Physical Therapy

Physical therapists are evidence-based, healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily life. Physical therapists also work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles. Physical therapists provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes. Practitioners complete a three-year doctoral program to earn the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.

Required Coursework (Iowa State University course numbers)

The coursework listed below should be used as a starting point for degree planning. This list is not intended to be a complete list of requirements for all physical therapy schools, nor is every class listed required by all physical therapy schools. Information about the various physical therapy schools, as well as a list of their required coursework, can be found on the PTCAS website as well as individual school websites.

  • Biol 255 and 255L & Biol 256 and 256L
  • Biol 211 and 211L & Biol 212 and 212L
  • Chem 177 and 177L & Chem 178 and 178L
  • Phys 131 and 131L & Phys 132 and 132L OR Phys 231 and 231L & Phys 232 and 232L
  • Stat 101
  • Psych 101 and 1-2 additional psychology courses depending on school

Most physical therapy programs also require observation hours. General information about required hours can be found at, however it is important to look at individual schools for complete information about observation requirements.

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