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College of Arts and Sciences

Pre-PT


Pre-Physical Therapy (PT) Curriculum

The “pre-physical therapy curriculum” is just a list of courses that are required for admission to PT school. It is NOT an academic major, a minor, or an emphasis area. Prerequisite courses can vary between PT schools, so it is important to check with individual schools about their requirements and deadlines.

Admission to PT schools is not solely determined by prerequisites. Other factors are weighed as well, such as GPA (overall and prerequisite), Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores, evidence of care for people through service and employment experiences, leadership roles, observation and shadowing experiences, and other personal characteristics. Gaining entrance into PT school is highly competitive, and students who are accepted usually surpass the minimum requirements.

  

 

What Should I Major In?

Physical Therapy programs do not require a particular major. Many students choose to major in Biological Sciences, Kinesiology, Kinesiotherapy, or Athletic Training. Other majors are acceptable, however, including those in the sciences, humanities, social sciences, and business-related areas. It is important for students to choose the major in which they feel comfortable and would like to work in should they not enter Occupational Therapy as a career.

 

 

Physical Therapy School Possibilities

Students wishing to practice physical therapy should apply to a univgersity that provides a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. For Missisisppi residents, the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson, MS, offers an accredited DPT program; the only other DPT program currently housed in MS is at William Carey University Tradition Campus in Biloxi, MS, and is currently pursuing accreditation. A more complete list of PT schools throughout the nation can be found at the American Physical Therapy Association website.

 

Local Physical Therapy Schools

College/University Location Accreditation Status* Website
Alabama State University Montgomery, AL Probationary Accreditation alasu.edu
Samford University Birmingham, AL Accredited samford.edu
University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL Accredited uab.edu
University of South Alabama Mobile, AL Accredited southalabama.edu
Louisiana State University

New Orleans, LA

Shreveport, LA

Accredited

alliedhealth.lsuhsc.edu

lsuhscshreveport.edu

University of Mississippi Medical Center Jackson, MS Accredited umc.edu
William Carey University Biloxi, MS Candidacy wmcarey.edu

*The accreditation process for APTA consists of several stages.  Those listed with "Candidacy" status have passed the applicant phase and are currently undergoing program review; they have been alllowed to enroll students and, while not yet fully accredited, are nearing completion of the process. Those listed with "Accredited" status are fully accredited with no enrollment restrictions. Those listed with "Probationary" status have been accredited but did not meet all accreditation requirements at the last check; these programs are given a brief period of time to rectify these issues with the possibility of accreditation removal should they fail to do so.

 

 

 

Requirements for Applicants

The following requirements are needed for admission to the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at UMMC in Jackson. Requirements for admission to other PT schools such as William Carey University are similar but may differ in some specific requirements. Students should contact admissions at their schools of interest to determine specific requirements and deadlines.

At UMMC, preference is given to Mississippi residents; out-of-state applicants will be considered only if there are positions available after all qualified Mississippi applicants are accepted.  William Carey University will consider both in-state and out-of-state applicants.

 

UMMC Requirements are as follows:

  • Applicants must complete a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university prior to matriculation.

  • Students must provide evidence of at least 40 hours observation in at least two physical therapy clinical departments or practices in their year of undergraduate study at the time of application. A maximum of 20 hours for each site is credited towards meeting the 40 hour requirement. Evidence must be provided using the Verification of Observation Form.

  • Applicants must have an overall minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. (On average, applicants interviewed and accepted typically have a GPA of 3.5 or above.)

  • Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the 8 required pre-PT courses, which must have been taken within the past ten years: AP or CLEP courses are not accepted. Students must make a minimum grade of C on all prerequisite courses.

  • 5 of 8 prerequisite courses must be completed by the end of the Fall semester when the application is submitted.

  • Applicants must submit official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

  • Applicants must be able to meet the technical standards and will complete an interview if accepted.

