Course Recommendations: Physical Therapy

For more information about becoming a physical therapist and preparing for PT school, visit the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) website.

Learn about UVM’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, offered by the College of Nursing & Health Sciences.

Programs vary regarding the specific prerequisite courses required for admission. Use this chart as a reference and then confirm the requirements by accessing program websites on the  Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)  Programs Directory . The following are general guidelines that will prepare you to be eligible to apply at most schools.


One year of general biology with lab, fulfilled via ONE of the following options, based on your College/major:

  • Principles of Biology 1&2: BIOL 1400 & 1450 
  • OR: Exploring Biology 1&2: BCOR 1400 & 1450 (or a single semester, Accelerated Biology: BCOR 1425 for those so placed) + upper-level biology course
  • OR: Human Cell Biology: BHSC 1340 & Principles of Biology 2: BIOL1450
    • Note: BIOL 1100 / BIOL 1105 are not appropriate for pre-PT students. If one of these courses is in the degree plan for your major, consult your advisor prior to the semester to substitute one of the sequences above.
  • Anatomy & Physiology 1&2: ANPS 1190 & 1200
    • Note: Some schools have strict requirements about the laboratory component of A&P and may not accept the hybrid UVM course that has online lab. Check individual websites.


One year of general/inorganic chemistry with lab:

  • General Chemistry 1&2: Chem 1400 & CHEM 1450
    • Note: CHEM 1150 is not appropriate for pre-PT students. If this course is in your degree plan for your major, consult your advisor to substitute CHEM 1400.


Two semesters of Physics with lab:

  • Elementary Physics (algebra-based): PHYS 1400 & PHYS 1450
  • OR:  Fundamentals of Physics (calculus-based): PHYS 1600 & PHYS 1650


One semester of Statistics is required by all programs.

  • Basic Statistical methods: STAT 1410 (preferred over Elements of Statistics: STAT 1110)


1 - 2 semesters of psychology are required by all schools:

  • Intro to Psychological Science: PSYS 1400
  • AND:  Some schools will specify a second required or recommended course, most likely to be fulfilled by ONE of the following:
    • Developmental Psych – Childhood:  PSYS 2400
      • Note: If a program requires content covering the entire lifespan, choose Human Development: HDF 1050
    • Psychopathology: PSYS 2500
    • Biopsychology: PSYS 2200
    • Social Psychology: PSYS 2300


Some programs have other specific requirements:

  • English/Writing Intensive: 20% of PT programs require 1 (or 2) courses. All WIL1 options will fulfill one of these.
  • Pre-calculus or Calculus: ~15% of programs
  • Medical Terminology: ~15% of programs
  • Exercise Physiology/Kinesiology: ~10% of programs
  • Communication/Speech: ~ 3% of programs


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