Pre-Physical Therapy: Pre-Professional Program

Undergraduate Program

Pre-Physical Therapy: Pre-Professional Program

An athlete being treated by a physical therapist

Pre-Physical Therapy Pre-Professional Program Overview

Physical Therapists are licensed healthcare providers that help restore or improve motor function in patients who suffer from loss of muscle strength, physical mobility, or circulation. Physical Therapists conduct evaluations, rehabilitate, and treat patients with mobility activities, exercise, and other physical techniques. They teach patients how to remain healthy, prevent injury, and stay physically active.

Portland State offers a strong pre-physical therapy program that enables students to complete their prerequisite coursework, earn a baccalaureate degree, and obtain assistance in preparing for and applying to Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) schools across the country. Admission to physical therapy programs are limited and competitive. Most professional programs require that an A, B, or C grade be earned in all required preparatory courses, and most students accepted by professional schools have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0; however, on average the GPA is much higher.

Pre-physical therapy is a professional track (not a major), but common majors for pre-physical therapy students include: Biology, Applied Health and Fitness, Public Health Studies, Psychology, and Science. Students can choose any major while also completing their pre-physical therapy coursework. You can discuss with your pre-physical therapy advisor how these two components fit together in your course plans.

Prospective students interested in PSU can meet with a pre-physical therapy advisor to learn about the pre-physical therapy track.

Degree Details

Location Definitions:

On campus:
100% on campus
100% online
Combination of online and on campus
  • PPT
    Pre-Professional Track
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term

Pre-Physical Therapy Pre-Professional Program: Why PSU?

PSU has dedicated pre-health advisors to help students plan their coursework, support them in gaining relevant healthcare experience, and guide them through the process of applying to physical therapy schools.

There are a huge range of clinical and other volunteer opportunities available in the Portland area to help students better understand the role of physical therapists and other healthcare providers, gain exposure to different clinical settings, and boost their application to physical therapy programs in the future.

Beyond the pre-requisite courses needed to apply to physical therapy programs, PSU offers many additional courses of interest to pre-physical therapy students, including Applied Kinesiology (PHE 370), Physiology of Exercise (PHE 473), Communicable and Chronic Disease (PHE 363), Physics in Biomedicine (PHY 337), Gender, Race, Class, & Health (PHE 452), Biomedical Ethics (PHL 446), Sociology for the Health Sciences (SOC 250), and many others.

Many of Portland State’s departments and schools offer student research opportunities, including Biology, Chemistry, and the School of Public Health.

PSU has the Ignite Scholarship program, developed in collaboration with Kaiser Permanente and Portland Leadership Foundation, which emphasizes a culture of support and community for students in healthcare career pathways that can sometimes be complex and overwhelming. Students who receive the Ignite scholarship will be part of a program emphasizing leadership and mentorship (supported by a $5,000 scholarship), which includes serving as mentors for incoming pre-health students.

Incoming pre-health students seeking mentorship can apply to be matched with PSU's Ignite mentors. This is a one-year commitment (fall, winter and spring terms) for mentors and mentees.

Student organizations on campus help students to connect with peers pursuing pre-health tracks or science fields, as well as many different multicultural, social, and community involvement focused groups. Examples of student groups include the Health Promotion Student Organization, Portland State Women in STEM, Science Outreach Society, Biology Investigation and Outreach, and the Neuroscience Club at PSU.

What can I do after completing the pre-professional program in Pre-Physical Therapy?

Many students in the Pre-Physical Therapy track at PSU go on to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).

Schools in which Portland State students and alumni were recently admitted include:

  • Franklin Pierce University
  • George Fox University
  • Husson University
  • Pacific University
  • Regis University
  • Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions
  • Touro University
  • University of Nevada - Las Vegas
  • University of Puget Sound

Featured Courses

  • PHE 370 Applied Kinesiology
  • PHE 473 Physiology of Exercise
  • PHE 363 Communicable and Chronic Disease
  • PHY 337 Physics in Biomedicine
  • PHE 452 Gender, Race, Class, & Health 
  • PHL 446 Biomedical Ethics
  • SOC 250 Sociology for the Health Sciences


Pre-Physical Therapy is a pre-professional track, not a major. Students can select any major of their choice.


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).