Colleges with Physical Therapy Majors

To become physical therapists, individuals must have a graduate degree in physical therapy. But first, they must complete a bachelor's degree in a separate discipline. Read on to learn about pre-physical therapy majors that can prepare someone for graduate studies and the licensure necessary to become a physical therapist.

How to Select a Pre-Physical Therapy School

Individuals who would ultimately like to study physical therapy can find pre-physical therapy undergraduate programs at 4-year colleges and universities.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Required prerequisite courses
  • Undergraduate and graduate program offerings
  • Accreditation

Required Prerequisite Courses

Those interested in pursuing a career in physical therapy are first required to attain a bachelor's degree. There is no mandatory major field of study; however, students must complete specific classes to qualify for admission to graduate school programs in this field. These course requirements vary by institution, so students should consult with the grad schools they're considering in order to determine which classes are required for admittance. Then they should confirm that their undergrad school offers the necessary curriculum.

Undergraduate and Graduate Program Offerings

One option is to choose a school with a dedicated physical therapy department that offers undergraduate and graduate options all in one place, making the transition between programs easier. Some schools specifically offer a pre-physical therapy track at the bachelor's degree level. Individuals may wish to enroll in schools that host this option, since it may clarify the path they should take to enter physical therapy master's or doctoral degree programs.


Aspiring physical therapists or physical therapy assistants should also pursue their majors at accredited schools. The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) approves physical therapy programs.

Pre-Physical Therapy Degree Program Overview

Bachelor's Degree

Common majors of study for prospective physical therapy students include biology, psychology, sociology and chemistry. These programs tend to include the courses that are necessary to enter a graduate-level physical therapy program. Although course requirements vary by schools, there are certain areas of study a prospective physical therapy student should pursue regardless of his or her major. Some of these courses include:

  • General psychology
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Chemistry
  • Communications
  • Physics

Continuing Education in Physical Therapy

With a bachelor's degree, individuals can apply for admittance into a physical therapy graduate program. Most states require prospective physical therapists to have a master's or doctoral degree to qualify for licensure. Both physical therapy assistant and physical therapy candidates must pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) to earn a license.

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