Student presents research on-screen to classmates.

Biology Pre-physical Therapy Major

Physical therapists (PTs) are health professionals highly trained to diagnose and treat patients who suffer loss or impaired physical mobility.

Physical therapists provide care within hospitals, private clinics, schools, or fitness facilities, often working as a team with physicians and other healthcare providers.

Saint Mary’s biology pre-physical therapy major is a four-year course of instruction that leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree. Saint Mary’s biology faculty advisers work closely with students to ensure all prerequisite requirements are met and that students are prepared to successfully compete for entrance into a graduate Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. 

Career Options

Students who graduate from Saint Mary's with a degree in biology pre-physical therapy will be prepared and equipped with the knowledge necessary for participating in a DPT graduate program. Upon completion of a DPT program, students will be prepared for success in the field as a physical therapist.

High School Preparation

High school coursework that will support a student in his or her pursuit of a degree in biology pre-physical therapy includes experience in Biology, Chemistry, and Physiology and Anatomy.

Enhance Your Experience

Students who graduate with a degree in biology pre-physical therapy oftentimes pursue a double major or minor in chemistry, sport business, or psychology.

Degree Requirements

A. All of the following:

B110 Botany and Zoology I (3 cr.)

Emphasis is placed upon photosynthesis and respiration,and physiological processes including nutrition, gas exchange, transportation and regulation of body fluids. It is an investigation of the structure and function of both plants and animals and intended as an introductory overview.

B111 Botany and Zoology I Laboratory (1 cr.)

These laboratory studies complement the concepts presented in B110. Investigations including physiological and molecular relationships and interactions are the basis for the course.

B120 Botany and Zoology II (3 cr.)

Emphasis is placed on plant and animal phyla, organs and organ systems of both plants and animals.

B121 Botany and Zoology II Laboratory (1 cr.)

Laboratory studies complementing B120 include plant and animal hormones and reproduction, bacterial techniques, and phylogenetic investigations.

C131 General Chemistry I (3 cr.)

This course covers the fundamental principles upon which the study of chemistry is based. Stoichiometry, atomic structure, molecular structure, chemical bonding, behavior of gases, kinetic molecular theory, properties of solutions, chemical reactivity and thermochemistry are included.

C133 General Chemistry I Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory is an inquiry-based approach to understanding the process of doing chemistry. Each week, as a team member with a specific role working for a consulting company, the student receives a letter from a "chemical client" requesting the solution to a chemical problem. It is the responsibility of the team to design a solution, collect data, and report the results to the client in report form.

C142 General Chemistry II (3 cr.)

This course includes the study of the chemistry of molecular forces, redox reactions, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium theory, electrochemistry, chemical dynamics, organic chemistry, phase behavior and solution chemistry.

C144 General Chemistry II Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory is an inquiry-based approach to understanding the process of doing chemistry. Each week, as a team member with a specific role working for a consulting company, the student receives a letter from a "chemical client" requesting the solution to a chemical problem. It is the responsibility of the team to design a solution, collect data, and report the results to the client in report form.

C321 Organic Chemistry I (3 cr.)

Organized by chemical functional groups and reaction mechanisms, this course presents both classical and modern theories of organic chemistry while rigorously exploring chemical structure reactivity relationships. The fundamentals of nomenclature, physical properties, chemical structure, stereochemistry, organic-reactions, mechanisms, synthesis, purification, and compound characterization are emphasized. Biological, medical, and familiar real-world examples are discussed in the context of organic chemistry.

C323 Organic Chemistry I Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory complements the lecture segment of the course by demonstrating and utilizing the concepts learned in the classroom to acquire, isolate, and characterize desired organic reaction products. In this laboratory, students become familiar with the equipment, glassware, techniques, and expertise required to implement the chemistry proposed on paper, to optimize it, and to communicate it to the chemical community. A practical context for the developed chemical intuition is provided.

B. Either M148 and M149 or M151:

M148 Calculus I with Precalculus (part 1) (4 cr.)

This course, followed by M149, provides a two-semester sequence that covers the material of M151 along with built-in coverage of precalculus topics. Topics in M148 include: solving equations, functions, classes of functions (polynomial, rational, algebraic, exponential, logarithmic), right triangle trigonometry, angle measure, limits and continuity, derivatives, rules for derivatives. Credit is not granted for this course and M151 or courses equivalent to college algebra and college trigonometry.

M149 Calculus I with Precalculus (part 2) (4 cr.)

This course completes the two-semester sequence that begins with M148, and together with M148 provides a two-semester sequence that covers the material of M151 along with built-in coverage of precalculus topics. Topics in M149 include: trigonometric and inverse trigonometric functions, rules for derivatives, applications of derivatives, and definite and indefinite integrals. Credit is not granted for this course and M151.

M151 Calculus I (4 cr.)

This course provides an introduction to the differential and integral calculus. Topics include: the concepts of function, limit, continuity, derivative, definite and indefinite integrals, and an introduction to transcendental functions. Credit is not granted for this course and M148 and M149.

C. All of the following:

B305 Human Anatomy with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course explores the design and structure of the human body. Lectures present cellular and histological features of the body systems.

B310 Genetics with Laboratory (4 cr.)

The principles underlying hereditary variation in living organisms are the focus of this course. These topics are centered about the transmission of hereditary traits, cytogenetics, basic gene concepts, introductory molecular biology, population genetics, and the genetic basis of evolution.

B311 Cell Biology with Laboratory (3 cr.)

This course is a study of the cell at the ultrastructural, biochemical, and physiological levels. Special consideration is given to respiration, photosynthesis, secretion, cytoskeleton, cell cycle, cell growth, movement, membranes, and other organelles.

