What makes psychology a good major for physical therapy graduate school?

Assumption College Undergraduate

Psychology degree for physical therapy

Assumption College recognizes the power of combining a Liberal Arts foundation —majors like psychology — with preparation for professional and allied health graduate programs, like physical therapy.

Functional movement is central to good health. Physical therapy is a health profession that helps people develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability through life. Physical therapists might work with athletes, aging populations, children and others.

Studying psychology to prepare for graduate studies in physical therapy creates a solid foundation for a future health professional — one that combines both communication and scientific understanding. Very often, physical therapists work in rehabilitation, restoring or gaining movement in people who have had brain injury, spinal cord damage or neurological trauma.

Psychology courses lay the groundwork for some of the very in-depth neurological aspects of PT school. They also build an understanding of differences that helps future physical therapists relate to clients, patients and others in a unique and approachable way.

Psychology is one of the most common undergraduate degrees for students interested in graduate school for physical therapy. (Other common majors include biology, chemistry, sociology and kinesiology/exercise science.)

Assumption students have the opportunity to pursue a concentration in Occupational and Physical Therapy in addition to their majors that helps fulfill the course prerequisites required to apply to PT and OT graduate programs. These include:

  • Human Services: HRS 125 Professional Orientation to Physical and Occupational Therapy, HRS 490 Internship in Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies (HSRS Majors) OR HRS 400 Individual in the Community (Non HSRS Majors)
  • Biology: BIO 160 Concepts of Biology, BIO 240 Mammalian Anatomy, BIO 370 General Physiology, BIO 415 Principles of Neuroscience and PSY 351 Physiological Psychology are recommended but not required.
  • Chemistry: CHE 131-132 General Chemistry I and II
  • Physics: PHY 201-202 General Physics I and II
  • Psychology: PSY 101 General Psychology, PSY 116 Abnormal Psychology, PSY 190 Psychology of Development
  • Sociology: SOC 121 Principles of Sociology
  • Exercise physiology (To fulfill the Physical Therapy school requirement of an exercise physiology course, students can enroll in this course at Becker College in Worcester or Anna Maria College in Paxton, Massachusetts for no additional charge.)
  • Statistics: Either PSY 265 Statistics or ECO 115 Statistics
  • Math: Either MAT 114 Elementary Functions or MAT 117 Calculus I

While the admissions process for PT school is a tough one — it requires a high GPA (especially in prerequisite courses), a good GRE score, volunteer experiences, interviews and more — students who pursue it tend to be bright, excited and passionate about helping others.

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