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 Process

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). Both the PTCAS and ECU grad school application for Physical Therapy opens on June 15th.

Prospective students must submit their application via PTCAS by September 15. ECU also requires that students apply to the ECU Graduate School. This deadline is also September 15, 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 the fall and end before Thanksgiving.

Documents required for completed application:

  • Transcripts for all attended colleges and universities
  • Two letters of reference (sent to PTCAS), one of which must be from licensed Physical Therapist
  • Acuity Insights – Casper exam

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 Casper Exam. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.

Students wishing to apply for the DPT in Physical Therapy must have an bachelors degree (in any field) and the following prerequisite. Applicants should have no more than two prerequisite courses left to complete in the fall semester of their application. This is a firm deadline. There are no exceptions.

  • 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 – Bios 1500, Math 2228, Math 2283, or
    Psyc 2101.
  • General Physics I & II (8 semester hours) – Phys 1250/1251 & 1260/1261 Psychology – 6 semester hours
  • Psychology (6 semester hours) – Psyc 1000 and an additional Psychology

Admissions questions should be directed to: