Quick Facts About Physical Therapy School

Table of Contents

PT Education Requirements

  • 4 years of undergraduate study and 3 years of graduate school
  • Some programs offer a 3 + 3 accelerated degree
  • Most programs have a research component
  • Clinical rotations/Internships (varies by school) 40-46 weeks

Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) – All PT programs are now Doctorate programs.  Individuals are no longer able to graduate with a Bachelor’s or Master’s in Physical Therapy.

PT schools are competitive programs. For example, the University of Minnesota PT program averages 240 applicants, while only 52 are accepted.

Classes in PT School

    • Anatomy (study of the human body – muscles, bones, organs), Physiology (the way in which a bodily part functions), Neurology (brain, nerves, stroke, spinal cord)
    • Cardiology (heart, circulation), Pulmonology (lungs, airway)
    • Biomechanics (mechanical laws relating to movement)
    • Integumentary (skin, wounds), Pediatrics (children), Geriatrics (elderly), Orthopedics (joints, bones, muscles)
    • Ethics, Research, Statistics


What type of major/degree do you need to apply to PT school?

You can have ANY type of degree to apply to PT school. That’s right, you name it: Chemistry, Biology, English, History, Physics, Music, Art, Psychology. While it may be beneficial to have a strong scientific background, as long as you complete the pre-requisite requirements, you have the choice to study a subject that interests you!

What Pre-Requisite courses are required?

While there are slight differences from school to school, generally speaking PT schools require: 1 year of biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy/physiology.  As well as a course(s) in psychology, statistics, mathematics (calculus), medical terminology.

Where can physical therapists work?

There are many places a physical therapist can work including, clinics, hospitals, nursing homes/transitional care, schools, and industrial settings.

Additional information:

  • Prior to applying to PT school, an applicant must complete between 50-150 hours of observation with a licensed PT
  • Students must take the GRE  (Graduate Record Examination)
  • Application will consist of written essays and possibly an in-person interview
  • Class size ranges from 28-60


Aleksi MoranWritten by:

Aleksi Moran, ATC/R, SPT

University of Minnesota

Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program

Class of 2017

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