Admissions Requirements

The Programs in Physical Therapy invites applications from individuals who have or will have received by the time of enrollment a baccalaureate degree granted by a college or university of recognized standing. If accepted, students would be enrolled full-time and begin the program in the fall semester of that year. 

The admission committee is aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented with various challenges and as a result have made the following exceptions to our application requirements:

* For on-line classes with labs, we will accept pass/fail or credit/no credit grades for courses taken in Spring 2022 in addition to Fall 2021.

* Letter grades, if given an option, are preferred over pass/fail or credit/no credit grades for all prerequisite courses.

* Applications without a minimum of 75 hours of observation will be accepted at the time of PTCAS submission. Where possible, complete the minimum observation hours by the program start.

The minimum prerequisites for admission include the following coursework: For a detailed listing of acceptable courses, please refer to this page from the PTCAS Directory.

Please use the link below if you still have questions about prerequisites:

 

Biology I (4 credits)

One 4-credit basic biology course with lab. Introductory courses must be taken through the biology department. Biology courses designed for nursing or allied health students are not acceptable. Students on the quarter system must take a three-part series or three separate basic biology courses.  Courses for science majors with laboratory are preferred. Online courses must be approved by the program's admissions coordinator. Courses must be taken within 10 years of application.

  • Course Level - Introductory
  • Lab Required - Required
  • Credits - SH: 4
  • Acceptable Courses
    • Biology: General
    • Biology: General I
    • Biology: Genetics
    • Biology: Histology
    • Biology: Immunology
    • Biology: Microbiology

 

Biology II (4 credits)

One 4-credit basic biology course with lab. Introductory courses must be taken through the biology department. Biology courses designed for nursing or allied health students are not acceptable. Students on the quarter system must take a three-part series or three separate basic biology courses.  Courses for science majors with laboratory are preferred. Online courses must be approved by the program's admissions coordinator. Courses must be taken within 10 years of application.

  • Course Level - Introductory
  • Lab Required - Required
  • Credits - SH: 4
  • Acceptable Courses:
    • Biology: Advanced
    • Biology: Cell
    • Biology: General
    • Biology: General II
    • Biology: Genetics
    • Biology: Histology
    • Biology: Immunology
    • Biology: Microbiology

Chemistry I (4 credits)

One 4-credit chemistry course for science majors with laboratory.  Course must be taken within 10 years of application.

  • Course Level - Introductory
  • Lab Required - Required
  • Credits - SH:4
  • Acceptable Courses:
    • Chemistry I
    • Chemistry: Advanced
    • Chemistry: Biochemistry
    • Chemistry: Inorganic
    • Chemistry: Organic

Chemistry II (4 credits)

One 4-credit chemistry course for science majors with laboratory.  Course must be taken within 10 years of application.

  • Course Level - Introductory
  • Lab Required - Required
  • Credits - SH: 4
  • Acceptable Courses:
    • Chemistry II
    • Chemistry: Advanced
    • Chemistry: Biochemistry
    • Chemistry: Inorganic
    • Chemistry: Organic

Physics I (4 credits)

One 4-credit physics course. The course does not have to be calculus-based. Courses for science majors with laboratory are preferred. Online courses do not need to be approved by the program's admissions coordinator.

  • Course Level - Introductory
  • Lab Required - Required
  • Credits - SH: 4
  • Acceptable Courses:
    • Physics I

Physics II (4 credits)

One 4-credit physics course. The course does not have to be calculus-based. Courses for science majors with laboratory are preferred. Online courses must be approved by the program's admissions coordinator.

  • Course Level - Introductory
  • Lab Required - Required
  • Credits - SH: 4
  • Acceptable Courses
    • Physics II

Anatomy (3 credits)

One 3-credit anatomy course. Laboratory is not required but preferred. Online courses must be approved by the program's admissions coordinator. The course must be taken within five years of application.

  • Course Level - Introductory
  • Lab Required - Recommended
  • Credits - SH: 3
  • Acceptable Courses
    • A&P: Advanced
    • A&P: COMBINED Course (eg. A&P)
    • A&P: Comparative
    • A&P: Human
    • A&P: Mammalian
    • A&P: Physiology
    • A&P: SEPARATE courses
    • A&P: Vertebrate

Physiology (3 credits)

One 3-credit physiology course. Laboratory is not required but preferred. Online courses must be approved by the program's admissions coordinator. The course must be taken within five years of application.