B313 Physiology with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course explores the functions of the body systems of humans. The interrelationships of organ systems processes to maintain homeostasis are emphasized. Laboratory sessions provide experiences with procedures and instrumentation to gather data that highlight the function of the body systems. Course topics are particularly relevant to the health sciences.

B392 Biostatistics (3 cr.)

This course introduces basic and fundamental statistics with emphasis on the more sophisticated tests and analyses common to biologists and other researchers. Substantial attention is given to analysis of variance procedures and experimental design. Credit is not granted for this course and any of the following: BU215, ST132, or ST232.

B434 Microbiology with Laboratory (3 cr.)

This course deals with the morphology, physiology and biochemistry of a variety of microorganisms including viruses, bacteria, fungi and algae. Emphasis is placed on the control of microbial growth, the characteristics of these organisms and their relationship to disease.

B435 Immunology with Laboratory (3 cr.)

Topics covered in this course include the nature of the immune system and the immunological response including the roles of lymphocytes, cytokines, antibodies and complement. Some emphasis is placed on the malfunction and diseases of the immune system.

B492 Experimental Planning (1 cr.)

The purpose of this course is to design a research project. The necessary reconnaissance, review of the literature, and other preparations are included. Some emphasis is also given to thesis writing and presentations.

B493 Biology Research and Thesis (2 cr.)

The course consists of an independent investigation of a field or laboratory problem of the student's choice in a specific area of biology. A written report of the research project in the form of a thesis is required; an oral presentation may be required, at the discretion of the research advisor. This course is a graduation requirement for biology majors.

P201 Introductory Physics I (3 cr.)

This course is the first half of a two-semester introductory, calculus-based, physics course for all students planning to enter one of the scientific professions. It covers the fundamental principles of mechanics, oscillations, and fluid mechanics.

P202 Introductory Physics I Laboratory (1 cr.)

One three-hour laboratory is held each week covering topics studied in the lectures.

P211 Introductory Physics II (3 cr.)

This course is the second half of a two-semester introductory, calculus-based, physics course for all students planning to enter one of the scientific professions. It covers the fundamental principles of waves, physical and geometrical optics, and electricity and magnetism.

P212 Introductory Physics II Laboratory (1 cr.)

One three-hour laboratory is held each week covering topics studied in the lectures.

D. One of the following:

PH305 Health Care Ethics (3 cr.)

This course provides a survey of some of the specific issues in health care ethics that are faced today by patients, providers, insurance companies and other constituencies in the health care arena. Such issues include: access — how are limited resources to be allocated? Informed consent – what information must patients possess in order to make reasonable and informed decisions about their health care? What compensatory obligations do providers have in the realm of informed consent? Funding — should the quality of health care vary by the means of the payer? Death — what is death? Also, should a patient have the right to choose the time and means of his or her death? Procedures and technologies — are all possible procedures and technical interventions morally defensible?

PH343 Contemporary Ethical Issues (3 cr.)

The course examines critically the foundations of ethical or moral judgments on vital issues such as abortion, birth control, capital punishment, civil disobedience, divorce, drug-use, ecology, euthanasia, homosexuality, marriage, pre-marital sex, suicide, segregation, stealing, truth: acquiring-revealing concealing, technology, war, and work.

PH346 Ethical Issues in the Sciences (3 cr.)

This course provides non-science as well as science majors the opportunity to examine key issues in the sciences in the light of major ethical theories. Among the issues to be examined are: abuses and uses of nuclear energy, behavior control and psychosurgery, chemical wastes and the environment, computerized files of personal information, computerization and depersonalization, experimentation with human subjects and animals, genetic engineering and screening, reproductive techniques, organ transplants, physician-patient relationships, and euthanasia.

The following are required for many physical therapy programs

Please consult with Dr. Jeanne Minnerath, Director of Allied Health, for specifics:

B306 Medical Terminology (2 cr.)

This course is an organ systems approach to learning and understanding medical terms. A word building programmed learning format is utilized to understand Latin and Greek prefixes and root words from which our English medical words originate. Common medical abbreviations and case studies are also incorporated into the course.

COM101 Public Speaking (3 cr.)

This course prepares students to make effective, informative and persuasive presentations incorporating audio-visual enhancements, and to utilize active listening techniques. The responsibilities of both the speaker and the listener are stressed. Practical experience in preparation, delivery/participation, and evaluation are provided.

PY111 General Psychology (3 cr.)

General Psychology provides an overview of the methods, fundamental principles, and major perspectives which define the discipline of psychology. Intrapersonal and/ or interpersonal psychological processes involved in the biological basis of behavior, sleeping and dreaming, conditioning and learning, cognition, lifespan human development, abnormal psychology, and psychological treatment. Classical and contemporary research and perspectives including the biological, cognitive, behavioral, psychodynamic, humanistic, sociocultural and evolutionary perspectives are explored. Students are actively involved through application, interactive exercises, simulations, and projects.

PY220 Abnormal Psychology (4 cr.)

This course investigates the dynamics of abnormal behavior. Disorders manifested in childhood and adolescence, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, somatoform disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia, substance abuse, sexual disorder, and dependence, violence and abuse, and personality disorders are studied. Etiology, diagnosis, prognosis, research, prevention and therapy are considered. The interactions among biological, psychological, social and cultural factors are emphasized.

S110 Sociological Imagination (3 cr.)

The nature and foundations of society and the individual, the main forces that strengthen and weaken social groups and the conditions that transform social life are examined in this course.