Academic Requirements for Physical Therapy School

Prior to applying for admission to physical therapy school, prospective applicants should have completed the following common minimum requirements for most physical therapy schools:

  • 2 semesters of General Biology with lab (BIOL 107-108)
  • 2 semesters of Anatomy and Physiology with lab (such as BIOL 302, 315, 325 and/or 365/365L)
  • 2 semesters of General Chemistry with lab (CHEM 130-131)
  • 2 semesters of General Physics with lab (PHYS 185-186 or PHYS 195-196)
  • 1-2 semesters of Psychology (PSYC 166, another Psychology course)

Some schools have additional requirements and/or strong recommendations for courses.  Information and data about specific schools and their requirements, as well as other valuable advice, may be found at the APTA website with information from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Grades and Course Load

The detailed academic record is the prime indicator of an applicant’s talent, performance, and judgment. In general, admissions committees like to see evidence that you can do well while carrying a substantial course load (15-17 credit hours), but remember: you must establish a very good GPA and it may be very difficult to do so with a heavy course load. Physical therapy schools look for A’s and B’s in classes overall, as well as a strong science GPA. Faced with the prospect of a C, some students will want to withdraw (W) and try for a higher grade later. More than two W’s indicates a lack of judgment and an inability to handle difficult situations. Remember, course withdrawals must be recorded on physical therapy school applications, so this is something to discuss with your advisor.

The national average science GPA of students accepted to physical therapy school is around 3.43