Colleges with a Physical Therapy Bachelor's Degree

Dec 04, 2019

Undergraduate programs focusing specifically on physical therapy are rare because a master's or doctoral degree is required to gain licensure in the field. Prospective physical therapists can complete a bachelor's degree program in health sciences or pre-physical therapy, as long as the program includes a specified list of prerequisites for graduate physical therapy degree programs.

Bachelor's degree programs in physical therapy are not available; students may instead major in pre-physical therapy, athletic training or exercise science through the health, natural sciences and physical education divisions of various 4-year colleges and universities. From there, they can enroll in a doctoral degree program in the field.

Schools With Bachelor's Degrees in Physical Therapy-Related Subjects

College/University Location Institution Type Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)*
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit $56,225
University of Delaware Newark, Delaware 4-year, Public $13,680 in-state, $34,310 out-of-state
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Public $19,080 in-state, $32,052 out-of-state
Washington University in St. Louis Saint Louis, MO 4-year, Private not-for-profit $53,399
University of Iowa Iowa City, IA 4-year, Public $9,267 in-state, $31,233 out-of-state
Baylor University Waco, TX 4-year, Private not-for-profit $45,542
Emory University Atlanta, GA 4-year, Private not-for-profit $51,306
Northwestern University Evanston, IL 4-year, Private not-for-profit $54,568
University of Miami Coral Gables, FL 4-year, Private not-for-profit $50,226

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics

College Selection Criteria

Here are some important considerations when choosing a bachelor's degree program in preparation for graduate school in physical therapy:

  • Students may be interested in schools that offer double major opportunities or interdisciplinary majors, such as athletic training and exercise science.
  • Internships specific to physical therapy may also be included in pre-physical therapy degree programs, and hands-on experience at an early stage could help students develop necessary skills and refine their career options and specializations.
  • Research opportunities could help students add depth and variety to their programs.
  • Students with defined areas of interest, such as neurologic physical therapy, should look for schools that offer courses in related areas.

Pre-Physical Therapy Bachelor's Degree

Students may choose to enroll in a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Pre-Physical Therapy. Other available programs may include a bachelor's degree in health sciences or biology. Prerequisite work typically includes courses in biology, anatomy, physics and statistics. Pre-physical therapy programs typically include an internship.

Physical Therapy Graduate Degree Programs

Physical therapy graduate programs leading to a DPT take approximately three years to complete. Students will be required to complete supervised clinical practicums and engage in research. Accredited programs qualify students to sit for state and national licensure examinations.

Students who want to become physical therapists must start by earning a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as exercise science, athletic training, or occupational studies which can be found at a wide range of schools. In some cases, schools offer pre-physical therapy bachelor's degree programs, which typically require internships.

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