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Program Overview

Prephysical Therapy

Prephysical Therapy Certificate Program

The prephysical therapy concentration admits post-baccalaureate students into courses required for application to physical therapy graduate (DPT) programs. Students can complete the program in 15 or 21 months. While this program meets minimal requirements for application to most physical therapy schools in Illinois, students are strongly advised to confirm the admission requirements of the schools in which they are interested before enrolling to ensure that the SPS program fulfills their needs. This program is designed for career changers who do not have an extensive background in science. Students who need only some of these courses may apply to the Advanced Studies in Biology for the Health Professions certificate program or create a specialized certificate.

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About the Prephysical Therapy Certificate Program

Prephysical Therapy Required Courses

All of the following courses are required:
  • BIOL SCI 170 Concepts of Biology
  • BIOL SCI 217 Physiology
  • BIOL SCI 313 Human Anatomy
  • BIOL SCI 316 Human Structure and Function
  • BIOL SCI 317 Regional Human Anatomy Lab
  • BIOL SCI 318 Advanced Human Physiology*
  • CHEM 110 Quantitative Problem Solving for Chemistry
  • CHEM 131 General Chemistry 1 (with lab, CHEM 141)
  • CHEM 132 General Chemistry 2 (with lab, CHEM 142)
  • PHYSICS 130-A College Physics I (with lab, Physics 131-A)
  • PHYSICS 130-B College Physics II (with lab, Physics 131-B)
  • PHYSICS 130-C College Physics III (with lab, Physics 131-C)
  • STAT 202 Introduction to Statistics

*Formerly BIOL SCI 335-B: Human Physiology II. Students in the pre-PT track who have previously completed BIOL SCI 335-B do not need to take 318.

Optional Coursework

  • PRO HLTH 396-A Professional Health Careers Proseminar I*
  • PRO HLTH 396-B Professional Health Careers Proseminar II*

*These non-credit seminar courses are optional, but highly recommended, for prephysical therapy students and are offered free of charge to students in the Professional Health Careers program. For more information, please see the Prephysical Therapy Courses page page.

In addition to the program requirements, prephysical therapy students have the option to take any of the courses offered at SPS as electives. Elective courses are NOT eligible for financial aid, based upon federal financial aid requirements.

For more information and current course schedule, see the Prephysical Therapy Courses page.

Transfer Credit Policy for Prephysical Therapy

Students in the Prephysical Therapy certificate program may transfer up to six semester hours, or nine quarter hours of academic credit. A transcript and grade of B or better are required for transferred courses in the program. Courses audited or taken with the pass/ no credit option cannot be applied toward a certificate program. Courses earned for a bachelor's degree at SPS may not be applied retroactively toward certificate requirements. Required courses that have been completed in the past two years by students-at-large may be applied toward the completion of a certificate, subject to the approval of the admissions committee, and provided admission requirements for the program are met. All transfer credit must be approved before a student begins his or her course work at SPS.

Prephysical Therapy Tuition

Post-baccalaureate students at Northwestern's School of Professional Studies pay per course. For more information about financial obligations and tuition, please visit the Tuition page.

Admission for Prephysical Therapy

In addition to completing an online application, you'll also need to submit a few supplemental materials. A list of requirements for admission including application deadlines and tips on how to apply can be found on the Admission page.

Prephysical Therapy Registration Information

Whether you're a first-time registrant or current and returning student, all students register using our online student registration and records systems. Important information about registering for courses at SPS, including registration timelines and adding or dropping courses in which you are already enrolled, can be found on the Registration Information page.

Prephysical Therapy Career Options

Find out more about Prephysical Therapy Gainful Employment Information.

Prephysical Therapy Sample Course Plans

Review Sample Course Plans for the Prephysical Therapy Certificate Program offered by Northwestern University School of Professional Studies.

Prephysical Therapy Pre-Health Professional Student Group

Learn how students support one another through forums, resources and social networks on the Prephysical Therapy Pre-Health Professional Student Group page.

