Physical Therapy

The Degree

Physical therapists typically evaluate a patient to determine the most effective way to improve mobility and relieve pain. Their patients include accident victims and clients with such conditions as burns, amputations, stroke, vertigo, lower-back pain, arthritis, heart disease, fractures, head injuries, and cerebral palsy.

Physical therapists develop a rehabilitation plan and provide ongoing evaluations based on their patients' activities and progress. Physical therapists assist patients in a wide range of activities ranging from teaching a patient to walk again after a head-injury, to helping an athlete improve his physical performance on the playing field. For a patient recovering from a serious injury or disease, the physical therapist will help reduce the patient's pain, and increase the patient's strength, endurance, and stability. In addition to treatments completed in the office, physical therapists work with the patient to develop a home therapy program. Techniques used in treatment may include exercise programs, facilitation techniques, wound care and the use of modalities such as: ultrasound, traction, and electrical stimulation.

Work Settings

Physical therapists work in a variety of public and private settings such as hospitals, public health services, armed forces, rehabilitation centers, schools for the handicapped, private practice, and national and state agencies. Physical therapists may also serve as consultants to private and governmental agencies, as faculty in schools of physical therapy, and in clinical and/or basic research.

Application to most Physical Therapy programs is a two-phase process. East Carolina University's Physical Therapy program participates in the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). The application opens up each July.

Prospective students must submit their application via PTCAS by October 3, 2016. ECU also requires that students apply to the ECU Graduate School. This deadline is also October 3, however students are strongly encouraged to have applications submitted as early as possible.

ECU conducts interviews as part of the admission process. Interviews take place in early January each year.

Documents required for completed application:

    Transcripts for all attended colleges and university
    GRE Scores
    Three letters of reference (sent to PTCAS), two of which must be from licensed 
     Physical Therapists who supervised your PT experience.


Admission / Prerequisites

Admission requires a minimum overall 3.0 gpa and minimum grade of "C" in all prerequisite courses. Applicants are also required to take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam). Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.

Students wishing to apply for the DPT in Physical Therapy must have an undergraduate degree (in any field) and the following prerequisites:

Biology -12 semester hours to include: 8 hours of Principles of Biology (Biol 1100/1101 & Biol 1200/1201) plus 1 semester of Human or Mammalian Physiology with lab (not offered at ECU). OR, 4 hours of Principles of Biology (Biol 1150/1151 or Biol 1100/1101) plus 2 semester so Human Anatomy & Physiology with lab (Biol 2140/2141 and Biol 2150/2151)

General Chemistry I & II with lab (8 semester hours) - Chem 1150/1151 & 1160/1161

College Algebra (or higher) - Math 1065

Statistics - Math 2228, Math 2283, or Bios 1500. Students must take the statistics class from the Math department or Statistics department at their institution. Psychological Statistics and Exercise Science Statistics are not acceptable.

General Physics I & II (8 semester hours) - Phys 1250/1251 & 1260/1261 Psychology - 6 semester hours

Admissions questions should be directed to: