Important general information

Students interested in the pre-physical therapy advising track must obtain a bachelor’s degree and complete the necessary prerequisites for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Students interested in physical therapy should consult with a pre-professional health adviser to learn about requirements that are specific to the program and/or school to which they hope to apply.

Declaration of the pre-physical therapy advising track through the Office of Pre-Professional Health Advising does not constitute admission to the VCU D.P.T. program in the College of Health Professions. Students must apply separately to the physical therapy program/school of their choice at the appropriate time.

Students with an interest in preparing for the physical therapy doctoral program must declare an academic major and should declare and maintain their pre-physical therapy advising track. Students do not earn a pre-physical therapy degree. Those unsure of their academic major initially should clarify their academic interests through regular conversations with their advisers. Students in the pre-physical therapy advising track are encouraged to major in fields of greatest interest to them. To declare a pre-physical therapy advising track, see the pre-professional health advising blog.

Prerequisites for the VCU physical therapy doctoral program

Students intending to pursue the physical therapy doctoral program must complete a bachelor’s degree before entering. It is recommended that applicants select a challenging course load of science and math courses each semester to ensure adequate preparation for the academic rigor of the physical therapy program.

Students need to complete their bachelor’s degrees, the required science prerequisite courses and the Graduate Record Exam before becoming eligible to start the physical therapy program in the College of Health Professions at VCU.

Science and non-science courses required for the VCU physical therapy doctoral program

Students must complete 12 semester hours in the biological sciences, including anatomy and physiology, as well as eight hours of chemistry and eight hours of physics for the VCU physical therapy doctoral program.

Precalculus mathematics, statistics, introduction to psychology and one upper-level psychology (abnormal or developmental is preferred) are non-science prerequisites for the physical therapy program.

VCU students are strongly encouraged to take cell biology as well as other upper-level biology courses. Admission to the D.P.T. program is highly competitive. Taking upper-level biology and/or engineering courses will enhance a student’s application and make them more competitive.

Additional information for the VCU physical therapy doctoral program

The following prerequisite courses must be completed prior to admission for students entering in the fall semester. If VCU has awarded college credits for Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams and they are listed on the student’s transcript, those credits will be accepted.

Prerequisites for the VCU physical therapy doctoral program

CourseTitleHours
VCU courses
BIOL 151
BIOZ 151
Introduction to Biological Sciences I
and Introduction to Biological Science Laboratory I
4
BIOL 205Basic Human Anatomy (includes lab)4
CHEM 101
CHEZ 101
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry Laboratory I
4
CHEM 102
CHEZ 102
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry Laboratory II
4
MATH 151Precalculus Mathematics4
PHIS 206
PHIZ 206
Human Physiology
and Human Physiology Laboratory
4
PHYS 201General Physics I 14-5
or PHYS 207 University Physics I
PHYS 202General Physics II 24-5
or PHYS 208 University Physics II
PSYC 101 Play VideoPlay course video for Introduction to Psychology [View Image]
Introduction to Psychology4
PSYC 304Life Span Developmental Psychology3
or PSYC 407 Psychology of the Abnormal
STAT 210Basic Practice of Statistics3
Total Hours42-44
1

MATH 200 is a prerequisite for PHYS 207.

2

MATH 201 is a prerequisite for PHYS 208.

Additional recommended prerequisites for physical therapy programs nationwide

Physical therapy schools across the U.S. have different prerequisites for admission. The list below shows courses required by various schools beyond the courses listed above for the VCU physical therapy doctoral program. Students should discuss career plans with their pre-professional health adviser for additional guidance.

CourseTitleHours
BIOL 152
BIOZ 152
Introduction to Biological Sciences II
and Introduction to Biological Science Laboratory II
4
HPEX 250Medical Terminology1
HPEX 375
HPEZ 375
Physiology of Exercise
and Physiology of Exercise Laboratory 1
3
UNIV 291University Special Topics1-4
1

Prerequisite: PHIS 206; corequisite: HPEZ 375

Students should also consult with their pre-professional health advisers to discuss an individual plan of study in parallel with their academic majors.