Find out more about the Prephysical Therapy Program

Program Courses:Course Detail
Concepts of Biology <> BIOL_SCI 170-CN

This is an introductory general biological sciences course. Topics include evolution, biomolecules, cell biology, genetics, population biology, and the relationship between structure and function in organisms. The significance of core concepts in relation to practical life applications will be discussed. Teaching methods will be varied, with an emphasis on lecture with also time for discussion. Evaluation will include several tests. Students will write about, and give presentations on, topics of their choice. There are no course prerequisites; the course is geared toward students with an interest in the topic but without a background in biological sciences.


There is no available section.
Concepts of Biology <> BIOL_SCI 170-DL

This is an introductory general biological sciences course. Topics include evolution, biomolecules, cell biology, genetics, population biology, and the relationship between structure and function in organisms. The significance of core concepts in relation to practical life applications will be discussed. Teaching methods will be varied, with an emphasis on lecture with also time for discussion. Evaluation will include several tests. Students will write about, and give presentations on, topics of their choice. There are no course prerequisites; the course is geared toward students with an interest in the topic but without a background in biological sciences. This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition. 


View BIOL_SCI 170-DL Sections
Physiology <> BIOL_SCI 217-CN

This course is the second in a four-course sequence that is completed by BIOL SCI 219 in the winter and BIOL SCI 308 in the spring. The physiology course covers organization and functioning of the major organ systems in mammals.

A lab course, BIOL SCI 220 Genetic and Molecular Laboratory, may be taken concurrently with this course. 


View BIOL_SCI 217-CN Sections
Human Anatomy <> BIOL_SCI 313-CN

This course is an introduction to human anatomy. Topics include: system approach to anatomical organization; sections of the body; musculoskeletal and nervous systems; embryology development. Lectures are supplemented by selected prosections of human cadavers and dry exercises using bones, models, and computer animations. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 165, 170, or equivalent course.


View BIOL_SCI 313-CN Sections
Human Anatomy <> BIOL_SCI 313-DL

This course is conducted completely online.This is a course on human anatomy, focusing on morphology and function. It follows both a regional and systems approach. All course content, activities, and assessments will be online learning activities and assessments. The course will also have a broad emphasis on clinical application that is applicable to all health care professions. The course covers gross anatomy of the human body; therefore, images of human cadavers will be presented in your textbook, as well as in other course resources. Readings are assigned from the Marieb, Wilhelm and Mallatt text. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 165, 170, or equivalent course.

This course will be conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition. There will be optional online office hours on Thursday from 6:15-9:15pm.


View BIOL_SCI 313-DL Sections
Human Structure and Function <> BIOL_SCI 316-CN

Students will gain a good working knowledge of the function of the musculoskeletal system in modern humans in this course, along with a comparative perspective emphasizing the adaptive contexts of the evolutionary transformations leading to our modern anatomy. The course examines the structural, functional, and evolutionary anatomy of humans, with primary focus on the musculoskeletal system of the postcranium. The regional anatomy of the muscles, bones and joints in the human body serves as a basis for more general biomechanical principles of anatomical systems. Discussions of the development evolution and clinical significance of human structure complement the functional emphasis on these anatomical regions. Class lectures are supplemented by selected prosections of human cadavers, in-class lab sessions examining bones and models, and computer animations and exercises. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 313, equivalent anatomy course, or permission of instructor. Class is limited to 15 students.


View BIOL_SCI 316-CN Sections
Regional Human Anatomy Lab <> BIOL_SCI 317-CN

This is a lab course utilizing prosections and demonstrations of human cadavers. It is an advanced anatomy course examining the details of human body systems. Topics include: Body wall and cavities, contents and features of the thorax and abdomen (cardiac, pulmonary, and gastrointestinal systems), pelvis (genito-urinary system), spinal cord and back, innervation and blood supply of the upper and lower limbs, cranial cavities and contents, cranial nerves and blood supply of the head and neck. The majority of the coursework will be done in the cadaver lab, with limited lectures to introduce topics. The lab work will be guided by a lab workbook, handouts and instructor demonstrations. Models, bones (skeletal materials), skulls, and medical images will supplement the cadaver prosections. Lab work will be assessed by the weekly lab assignment, three practical quizzes and a written final exam. A research project will be assigned to allow the student to bridge their knowledge of lab anatomy with more clinical concepts. Students are expected to follow all lab safety guidelines including the cadaver lab dress code; also students should show respect for the cadavers at all times.

Credit for this course is 0.34 units. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 313-CN or equivalent.

Schedule note: This course will meet for the first time on Friday, October 5, 6:15 - 9:15 pm.


View BIOL_SCI 317-CN Sections
Advanced Human Physiology <> BIOL_SCI 318-DL

Advanced Human Physiology is a fully online course that builds on the concepts covered in Physiology 217 or an equivalent physiology course focusing on the body as an integrated set of systems. Our task will be to construct a global view of the body, its systems, and the many processes that keep the systems working. This course emphasizes an integrated approach to studying all major organ systems including neural, autonomic/somatic motor, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, digestive, and reproductive physiology. In addition to integration, we will focus on the clinical relevance of the organ system that will include abnormal function, disease states, and medications used to bring the system back to normal functioning.

Prerequisites
• BIOL SCI 217 Physiology or an equivalent Introduction to Physiology course that provides an introduction to the cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, digestive, endocrine, reproductive, neuronal and autonomic systems.
• This course can not be taken without previously taking an introduction to Physiology course.


View BIOL_SCI 318-DL Sections
Quantitative Problem Solving in Chemistry <> CHEM 110-CN

Solution strategies for traditional word problems and their application to basic chemistry quantitative problems: dimensional analysis, chemical equations, stoichiometry, limiting reagents


View CHEM 110-CN Sections
General Chemistry 1 <> CHEM 131-CN

Quantum mechanics, electronic structure, periodic properties of the elements, chemical bonding, thermodynamics, intermolecular forces, properties of solids and liquids, special topics in modern chemistry. Must be taken concurrently with the Chem 141-CN laboratory course. Prerequisite: Chem 110-CN (C- or better).


View CHEM 131-CN Sections
General Chemistry 2 <> CHEM 132-CN

Solutions and colligative properties, chemical equilibrium, aqueous solution equilibria, chemical kinetics, metals in chemistry and biology, oxidation-reduction reactions and electrochemistry, special topics in modern chemistry. Must be taken concurrently with the Chem 142-CN laboratory course. Prerequisite: CHEM 131-CN and 141-CN (C- or better in both courses).


View CHEM 132-CN Sections
General Chemistry 1 Laboratory <> CHEM 141-CN

Chemical analysis of real samples using basic laboratory techniques including titration, colorimetric analysis, density measurements, and atomic spectroscopy. Planning, data collection, interpretation, and reporting on experiments. Credit for this course is 0.34 units. Enrollment is concurrent with CHEM 131-CN. Prerequisite: CHEM 110 (C– or better).


View CHEM 141-CN Sections
General Chemistry 2 Laboratory <> CHEM 142-CN

General Chemistry Lab 2 is a laboratory course in which techniques applied to materials science and nanotechnology, acid-base chemistry, and chemical kinetics will be employed. Major objectives involve work involving planning, data collection, interpretation, and reporting on experiments. The course must be taken concurrently with CHEM 132.

Credit for this course is 0.34 units. Prerequisite: grade of C- or higher in CHEM 131 or equivalent course, or consent of instructor.


View CHEM 142-CN Sections
College Physics I <> PHYSICS 130-A

This is the first quarter of a three-quarter algebra-based physics course with lecture and laboratory. Physics is the most basic of the sciences, dealing with the behavior and structure of matter. Lectures and labs illustrate physical principles: mechanics, motion, momentum and energy, and fluids. Continues in winter and spring quarters as PHYSICS 130-B, C. Requires concurrent enrollment in the PHYSICS 131-A lab. Lab times are Tuesdays 8-9:50 pm; Wednesdays 9-10:50 am; Saturdays 12-1:50 pm; or Saturdays 2-3:50 pm. Labs will meet for the first time after the first lecture session. Prerequisite: college algebra or higher college math course.


View PHYSICS 130-A Sections
College Physics II <> PHYSICS 130-B

This course is the continuation of PHYSICS 130-A algebra-based physics with lecture and laboratory; the sequence concludes with PHYSICS 130-C in the spring quarter. Harnessing the forces of electrical power; how they have altered the way we live and perceive ourselves in the universe. Lecture demonstrations illustrate physical principles: electricity and magnetism, DC and AC circuits. Requires concurrent enrollment in the PHYSICS 131-B lab. Lab times are Tuesdays 8-9:50 pm; Wednesdays 9-10:50 am; Saturdays 12-1:50 pm; or Saturdays 2-3:50 pm. Labs will meet for the first time after the first lecture session. Prerequisite: PHYSICS 130-A or equivalent course.


View PHYSICS 130-B Sections
College Physics III <> PHYSICS 130-C

This course is the continuation of PHYSICS 130-A,B. Wave motion, optics, and introduction to the basic concepts of modern physics including quantum mechanics, relativity, and atomic physics. The course focuses on conceptual understanding of basic physical principles and their real-world applications. Demonstration experiments will be used to illustrate physical phenomena and concepts. Requires concurrent enrollment in the PHYSICS 131-C lab. Lab times are Tuesdays 8-9:50 pm; Wednesdays 9-10:50 am; Saturdays 12-1:50 pm; or Saturdays 2-3:50 pm. Labs will meet for the first time after the first lecture session. Prerequisite: PHYSICS 130-A, B or equivalent course.


View PHYSICS 130-C Sections
Physics Laboratory I <> PHYSICS 131-A

This is the laboratory course associated with PHYSICS 130-A and must be taken concurrently. Credit for this course is .34 units.

 


View PHYSICS 131-A Sections
Physics Lab III <> PHYSICS 131-C

This is the laboratory course associated with PHYSICS 130-C and must be taken concurrently. Credit for this course is .34 units.


View PHYSICS 131-C Sections
Professional Health Careers Proseminar I <> PRO_HLTH 396-A

Prohealth Proseminar I will meet during the first fall quarter of the students’ pre-health program to prepare students to succeed in the professional health careers program. This proseminar series will be completed by PROHLTH 396-B: Prohealth Proseminar II in the students’ final spring quarter. This non-credit course covers topics including adjusting to life as a science student, academic resources, extracurricular resources, and preparing for the professional/medical school application process. There is no tuition charged for this course.

 

This course is by permission only and available only to students in the professional health careers certificate program. Please email erin.cable@northwestern.edu for a permission number.


View PRO_HLTH 396-A Sections
Professional Health Careers Proseminar II <> PRO_HLTH 396-B

This non-credit proseminar is for students in the Professional Health Careers certificate programss. This course prepares students for the year-long application cycle beginning in the summer. This course will provide opportunities for students to work on major application components as part of the coursework, including their AMCAS activities listing, preparing a strong personal statement, selecting target medical/professional schools, and navigating the centralized application. The course will also allow students to practice their interviewing skills and plan for their glide year.

There is no tuition charged for this course.

This course is by permission only and available only to students in the professional health careers certificate program. Please email lindsey.taylor@northwestern.edu for a permission number.

 


View PRO_HLTH 396-B Sections
Introduction to Statistics STAT 202-CN

This course provides an introduction to the basic concepts of statistics. Throughout the course, students will learn to: summarize data using graphs and tables; explain/calculate descriptive statistics, confidence intervals, correlation, regression, and probability; and explain tests of significance and data-production including sampling and experiments. Basic knowledge of algebra is recommended.


View STAT 202-CN Sections
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