 

Required courses include the following:

  • BSC 110/L & 111/L

  • CHE 106/L & 107/L

  • PHY 111/L & 112/L OR PHY 201/L & 202/L

  • Advanced physical or biological science with laboratory (1 course at or above the 300 level)*

  • PSY 360 or other statistics course

*The advanced science must be taken at a four-year institution. Science courses for non-majors are not acceptable. Courses with labs are greatly recommended.

 

William Carey University's requirements are similar to UMMC's, with the addition of an anatomy and physiology sequence (taken separately or in combined courses). All science courses should be taken with their labs. Consult their program for complete admissions requirements.

 

 

Suggested Course Sequence & Strategies for Success

The suggested pre-PT professional course sequence is merely a guideline for taking the courses required for the UMMC DPT program in a timely manner. Courses to fulfill the major must be worked into the student’s schedule. Students must consult the USM Undergraduate Bulletin, the USM Class Schedule Guide for each semester, and their academic advisor. During the last semester of the Sophomore year, students should develop a more detailed plan for the Junior and Senior years because many upper level courses in all majors are offered in specific semesters (Fall or Spring only) and/or on a rotating two-year cycle.

 

 

Year 1

Fall

Spring

BSC 110&L OR BSC 111&L a  4h BSC 110&L OR BSC 111&L a 4h
CHE 106&L  4h CHE 107&L  4h
MAT 101 b  3h MAT 103 b  3h
ENG 101 c   3h ENG 102  3h
One other course d  3h One other course d  3h

a   The order in which students take the introductory Biological Sciences (BSC) courses does not matter; 110 covers molecular and cellular topics whereas 111 covers ecology and organisms.

b   Placement in mathematics (MAT) courses depends on the student’s ACT subtest score. Consult the prerequisites for the math course you plan to take. Calculus is required for some majors in the USM College of Arts and Sciences but is not required by most schools.

c    Placement in English Composition courses depends on the student’s ACT English subtest score.

  • ACT English subtest score 16 or below:  ENG 99E (Expanded Composition Studio) and ENG 100E (Composition I expanded)

  • ACT English subtest score 17-19:  ENG 100E (Composition I expanded)

  • ACT English subtest score 20 or above:  ENG 101 (Composition 1)

d   “Other” courses include courses to complete the student's desired major and/or "recommended" courses for their desired PT program.

 

Strategies for Success

  • Students should visit the preprofessional office for advisement and/or to answer any pertinent questions.

  • Students should focus on doing well in their academic studies, particularly the required science and math courses.

  • Students should become involved with extracurricular activities, including meaningful community service learning, volunteer activities, and leadership positions that will demonstrate effective interactions with diverse people and effective time management skills. Students should maintain a record of the dates and total hours spent performing such activities. This may be needed when it comes time to apply to PT school.

  • Students could start getting some hands-on exposure to physical therapy. Students must provide evidence of 40 hours observation in at least two physical therapy clinical departments or practices during the year of their application at the time of application to UMMC’s DPT program.

  • Students may join AED (Alpha Epsilon Delta), the National Health Preprofessional Honor Society, as associate members at any time even if they do not fulfill the requirements for full membership (must be enrolled at Southern Miss for a minimum of three semesters and meet specific course and GPA requirements). Full members are inducted during the Spring semester. Applications and instructions for membership are available at the preprofessional office.

 

 

Year 2

Fall

  Spring

PHY 111/L 4h PHY 112/L 4h 
PSY 360 e 3h 4 other classes d 12-14h
3 other classes d 9-11h    

e, PSY 360 recommended, depending on student’s major; MAT 320 or another upper level statistics course may be recommended or required by a specific major. The PT program at UMMC accepts only statistics courses in education, math, or psychology from a senior college or university.

 

Strategy for Success

  • Students should continue with previous success strategies.

  • Students should visit the preprofessional office for advisement and/or to answer any pertinent questions.

  • Students remain involved with meaningful community service learning, volunteer activities, and leadership positions.

  • Students continue to participate in hands-on exposure to physical therapy. Students must provide evidence of 40 hours observation in at least two physical therapy clinical departments or practices at the time of application to UMMC’s DPT program.

