Physical Therapy

Physical Therapists (DPT) are movement experts who improve quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education.

Physical therapists diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to people at the end of life. Many patients have injuries, disabilities, or other health conditions that need treatment. But PTs also care for people who simply want to become healthier and to prevent future problems.

Why Become a Physical Therapist

Academic Preparation

PTCAS provides a Comparison of Course Prerequisites by Program spreadsheet where you can review requirements.

Sample coursework can include:

General Biology I Lecture/Lab BIOL 105 & 105L 4
General Biology II Lecture/Lab BIOL 106 & 106L 4
General Chemistry I Lecture/Lab CHEM 111/112 3/1
General Chemistry II Lecture/Lab CHEM 113/114 3/1
Intro to Physics I Lecture/Lab PHYS 100/100L 4
Intro to Physics II Lecture/Lab PHYS 101/101L 4
Human Anatomy with Lab BIO 113 & 114 3/1
Human Physiology with Lab BIO 115 & 116 3/1
General Psychology PSYCH 101 4
1 Statistics Course  Any Department 3-4

Other programs may require exercise physiology, medical terminology and other courses. It is important to look at the schools you are interested in for their specific requirements. Here are links to requirements for DPT programs highly desired by USF applicants: 


There are many opportunities to get exposure to the field of physical therapy. We are located near many out-patient PT clinics and hospitals that offer in-patient PT volunteer opportunities. You will be required to submit PT observation hours as part of your PTCAS application. Many USF students choose to contact local PT clinics to inquire about volunteer or shadowing opportunities.

USF offers an Athletic Training Volunteer Student Aid Program where you can work directly with campus sports teams.

In addition, it is recommended to experience both in-patient (hospital) and out-patient physical therapy environments. These are possible sites that are open to volunteers: 

Application Components

The Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) is the common application for DPT programs. PTCAS opens in mid-June for each cycle, approximately a year before starting your program. Most programs will require:

To view a list of program requirements, use the PTCAS directory.