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Physical Therapy

Students who want to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy are able to complete a pre-physical therapy program at Idaho State University. Students may choose any major as long as the admission requirements for the physical therapy program of choice are taken.  However, the following majors are the most common ones selected: Biology, Health Science, and PE with an Exercise Science  concentration.

What courses should the pre-physical therapy student take? That is a difficult question to answer in a simple way. The reason is that there are substantial differences between the many physical therapy programs in their pre-physical requirements. It is absolutely essential that each pre-physical therapy student develop a list of physical therapy programs that he/she plans to apply to for admission and to contact to them for a list of specific pre-physical therapy requirements or obtain that information from web sites of each program APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) Competition for admission to Physical Therapy programs is sufficiently great that each student is advised to apply for admission to several physical therapy programs (we would advise about 5 programs).

Be sure to check admission requirements for each PT program for which you plan to apply.  Check the American Physical Therapy Association for more information.  For a complete list of programs and their requirements, 

For more information on ISU's Doctor of Physical Therapy program visit their website here:  Physical Therapy at ISU

Courses Required for Entry into most Physical Therapy Programs (this is a general list - check each program for the requirements).

  • Anatomy/ A & P I
  • Physiology/ A & P II
  • General Biology I (not botany or zoology)
  • General Biology II (not botany or zoology)
  • General Chemistry I with Lab
  • General Chemistry II with lab
  • General Physics I
  • General Physics II
  • Psychology
  • Statistics

As indicated earlier, each individual physical therapy program will likely have a variety of specific requirements beyond those indicated above. For information for each PT program, see specific admission requirments here:  PT Program Pre-requisites

In addition to the above concerns about coursework leading to acceptance into a physical therapy program, it is also essential that students get some experience working with, working for, or observing practicing physical therapists. Such experience, which should be obtained over a reasonably long time (a year or more), will demonstrate the student's interest in and knowledge of the field. It will also provide the framework within which a practicing physical therapist can provide a meaningful letter of evaluation to be eligible for admission. Check each program for the minimum number of hours required.