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College of Arts & Sciences

Pre-Physical Therapy

Opportunities at Ohio University

Ohio University offers a unique opportunity to the prospective physical therapist. Recognized for leadership in the development of pre-professional physical therapy curricula since the 1930s, the Biological Sciences Department and the Psychology Departmemt, both in the College of Arts & Sciences, work cooperatively with the School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences in the College of Health Sciences and Professions.

Ohio University created the first entry-level doctoral physical therapy program in the state of Ohio, and now offers both doctorates in physical therapy (DPT) and dual doctorates in physical therapy and biology (DPT and Ph.D.). For admission to the doctoral program, a baccalaureate degree in any field is acceptable as long as the prerequisites have been attained. The most direct routes at Ohio University are the Biological Sciences—Prephysical Therapy or Psychology—Prephysical Therapy majors in the College of Arts & Sciences. A major in exercise physiology in the College of Health Sciences and Professions is also an option.

Physical Therapy School Prerequisites

DPT program prerequisites generally include

  • 2 semesters of Anatomy and Physiology (combined or independent, depending on the school), with labs
  • 2 semesters of Biology, with labs
  • 2 semesters of Chemistry, with labs
  • 2 semesters of Physics, with labs
  • 1 semesters of Statistics
  • 1-2 semesters of Psychology (or other socials sciences)

Each DPT program has its own unique requirements, ranging from college English to medical terminology. Ohio University’s DPT program requires all of the above prerequisites, as well as a semester of Medical Terminology, a semester of Developmental Psychology, and a semester of Exercise Physiology. The prerequisites for many DPT programs are collected by the PT Centralized Application Service (PTCAS).However, this is subject to change, and all prerequisite information should be verified with individual schools before applying. Keep in mind that there are 22 PT schools in the United States that do not participate in PTCAS.

DPT programs also require applicants to report scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).

Student Involvement

As a pre-physical therapy student, you will find many activities on campus that interest you. Many pre-PT students choose to join the Pre-PT Club. There will be many demands on your time with classes, shadowing experiences, and student activities. Plan carefully to manage it effectively.

Clinical Experience

Many DPT programs require applicants to have obtained clinical experience or observation. Ohio University requires applicants to report 40 hours of observation or volunteering and to submit letters of recommendation from at least two physical therapists. At Ohio University, some volunteer experience is possible through Ohio University Therapy Associates.

Overview of the Application Process

Students hoping to enter PT school in the fall following graduation should plan to submit their primary applications in mid-summer before senior year. Students should therefore take the GRE during junior year or in early summer after junior year. This will allow you to complete your application early in the cycle.

The GRE is a computerized multiple-choice exam, and is offered throughout the year. The three parts of the GRE are:

  • Analytical Writing (2 essays)
  • Verbal Reasoning (multiple choice, 2 sections)
  • Quantitative Reasoning (math, multiple choice, 2 sections)

Many, but not all, U.S. PT schools accept primary applications through the PT Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Students should see the PTCAS directory of schools for more information. As of 2018, 22 PT schools in the United States require students to apply directly to the school.

Students with financial need should submit PTCAS fee waiver requests well in advance. The PTCAS application becomes available in mid-June. Regardless of whether applications are sent to a school directly or through PTCAS, each school has its own application deadline and supplemental material requirements. It is wise to research schools individually. For all schools, the application should be submitted well in advance of a school’s official deadline. Many schools review applications on a rolling basis and accept students before the deadline. Be sure to request your transcripts, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation prior to submitting the application.

After receiving your primary or PTCAS application, individual schools may send you their own (secondary) application, along with requests for supplementary material. When all application material has been received, selected applicants will be invited to visit the school and interview with members of the admissions committee.  

To make sure that you will have satisfied all requirements for graduation, have your coursework checked by the College of Arts & Sciences early in your senior year. You also must apply to graduate by February in order to receive your degree and matriculate into PT school.

PT School Selection

The PT Centralized Application Service accepts applications for some, but not all, PT programs in the United States. See the directory of schools for more information. As of 2018, 22 PT schools in the United States require direct applications. For schools participating in PTCAS, the centralized service also collects program prerequisites. This information is subject to change, and all prerequisite information should be verified with individual schools before applying.

Students can find more information on PT education and careers from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). This includes information on choosing the right program and obtaining financial aid.

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