Pre-Physical Therapy

Pre-Physical Therapy

The primary objective of physical therapy is to promote human health and function by assessing and treating disabilities and promoting wellness to individuals of all ages. The physical therapist conducts physical evaluations to determine the patient's potential for rehabilitation and life style changes, and also educates the patient and family. Physical therapists treat patients recovering from injury, surgery or disease using means such as exercise, performance of functional mobility activities, manual techniques, and physical agents. They teach patients how to remain healthy, prevent injury, and stay physically active. Physical therapists work in a variety of environments including elementary and high schools, sports clinics, veterans rehabilitations centers, hospitals, home health care, and nursing homes.

Academic Expectations

Specific admission requirements vary per physical therapy school. You should consult with schools of interest to determine their specific admission requirements. Additionally, students can consult the PTCAS prerequisites website. A list of UNL courses that will fulfill the prerequisites for the physical therapy programs at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and Creighton University is available by downloading the program checklist above.

Suggested academic preparation:

  • Bachelor's degree- A bachelor's degree that incorporates specific required prerequisite courses is required by most physical therapy programs.
    • Some physical therapy programs require completion of at least 90 hours of coursework at the undergraduate level; these programs do not require a bachelor's degree for admission, but a bachelor's degree can provide superior academic preparation for the physical therapy program.
  • Competitive academic record- Students with an excellent academic record, including high GPAs and multiple upper-level courses, will be at an advantage in the admission process.
  • Major in anything- All UNL majors are great options.

We recommend you meet with an Explore Center advisor once a semester to ensure you are progressing with the correct academic coursework.

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Pre-Health students

Professional Degrees

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

The DPT degree prepares students through didactic and clinical coursework to take and pass the PT licensing exam, which is required to practice physical therapy in all states. Most DPT programs are 3 years in length. A searchable directory of DPT programs can be found at the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service website.

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Pre-Health students

Entrance Exam

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

Most physical therapy programs require that students take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Information on the GRE can be obtained at the Graduate Record Examination website.

Application Information

Centralized Application System- PTCAS

Most physical therapy programs require applicants to submit their applications through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Services (PTCAS). Several physical therapy programs do not participate in PTCAS; in these cases, applicants submit individual applications directly to the schools. A list of participating and non-participating schools can be found at the PTCAS website in the program directory. Application deadlines vary by school. Please consult each school's website for deadline information.

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Explore this Career

Nebraska Professional Schools

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