Preparing for a Career in Occupational or Physical Therapy

Once you have decided to pursue a career in physical or occupational therapy, you should:

  1. Read the Pre-Healthcare FAQ that provides general advice for students considering healthcare careers.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the information on this page.
  3. Request further information about physical or occupational therapy programs in the United States by visiting these websites or by writing directly to the addresses shown:
  4. Try to attend the meetings of and consider joining the Miami Pre-Physical and Occupational Therapy (Pre-PT/OT) Club. This student-run organization can help you learn more about new professional programs and changing requirements and help you attain your goal of entering the physical or occupational therapy profession.
  5. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the pre-physical/occupational therapy advisors:
    • Dr. Helaine Alessio
      Department of Kinesiology and Health
      106 Phillips Hall
      (513) 529-2700
      alessih@MiamiOH.edu
    • Dr. William Berg
      Department of Kinesiology and Health
      202G Phillips Hall
      (513) 529-2716 or 529-2700
      bergwp@MiamiOH.edu

The prerequisite courses listed below are only a guideline. Students are responsible for determining the specific course prerequisites for the Master's or Doctoral programs of interest to them.

Pre-Physical Therapy Coursework

Typical Prerequisite Courses for Graduate Programs in Physical Therapy - Miami Equivalent
Subject Courses
General Biology
(1 year)
BIO/MBI 115, 116*
College Chemistry
(1 year with lab)
CHM 141, 142 and CHM 144, 145
College Physics
(1 year with lab)
PHY 161, 162 and PHY 183, 184
Human Anatomy
(1-2 semesters)
BIO 201 or BIO 201 and KNH 244, 244L
Human Physiology
(1 semester)
BIO 161 or BIO 305
Statistics
(1 semester)
STA 261
Biomechanics
(1 semester)
KNH 381, 381L
Exercise Physiology
(1 semester)
KNH 468
English Composition
(1 semester)
ENG 111 or ENG 112
General Psychology
(1 semester)
PSY 111, 112
Developmental Psychology
(1 semester)
PSY 231
Medical Terminology
(1 course)

* BOT/ZOO 115, 116 will also fulfill this requirement.

Less Common Prerequisite Courses for Graduate Programs in Physical Therapy - Miami Equivalent
Subject Courses
Organic Chemistry
(1 semester)
CHM 231
Biochemistry
(1 semester)
CHM 332
Philosophy/Medical Ethics
(1 semester)
PHL 131 or PHL 375 or SOC 357
Sociology
(1 semester)
SOC 151
Speech
(1 semester)
COM 135

Students should also consider a course in CPR (level C) certification.

Pre-Occupational Therapy Coursework

Typical Prerequisite Courses for Graduate Programs in Occupational Therapy - Miami Equivalent
Subject Courses
General Biology
(1 semester)
BIO/MBI 115 or 116*
Human Anatomy
(1-2 semesters)
BIO 201 or BIO 201 and KNH 244, 244L
Human Physiology
(1 semester)

BIO 161 or BIO 305

Statistics
(1 semester)
STA 261
College Physics
(1 semester with lab)
PHY 161, 183
Biomechanics
(1 semester)
KNH 381, 381L
English Composition
(1 semester)
ENG 111 or ENG 112
General Psychology
(1 semester)
PSY 111, 112
Developmental Psychology
(1 semester)
PSY 231
Abnormal Psychology
(1 semester)
PSY 242
Sociology or Anthropology
(1 semester)
SOC 151 or ATH 155
Speech
(1 semester)

COM 135

Medical Terminology
(1 course)

* BOT/ZOO 115, 116 will also fulfill this requirement.

Less Common Prerequisite Courses for Graduate Programs in Occupational Therapy - Miami Equivalent
Subject Courses
Gerontology or Adult Development
(1 course)
e.g., GTY 154
College Chemistry
(1 semester with lab)
CHM 141, 144

Students should also consider a course in CPR (level C) certification.

Applying to PT/OT Programs

Students interested in a Master's or Doctoral degree in either occupational or physical therapy must obtain a Baccalaureate Degree prior to admission to a graduate program. Each school sets its own prerequisite courses for admission into their graduate program.

Competition for places in physical and occupational therapy programs is keen and school admission committees choose among many talented and qualified students. The evaluation of candidates is based largely on objective criteria; a high overall GPA and science GPA are obviously important. Other important factors are:

  • competitive General Record Examination (GRE) scores and, if required by the program, competitive Allied Health Professions Aptitude Test (AHPAT)
  • significant prior experience in physical or occupational therapy
    (most schools require approximately 100 hours of clinical volunteer or work hours)
  • prior experience in research
  • when applying, apply to as many as 10 professional schools
  • strong letters of reference
  • evidence of leadership potential as demonstrated by a few carefully chosen extracurricular activities
  • well-developed interpersonal skills