Texas Tech University

Pre-Physical Therapy

The Profession

Physical Therapists (PTs) provide services that help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients with injuries or disease. Physical Therapists work closely with patients to restore, maintain, and promote their overall fitness and health. Patients may include accident victims and individuals with disabling conditions such as low back pain, fractures, head injuries, arthritis, heart disease, and cerebral palsy.

Physical Therapists examine patients' medical histories, test and measure their strength, range of motion, balance and coordination, posture, muscle performance, respiration, and motor function. They also determine the patient's ability to be independent and reintegrate into the community or workplace after injury or illness. Finally, PTs develop treatment plans describing a treatment strategy, its purpose, and the anticipated outcome. This definition of the Physical Therapy profession as well as the expected education of future PTs is supported by the APTA organization.

Professional Schools

To practice as a physical therapist in the U.S., you must earn a doctor of physical therapy degree from a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education-accredited physical therapist education program and pass a state licensure exam.

The length of professional DPT programs is typically three years. Primary content areas in the curriculum may include, but are not limited to, biology/anatomy, cellular histology, physiology, exercise physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, neuroscience, pharmacology, pathology, behavioral sciences, communication, ethics/values, management sciences, finance, sociology, clinical reasoning, evidence-based practice, cardiovascular and pulmonary, endocrine and metabolic, and musculoskeletal.

Approximately 80% of the DPT curriculum is classroom (didactic) and lab study and the remaining 20% is dedicated to clinical education. PT students spend on average 27.5 weeks in their final clinical experience.

Being Pre-Physical Therapy

Pre-Physcial Therapy is an academic designation at Texas Tech University; it is not a degree-granting major. As Pre-PT students prepare to apply to PT programs, they have the option to major in any area they choose as long as they take the prerequisite courses required to enter PT school along with the courses necessary to complete their chosen degree at Texas Tech University.

Regardless of which degree-granting major a Pre-PT student chooses at Texas Tech, they will always have a PPHC Advisor on their team. If you have any questions whatsoever about being Pre-PT, contact your assigned PPHC Advisor today!

Prerequisite Courses

Prerequisite courses for the TTUHSC School of Health Professions Doctor of Physical Therapy Program:

Chemistry I and Lab CHEM 1307/1107
Chemistry II and Lab CHEM 1308/1108
Biology I and Lab BIOL 1403
Biology II and Lab BIOL 1404
Human Anatomy and Physiology I and Lab ZOOL 2403
Human Anatomy and Physiology II and Lab ZOOL 2404
Physics I and Lab PHYS 1403
Physics II and Lab PHYS 1404
General Psychology PSY 1300
Statistical Methods MATH 2300

Recommended Courses

COURSE NAME TTU Course number
Oral Communication/"Speech" varies
Introduction to Technical Writing ENGL 2311
Biomechanics KIN 4301
Motor Learning KIN 3303
Exercise Physiology KIN 3305
Applied Exercise Physiology KIN 4368
Developmental Psychology PSY 4301
Comparative Animal Physiology ZOOL 4409

Other Requirements

Exams & Certifications:

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for admission to the program.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification is also recommended.


Applicants are expected to have some knowledge of the profession. This can be acquired in several ways: volunteer work, paid employment, and /or observation in physical therapy settings. Admitted applicants often have completed 100 clock hours (or more) of experience in one or more physical therapy settings prior to May 1st of the year of matriculation. Additional experience hours may increase the competitiveness of an application. For observation requirements by program, visit: https://ptcasdirectory.apta.org/5257/PT-Observation-Requirements-by-Program

For specific application or prerequisite information, we recommend students contact each professional school and check their websites frequently.

Physical Therapy Programs

To learn more about professional degree programs in physical therapy both in Texas and elsewhere, please visit the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) directory here

Success Roadmap

PPHC Advisors have created a year-by-year PDF guide to being Pre-PT.

American Physical Therapy Association

Application Information