Department of Human Performance and Sport
Are you interested in pursuing a Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy?
Physical Therapy is a rigorous field of study that requires students to demonstrate exceptional academic performance before being considered for admittance.
According to the Physical Therapy Application Figures taken from the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service 2015-16 Report http://www.ptcas.org/About/
Mean Undergraduate Cumulative GPA: 3.59
Overall National Acceptance: 9,227 individuals were accepted out of 18,475 applicants
Mean number of applicants per program: 576
Average number of students accepted per program: 40-45
What is the best major to pursue if you want to apply to Physical Therapy School?
The Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service 2015-16 applicant data reports shows (http://www.ptcas.org/About/) that students who earned an Exercise Science degree represented 22.2% (the highest of all majors listed, with Kinesiology at 14.62% being the second highest) of accepted PT students. Combined with other similar bachelor’s degrees of Exercise Physiology, Exercise Kinesiology, and Kinesiology this total jumps to 40.34%. Please visit the website referenced for full, current year statistics.
It is also required by many physical therapy programs that the pre-physical therapy student gain insight into the physical therapy profession via shadowing and volunteering in traditional physical therapy settings: inpatient hospital, post hospital/short term residency rehabilitation clinics, outpatient clinics as well as pediatric and possibly burn units.
The MSU Denver Exercise Science major provides students with opportunities to pursue Field Experience courses and a final comprehensive internship where they can fulfill volunteer requirements. Hence, we recommend that student who have the career goal of becoming a Doctorate of Physical Therapy pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science.
Contrary to popular belief, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training is not the best option for students who would ultimately like to pursue a doctorate in Physical Therapy. The MSU Denver Athletic Training program follows a strict three year/six semester clinical sequence that simply has not allowed students the necessary time to complete the necessary pre-requisite courses for PT school (the pre-req’s for PT school have many ‘embedded’ pre-requisite courses. Eg: College Physics requires Calculus which has a pre-req of college algebra etc). Athletic Training is an extended major with only 16 available elective credits, hence pre-physical therapy students would be completing many more than the required 120 credit hours to earn a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, Athletic Training students are required to complete clinical hours under the supervision of Certified Athletic Trainers and are not exposed to traditional physical therapy settings.
Please note that no one single major or minor will fulfill all necessary pre-requisite courses for any physical therapy school. It is the student’s responsibility to research prospective physical therapy programs (http://www.apta.org/ProspectiveStudents/Admissions/PTProcess/) of their choice. After doing this research the student must meet with an academic advisor in their chosen major who can assist them in course selection in order to fulfill all MSU Denver graduation requirements in addition to assisting the student in selecting proper elective courses that will also serve as pre-requisite courses for the PT programs they have chosen to apply to. MSU Denver also offers students the opportunity to create an Individulized Degree Program - Minor that can be designed to encompass many pre-requisite physical therapy course requirements.
Please see: https://msudenver.edu/cil/faq/individualizeddegreeprogram/ for in depth information regarding the Individualized Degree Program at MSU Denver.
It is often NOT recommended that students design an Individualized Degree Program – Major for pre-physical therapy pre-requisite course work. Earning an established major allows students greater flexibility after graduation to find employment or internships if they either do not get accepted immediately into a DPT program or if they have additional pre-requisite courses to complete after graduation.