Pre-Physical Therapy Curriculum

 

To print a copy of this information click on the link:Prephysical Therapy Curriculum

The Major

The “prephysical therapy curriculum” is just a list of courses that are required for admission to a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program. It is NOT an academic major, a minor, or an emphasis area.

 

Physical Therapy (PT) schools do not require a particular major. Although many pre-PT students at Southern Miss choose an academic major in the College of Health’s School of Kinesiology (such as Kinesiology, or Athletic Training), other majors are acceptable including those in the sciences (like Biological Sciences or Biochemistry), humanities, social sciences, or business. Students should select the major in which they feel the most comfortable and in which they would like to work if they are not accepted into PT school. The Kinesiotherapy emphasis of the Kinesiology major offers more courses similar to what will be taken in PT school but a Biological Sciences or Biochemistry major offers and requires more of the prerequisite courses needed for entering a PT school. A major should be chosen that allows time for the student to take the prerequisite courses for entrance into a Physical Therapy school.

 

USM students wishing to pursue a DPT degree in Mississippi apply to the doctoral program at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson or to a candidate for accreditation program at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, MS in the summer or early fall after their junior year and must complete a baccalaureate degree before enrolling in their program (more details below).

 

Visit the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) student web pages:  http://www.apta.org/ProspectiveStudents  for more information about Physical Therapy careers and PT schools.

Visit the CAPTE listing of accredited PT programs  http://www.capteonline.org/Programs/ to find information about specific PT programs. The University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) Physical Therapy program is accredited by CAPTE.  The William Carey University Physical Therapy program has been granted candidate for accreditation status from CAPTE so that students can enroll in their program. Graduation from a CAPTE accredited program is necessary before taking the national licensing exam for physical therapy which is required by all states.

  

Progress toward a Baccalaureate Degree

Coursework toward a baccalaureate degree at Southern Miss must be planned so the student meets all the requirements for the preprofessional curriculum, a major, a minor if appropriate, the University General Education Curriculum, and the College core. At Southern Miss, a minimum of 124 hours is needed for most baccalaureate degrees, with 45 of these hours from courses at the 300-level or above.

 

Requirements for Applicants

The following requirements are needed for admission to the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) in the School of Health Related Professions at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson. Requirements for admission to other PT schools are similar but may differ in some specific requirements.

Link to UMMC SHRP: http://www.umc.edu/shrp/

Link to UMMC Physical Therapy:  http://www.umc.edu/Education/Schools/Health_Related_Professions/Physical_Therapy/Physical_Therapy_Home.aspx

Link to William Carey University Physical Therapy: http://www.wmcarey.edu/schools/physical-therapy

 

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.

 

Following satisfactory completion of all requirements for UMMC’s or William Carey University professional PT program, students will be awarded the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

 

For UMMC, new application forms for the Doctor of Physical Therapy are posted on or before July 1 each year for the subsequent application deadline. Application deadline is November 1 of the year proceeding potential entry into the program. The program itself starts in May. For William Carey University the application deadline is in March of the same year you would potentially enter their program.

 

Students must consult the specific admission requirements and application deadlines for the school(s) to which they plan to apply, including UMMC.

 

Admission to a physical therapy program is very competitive.

  • Applicants to the UMMC Doctor of Physical Therapy program must complete a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university before enrolling but usually apply in the summer or early fall after their junior year before the Nov 1 deadline.
  • Students must provide evidence of at least 40 hours observation in at least two physical therapy clinical departments or practices in their year of application at the time of application.
  • It is up to the individual student to set up his or her own observation hours.
  • There is a link to the “Verification of Observation Form” on the UMMC website that students use to verify observation hours:
  • http://www.umc.edu/uploadedFiles/UMCedu/Pages/Education/Schools/Health_Related_Professions/Physical_Therapy/Admissions/Observation%20Form%20for%20May%202015%20%20Posted%20on%20Website.pdf The form requires the signature of the licensed physical therapist and their license number.
  • 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.

