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Pre-Med & Pre-Health

Pre-Physical Therapy Program


About the Program

Physical therapists are movement experts who improve quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education. Physical therapists diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to people at the end of life. Many patients have injuries, disabilities, or other health conditions that need treatment. But PTs also care for people who simply want to become healthier and to prevent future problems. Physical therapists examine each person and then develop a treatment plan to improve their ability to move, reduce or manage pain, restore function, and prevent disability (

The academic and extracurricular experience at Westminster College, ranging from coursework to on- and off-campus service and experiential activities to international study and/or travel, contribute strongly to the appeal of the well-trained and well-rounded individuals who graduate from our school. Most often, students on the pre-PT track will major in Biology, since the curriculum includes most, if not all, required and recommended courses for PT schools.

It is imperative that you work closely with both academic and health professions advisors to ensure completion of all requirements for PT schools and for your undergraduate degree. Students will typically apply to PT programs between their junior and senior years, allowing for a direct transition following graduation. Westminster students may also be eligible to participate in our Bachelor's Degree Plus Program that guarantees entry to Chatham University's Doctor of Physical Therapy program through the satisfactory completion of specified admissions requirements.



Typical Admission Requirements for Doctor of Physical Therapy Programs

Core Requirements for Physical Therapy School (and for GRE Exam Preparation) generally include:

  • Biology with labs, two courses
  • Anatomy and Physiology with labs, 2 courses
  • General/Inorganic Chemistry with labs, two courses
  • Organic Chemistry with labs, two courses
  • Physics with labs, two courses
  • English and/or Writing, two courses

The following courses should also be completed prior to taking the GRE exam:

  • Psychology, one course
  • Lifespan Development, one course
  • Biochemistry, one course
  • Statistics, one course
  • Sociology, one course

Additional course requirements may vary from one professional program to another, so it is the responsibility of the student to be aware of specifics regarding their schools of interest. Students pursuing the Doctor of Physical Therapy program with Chatham should note the specific admissions requirements for that program, which differ from those listed above. Good planning and working closely with academic and health professions advisors are essential to maximize chances of success in the highly competitive medical school application environment.


Sample Pre-Physical Therapy Student Schedule

This is a sample schedule for a Biology major preparing to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) between their junior and senior year and matriculating to PT school following graduation. Please note that an individual student's schedule will vary based on the major selected and the schedule of course offerings. First-Year Program (FYP) courses, Intellectual Perspectives (IP) courses, the Cluster Course (CC), which are Westminster graduation requirements, are indicated in italics.

First Year (Fall)
First Year (Spring)
Cell Biology and Genetics (BIO 201; SD IP)
Principles of Chemistry (CHE 117)
Inquiry (INQ 111; FYP)
Speech or Writing (SPE 111 or WRI 111; FYP)
Westminster 101 (WST 101; FYP)
Organismal Biology and Ecology (BIO 202)
Calculus I (MTH 150; QR IP)
Speech or Writing (SPE 111 or WRI 111; FYP)
Foreign Language at 201-level (FL IP)

Sophomore Year (Fall)
Sophomore Year (Spring)
Biostatistics (BIO 206)
Cell and Molecular Biology (BIO 302)
Organic Chemistry I (CHE 261)
Visual or Performing Arts Elective (VP IP)
Ecology (BIO 360)
Organic Chemistry II (CHE 262)
English Literature Elective (HC IP)
Religion or Philosophy Elective (RP IP)

Junior Year (Fall)
Junior Year (Spring)
Physiology (BIO 334)
Foundations of Physics I (PHY 141)
Biochemistry (CHE 381)
Introduction to Psychology (PSY 101; ST IP)
Microbiology (BIO 301)
Foundations of Physics II (PHY 142)
Biology Capstone I (BIO 601)
Principles of Sociology (SOC 101)

Senior Year (Fall)
Senior Year (Spring)
Anatomy and Physiology I (BIO 335)
Biology Capstone II (BIO 602)
Cluster Course Elective (CC)
Cluster Course Elective (CC)
Anatomy and Physiology II (BIO 336)
Chemistry Elective (CHE ---)
Elective Course
Elective Course

With the exception of the core requirements and courses strongly recommended ahead of the GRE exam, there is curricular flexibility within any chosen major and among the elective courses that are part of the liberal arts curriculum at Westminster College. Students planning to study abroad for a semester must also plan accordingly to meet all requirements and timelines. It is also advisable for students to budget time during the spring semester of their junior year to prepare for the GRE exam that will test knowledge in Biology, Organic Chemistry, General Chemistry as well as Reading Comprehension, Perceptual Ability and Quantitative Reasoning.


Extracurricular and Off-Campus Experiences

Many PT programs require volunteer or work experience in physical therapy locations or settings for admissions. Examples could include

  • Volunteer or paid experience in a PT setting with direct patient contact (150 hours strongly recommended)
  • Shadowing physical therapists and other medical professionals in both office and hospital settings
  • Any experience in a nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or extended care facility
  • Any experience working with children (e.g. day camp, Science camp)
  • Any experience working with individuals with special needs


Which PT Programs have Westminster Graduates Attended Recently?

  • Duquesne University
  • Slippery Rock University
  • Youngstown State University


Web Resources

  • – American Physical Therapy Association – General information about the physical therapy (PT) profession.
  • – Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service


For More Information

For more information about the program, please contact Westminster’s Health Professions Advisor, Dr. Joshua Corrette-Bennett.

Joshua C. Corrette-Bennett

Associate Professor of Biology/MedPAC Coordinator
Joshua C. Corrette-Bennett


Bachelor's Degree Plus Programs


Bachelor’s Degree + Physical Therapy Degree (4+2.3 Program)

In addition to participating in our Pre-Physical Therapy program, qualified students may also be guaranteed admission to Chatham University's Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Students accepted to the 4+2.3 program will be guaranteed acceptance into Chatham’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program upon graduation from Westminster if they meet the entry requirements.

 Learn More