Pre-Professional Pathway

Pre-Physical Therapy Program

Prepare for graduate work in physical therapy through this pre-professional program. Special admissions options with Widener's doctoral program in physical therapy set you on the inside track to success.

Pre-physical therapy student in clinic with client

Program Overview

Physical therapists examine, diagnose, and treat patients that have a variety of musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular, and pulmonary problems. At Widener, you can major in several different fields of study while simultaneously taking a sequence of courses that will prepare you for admission to professional school in physical therapy.

The College of Arts & Sciences works closely with Widener’s doctoral program in physical therapy to ensure that you get the courses and advising necessary to succeed in graduate school and in the field. You'll be supported and encouraged every step of the way by professors who will quickly become a second family to you.

You'll have several advantages at Widener on your path to a career in physical therapy, including admissions preferences—and, for qualified students, a reserved seat—to Widener’s doctoral program in physical therapy.

Program Options

Widener undergraduate students who enroll in a pre-physical therapy pathway are at an advantage when applying for admission into the university’s competitive physical therapy doctoral program. Students have several options that lead to admission to the Widener doctoral program.

Undergraduates entering a pre-physical therapy pathway must choose one of 11 academic majors offered in the College of Arts and Sciences. While pursuing their undergraduate degree, students also take courses that are pre-requisites for the graduate physical therapy program via one of two pathways.

Pathway One: Accelerated Reserved Seat 3+3

Incoming freshmen with exceptional high school transcripts who have performed well in science courses may be offered the accelerated reserved seat 3+3 program. This reserves a spot for the student in Widener’s graduate physical therapy program. To hold their reserved seat, students must follow the program, meet the minimum GPA requirement, receive the minimum required grades in all pre-requisite courses, and meet all other requirements for admission to the graduate physical therapy program—including completing all prerequisite courses at Widener University— during their first three years of undergraduate study. Students must also provide documentation of at least 40 hours of observation in a physical therapy facility under a licensed physical therapist. 3+3 students who have retained their reserved seat will submit their documents for matriculation into the graduate program in the fall of their junior year.

Undergraduate 3+3 students effectively complete their senior year in their first year of graduate school. After successfully completing three years of undergraduate school and three years of graduate school, they earn their Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Pathway Two: Reserved Seat 4+3

Most incoming freshmen accepted into a pre-physical therapy pathway receive the reserved seat 4+3 admission. This reserves them a spot in Widener’s graduate physical therapy program and includes all of the same requirements and benefits as the 3+3 reserved seat admission program. The 4+3 option allows students to complete all required courses for their academic major and all pre-requisite courses for the graduate program in four years. It provides a less intense class schedule for students as they finish undergraduate study in the traditional four-year span. Students will submit their documents for matriculation to the graduate program in the fall of their senior year.

Unlike many other universities, Widener provides an advantage in that it allows students to pursue their interest in physical therapy while at the same time exploring their interests and passions in any of several different majors, including:

​​​​​​​Given that physical therapists must deal with their patients as whole persons and also must understand the institution of healthcare, these majors all prepare students for careers in physical therapy by emphasizing different knowledge and skills that are needed for practicing physical therapists.

Regardless of major, all students will take the required science courses needed for success in doctoral study. The coursework in combination with the assistance of a pre-physical therapy advisor prepares students for graduate study and an ultimate career in physical therapy.

Admissions Information

Applying to Widener is easy—and free! Simply complete our Widener Application or the Common Application. You'll also need your official high school transcript and either an admissions essay or your SAT/ACT scores. We're a test-optional school, so there's no need to submit both.

Know you're interested in applying to Widener but unsure if you're ready to zero-in on a major? You can apply as an Exploratory Studies student with an undecided major. This program will help you start your college journey on the right foot while you explore which undergraduate program is the right fit for you.

When to Apply​

We accept applications on a rolling basis—there are no hard deadlines. Apply when you're ready and we'll take a look as soon as we receive your app. 

Key dates to keep in mind:​

  • October 1: FAFSA opens for the next academic year (Widener's school code is 003313)​
  • November 1: Early Action deadline and decision notifications begin​

What to Expect After Applying​

Once we receive your application and all materials, you can expect to hear back from us quickly. Along with your application decision, you'll also find out about any merit-based scholarship awards. You're automatically considered for merit scholarships as soon as you apply—you don't need to apply separately.

Learn more about the application process

If you apply before November 1, you are considered an Early Action applicant which comes with benefits like:

  • Receiving your admissions decision by Thanksgiving
  • Early consideration for merit-based scholarships
  • Early notification of financial aid offers, including need-based awards
  • Priority enrollment for summer registration—where you sign up for classes!

All applications are non-binding, so why wait? Apply today!

Our admissions team will help you make the most of college-level credits earned after high school. We maintain strong partnerships and articulation agreements with numerous local community colleges and also accept a wide range of course credits earned at accredited colleges and universities.

Curious about how many credits may transfer? Email your transcripts to and our transfer coordinator will personally review your coursework as an unofficial credit evaluation. Applicants are given priority during busy seasons, but you don't have to apply to work with our transfer coordinator. 

Transferring doesn't have to be a guessing game—share your stats and we'll take it from there! 

Learn more about applying as a transfer student

Widener University serves as a "second home" for students from around the world. We are located just outside of Philadelphia and close to New York City and Washington, D.C.—offering many unique professional and personal opportunities to explore.

Want to know what it's like to be an international student on campus or need assistance navigating English proficiency requirements? We're here to help, and our international admissions director will support you through the application process. 

This support doesn't end with admissions—our International Student Support team will serve as a valuable resource throughout your Widener journey—meeting Visa/immigration requirements, getting acclimated to campus, and much more.

Learn more about applying as an international student

Program Highlights

Widener’s Institute of Physical Therapy Education (IPTE) is a prestigious three-year doctoral program with connections to top health care facilities in the Philadelphia area, across the United States, and even internationally.


graduation rate for our Class of 2021 physical therapy students


Ultimate National Physical Therapy Exam pass rate

widener physical therapy student PT works with client

100% Employment Rate

for our physical therapy students


of physical therapy students participate in community service

Program Highlights


Clinical Experiences That Build Competence & Confidence

You'll complete your graduate degree after three years of full-time study, which includes four clinical education experiences under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. With these engaged experiences under your belt, you'll be ready to hit the ground running after graduation.


Opportunities to Give Back

You'll give back to your community by getting involved in the Chester Community Clinic. This student-run inter-professional pro bono clinic offers physical and occupational therapy services to individuals who would otherwise be unable to receive them, and serves as a national model for student-run physical therapy and occupational therapy pro bono clinics.

Pre-physical therapy student in communityclinic

High Rate of Employment

You'll receive your doctoral degree from a nationally recognized program with long-established relationships among the leading healthcare providers in the region, opening the doors to physical therapy jobs.

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

With a renowned doctoral program in physical therapy at your fingertips, you'll be on the inside track from day one.

Outlook & Outcomes

Industry Growth

Employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 21% by 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations as aging baby boomers stay active later in life, but become more susceptible to health issues.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Diverse Clinical Opportunities

The IPTE has relationships with a wide variety of clinical partners ranging from community hospitals to university medical centers, small private practices to large national outpatient facilities, home-care agencies, professional sports teams, school-based services, and more.

Take the Next Steps


Applying online has never been easier—and it’s free! We also accept the Common Application. Take the next step toward joining the Widener Pride.

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