–         two biology courses with laboratory

–         two chemistry courses with laboratory

–         two physics courses with laboratory

–         one advanced physical or biological sciences course (courses numbered 300 or above) with laboratories, and all prerequisites for the advanced courses

–         one statistics course; must be taken at a four-year college from either a department of education, psychology or mathematics

–         5 of the 8 prerequisite courses above must be completed by the end of the fall semester of when the application is submitted

  • Science courses for non-science majors are NOT acceptable
  • A minimum grade of C is required on each required science course.
  • If a course is repeated, both grades are used in calculating the GPA.
  • Applicants must submit an official report of Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores.
  • Applicants must meet the technical standards of the program, see the following UMMC link: http://www.umc.edu/Education/Schools/Health_Related_Professions/Physical_Therapy/Technical_Standards.aspx
  • An interview with the Physical Therapy Admissions Committee is required.

 

William Carey University’s course requirements are similar, 2 semesters of biology, 2 semesters of chemistry, 2 semesters of physics, 1 semester of statistics, 1 semester of anatomy and 1 semester of physiology (or 2 semesters of anatomy & physiology). 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        4 h                BSC 111&L OR BSC 110&L a           4 h

CHE 106&L                                4 h                CHE 107&L                                    4 h

MAT 101 b                                 3 h                MAT 103 b                                     3 h

ENG 101 c                                  3 h                ENG 102                                       3 h

1 other course d                         6-7 h             1 other course d                             6-7 h

 

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

 

b Placement in mathematics (MAT) courses depends on the student’s ACT mathematics subtest score.

Calculus is required for most majors in the USM College of Science and Technology (CoST), but is not required for PT school or for majors outside of CoST.

 

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 those in the General Education Curriculum and in the major and/or minor.

 

Strategy for Success

  • 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.

There is a link to the “Verification of Observation Form” on the UMMC website that students use that requires the licensed physical therapist’s signature and license number.

  • 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.

Information and links to AED Full and Associate Member applications are available on the Southern Miss Preprofessional website: http://www.usm.edu/science-technology/alpha-epsilon-delta

 

YEAR 2

Fall                                                                     Spring

PHY 111&L                                   4 h                PHY 112&L                                      4 h

Statistics e                                   3 h                4 other classes d                             12-14 h

3 other classes d                           9-11 h          

 

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 continue to focus on doing well in their studies.
  • 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.

 

YEAR 3

Fall                                                                     Spring

Advanced science elective f             4 h                Advanced science elective f                4 h

Classes to fulfill major, etc.            12-14 h         Classes to fulfill major, etc.                12-14 h

 

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 continue to focus on doing well in their studies.
  • 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 during their year of application at the time of application.
  • 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, etc.             15-18 h         Classes to fulfill major, etc.                15-18 h

 

The Application Process

For UMMC, apply online directly to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the UMMC School of Health Related Professions: http://www.umc.edu/Education/Schools/Health_Related_Professions/Physical_Therapy/Application_Procedure.aspx

The deadline for application to UMMC is November 1 of each year for the program that starts the summer semester of the following calendar year.

 

For the William Carey University Physical Therapy Program consult the William Carey University program about the application process. Students apply online at http://www.wmcarey.edu/graduate-admissions-7 and at PTCAS - http://www.apta.org/Educators/PTCAS/Participation/ . The deadline is the last Friday in March for their program that starts the fall semester of the same year.

 

A list of accredited and candidate for accreditation Physical Therapy Schools that offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree is at: http://www.capteonline.org/Programs/. This includes the two Physical Therapy programs in Mississippi, the University of Mississippi Medical Center program which has full accreditation and the William Carey University program which has candidate for accreditation status. In Alabama there are fully accredited programs at Alabama State University in Montgomery, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and the University of South Alabama in Mobile.  In Louisiana there are fully accredited programs at two locations LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport. There are additional physical therapy programs listed as “Developing Programs” in neighboring states and across the country that also have been granted candidate for accreditation status and can enroll students.

 

UMMC uses a direct application process while William Carey University and many other PT schools use the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Participating PTCAS schools are listed at:  http://www.apta.org/Educators/PTCAS/Participation/

 

  • Scores from the general Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are usually required (verbal, quantitative, analytical writing sections). 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.

Link:  www.gre.org

 

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.

http://www.usm.edu/career-services/about-us

  • Dress professionally and act professionally at your interview.

 

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

The Healthcare Preprofessional Office is located in Bobby Chain Technology Building (TEC) Room 103.

 

Website:  http://www.usm.edu/node/25618

Phone number:   601.266.4741

 

Mailing address:

Healthcare Preprofessional Office
College of Science and Technology
118 College Dr., #5165
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001

 

Preprofessional Advisor:
Ms. Michelle Templeton
601.266.4741
deborah.templeton@usm.edu