Pre-Physical Therapy - Pre-Health Program - Christopher Newport University

Pre-Health Program

Pre-Physical Therapy

Most physical therapy programs require only two semesters of chemistry. This can be satisfied with CHEM 103/L - 104/L. If you are not certain of which medical field you will ultimately pursue, or to be eligible for all programs, you might consider the two year chemistry sequence (CHEM 121/121L - CHEM122/122L and CHEM 321/321L - CHEM 322/322L).

Pre-requisites for applying to a typical physical therapy program:

  • BIOL 211/211L & BIOL 213/213L (non-BIOL majors will need special permission to enroll in these courses)
  • CHEM 103/103L - 104/104L or CHEM 121/121L - 122/122/L (either of these course sequences should be completed as soon as possible) (Note: students seeking a BS in Biology should select CHEM 121/121L - 122/122L)
  • PHYS 151/151L - 152/152L or PHYS 201/201L - 202/202L
  • BIOL 314/314/L - 315/315/L
  • at least three credits in PSYC; some schools require additional social sciences
  • MATH 125

In addition to the pre-requisite courses, applicants must accumulate a significant number of hours of physical therapy experiences. Hour requirements may vary from school to school, but at least 40 hours in two different physical therapy settings (80-100 hours total) is required.

Some programs do not interview applicants and base their decision solely on the application (including essays/personal statements) and letters of reference. Most physical therapy programs require at least one letter from a science professor and a physical therapist.

You may have to take the GRE - Graduate Record Examination.*

The Verbal and Quantitative portions of the GRE are scored between 130–170, and the average score falls somewhere around 150-152. Analytical Writing section of the GRE is scored between 0 and 6 in half-point increments, and the average hits somewhere around 3.5. A Writing score of 4 with a combined Verbal and Quantitative score of 300 or greater is preferred. Prepare for the GRE.

*Scores should be sent directly to your chosen school.

Most students begin applying in mid-late fall of their graduation year.

Most physical therapy schools use the centralized application service (CAS) - PTCAS*.

  • Create a new PTCAS application account
  • Review the instructions and program admission requirements
  • Apply early. It can take up to five weeks for PTCAS to verify your file once you submit it
  • Arrange for all official transcripts to be sent to PTCAS
  • Enter all GRE scores on the application and arrange for ETS to send your official test scores
  • Complete the Reference section, so your evaluators have adequate time to respond
  • Complete the observation hours section, so a licensed physical therapist can verify your experiences
  • Submit supplemental materials directly to your selected programs

*PTCAS applications are deleted at the end of every application cycle. Don't create an account unless you intend to apply within that cycle.

Old Dominion University (ODU) School of Physical Therapy and CNU have entered into an agreement whereby CNU applicants that meet certain criteria and are recommended by the DPP and CHPP will be guaranteed admission into the ODU Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. The student must complete all the requirements of admission including the academic and GRE requirements listed below, volunteer hours, three letters of recommendation, and the application provided to the DPP by ODU.


  • The student must complete all prerequisite PT courses at CNU with a minimum grade of B in all science courses, an overall science GPA of 3.50 or above, and graduate from CNU with a baccalaureate degree and a 3.5 cumulative GPA
  • The science courses for this GPA will include: BIOL 211/211L, 213/213L, 314/314L - 315/315L; PHYS 151/151L-152/152L or PHYS 201/201L-202/202L; and CHEM 103/103L-104/104L or 121/121L-122/122L
  • The student must complete the Graduate Record Examination, with scores of at least 150 each for the verbal and quantitative sections, and a writing score of at least 4
  • The student will need the recommendation of the Council for Health Professions Preparation (CHPP) and the Director of Pre-Health Programs (DPP)

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