Pre-Physical Therapy Degree Emphasis - BS in Biology

Bachelor of Science in Biology with an Emphasis in Pre-Physical Therapy

Offered By: College of Science, Engineering, & Technology

A Bachelor of Science (BS) in Biology with an Emphasis in Pre-Physical Therapy can put graduates on the path to becoming physical therapists. In this pre-physical therapy program emphasis at Grand Canyon University (GCU), you will complete coursework that can prepare you to apply for entry into a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program in the future. Graduates of this program will be taught the necessary scientific knowledge and skills to prepare for a career in physical therapy. 

Study Biology and Exercise Physiology Foundations During Your Pre-Physical Therapy Degree Emphasis

The GCU College of Science, Engineering and Technology works to ensure that future physical therapists who graduate from this emphasis in pre-physical therapy bachelor's degree program are prepared for a graduate program in physical therapy The pre-physical therapy coursework places emphasis on the following topics:

  • Fundamentals of science
  • Effective communication for science professionals
  • Professional standards and ethical principles
  • Data analysis and interpretation strategies
  • Healthcare issues
  • Therapeutic interventions
  • Complex biological networks from molecular to systems levels
  • Human anatomy and biological sciences
  • Scientific inquiry and analysis
  • Scientific methods
  • Kinesiology
  • Exercise physiology
  • Corrective exercise

Prepare for a PT Career With GCU's Pre-Physical Therapy Bachelor's Degree Emphasis 

A career in physical therapy requires a significant amount of education and clinical experience, including licensure. A physical therapy career path typically starts with earning a degree, such as GCU’s bachelor's in pre-physical therapy degree emphasis, followed by a graduate-level physical therapy program. To become a licensed physical therapist in the U.S., you typically need to have a doctorate degree in physical therapy. The core coursework found in many pre-physical therapy programs may also lead you into related allied health graduate programs, such as PA school.

If you are interested in beginning a career as a physical therapist, a pre-physical therapy program emphasis may be the right choice for you. Learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Biology with an Emphasis in Pre-Physical Therapy degree from GCU today by filling out the form on this page to speak to an admissions counselor.

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 Pre-Physical Therapy Bachelor's Degree Emphasis FAQs

We understand pursuing a pre-physical therapy degree takes commitment. So, we’ve compiled answers to some of our frequently asked questions regarding our pre-physical therapy bachelor’s degree emphasis program to help you decide if this program is right for you. 

While the coursework in a pre-physical therapy program emphasis can be challenging, students may find it rewarding and fulfilling to pursue a career where they are helping others. The difficulty of this degree will depend on your individual strengths and interests. If you enjoy human anatomy, physiology and kinesiology, you are in the right place. Since this program is designed to prepare you for graduate-level physical therapy programs, it is important to remain a competitive candidate by maintaining a high GPA and gaining relevant experience to increase your chances of being accepted into a physical therapy program.

The path to becoming a physical therapist typically involves several years of education and clinical experience. The timeline may vary depending on individual circumstances and the specific program chosen. An excellent place to begin is the pre-physical therapy degree emphasis from GCU, which requires a total of 120 credits for completion. Most of the classes are 15 weeks in length. Fill out the form on this page to speak to an admissions counselor to better understand how long it takes to earn your pre-physical therapy bachelor’s degree emphasis.

To become a licensed physical therapist in the U.S., you typically need to have a doctorate degree in physical therapy. This includes a bachelor’s degree, Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree, clinical experience and a licensure exam. Educational requirements will vary from state to state, so it’s important to check with your state’s licensing board for specific requirements. 

Physical therapy can be a good career choice if you have a strong desire to help others, enjoy working in a healthcare environment and find joy in improving patients’ quality of life. If you’re willing to invest in your education and professional development, a pre-physical therapy bachelor’s degree emphasis from GCU is an excellent place to start. Furthermore, jobs for physical therapists are on track to increase by approximately 17% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, making this an excellent career choice.

1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2022, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides, retrieved on Feb. 22, 2023. 

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks
[More Info]
TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
TUITION RATE:
Campus: $8,250 per semester [More Info]

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
Major:
76 credits
Open Elective Credits:
4-10 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.

Requirements

Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4
  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4
  • UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
  • PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
  • BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Core Courses

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the analysis skills required for scientific problems. Students will study approaches on inquiry, reasoning, and logic as applied to science, the systematic use of data to make critical decisions, and the expectations of science careers in healthcare or research.

Course Description

This course is a study of biological concepts emphasizing the interplay of structure and function, particularly at the molecular and cellular levels of organization. Cell components and their duties are investigated, as well as the locations of cellular functions within the cell. The importance of the membrane is studied, particularly its roles in controlling movement of ions and molecules and in energy production. The effect of genetic information on the cell is followed through the pathway from DNA to RNA to protein. Co-requisite: BIO-181L.

Course Description

This lab course is designed to reinforce principles learned in BIO-181 through experiments and activities which complement and enhance understanding of macromolecules, cell membrane properties, cellular components, and their contribution to cell structure and function. Assignments are designed to relate cellular processes such as metabolism, cell division, and the flow of genetic information to cell structure. Co-requisite: BIO-181.

