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Your Physical Therapy Academic Experience

Make the Most of Your Time

  • Determine your top physical therapy program choices.

    Each program will have specific course requirements you need to take as an undergraduate. Once you know those, it’ll be easier to plan your Illinois State academic schedule.

  • Take any prerequisites.

    Illinois State offers the classes you need to apply to a physical therapy program. Before you get to that level, you might have to take a handful of other classes to get ready.

  • Talk to us.

    There’s a lot of coordination and planning that needs to happen to make sure you do everything you need before going on to a graduate program. You don’t have to do it alone. We’re here to help.


Your physical therapy program will have specific course requirements, but here are some common ones.

Typical Medical School Requirements

  • General Chemistry - 2 semesters

  • Biology - 2 semesters

  • Upper-Level Biology - 1 semester

  • Physics - 2 semesters

  • Statistics - 1 semester

  • Pyschology - 2 semesters

What to Take at Illinois State

Some classes require prerequisites.

  • General Chemistry CHE 140 and then 141

  • Biology BSC 196 and BSC 197

  • Upper-Level Biology Talk to your advisor for the best option.

  • Physics PHY 108 and PHY 109

  • Statistics PSY 138 or MAT 150

  • Psychology PSY 110 and PSY 213 or PSY 350

Our recommendations for classes

  • Upper-Level Biology: Genetics, Cell Biology, Immunology, and Microbiology are good upper-level courses to consider.

  • Additional Courses: Taking some of these courses might give you a competitive edge on your grad school application.

    • Medical Terminology (HSC 105)
    • English Composition and Writing (ENG 101 and ENG 145)
    • Mathematics (MAT 120 or 145)
    • Exercise Physiology (KNR 280)
    • Food and Nutrition (FCS 102)

Course Finder gives you descriptions for all your classes and any prerequisites you need.

Launch Course Finder

A Little Advice

  • Work hard. Physical therapy programs are competitive. Keep your GPA at 3.0 and even higher for science and math grades. This helps you compete for your top choice with the best of them.

  • Check your Advanced Placement (AP) credit. Some schools don’t accept AP credit for any prerequisite course. Others limit the number of courses earned via AP credit. Explore your physical therapy program’s specific policies.

Applying to Physical Therapy Programs

Most students apply to physical therapy programs the fall of senior year. Before you apply, you’ll need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Your courses at Illinois State will help prepare you to take the GRE with confidence.