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Pre-Physical Therapy Track at Hope College

Introduction: The only constant is change!

Physical therapy graduate programs now award the Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree (DPT) as the terminal degree. This change has caused a ripple effect on what is expected of college students as they prepare for PT graduate school. Consequently, the pre-PT track world is changing and what works for this year's seniors will not work for this year's entering freshmen.

Below are some common questions and answers to help you along your journey.

To prepare for PT graduate school, what classes do I need to take during my 4 years in college?

Although the requirements vary at different graduate programs, required or recommended courses typically include:

  • BIOLOGY
  • General Biology I + lab (Biol 105) [formerly Biol 260]
  • General Biology II + lab (Biol 106) [formerly Biol 240]
  • Human Anatomy (Bio 222 or Kin 200)
  • Human Physiology (Bio 221)
  • CHEMISTRY
  • General Chemistry I (Chem 125) + Gen Chem Lab I (Chem 127)
  • General Chemistry II (Chem 126) + Gen Chem Lab II (Chem 128)
  • (or another option for General Chemistry is:)
  • Accelerated General Chemistry (Chem 131) + Accel Gen Chem Lab (Chem 132)
  • do not take Chem 101, 103, or 104 - these are not considered acceptable by most PT graduate schools as of 2013.
  • MATH
  • Introductory Statistics (Math 210)
  • Study of Functions (Math 123)
  • PHYSICS
  • [you can take either one; depends on your major!]
  • College Physics I (Phys 105) + Physics Lab I (Phys 141)
  • College Physics II (Phys 106)+ Physics Lab II (Phys 142)
  • or
  • General Physics I (Phys 121) + Physics Lab I (Phys 141)
  • General Physics II (Phys 122) + Physics Lab I (Phys 142)
  • SOCIAL SCIENCES
  • Introduction to Psychology (Psy 100)
  • Developmental Psychology (Psy 230)
  • may need a possible third Psychology - Behavior Disorders

The best source for academic pre-requirements for every PT graduate program in the USA, is PTCAS. The Program Directory of PTCAS updated yearly and is the source all pre-PT track students live by!

What do I need to major in? Choice of Major

PT schools seek students with diverse and broad academic backgrounds. PT schools are most concerned with the overall quality & scope of undergraduate work and not with the specific academic major. A student should select a major area of study that is of interest and that will provide a foundation of knowledge necessary for the pursuit of several career alternatives. Many successful Hope College students who have gone onto PT programs majored in Exercise Science, Biology, or Psychology since they had and academic interest in one of these areas.

Do I need to know the PT profession (i.e., shadow)?

YES! PT admissions committees require that a student has learned about the PT profession through first-hand experience through observationof a licensed PT (not a PTA). During your college years, you do this in various clinical settings to see various different type of patients. PT admissions committees expect that you know that you what the PT profession is and the type of patients you will serve. For most programs, they expect a minimum of 50 hours in each type of clinical setting which means a minimum of 150 hours but the most competitive applicants have 3-4 times as many hours. To learn more about the each PT programs' specific PT observation requirements, refer to PTCAS.

What about volunteering or extra-curricular activities?

PT school admission committees also look at a student's experiences for evidence that the student is committed to serving and helping others; working on teams; possesses integrity, adaptability, reliability and ability to take feedback. They also expect that a student is able to work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds.

How do I learn more about PT and PT graduate schools?

Specific admissions requirements for each physical therapy program can be found on the website for that institution. Some key web links for information are the following:

State of Michigan Physical Therapy Programs

Links to General Information

For current Hope College students, questions related to the pre-physical therapy track, please contact HPA Professor T. Prokopow.