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Academic: Pre-Professional Programs

Pre-Physical Therapy

The goal of physical therapists is to restore, maintain and promote health and fitness. This can be accomplished by working with accident victims or persons with disabling conditions (e.g. arthritis, heart disease and cerebral palsy) to improve mobility, relieve pain and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities. This is an excellent way for you to apply your knowledge and compassion to improve the quality of others’ lives.

Pre-PT students

  • Beginning in 2020, only Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs will be accredited, so most schools that currently offer masters of science (MS) degrees in physical therapy are currently developing DPT programs. Visit the American Physical Therapy Association for a list of accredited programs.
  • Typically, the professional programs take three years to complete. (After obtaining your bachelor’s degree.) Andrews University, located Berrien Springs, MI, offers an attractive alternative avenue.
3-3 Combined Curriculum Program with Andrews University

Your first three years will be at Calvin. These are the courses you will take during these first three years:

  • Biology 141, 205, 206 and a 300-level human biology course, or Biology 141, 242, and 331
  • Chemistry 103 and 104
  • Communication Arts and Sciences 101
  • English 101 and 201
  • Mathematics 110 (or equivalent) and 143 (or Psychology 255)
  • Medical Terminology - offered through HPERDS by independent study
  • Psychology 151, 201
  • Physics 221 and 222
  • Sociology 151 or 153, or Economics 151 or Political Science 101
  • IDIS 110 (FIT)

Your next three years will be spent at Andrews University. After acceptance and completion of the fourth year (at Andrews University), a BS (bachelor’s of science) degree is awarded. Two years later, the DPT is awarded (after the sixth and final year).


Since prerequisites vary among different programs, it’s best to check out each school’s Web site. You could also benefit from contacting the program advisors at Calvin,Nancy Meyer or Julie Walton, soon to ensure that the appropriate courses are taken. 

Calvin’s Partnership with Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University (CMU) holds 2 of their yearly positions open for Calvin students. Calvin applicants with an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher and completion of the prerequisite courses will compete only with other Calvin applicants. If there are more than 2 Calvin applicants, the remainder will be placed into the general applicant pool.

To identify schools that offer a degree in physical therapy visit the American Physical Therapy Association. 

Schools in Michigan with Accredited PT Programs

Andrews University

Central Michigan University

Grand Valley State University

Oakland University

University of Michigan - Flint

Wayne State University

You should know

Physical therapy is a very competitive field. Many programs require a 3.0 minimum grade point average and most require experience in the field of physical therapy. You can gain this experience as an employee or a volunteer.  Volunteer experience can be arranged through the Service-Learning Center at Calvin College.

Shadow a physical therapist

Opportunities to shadow physical therapists in various areas of Michigan can be obtained by contacting the Director of Admissions for the CMU program, Clint Fitzpatrick

» Learn more about the pre-physical therapy program (15 Kbpdf)