University of Vermont

Physical Therapy

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

As you plan your college curriculum, consult individual school websites and the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) PT Programs Directory to get information about specific schools and to confirm prerequisites needed for application to programs of interest. Most schools have strict requirements for PT observation or work experience ranging from 20-200 hours.

Get to know UVM’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program and attend a College of Nursing and Health Sciences Open House for prospective graduate students to learn more.

Admission to physical therapy school requires a strong scientific background. For the recent admissions cycle, the mean cumulative GPA for accepted applicants at PT schools was ~ 3.6 (mean combined science/math GPA 3.43). The GRE is required by many schools. This exam has three sections: Verbal Reasoning; Quantitative Reasoning; Analytical Writing. The centralized application service, PTCAS, opens ~ July 5th for admission the following summer. Fee waivers are available for eligible candidates to offset the cost of application.

The table below provides a general overview of the courses recommended for UVM students considering application to physical therapy school:


A minimum of two semesters with lab, satisfied by:

  • Non-majors: Principles of Biology (BIOL 001 & 002)
  • Most life science majors: BCOR 011 & 012
  • Students with advanced coursework: BCOR 021 & 103
  • Some CNHS & Biomedical Engineering majors: MLRS 034 & BIOL 002

NOTE: BIOL 003 is NOT appropriate for pre-PT students. If this course is in the degree plan for your major, consult your advisor PRIOR to the semester to substitute one of the sequences above)

Additional Biology Requirements & Recommendations

  • One semester each of Anatomy & Physiology, or 1 year of a combined A&P sequence, is required by all schools. satisfied by:
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology (ANPS 019 & 020)
  • 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. UVM’s program accepts ANPS 019&020.

General Chemistry

2 semesters of General Chemistry with lab, satisfied by:

  • Non-majors: General Chemistry 1 & 2 (CHEM 031 & 032)
  • Chemistry/Biochemistry majors: CHEM 165 & 231 & Labs 051/ 052
    Note that these upper level general chemistry courses for majors will be taken after completion of the organic chemistry sequence listed below

Note: CHEM 026 is NOT appropriate for pre-PT students. If this course is in your degree plan for your major, consult your advisor to substitute CHEM 031


Two semesters of Physics with lab, satisfied by:

  • Non-majors: Elementary Physics (PHYS 011 & 012 and labs 021 & 022)
  • CEMS majors: Recommendations vary - e.g., PHYS 051 & 152 OR PHYS 031 & 125 + lab 022
Statistics & Math

One semester of Statistics required by all, satisfied by:

  • STAT 141


  • STAT 111 is not recommended to fulfill this requirement
  • Statistics-heavy classes required for specific majors may not be acceptable at all schools
  • Those students interested in additional statistics should consider Medical Biostats & Epidemiology (STAT 200)

A few schools require one semester of college math. See individual websites


English/Composition is required by 20% schools (ranging from 1 – 3 courses). UVM’s DPT program does not have a specific English requirement

Social Sciences

1 -2 semesters of Psychology are required by all schools, satisfied by:

  • Introduction to Psychological Sciences (PSYS 001)
    AND one of the following:
  • Biopsychology (PSYS 115)
  • Abnormal Psychology (PSYS 170)
  • Social Psychology (PSYS 130)
  • Developmental Psychology (PSYS 150): Note that this course does not cover the entire lifespan. Check individual websites for specific requirements

Note: Some schools require a course in human growth & development across the lifespan which may be satisfied by:

  • Human Development (HDFS 005)
Other Required Courses

Some schools (though not UVM) have additional requirements. See individual websites

  • Exercise Physiology/Kinesiology: 15% of programs
  • Medical Terminology: 15% of programs
  • Communication/Speech: 6% of programs

Last modified October 12 2018 01:37 PM