What is Pre-Physical Therapy (pre-PT)?  

To be "pre-PT" means you are embarking on a course of study aimed at preparing you for application to a physical therapy school. It is not a major.

What do Physical Therapists do?

Physical therapists, sometimes referred to as simply PTs, are healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

What type of education is required?          

Physical therapy schools do not require a major, but it is highly recommended. Science-based majors are highly popular, but you should choose a major that reflects your interest, while completing curriculum requirements for your physical therapy school of choice.


What should I major in at NDSU, if I want to go to physical therapy school?

Please be aware that pre-PT is not a major.  The students are encouraged to select a major based on their area of interest. Most PT schools seek applicants with a strong foundation in the natural sciences and have completed the pre-requisites for admission. 

Coursework required for most physical therapy schools*           

  • 1 Year General Biology- BIOL 150/L, BIOL 151/L
  • 1 Year General Chemistry- CHEM 121/L, CHEM 122/L
  • 1 Year General Physics- PHYS 211/L, PHYS 212/L
  • 1 Year Human Anatomy & Physiology- BIOL 220/L, BIOL 221/L
  • 1 year English- ENGL 120 and upper division writing course (ENGL 324)
  • 1 semester of Calculus- MATH 146
  • 1 semester of Statistics - STATS 330
  • 1 semester of Psychology - PSYC 111

* Although this coursework will meet the requirements for some schools, students should research the prerequisites of the schools to which they hope to apply.

Recommended courses

  • Kinesiology - HNES 365
  • Biomechanics - HNES 366
  • Physiology - HNES 465/466 or BIOL 460
  • Abnormal Psychology - PSYC 270
  • Medical Terminology - CHP 125
  • Communication - COMM 110
  • 1 Semester Organic Chemistry - CHEM 341/L

What do Physical Therapy schools look for in applicants?

  • Cumulative GPA
  • GRE (Graduate Record Examination) for some schools
  • True interest in profession as demonstrated by shadowing or volunteering in the field
  • Service-related experiences in people-oriented environments
  • Letters of recommendation.


Applicants should consider volunteering at a local hospital or clinic to gain practical experience in physical therapy. A minimum of 200 hours of clinical experience in a variety of physical therapy settings is recommended. This can be in a volunteer or paid capacity. A well-rounded sampling of extra-curricular activities or work experiences, both related and unrelated to medicine, will help broaden an applicant's knowledge and development.

Pre-PT students are encouraged to participate in student organizations at NDSU such as the Pre-PT Club and American Medical Student Association and Allied Health (AMSA). These organizations are run by students with similar career goals and provide an opportunity for others to discuss career plans and gather details about the professions they are interested in.

The Application Process

The Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) is a service of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). PTCAS allows applicants to use a single application and one set of materials to apply to multiple PT programs. The list of programs is available here.


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