 

 

Year 3

Fall

Spring

Advanced science elective f

3-4h

Advanced science elective f

3-4h

Other courses d

3-4h

Other courses d

12-14h

f Advanced science electives must be at the 300 level or above, and must be taken at a 4-year college or university. Associated labs, whether incorporated or offered separately, must also be completed. Not all physical or biological sciences courses offered at Southern Miss satisfy the prerequisite requirements for an advanced science elective. Courses should be related to human biology, health, or medicine, such as Cellular Biology (BSC 360), Comparative Anatomy (BSC 361/L), Genetics (BSC 370), Microbiology (BSC 380/L), Physiology [BSC 451 (Human Physiology) or BSC 450 (Comparative Animal Physiology)] with lab, Histology (BSC 461/L), Embryology (BSC 465/L), Human Embryology (BSC 466/L), Immunology (BSC 486/L); CHE 420/L (Principles of Biochemistry) is suggested for students seeking only a single semester of Biochemistry. Otherwise, students may take courses in the series intended for Biochemistry majors or some Biological Sciences majors: CHE 421 (Biochemistry I), CHE 422 (Biochemistry II), CHE 424 (Biochemistry III).

 

Strategy for Success

  • Students should visit the preprofessional office for advisement and/or to answer any pertinent questions.

  • Students continue to utilize previous strategies for success.

  • Students continue to participate in hands-on exposure to physical therapy. Students must provide evidence of 40 hours observation in at least two physical therapy clinical departments or practices during their year of application at the time of application to UMMC’s DPT program.

  • Students applying to UMMC PT program must have completed at least 5 of the 8 required courses by the end of the fall semester in which the application is submitted. Applicants accepted for admissions must complete the remaining prerequisite courses by the end of the subsequent spring semester.

  


Year 4

Fall

Spring

Classes to fulfill major, minor

15-18h 

Classes to fulfill major, minor 

15-18h 

 


Strategies for Success

  • Students should visit the preprofessional office for advisement and/or to answer any pertinent questions.

 

 

 

The Application Process

For UMMC, apply online directly to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the UMMC School of Health Related Professions. New application forms are posted on or before July 1 each year for the next matriculating class. The application deadline is November 1 of the year prior to program entry. The program itself begins in May each year.

The William Carey University Physical Therapy Program has other admissions deadlines, and unlike UMMC, their program is done in part through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Their deadlines are in March for admissions applications.  

 

The GRE

Scores from the general Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are usually required for admission into PT programs. Check the schools to which you apply for the deadline for receipt of scores and for how old the scores can be. Reserve a GRE testing time at least 6 weeks ahead of the test date and allow about a month for your scores to be sent to the PT school before the school’s deadline.

Students should study on their own to prepare for the GRE and/or they may take one or more of the USM, one credit hour each, GRE review classes:

  • MLS 480 (Conquering the GRE Computer Adaptive Test)
  • MLS 481 (GRE Preparation: Quantitative)
  • MLS 482 (GRE Preparation: Verbal)
  • MLS 482 (GRE Preparation: Analytical Writing)

Check the Class Schedule Guide to determine when these courses are offered.

Students are strongly encouraged to take an online practice GRE before taking the GRE that they will use on their application. There are a number of websites that have practice questions or practice tests; use Google to search for “practice GRE questions”.

 

 

The Interview

Students are advised to practice their interview skills BEFORE attending their first interview. For interview preparation at USM you may use the online Perfect InterviewTM resource. You can also sign up for mock interviews through Career Services or the preprofessional office (contact information below).   

 

 

 

For More Information about a Career in Healthcare, Contact the Preprofessional Office

Dr. Jeffrey Evans

Preprofessional Advisor

jeffrey.evansFREEMississippi

Phone: 601-266-4315

Office Location:

Bobby Chain Technology Center (TEC 100)

Destiny DeLancey

Preprofessional Advisor

Destiny.reynoldsFREEMississippi

Phone: 601-266-4636

Office Location:

Liberal Arts Building (LAB 212A) 

 

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