Pre-Physical Therapy

Pre-physical therapy is a curricular focus for students who plan to enter a graduate degree program in physical therapy. There are 16 physical therapy graduate programs in Pennsylvania and many more nationwide. All are highly competitive and have strict course prerequisites. To be accepted into a physical therapy graduate program you should:

  • Communicate frequently with your pre‑physical therapy advisor
  • Maintain a QPA of 3.3 or better
  • Perform above average on the GRE
  • Participate in internships in a variety of physical therapy settings
  • Demonstrate leadership, and community or human service
  • Show a willingness to volunteer
  • Plan a strategy early in your college career to take the right course sequences
  • Prepare to take the GRE

Shippensburg University has a consistent record of placing qualified students into physical therapy programs. Pre-physical therapy advisors stay current with admissions procedures and standards by visiting a number of physical therapy programs during the summer months. They attend conferences for health professions advisors where they meet colleagues from other universities and share ideas. This ensures our pre-physical therapy students receive accurate, current, and comprehensive information.

Shippensburg University is affiliated with Thomas Jefferson University College of Health Professions in Philadelphia. Because TJU offers the doctorate in physical therapy (DPT), a baccalaureate degree is required prior to entering their graduate program. Our students have established a strong track record of success at Jefferson.

Faculty-directed undergraduate research is highly encouraged at Shippensburg, and each year several biology students present the results of their research at regional, state, or national conferences.

Pre‑physical therapy students are encouraged to participate in internships in private and hospital settings. Shadowing professional physical therapists can provide the edge you need to be successful in your chosen field. Studying physical therapy allows you to choose a career path that fits your goals and practice a variety of therapies, including:

  • Occupational therapy
  • Pediatric physical therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Recreation therapy

The average salary for physical therapists in PA is $50,000.

Course requirements vary considerably among the numerous physical therapy graduate programs. Prerequisites for entry into physical therapy programs are most often:

  • 16 credits of biology (including human anatomy and physiology)
  • 8 credits of chemistry
  • 8 credits of physics
  • 6 credits of English
  • 6 to 9 credits of psychology
  • 3 credits of statistics

The health professions concentration in biology enables you to schedule the coursework needed to enter a physical therapy program along with other course requirements of your major.

In light of the high level of competition for acceptance into physical therapy programs, qualified students have fared very well in the admissions process over recent years. Some of the programs to which students have been accepted include:

  • Arcadia University
  • Drexel University
  • Medical College of Virginia
  • Shenandoah University
  • Thomas Jefferson University
  • Temple University
  • Widener University 

Practicing professionals are routinely invited to speak to the Health Sciences Club. Additionally, the diverse health professional interests of Shippensburg University students and the variety of health professionals invited to speak at the university expose pre-physical therapy students to other areas of the health care field as they formulate their plans for advanced education in the health care field.  

142 Franklin Science Center, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1401
Department Website