Course Description

This is the first course of a two-semester introduction to chemistry intended for undergraduates pursuing careers in the health professions and others desiring a firm foundation in chemistry. The course assumes no prior knowledge of chemistry and begins with basic concepts. Topics include an introduction to the scientific method, dimensional analysis, atomic structure, nomenclature, stoichiometry and chemical reactions, the gas laws, thermodynamics, chemical bonding, and properties of solutions. Co-Requisite: CHM-113L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-113 reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Experiments include determination of density, classification of chemical reactions, the gas laws, determination of enthalpy change using calorimetry, and determination of empirical formula. Co-Requisite: CHM-113.

Course Description

This course examines human anatomy and physiology with an emphasis on function and homeostasis of the following areas: tissues, integument, skeletal system, muscular system, and the nervous system. Case studies are utilized to reinforce physiological processes. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L. Co-Requisite: BIO-210L.

Course Description

This course involves study of the gross anatomy and function of the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. This experiential lab involves an advanced exploration of concepts utilizing human cadavers and other supplemental materials. Co-Requisite: BIO-210.

Course Description

This course is a study of biological concepts emphasizing the interplay of structure and function at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels of organization. Relationships of different life forms are studied, noting characteristics and general lifecycles of the different types of organisms, including bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes. Plant structure, function, and reproduction are studied, as well as photosynthesis and plant nutrition. Ecological principles are discussed, including organism interactions at the various ecological levels. Principles of conservation are introduced. Prerequisite: BIO-181. Co-Requisite: BIO-182L.

Course Description

This lab is designed to reinforce principles learned in BIO-182. Organisms are examined to recognize similarities and differences among different types. Plant structure and processes, including photosynthesis and water transport, are investigated through observation and activities. Concepts of ecology are explored through study of species interactions projects and other activities. Co-requisite: BIO-182.

Course Description

This is the second course of a two-semester introduction to chemistry intended for undergraduates pursuing careers in the health professions and others desiring a firm foundation in chemistry. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and/or skill in solving problems involving the principles of chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, and thermodynamics; understanding chemical reactions using kinetics, equilibrium, and thermodynamics; comparing and contrasting the principal theories of acids and bases; solving equilibrium involving acids, bases, and buffers; describing solubility equilibrium; describing terms associated with electrochemistry and solving problems associated with electrochemistry; and describing the fundamentals of nuclear chemistry. Prerequisites: CHM-113 and MAT-154 or higher. Co-Requisite: CHM-115L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-115 reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Experiments include determination of rate law, examples of Le Châtelier’s principle, the use of pH indicators, buffer preparation, experimental determination of thermodynamic quantities, the use of electrochemical cells, and qualitative and quantitative analysis. Prerequisites: CHM-113L and MAT-154 or higher. Co-Requisite: CHM-115.

Course Description

This course examines human anatomy and physiology with an emphasis on function and homeostasis of the following systems: endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, urinary and reproductive. Case studies are utilized to reinforce physiological processes. Prerequisites: BIO-210 and BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: BIO-211L.

Course Description

This course involves study of the gross anatomy and functions of the endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, renal, and reproductive systems. This experiential lab involves an advanced exploration of concepts utilizing human cadavers and other supplemental materials. Prerequisite: BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: BIO-211.

Course Description

This course is a study of basic concepts of physics, including motion; forces; energy; the properties of solids, liquids, and gases; and heat and thermodynamics. The mathematics used includes algebra, trigonometry, and vector analysis. A primary course goal is to build a functional knowledge that allows students to more fully understand the physical world and to apply that understanding to other areas of the natural and mathematical sciences. Conceptual, visual, graphical, and mathematical models of physical phenomena are stressed. Students build critical thinking skills by engaging in individual and group problem-solving sessions. Prerequisite: MAT-154, MAT-250, MAT-261 or College Algebra. Co-Requisite: PHY-111L.

Course Description

This course utilizes lab experimentation to practice concepts of physical principles introduced in the PHY-111 lecture course. Learners are able to perform the proper analysis and calculations to arrive at the correct quantifiable result when confronted with equations involving gravity, sound, energy, and motion. Prerequisite: MAT-154, MAT-250, MAT-261 or College Algebra. Co-Requisite: PHY-111.

Course Description

This course covers the language of medicine that will be used as a foundation for understanding upper level undergraduate and graduate level courses to follow. It will include pronunciation, definition, usage and origins of medical terms. Medical terms presented will be used to identify signs, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment options for selected pathologies. With these skills the student will be able to effectively interpret and communicate in a healthcare setting. Prerequisite: BIO-192 or BIO-202 or BIO-211 or BIO-364.

Course Description

This course reviews and reinforces the fundamental components of the scientific method. Emphasis will be placed on analysis of scientific literature, with discussion of hypotheses, experimental design, results, and possible alternative explanations and experiments. Students will learn to critically review current scientific literature and apply these examples to the proper design of novel experiments. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L.