  • Course Level - Introductory
  • Lab Required - Recommended
  • Credits - SH: 3
  • Acceptable Courses
    • A&P: Advanced
    • A&P: Combined Course (eg. A&P)
    • A&P: Comparative
    • A&P: Human
    • A&P: Mammalian
    • A&P: Physiology
    • A&P: SEPARATE courses
    • A&P: Vertebrate

One Additional Science Course (3-4 credits)

One additional 3-4 credit science course is required. More than one is strongly encouraged. Any biology, chemistry, physics, exercise physiology, motor learning, or motor control course beyond the prerequisites is acceptable. Online courses do not need to be approved by the program's admissions coordinator.

  • Course Level - Introductory
  • Lab Required - Recommended
  • Credits - SH: 3-4
  • Acceptable Courses
    • A&P: Animal
    • A&P: Any
    • A&P: Comparative
    • A&P: Exercise Physiology
    • A&P: Neuroanatomy
    • A&P: Pathophysiology
    • A&P: Vertebrate
    • Biology: Any
    • Chemistry: Any
    • Exercise Physiology
    • Motor Control
    • Motor Learning
    • Physics: Any

Psychology (6 credits)

Two 3-credit psychology courses taken within 10 years.

  • Course Level - General or College
  • Lab Required - Not Applicable
  • Credits - SH: 3
  • Acceptable Courses
    • Psychology: Abnormal
    • Psychology: Adolescent
    • Psychology: Advanced
    • Psychology: Any
    • Psychology: Child
    • Psychology: Death & Dying
    • Psychology: Developmental
    • Psychology: General
    • Psychology: General I
    • Psychology: General II
    • Psychology: Growth & Development
    • Psychology: Human Behavior
    • Psychology: Life Span Development
    • Psychology: Psychopathology
    • Psychology: Rehabilitation
    • Psychology: Social
    • Psychology: Sports

Social/Behavioral Science (15 credits)

Five 3-credit social/behavioral science courses.

  • Course Level - General or College
  • Lab Required - Not Applicable
  • Credits - SH: 3
  • Acceptable Courses
    • Social/Behavioral Science: Anthropology
    • Social/Behavioral Science: Any
    • Social/Behavioral Science: Criminal Justice
    • Social/Behavioral Science: Cultural Geography
    • Social/Behavioral Science: Ethnic Studies
    • Social/Behavioral Science: Human Sexuality
    • Social/Behavioral Science: Marriage/ Family
    • Social/Behavioral Science: Personal Health
    • Social/Behavioral Science: Social Science
    • Social/Behavioral Science: Sociology
    • Social/Behavioral Science: Women's Studies

Statistics (3 credits)

One 3-credit statistics course taken with biology, mathematics, or psychology departments. Business or economics statistics does not fulfill this requirement. Course must be taken within 10 years of application.

  • Course Level - Introductory

Other Required Items

Letters of recommendation

One (1) letter from a physical therapist.

Two (2) letters of recommendation must be from professors who have instructed you on one or more courses. For applicants in their final year of undergraduate study, one academic reference should be from a professor in the applicant's major area of study. 

Applicants who have been out of school for three or more years and are completing prerequisite course work as a post-baccalaureate student can use current professors as reference sources.

An applicant who has documented experience in undergraduate or professional research can submit an additional letter of recommendation from the research advisor.

Composite recommendations kept on file at the university and submitted by a pre-health/pre-medical committee or pre-health advisor are acceptable. 

Volunteer or work-related experience (observation hours)

Minimum 75 hours, which can be completed at one facility or a combination of practice environments. Recommended: 100 hours. Verification by a physical therapist is required.

Certification in CPR and First Aid

Please upload it to the documents section of the PTCAS application. If certification is not completed at the time of application, email the certification to ptadmissions@cumc.columbia.edu no later than the December application deadline.

Resume

Please upload it to the documents section of the PTCAS application or email to ptadmissions@cumc.columbia.edu no later than the December application deadline.

GRE

GRE scores are valid for 5 years from exam date. 

Please refer to PTCAS for a complete list of courses. At least 14 of the 17 prerequisite courses outlined above should be completed at the time of application. It is strongly recommended that all the biological science courses be completed by the December application deadline date.

Advanced placement credit cannot be used to fulfill prerequisite course work. The courses waived based on advanced credit do not need to be repeated, but supplemental courses need to be taken. For example, advanced placement credit for Biology I and II can be fulfilled by taking any two biology courses, such as Microbiology, Genetics.

For any questions regarding admissions, you may send an email to ptadmissions@cumc.columbia.edu. Don't forget to include your name and contact information.