychology, sociology and anthropology.

One Statistics course (examples): Math 240 Statistics OR KIN 307 Statistics in Exercise & Sport Science