As a pre-physical therapy student, Carthage has numerous faculty and 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. They can help you with general questions relating to the application process and prerequisites to help you meet your career goals.

See the pre-physical therapy timeline

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.

Join the Pre-Health Club at Carthage to 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 recommendation. 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 or research opportunity.

While different schools will have different expectations on what classes you should take, the following are often required.

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology for the Health Professional I and II (BIO 2010 and 2020) These classes should be taken by all majors except Biology, Neuroscience, and Chemistry who should take Bio 3300 and Bio 3310.
  • 2 Biology Courses (BIO 1110 and 1120)
  • 2 General Chemistry Courses (CHM 1010 and 1020)
  • 2 Physics Courses (PHY 2100 and 2110 or PHY 2200 and 2210)
  • Introduction to Psychological Science (PYC 1500)
  • 1 Upper-level Psychology Course
  • Additional Social or Behavioral Science Course
  • Medical Terminology
  • Statistics Course
  • 2 English Courses

You can have any major before applying to PT school — while the most popular ones for pre-PT are biology, neuroscience, psychology, allied health science, and exercise science, 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 more. 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.

While Carthage students usually apply to somewhere between 5 and 9 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.

Application Process Timeline

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 them during late summer. The faster you apply, the better your chances are of getting an interview, and as such, it is recommended that you have everything you need to apply (such as your letters of recommendation, transcripts, shadowing hours, personal essays, and test scores) prepared for submission by spring of your junior year.

Personal Statement

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 recommendation 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 3 letters of recommendation.

Letter of Recommendation Timeframe

Ideally, you should ask for letters of recommendation 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.

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 of your sophomore 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. Average GRE scores for accepted candidates into PT schools are 150 or better on each the verbal and the math/logic section and a 4 on the writing section.