The following is a general guide for courses you may need to apply to a DPT program. Requirements vary from school to school. So, it is always necessary to consult the websites of PT schools where you know/think you want to apply. You can begin by consulting APTA’s comparative chart of DPT Program Prerequisites.

For a pre-physical therapy course planning guide, click here. Also consider using our four-year planner to map out your coursework and extracurricular activities.


Math requirements vary. Many programs require algebra, trigonometry or calculus. We recommend that you take at least one math course and one course in statistics. NOTE: Math 112 is a prerequisite for Chem 103 and Physics 103. In addition, Math 217 or 221 are prerequisites for Physics 201 and 207. The statistics course can be taken in your major department.


Choose one of the following sequences:

  • Chemistry 103-104
  • Chemistry 109

Biological Sciences

General Biology

Choose one of the following sequences:

  • Zoology 101-102 + Additional bioscience course
    • Options include: Genetics, Microbiology, Cell Biology, Immunology
    • Note: you may need to do an additional bio-science course with lab
  • Biology 151-152
  • Biocore: Students must apply to enroll in Biocore. For more information, visit their website.
    • Biocore 381-382 Evolution, Ecology and Genetics lecture/lab
    • Biocore 383-384 Cellular Biology lecture/lab
    • Biocore 485-486 Organismal Biology lecture/lab
    • Biocore 587 Biological Interactions

Anatomy & Physiology

  • Physiology (Anat&Phy 335/435 [both include lecture and lab])
  • Anatomy (Anat&Phy 337 [lecture] & 338 [lab])

Exercise Physiology

Required by some DPT programs, including UW-Madison

  • Kinesiology 314


Choose one of the following sequences:

  • Physics 103-104 (algebra-based, calculus is not required)
  • Physics 201-202 (calculus-based; recommended for Engineering majors)
  • Physics 207-208 (calculus-based; recommended for Life Science majors)

Psychology/Lifespan Development

Many DPT programs require courses in lifespan development and psychology. Options include courses in:

  • Child Development: HDFS 362 or Psych 460 or Ed Psych 320
  • Adult Development: HDFS 363 or Psych 464
  • Introductory Psychology: Psych 202
  • Abnormal Psychology: Psych 405


Some DPT programs require coursework in English or Composition. Check individual school requirements for more information.