As a pre-physical therapy student, Carthage has numerous faculty/staff members to support your journey to professional school. Make sure you are working closely with your assigned faculty advisor to address any questions relating to your major or minor requirements. For questions regarding physical therapy school requirements and preparation, please contact the science and pre-health career specialist in The Aspire Center.

See the pre-physical therapy timeline

These are the most common prerequisites for physical therapy doctorate programs. However, different schools may have different prerequisites on what classes you should take. Make sure to check your desired program’s website.

  • 2 Biology Courses (BIO 1110 and 1120)
  • 2 General Chemistry Courses (CHM 1010 and 1020)
  • Introduction to Psychological Science (PYC 1500)
  • 2 Physics Courses (PHY 2100 and 2110 or PHY 2200* and 2210*)
  • Anatomy and Physiology (BIO 2010 and 2020 or BIO 3300 and 3310)*
  • 1 Upper-level Psychology Course*
  • Medical Terminology (BIO 400D)
  • Statistics Course
  • 2 English Courses (COR 1200 and another course)
Other Suggested Courses: 
  • Exercise Physiology (EXS 3080*)
  • Additional Social or Behavioral Science Course

*= prerequisites needed for a course

There is no requirement for a set undergraduate major before applying. It is important to work closely with your advisors to ensure you are meeting all prerequisites for physical therapy school.
The amount of shadowing depends on the schools you are applying to. Usually, the minimum number is around 50 hours, although to be a competitive applicant, you should aim for 100 hours. You should also have an ample amount of volunteering hours to strengthen your application. You should be shadowing at multiple Physical Therapist locations (2-3) to demonstrate your understanding and commitment.
Although most PT schools require a GRE, not all schools require one. Make sure you check the list of schools you plan to apply to before registering. The GRE will require less or more time studying based on how extensive your knowledge is on tested material, and you should pace out those hours around your own current and anticipated schedules. has free resources and practice tests available to assist you. We recommend that you take the GRE at least one full year before you submit your application. This would align with the summer going into junior year or the fall of your junior year, allowing adequate time to prepare if you need to retake it and ensures you have your results before your application deadline.
You will need to submit a personal statement with your application. To help craft your personal statement, attend our Personal Statement Workshop, typically held in the fall semester.

You will need several letters of recommendations for your application. While schools may have different expectations of how many letters you should submit and from whom, you should expect to send around three letters of recommendation.

Ideally, you should ask for a letter of recommendations at least 2-3 months in advance of your application deadline, although give as much time as possible. This way they have adequate time to reflect upon their experience and write the best possible letter they can. If you are participating in an experiential role, it is suggested that you ask for a letter a month or two prior to the close of that experience. You should ask within 6 months of working with a Physical Therapist if you are asking for a letter.

While Carthage students usually apply to somewhere between five and nine schools, you can apply to as many schools as you would like. However, you should be aware that there is a financial commitment associated with application fees and the cost of submitting materials for review. As such you should only apply to schools you would genuinely consider attending.

Applications will be submitted through the PTCAS platform. This opens in July and if you are planning on attending right after your undergraduate degree you should apply in the summer of your senior year. It is recommended that you have all materials ready when the platform opens and submit during late summer. Your application will be the most competitive if you submit before September 1st. Below is the list of application materials:

  • Personal statement
  • Shadowing hours
  • Three or more letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores
  • Transcripts (official copy)
Preparing for professional school starts year one at Carthage and we are here to help you each step of the way! We recommend that you reach out to your advising team as soon as possible regarding your plans so they can help you start preparing. You should also join the Pre-Health Club at Carthage which could help you foster connections with other pre-health students, understand what your next steps will look like, and deepen your experience with healthcare. Start building connections with professors now — by getting involved and seeking out opportunities. Actively participating in class and being a positive role model will help them craft your letters of recommendations. It is highly recommended you start looking for experiential learning opportunities and get involved. It is never too early to volunteer, shadow or secure an internship/research opportunity.