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.
Physical Therapy programs do not require a particular major. All students who attend USM must declare an academic 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 that the academic major is in an area that the student is comfortable working in and can act as a backup plan.
Some students already have a B.A. or B.S. and then decide to pursue becoming a physical therapist. Students in this category should consult with our pre-professional office. In general, these students lack some of the science courses required by most PT schools; in some cases, the required courses may be over 10 years old, which most PT schools do not accept. It is common for these students to take the prerequisite science or non-science courses for PT school at USM as post-baccalaureate students while also working on polishing their applications and taking the MCAT.
Some post-baccalaureate students take the prerequisite courses as a non-degree student while other students choose a second major to pursue at USM. In either case, students must go through the University Admissions Office to be admitted (or re-admitted for former students) before enrolling in courses.
Students wishing to practice physical therapy should apply to a university that provides a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. PT schools in Mississippi and the surrounding states are listed below. A more complete list of PT schools throughout the nation can be found at the American Physical Therapy Association website.
*ASU's program is currently in probationary accreditation. For more information about the accreditation process and the different statuses, visit the CAPTE website.
The requirements listed below are based on the program at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC). Though many programs exist that have similar requirements, it is important that students check with their ideal schools to make sure that they meet any unique requirements and deadlines.
Required courses include the following:
*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.
The course sequence below 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.
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 PT schools.
c Additional courses can include supplemental courses for the PT application or courses to fulfill the student's academic major or minor.
d Additional courses can include courses to supplement the PT application or to fulfill the student's academic major or minor.
e Advanced science electives must be at the 300 level or above and must include a lab. Not all sciences offered at USM will fulfill this requirement; rather, the sciences chosen should be medically focused and be primarily targeted towards humans, such as Human Embryology or Immunology and Serology. Advanced sciences used to fulfill this requirement are typically biology courses, but chemistry courses such as Biochemistry may suffice. It is wise to check with UMMC admissions to make sure the course selection for this requirement will be satisfactory.
f Additional courses can include courses to satisfy the student's academic major or minor, as well as courses to supplement the application to PT school.
Scores from the general Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are usually required for admission into PT programs. Schools vary in score deadlines and the length of time during which scores are accepted, so students are encouraged to check with their prospective schools prior to scheduling an exam and/or submitting scores. 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. Students are strongly encouraged to take an online practice GRE before taking the GRE that they will use on their application.