Physical therapists participate in the evaluation of the capabilities and disabilities of their patients. They administer treatments to alleviate pain, correct or minimize deformity, and improve the general health of the patient. The physical therapist develops a treatment program which may involve teaching the patient to gain strength or better coordination of movement; or administering forms of heat, cold, ultrasound or massage.
The need for physical therapists is critical, but professional physical therapy programs are highly selective. A student may be admitted to some professional programs after two years (64 credits) and after three years (96 credits) but most students will attend Northwestern for four years, graduating with a B.A. degree before entering a 2-3 year physical therapy professional program. A student may select any major but the following pre-professional courses must be completed.
Graduates of Northwestern’s athletic training program are also candidates for physical therapy graduate programs. Athletic trainers cannot become physical therapists without completing physical therapy professional training, nor can physical therapists become athletic trainers unless they have graduated from an accredited athletic training program and passed the Board of Certification examination. Some universities offer a program that combines an entry-level graduate athletic training program and a graduate physical therapy program for students whose undergraduate degree could be in exercise science, biology or a related field.
Biology elective (4 credits)
Mathematics elective (3-5 credits)
Psychology electives (12 credits)
BIO 115SN -
General Biology: Molecular and Cellular Biology
An introduction to molecular and cellular biology, with an examination of
the processes common to living organisms and an introduction to the
diversity of life, emphasizing unicellular organisms. This introduction will
provide students with a basic understanding of macromolecules, cell
structure and function, respiration and photosynthesis, the cell cycle,
meiosis, genetics, mechanisms of evolutionary change, and Christian
perspectives on evolutionary biology. (4 credits) (NWCore option under
Science and the Natural World) Note: Three lectures and 3 hours of laboratory work per week.
MAT 116QR -
Statistics for the Natural and Social Sciences
(3 credits)(NWCore option under Quantitative Reasoning) This course is
designed to introduce topics in probability and statistics
with an emphasis on problems in the sciences. We will study discrete and
continuous distributions, estimation and hypothesis testing, p-values,
correlation, and simple linear regression. There will be three main
sections in this course, examining descriptive statistics (the nature of
data and how to summarize it), basic probability concepts (the
mathematical study of uncertainty), and inferential statistics (making
claims or decisions based on one or more sets of data).
Note: Students may receive credit for only one course among MAT
116QR, MAT 117QR and MAT 208.
Prerequisites: C- or better in MAT090, an ACT math score of 20 or above
(SAT 510 or above), a passing score on the basic algebra placement exam,
or permission of instructor.
PHY 111SN -
General Physics I
Though all students are welcome in this IGE physics course, this is
the first in a two course algebra-based sequence designed particularly for
life science majors and others intending to apply to medical or graduate
school. The course includes the following topics: kinematics, Newtonian
mechanics, energy, momentum, gravity, thermodynamics, and oscillations.
Prerequisite: C- or higher in MAT 109QR, ACT math score of 24 or better (SAT
570 or above), or consent of the department chair. (4 credits) (NWCore
option under Science and the Natural World)
Note: There is a
laboratory component to this course.
PHY 112 -
General Physics II
A continuation of General Physics I. Topics will include simple harmonic oscillation, mechanical and electromagnetic waves, electromagnetism and modern physics.Prerequisite: successful completion of PHY111 with a grade of C- or better, or consent of department chair.(4 credits)
Choose one sequence:
BIO 121 -
Introduction to Human Anatomy
An introduction to the anatomical structures of the human body. The focus of the course will be on structures of: cells, tissues, organs and organ systems. The systems studied will include (but not necessarily limited to) integument, bone, skeletal system (including joints), muscle, cardiovascular, nervous, lymphatic, endocrine, respiratory, renal, reproductive and gastrointestinal.Concurrent requisite: CHE101 or 111.(4 credits)
BIO 122 -
Introduction to Human Physiology
An introduction to the physiology of the human body. The focus of the course will be on homeostasis and the function of: biomolecules, cells and tissues, organs and organ systems. The contribution of each of the following organ systems to physiologic homeostasis will be examined: nervous, muscle, cardiovascular, endocrine, respiratory, renal, reproductive and gastrointestinal. Prerequisite: CHE101 or 111; Concurrent requisite: CHE102 or 112. (4 credits)
BIO 221 -
A study of the gross structure of the systems of the human body.Prerequisite: BIO102, 115 or permission of instructor.(4 credits)
BIO 222 -
A study of the mechanisms by which the human body functions. Emphasis will be given to nerve and muscle function, and thereafter to hormonal control and the integrated systems that allow for respiratory, digestive, excretory and reproductive activities.Prerequisites: BIO102 or 115 and CHE101, 102 or CHE111, 112 or permission of instructor.(4 credits)
Choose one sequence:
CHE 101SN -
(4 credits)(NWCore option under Science and the Natural World) This course is
an introduction to inorganic chemistry, with an emphasis on the health sciences. It is well
suited for students whose programs require one year of chemistry.
Note: Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory period per week. Open to
CHE 102 -
An introductory course in organic and biological chemistry. The content is especially suited to meet the needs of students whose programs require only one year of chemistry.Prerequisite: CHE101.(4 credits)
CHE 111 -
An introductory course in chemistry that emphasizes physical and inorganic concepts, problems and calculations. Topics include chemical reactions, stoichiometry, properties of gases, thermochemistry, theories of atomic structure, and chemical bonding. The general chemistry sequence (Chemistry 111 and Chemistry 112) is recommended for students with good math / science preparations who intend to proceed to advanced courses in chemistry, the biological sciences or engineering. Prerequisites: high school chemistry and ACT math
score of at least 24 (SAT 570 or above). (4 credits)
CHE 112 -
A continuation of Chemistry 111. Topics covered include kinetics, thermodynamics, chemical equilibria, acid-base chemistry and nuclear chemistry.Prerequisite: CHE111 or consent of the instructor.(4 credits)
Total credits recommended: 50-52