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Preparation for the study of physical therapy

Important general information

Students interested in the pre-physical therapy advising track must obtain a bachelor’s degree and complete the necessary prerequisites for the physical therapy doctoral program. Students interested in physical therapy should consult with a pre-health academic adviser to learn about requirements that are specific to the program and/or school to which they hope to apply.

Admission to and completion of the pre-physical therapy advising track does not constitute admission to VCU’s physical therapy doctoral program in the School of Allied Health Professions. Students must apply separately to the physical therapy program/school of their choice at the appropriate time.

Students with an interest in preparing for the physical therapy doctoral program should declare an academic major while also indicating a pre-physical therapy advising track. Students do not earn a pre-physical therapy degree. Students unsure of their academic majors initially should clarify their academic interests through regular conversations with their advisers. Students in the pre-physical therapy advising track are encouraged to major in fields of greatest interest to them.

Prerequisites for the physical therapy doctoral program
Students intending to complete the physical therapy doctoral program must complete a bachelor's degree before entering. It is recommended that applicants select a challenging course load of science and math courses each semester to ensure adequate preparation for the academic rigor of the physical therapy program.

Students need to complete their bachelor's degrees, the required science prerequisite courses and the Graduate Record Exam before being eligible to start the physical therapy program in the School of Allied Health Professions at VCU.

Science and non-science courses required for the pre-physical therapy doctoral program
Students must complete 12 semester hours in the biological sciences, including anatomy and physiology, as well as eight hours of chemistry and eight hours of physics.

English composition, precalculus mathematics, statistics, introduction to psychology and one upper-level psychology (abnormal or developmental are preferred) are non-science prerequisites for the physical therapy program.

Although not required, students are strongly urged to complete a cell biology course and a vertebrate histology course.

Additional information for the VCU physical therapy doctoral program
The following prerequisite courses must be completed prior to admission for students entering in the Fall semester. If VCU has awarded you college credits for your Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams and it is listed on your transcript, these credits will be accepted.

Prerequisites for the physical therapy doctorate program

VCU courses Credits
Note that some courses may act as prerequisites to subsequent required courses.  
   
BIOL 151 Introduction to Biological Sciences I 3
BIOZ 151 Introduction to Biological Sciences Laboratory I 1
BIOL 205 Basic Human Anatomy (includes lab) 4
CHEM 101 General Chemistry 3
CHEZ 101 General Chemistry Laboratory I 1
CHEM 102 General Chemistry 3
CHEZ 102 General Chemistry Laboratory II 1
MATH 151 Precalculus Mathematics 4
PHIS 206 Human Physiology 3
PHIZ 206 Human Physiology Laboratory 1
PHYS 201 General Physics or PHYS 207 University Physics I* 4-5
PHYS 202 General Physics or PHYS 208 University Physics II** 4-5
PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology 4
PSYC 304 Life Span Developmental Psychology or PSYC 407 Psychology of the Abnormal 3
STAT 210 Basic Practice of Statistics 3
   
Total minimum prerequisites 42-44
   
Elective and major requirements to complete degree program 76-78

*Math 200 Calculus with Analytic Geometry I is a prerequisite for PHYS 207
**Math 201 Calculus with Analytic Geometry II is a prerequisite for PHYS 208

Sample curriculum outline Credits
   
Fall semester, freshman year  
BIOL 151 Introduction to Biological Sciences I 3
BIOZ 151 Introduction to Biological Sciences Laboratory I 1
CHEM 101 General Chemistry 3
CHEM 101 General Chemistry Laboratory I 1
MATH 151 Precalculus Mathematics 4
UNIV 111 Focused Inquiry I 3
Total 15
   
Spring semester, freshman year  
CHEM 102 General Chemistry II 3
CHEM 102 General Chemistry Laboratory II 1
STAT 210 Basic Practice of Statistics 3
UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry II 3
Electives or major requirements 5
Total 15
   
Fall semester, sophomore year  
BIOL 205 Basic Human Anatomy 4
PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology 4
Electives or major requirements 7
Total 15
   
Spring semester, sophomore year  
PHIS 206 Human Physiology 3
PHIZ 206 Human Physiology Laboratory 1
PSYC 304 Life Span Developmental Psychology or PSYC 407 Psychology of the Abnormal 3
Electives or major requirements 8
Total 15
   
Fall semester, junior year  
PHYS 201 General Physics I or PHYS 207 University Physics I 4-5
Electives or major requirements 10-11
Total 15
   
Spring semester, junior year  
PHYS 202 General Physics II or PHYS 208 University Physics II 4-5
Electives or major requirements 10-11
Total 15
   
Senior year  
Credits to complete degree program 30
   
Total minimum requirement 120
 

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Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia
Contact us: bulletin@vcu.edu

Last update: 5/21/2013

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