Physical Therapy Interest Area

RHS interest area in Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy Interest Area

The Physical Therapy interest area provides a broad foundation in RHS for students interested in pursuing a career as a Physical Therapist. Students must first complete a bachelor’s degree program in a related area that provides a broad educational background while also preparing students for the academic training required at the post-baccalaureate level.

Students in the Physical Therapy interest area take a core set of courses that provide the skills needed to work effectively with physical therapy patients. To satisfy the requirements to be accepted into a physical therapy graduate degree program, students in this track are required to take a concentration of statistics and science-related courses and will need to complete volunteer work observing a professional physical therapist in an actual work setting. Students will integrate this content by completing a one-semester internship working in a community or health setting under the supervision of an experienced practitioner.

Most students choosing this track will likely pursue graduate training to become licensed physical therapists; however, with the broad focus of the RHS major, students in this track will also be able to pursue a variety of human service or case management jobs in community or health settings.

Courses Recommended for the Physical Therapy Interest Area

Students who select the Physical Therapy interest area need to complete courses consistent with the graduate school requirements of leading Physical Therapy training programs. If students want to apply for a specific graduate program, they are advised to review the specific application criteria for their school of choice and to plan their coursework accordingly. Below is a sample course sequence for courses typically required of graduate programs in Physical Therapy followed by a chart of course requirements at several Physical Therapy graduate programs. In addition to formal course work, PT graduate schools often require that applicants have 60-100 hours of observing a PT, usually in a variety of clinical settings.

Recommended course plan for Physical Therapy Interest Area (pdf)

Chart of requirements by leading PT graduate schools (pdf)

The recommended courses are noted below.  Additional information per course can be found on the University Bulletin.

Notes for Consideration and Planning: Physical Therapy

  • PT graduate programs are extremely competitive and students often need a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Students should have extremely strong natural science backgrounds, with excellent grades in these courses
  • Students should consider taking a wide range of natural science courses including lab courses whenever possible
  • GREs should be at least at the 50th percentile (1000-1100)
  • Students should complete their internship in a PT facility
  • At least 60-100 hours of work, volunteer, observation, or other PT experience is highly recommended
  • Positive letters of recommendation are needed. Get to know faculty members so you can obtain strong letters from them


Faculty consultants:

Students interested in this emphasis area should send an email to the faculty below and enter Physical Therapy in the subject line.

Dr. Herbert jth4@psu.edu

Dr. Conyers lmc11@psu.edu