Pre-Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a health profession whose primary purpose is the promotion of optimal human health and function through the application of scientific principles to prevent, identify, assess, correct, or alleviate acute or prolonged movement dysfunction. Physical therapy encompasses areas of specialized competence and includes the development of new principles and applications to more effectively meet existing and emerging health needs. Other professional activities that serve the purpose of physical therapy are research, education, consultation, and administration.

The physical therapist, working in cooperation with other health professionals, serves the individual needs of the client and the health needs of society. The physical therapy profession depends heavily on knowledge and application of the basic medical and behavioral sciences, coupled with specialized knowledge and skills in the clinical arts and sciences.

Physical therapists may work as staff, supervisors, or self-employed practitioners who serve clients directly; as administrators of clinical departments, health agencies, or educational programs; as healthcare agency consultants; as clinical or academic teachers; or as researchers.

They may work in hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, schools for children with disabilities, neighborhood health centers, physicians’ offices, nursing homes and convalescent centers, private and public health agencies, sports settings, and universities.

Pre-physical therapy students may choose any major but should work with an advisor to plan a course of study that fulfills the pre-physical therapy studies requirements as well as the requirements for the major. Students are advised to declare an educational goal of pre-physical therapy upon entering UIC which will alert them to specific workshops and other pertinent information.

The pre-physical therapy requirements follow and should be completed as part of the undergraduate degree program.

Required Courses a
BIOS 100Biology of Cells and Organisms b5
Select one of the following general chemistry sequences:10
General Chemistry I Lecture
General Chemistry Laboratory I b,c
General Chemistry II Lecture
General Chemistry Laboratory II b,c
Honors and Majors General and Analytical Chemistry I b
Honors and Majors General and Analytical Chemistry II b
MATH 170Calculus for the Life Sciences4
or MATH 180 Calculus I
PHYS 105Introductory Physics I - Lecture b,c4
PHYS 106Introductory Physics I - Laboratory b,c1
PHYS 107Introductory Physics II - Lecture b,c4
PHYS 108Introductory Physics II - Laboratory b,c1
PSCH 100Introduction to Psychology d4
PSCH 242Introduction to Research in Psychology3
Select one course in developmental or abnormal psychology from the following:3
Abnormal Psychology d
Developmental Psychology
KN 251Human Physiological Anatomy I e5
KN 252Human Physiological Anatomy II e5
Total Hours49

Students completing an undergraduate degree at UIC must complete the General Education requirements. Students should consult the General Education section and their college/department sections of the catalog for more information on fulfilling these requirements. 


These courses are approved for the Analyzing the Natural World General Education category. 


Each of the following pairs of courses will be considered one course in meeting the LAS General Education requirements: CHEM 122/CHEM 123; CHEM 124/CHEM 125; PHYS 105/PHYS 106; PHYS 107/PHYS 108


This course is approved for the Understanding the Individual and Society General Education category. 


KN 251/KN 252 sequence begins in the fall semester only. 

In addition, applicants must complete a minimum of 40 hours of documented volunteer or observation experiences in a variety of physical therapy facilities. Current certification in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) with Health Provider Status is recommended prior to beginning the professional program. Students must also have earned a bachelor’s degree prior to enrolling in the program.

The minimum GPA for application to the program in physical therapy is 2.50/4.00 in science and nonscience courses. The competitive GPA, however, is considerably above this level. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) must be taken within five years of the date of application. Students must apply for admission to the program approximately one year before planned enrollment.

There are two parts to the application: the online application and a supplemental set of materials. Applicants to the DPT program must apply online using the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Applicants can begin their PTCAS application in August. The PT program application deadline is October 15th. The supplemental materials must be sent directly to the Department of Physical Therapy and postmarked by the October 15 deadline. To learn more about the PTCAS application process, please visit the PTCAS website at