Jun 01, 2023  
2014-2015 Undergraduate Catalog 
2014-2015 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Pre-Physical Therapy

Admission into a graduate school of physical therapy requires a bachelor’s degree. Each pre-physical therapy student should, therefore, choose an area in which to major that provides a background of skills and competencies and allows application to and successful admission into a physical therapy program upon graduation from WSU. The Department of Biology and the Department of Health, Exercise and Rehabilitative Sciences have advisors available to assist students in planning their programs of study for pre-physical therapy.

Biology Department

220 Pasteur Hall (507.457.5271)
Dr. Edward Thompson, Advisor

Admission to a graduate-level physical therapy program is very competitive; the minimum requirements are:

  • Biology: 12 S.H., including a complete introductory course in the principles of biology and advanced coursework in biology, which builds upon the introductory courses.
  • Chemistry: 12 S. H., consisting of a complete introductory course in the principles of chemistry and organic chemistry.
  • Physics: 8 S. H., consisting of a complete introductory course.
  • Psychology: 6 S. H.
  • Human Anatomy: 4 S. H.
  • Human Physiology: 4 S. H.
  • Statistics: 3 S.H.
  • Mathematics: 3 S. H. of college trigonometry or higher (calculus is usually required).
  • English composition and literature: 8 S. H.
  • A GPA of 3.5 or better, a GRE (general test) of 1000 (verbal and quantitative).
  • A genuine interest in people and the health of others, especially as shown by about six months of involvement (volunteer or otherwise) in patient care and/or research at a health care facility.

All physical therapy schools require upper-division courses such as histology, endocrinology, genetics, microbiology, parasitology, molecular biology, neuroscience, cell biology, cell physiology, embryology, biochemistry, kinesiology, and physiology of exercise. All of these upper-level science courses have chemistry or biology prerequisites. It is expected that applicants will exceed the minimum admission requirements in several of the above subject categories. It is strongly suggested that students consider career-related courses such as biomechanics, pharmacology, and pathophysiology whenever possible.

Most pre-physical therapy students at WSU major in either the Biology program’s Allied Health option or Cell and Molecular option; both options are described in the Biology Department . These biology major programs do not require a minor and provide the student with extensive training in the life and physical sciences as well as mathematics. With the biology major, the student is eligible to apply to master’s and doctorate physical therapy programs.

When they arrive on campus, students who are interested in entering a physical therapy program after graduation should meet with the pre-physical therapy advisor, Dr. Thompson, to plan their programs of study. Pre-physical therapy students are encouraged to apply to the graduate school of their choice early in their senior year.

Health, Exercise and Rehabilitative Services Department

The Department of  Health, Exercise and Rehabilitative Sciences  (HERS) provides additional opportunities for pre-physical therapy majors via the Movement Science Option . Without exception, admission into physical therapy requires a bachelor’s degree. The bachelor’s degree needs to meet prerequisites for a graduate physical therapy program. These prerequisites include a well-rounded offering of courses from the natural and life sciences, and movement science. Within the 120 credits needed to graduate from WSU, the Movement Science major is specifically designed to meet the prerequisites for doctoral physical therapy programs. In addition to the core courses in Health, Exercise and Rehabilitative Sciences, each student has an option to develop an appropriate movement science research project, The specifically designed curriculum coupled with undergraduate research experience places these students in an excellent position for matriculation into the physical therapy graduate program of their choice. To declare a major in the Movement Science option, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.


◎ = Oral Intensive

◆ = Math/Critical Analysis Intensive

△ = Writing Intensive

✽ = Physical Development and Wellness Graduation Requirement