Pre-Physical Therapy

I came to GC because of its strong science and music departments. GC’s small size, combined with its positive attitudes towards crossing disciplines, has enabled me to combine a French horn music minor with my pre-physical therapy natural science major.”

–GC graduate Kristen Metzler

Why study pre-physical therapy at Goshen College?

Goshen College can give you the academic foundation needed to enter the field of physical therapy. Goshen College students find many opportunities for academic studies and research; pre-physical therapy students can also gain experience in programs linking GC with local health-care providers.

Academic excellence

Goshen College has an excellent record in preparing students to succeed in the sciences.

  • Goshen students who apply to post-graduate programs have a historically high rate of success. In the past 5 years, 92% of GC students who have applied to medical school have been accepted.
  • In a recent study by Franklin and Marshall College of over 500 undergraduate institutions, Goshen College ranked in the top 5% for its percentage of graduates who earned Ph.D.s in life sciences.
  • In a comparison to 70 undergraduate institutions in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Goshen was #1 in the percentage of graduates who received Ph.D.s in the life sciences

Excellent facilities

The modern science building was recently renovated. Its comfortable and safe research labs are well-ventilated and well-equipped for basic research in the biochemical, genetic, cellular, molecular, vertebrate, aquatic and marine areas.

Opportunities to work closely with faculty

Students can interact personally with the science faculty in classes, labs and research activities.

  • The student-faculty ratio is 12:1, giving students the opportunity to work one-on-one with their professors.
  • Students have the opportunity to participate in various undergraduate research projects directed by faculty members.
  • Many students work with professors as lab assistants.

Opportunities to gain experience

Students will find many opportunities to gain valuable experience (paid or volunteer) in and around GC.

  • Most Goshen College students spend a semester abroad in GC’s unique Study-Service Term (SST).  Students who are interested in a health-related career are encouraged to spend their six-week period of service working in a health-related assignment, such as a hospital or clinic.
  • Pre-physical therapy students must spend time observing physical therapists working; Goshen General hospital
    is conveniently located just across the street from GC, facilitating such observation during the school year.
  • Students might also find it helpful to seek employment at Greencroft, a large nursing home/assisted living center
    (within walking distance of GC) or Oaklawn, a psychiatric hospital (a 10-minute drive from GC).

Options for pre-physical therapy programs

Successful admission into an accredited physical therapy program is highly competitive. Carefully chosen course work at Goshen College will give a candidate a strong base for application. There are currently two types of physical therapy programs:  master’s degree and doctoral degree programs. The majority of programs are now doctoral degree programs, and it appears likely that all will be in a few years. Students would normally need four years of undergraduate college education, followed by two or three years of graduate school education. The two-year graduate programs end with a master’s degree, and the three-year graduate programs are doctoral programs.

Suggested plan of study

Most students preparing for a career as a physical therapist major in biology, natural science or one of the other sciences. Practically any major is possible, however, as long as the required prerequisite courses are taken.

The following first-year schedule includes courses that are required for nearly all physical therapy programs and is a good way to get started:

First Year

Fall Spring May Term
General Chemistry I General Chemistry II CORE: Engaging the Bible
Ecology & Evolution (NW Perspective) Organismal Biology
CORE: Identity, Culture, & Community & Learning Comm. Cell Biology & Genetics
CORE: Academic Voice  CORE: Seminar & Learning Comm

Many schools also require:

  • Developmental or Abnormal Psychology
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Kinesiology
  • Statistics

Other courses sometimes required/recommended:

  • Developmental Vertebrate Biology
  • Foreign language
  • Genetics
  • Humanities
  • Intro to Computers (or computer proficiency)
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Precalculus or Calculus
  • Sociology
  • Vertebrate Physiology