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Pre-Physical Therapy

Bill Kauth

Graduates have been admitted to prestigious physical therapy graduate programs such as the Mayo School of Health Related Sciences, Midwestern University, Northwestern University, University of Illinois Chicago, University of Indianapolis and Washington University-St. Louis.


Illinois Wesleyan has an excellent reputation for giving students top-notch preparation for graduate school and the foundation they will need to achieve successful careers in the health care industry.

As at most universities, you cannot major in pre-physical therapy at Illinois Wesleyan. You should major in the field you are most interested in, while working to complete the courses required by the pre-physical therapy program.

Pre-Physical Therapy at Illinois Wesleyan — Our Advantages

  • We stress active involvement in every aspect of your education: You will join frequent in-class discussions and receive personal instruction from well-qualified faculty.
  • You will have the opportunity to pursue independent research projects under the supervision of Ph.D. professors and work with top-quality scientific equipment in the labs.
  • Your curriculum will expose you to a breadth of disciplines outside the sciences, enabling you to grasp the different ethical and moral perspectives that a health care professional needs.
  • Great access to hospitals and clinics to gain necessary physical therapy observation. Bloomington-Normal supports two major medical facilities and more than a dozen out-patient physical therapy clinic.
Michele Darnell
Michele DarnellPre-Health and Biology Career (309) 556-3578


General prerequisite requirements for admission to most physical therapy programs include:

  • 3 or 4 courses in biology
  • 1 year of chemistry
  • 1 year of physics
  • 1 course in mathematics*
  • 1 course in statistics
  • 1 or 2 courses in psychology
  • 2 courses in English

*Please check physical therapy program admission requirements to determine the type of mathematics course needed.

Pre-Physical Therapy Course Plan (first 3 years)

Pre-Physical Therapy: Biology Major Course Plan (below)

Pre-Physical Therapy: Non-Biology Major Course Plan 

This is an example course plan based on the 2021-2022University Catalog; your actual schedule may deviate from this example. Your faculty advisor will work with you to select appropriate courses.

As an IWU student, it is your responsibility to track your progress each semester towards completing graduation requirements using the MyIWU degree audit tool.

Pre-Physical Therapy: Biology Major Course Plan

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

*If students are definitely not heading for a graduate or professional school, the second year of chemistry is not required for the major. Chemistry 311-312 is, however, a prerequisite for a number of upper-level biology courses.

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

**Either Physics sequence (101-102 or 105-106) is acceptable; however, in addition, MATH 176 is required for PHYS 105, and MATH 177 is required for PHYS 106.


Study Abroad

Students interested in studying abroad should consult with their academic advisor to determine an appropriate semester.

Additional Information
  • Since there is no physical therapy major at IWU, students most commonly chose to major in biology or psychology, while also completing the prerequisite courses needed for admission consideration into physical therapy professional programs after graduating from IWU.
  • Students majoring in Psychology while also completing the prerequisite courses needed to apply for physical therapy professional programs after graduating from IWU should take Psychology 100 in their first semester.
  • Biology majors who are not pursing admission into a physical therapy program in the future must take Biology 101 and 102 (prerequisite for all Biology major courses) in their first year.
  • Biology AP exam credit does NOT substitute for Biology 101-102 or Biology 107-108, nor does it apply to the fulfillment of any major requirements.
  • The second year of chemistry (CHEM 311-312) is neither required for admission to typical graduate program in physical therapy nor for the biology or psychology major. However, if students majoring in either biology or psychology who would like to keep (and should keep) alternative career options open such as in medicine, neuropsychology, neurobiology or many other areas in biology, they are strongly advised to continue with CHEM 311-312 during their second year. (Note: CHEM 311-312 is a prerequisite for a number of upper-level biology courses.)

Abbie Kerr - Interim Provost and Dean of Faculty, Professor of Psychology

Department - Psychology