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with an ultimate goal of achieving a doctorate degree in physical therapy, are there certain undergraduate degrees that are better than others to prepare for this field? (ie kinesiology, sports science, exercise physiology, etc)

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Susie’s Answer

I agree with Hayley. Plan out how you will get your PT pre-requisite coursework met (chemistry, physics, anatomy, etc), but then spend your time and energy pursuing what you find new, interesting, challenging, and exciting. Join clubs. Volunteer. Learn about advocacy work. Study abroad, if possible. You will have 3 years in graduate school to go deep into PT coursework, so I'd recommend that you use your undergraduate time now to expand your knowledge in other fields of study (that perhaps compliment health sciences, but not necessarily) while also enriching your foundational knowledge. And learning how to be of service to others.

My eldest child is double majoring in psychology and studio art, with a neuroscience minor. Knocking out chemistry, statistics, and neuroanatomical dissection, in addition to fine art, wheel-throwing, sculpture, gender studies, while working as a respite caregiver for individuals with special needs. I think that would be an awesome basis to apply for PT school! I find DPT students who come from a more unique background are fascinating and bring interesting perspectives into their clinical internship work with me. And make more interesting clinicians! If we all majored in exercise physiology, I think our profession would be less interesting!

So study what excites you! Just make sure those pre-reqs get done. Oh, and if you have the time and energy, add a new language or two! I am in Chicago and the most popular languages requested are Polish, Spanish, Arabic, and ASL.

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Haley’s Answer

Hi Nicholas!

The most important thing about preparing for physical therapy school is to take the proper prerequisites. Every school has different requirements, so make sure you are looking at the schools you want to apply to to make sure you are meeting their course prerequisites.

Kinesiology, sports science and exercise physiology are appealing for undergraduates in the pre-physical therapy world because some of their curriculum covers prerequisites for a physical therapy graduate program.

Realistically, you could pursue any major in any discipline that you want for physical therapy school as long as you are taking the prerequisite courses that a school requires.

I hope you choose what is most interesting and engaging to you.