Physical Therapy


Physical therapy involves using physical methods (e.g., manipulation, traction, exercise, massage, hot/cold therapy, etc.) to assess, diagnose, and treat injury, disability or disease. Physical therapy professionals work closely with patients of all ages, to help them recover from or manage a wide variety of physical challenges.



Undergraduate requirements (varies by program):

 Biology (1-2 courses)  BIO 150, BIO 233
 Anatomy and physiology (2  courses)  BIO 143, BIO 243
 Chemistry (2 courses)  CHEM 125, CHEM 126*
 Physics (2 courses)  PHYS 124, PHYS 125
 Psychology (1-3 courses)  PSYCH 125, PSYCH 241, PSYCH 247
 Math (1 course)  MATH 120
 Statistics (1 course)  STATS 110 or STATS 212
 Medical terminology (1 course)  BIO 291
 Social sciences (2-3 courses)  Variety of course options

*St. Olaf general chemistry options:

  1. CHEM 125 (Fall), CHEM 126 (Spring)
  2. CHEM 121 (Fall), CHEM 123 (Interim), CHEM 126 (Spring)
  3. CH/BI 125 (Fall), CH/BI 126 (Interim), CH/BI 127 (Spring, also counts as a semester of general biology)
Be sure to check the admission requirements for the specific programs you will be applying to!


Completion of 80-100 hours of shadowing, volunteer, or work experience in a variety of physical 
therapy settings is considered an important pre-requisite for many programs. Most programs require a letter of recommendation from a professional within the field.

Some schools require CPR certification.

Entrance exam:

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

General application:

PTCAS – Costs $130 for first school and $35 for each additional school.

Doctor of physical therapy graduate programs are three years with coursework and clinical experience.


Campus contact:

  • Cindy Book, Exercise Science Chair
    • Extension: 3255
    • Office: Skoglund Athletic Center 114E


  • This is a website created by two St. Olaf graduates to help students navigate being a pre-PT student at St. Olaf!
  • Move Toward a Physical Therapist CareerThis is a PowerPoint slideshow intended for use by high school and college students who are interested in learning more about physical therapist education and careers. 
  • Video: You Can Be Me: A Career in Physical TherapyWatch this video to get a sampling of the wide variety of ways physical therapists help their patients restore and improve motion to achieve long-term quality of life.

Professional organizations:

Student organizations:

List of graduate programs: