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Pre-Physical Therapy

Beth Cloud, left, and Meghan McMillan, both class of 2007, earned doctorates of physical therapy from the Mayo School of Health Sciences in 2010. At right, Dr. J.C. Clark '00 helps out with sports medicine, a club favored by many pre-PT students.

  • Careers/internships
  • About the program
  • What students say

Professional physical therapy programs look for applicants with solid experience in both practical application and clinical observation, and Augustana offers wide access to exceptional clinical opportunities. Augustana students also can participate in credit-bearing internships—including clinical experience at hospitals, private clinics, rehabilitation centers and geriatric care facilities—throughout the Quad Cities during the academic year.

What graduates do

Amy Walsh '11 is pursuing her doctorate of physical therapy at Mayo School of Health Sciences in Rochester, Minn.

Jeremy Smith '08 is a physical therapist at Athletico in Oak Brook, Ill.

Physical therapists work with patients to re-establish basic physical or motor functions that have been impaired due to an injury or stroke. Augustana’s pre-physical therapy program prepares students for the entrance requirements into physical therapy doctorate programs around the country.

Students pursuing a career in physical therapy may choose a major in any area of study; they also complete pre-physical therapy curriculum requirements in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, psychology, sociology, classics and speech.

Facts & distinctions

The five-year placement rate for Augustana students in physical therapy graduate programs is 90 percent. 

Augustana is one of only two undergraduate institutions with an articulation agreement with the respected graduate program in physical therapy at Washington University in St. Louis. This agreement gives Augustana Pre-PT students who have met established criteria a significant admissions advantage over students from other colleges.

The 114,000-square-foot Science Building houses the pre-health programs and the departments of biology, chemistry and physics. Special facilities include high-tech individual labs for anatomy and physiology, cell biology, genetics and human cadaver dissection, among others. Very few undergraduate students throughout the country have the opportunity to work in a human cadaver lab.

Mary Brugge '15, biology/pre-physical therapy; Pursuing doctorate of physical therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

"I fell in love with this campus after attending a spring Visit Day. The atmosphere of this campus was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. The small class sizes seemed to facilitate an environment were students were willing to learn and form close relationships with their professors and classmates. Another reason for attending Augustana was because of their agreement with Washington University. The top students who meet Wash U's acceptance standards are automatically accepted into their physical therapy program. While it was my goal to go to Washington University, I wasn't sure if I'd meet the requirements to be accepted to such a prestigious program. Fortunately, my time at Augustana has allowed me to gain valuable experiences and has challenged me academically, making me a competitive applicant for physical therapy schools. It's great to see that my hard work has paid off and I am going to the graduate school of my dreams."

Stephanie Burbidge '15, biology/pre-physical therapy, with a minor in psychology; Pursuing doctorate of physical therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

"The psychology background gave me a perspective on human behavior and working with individuals that I wouldn't have gotten through studying just life sciences. But the two balanced each other really well and provided a background that is important for a physical therapist, because you're not only figuring out what's wrong with someone, you have to figure out how to explain it to them and then how to help them through whatever it is."

Pre-PT alumni honored by Mayo School of Health

When Meghan Voiland '07 McMillan and Beth Cloud '07 received their doctorates of physical therapy, they also were bestowed honors that distinguished them from their classmates. McMillan received the Outstanding Clinician Award and Cloud the Erik J. Aasen Award, which annually recognizes a person with an especially humanitarian spirit.

More Than I Imagined profile: Gianna Pecora

While in the pre-PT advising program, Gianna volunteered a Camp Kesem and used Augie Choice to intern as an athletic trainer.
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