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 pre-health and major advisors 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. All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of C or better. Students must have completed a minimum of seven math/science prerequisite courses at the time of application and have a reasonable plan for the completion of remaining course prerequisites prior to matriculation in the DPT program.

Required Coursework

Required Courses a
BIOS 110Biology of Cells and Organisms b4
Select one of the following general chemistry sequences:10
Matter and Energy b,c
Foundations of Chemical Inquiry I b,c
Chemical Dynamics b,c
Foundations of Chemical Inquiry II b,c
Honors and Majors General and Analytical Chemistry I b
Honors and Majors General and Analytical Chemistry II b
PHYS 131
PHYS 132
Introductory Physics for Life Sciences I
and Introductory Physics for Life Sciences II b
PSCH 100Introduction to Psychology d4
Select one course in Statistics from the following: e3-4
Statistical Methods
Statistical Methods in Behavioral Science
Introductory Sociological Statistics
Introduction to Statistics
Introduction to Statistics for the Life Sciences
Select one course in developmental or abnormal psychology from the following:3
Introduction to Psychological and Behavioral Disorders d
Developmental Psychology
KN 230Anatomy and Physiology Lecture I3
KN 231Anatomy and Physiology Lecture II3
KN 232Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory I2
KN 233Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory II2
Total Hours42-43

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


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


PSCH 343 is limited to psychology majors or students in the neuroscience degree program. Other options include SOC 201 (for sociology majors), KN 200 (for KN majors) and STAT 101 and STAT 130.

In addition, applicants must complete a minimum of 40 hours of documented physical therapy volunteer, observation, or work experiences by the application deadline. Current certification in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) with Health Provider Status is recommended prior to beginning the professional program.100+ hours of physical therapy observation, volunteer, work, or other clinical experience hours in a variety of environments is recommended. Students must also have earned a bachelor’s degree prior to enrolling in the program.

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. A detailed breakdown of the evaluative criteria used by the Department of Physical Therapy Admissions Committee may be found online.

There are two parts to the application: the PTCAS application and the UIC application. Applicants to the DPT program must apply online using the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). Applicants can begin their PTCAS application in July. The PT program application deadline is October 1st. To learn more about the PTCAS application process, please visit the PTCAS website. The UIC application must be submitted electronically on or before October 1st. Both parts of the application are required for admission to the DPT program.