Course Description

This writing intensive course is a study of the effects of exercise on the body. Topics include nutrition as the basis for physical activity; how energy is produced and utilized during physical activity; the energy delivery and vital functions of the respiratory, cardiovascular, muscular, and nervous systems during exercise; how these systems can be enhanced through training; the impact of ergogenic aids and environmental stress on performance; and the effect of exercise on body composition, weight control, aging, and disease prevention. The body’s responses and adaptations to exercise at the systemic, as well as the subcellular level, are also discussed. Prerequisites: BIO-155 and BIO-155L, or BIO-201 and BIO-201L, or BIO-210 and BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: EXS-340L.

Course Description

This is a course of field and laboratory experiences designed to reinforce the basic principles learned in the lecture course. Skills of measurement and evaluation, including computerized methods employed to facilitate testing, are applied to physiological and systemic principles of exercise. Prerequisites: BIO-155 and BIO-155L, or BIO-201 and BIO-201L, or BIO-210 and BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: EXS-340.

Course Description

This course is the second in a one-year introductory physics sequence. In this course, the basics of three areas in physics are covered, including electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics. Course topics include an introduction to electric and magnetic fields, the nature of light as an electromagnetic wave, geometric optics, quantum mechanics, and nuclear reactions. Prerequisites: PHY-111 and PHY-111L. Co-Requisite: PHY-112L.

Course Description

This course utilizes lab experimentation to practice concepts of physical principles introduced in the PHY-112 lecture course. Some of the topics learners understand and analyze involve the relationship between electric charges and insulators/conductors, magnetism in physics, energy transformations in electric circuits, the relationship between magnetism and electricity, and how they relate to the medical industry. Prerequisites: PHY-111 and PHY-111L. Co-Requisite: PHY-112.

Course Description

This course is an analysis of human movement, integrating knowledge of the skeletal, muscular, and neurological systems with the effects that gravity, friction, internal and external forces, and the laws of motion have on their functions. Topics presented include biomechanics of human bone, joint, and skeletal muscle; structure and function of the upper extremity, lower extremity, and spine; concepts of linear and angular kinematics and kinetics as applied to human motion; equilibrium and stability on land; and motion through a fluid medium of air or water. Included is the application of these factors to various types of physical skills. Prerequisites: BIO-155 and BIO-155L, or BIO-201 and BIO-201L, or BIO-210 and BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: EXS-335L.

Course Description

This laboratory course is designed to apply the anatomical, kinesiological, and biomechanical principles learned in the lecture course to human body movement. Movement of all of the major joints of the body is analyzed by relative and absolute joint position and muscle action, and biomechanical terms - such as linear and angular kinematics, friction, work, power, energy, and torque - are applied to human motion. Prerequisites: BIO-155 and BIO-155L, or BIO-201 and BIO-201L, or BIO-210 and BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: EXS-335.

Course Description

This is a course in developmental psychology with emphasis on the physical, social, cognitive, personality, and moral developments within an individual. The course is designed to provide an understanding of the transitions of life from conception to death.

Course Description

This writing intensive course is designed to provide the foundation of healthy behavior change in relation to influential factors. Content includes motivation for physical activity and healthy choices, as well as an introduction to the psychology of sports.

Course Description

This course is designed to bridge the gap between basic preclinical science courses and the clinical requirements of health care/life science professionals. Systematic studies focus on the etiology, pathogenesis, morphology, and clinical manifestations associated with various altered health states and diseases. Material is presented using clinically relevant terminology that increases accurate and effective communication through extensive vocabulary expansion. Upon completion of this course, students should be able to correctly discuss a variety of disease states with health care professionals and patients while addressing the following questions: What is actually happening at the physiological level that causes the signs and symptoms of a given condition or disease? How does a change in normal physiology cause the signs and symptoms of a given condition or disease? How do these physiological effects correlate to mechanisms of accurate diagnoses? Why is one treatment method chosen over another? How do different systems intricately interrelate to cause a clinical picture and complications?. Prerequisites: One of the following combinations: BIO-201 and BIO-202; 2) BIO-210 and BIO-211; or 3) BIO-360.

Course Description

This is a writing intensive foundation course in the science of abnormal behavior that offers students the opportunity to study the origin and development of abnormal patterns and disorders. This course is designed to assist students in recognizing and understanding mental illness through increased awareness of emotional, functional, and physiological factors influencing mental health. Specific topics include symptoms, diagnoses, etiology, epidemiology, and treatment of various psychological disorders and syndromes.

Course Description

The capstone project is a culmination of the learning experiences while a student in the science programs at Grand Canyon University. Students discuss and write on current topics in their field and prepare an extensive written scientific report or proposal on select topics on the sciences, relevant to their program of study. The capstone project needs to reflect synthesis and integration of course content and good scientific practice. This is a writing intensive course. Prerequisite: Senior status.

Course Description

This course provides students with basic instruction in research methods needed to read and critique published research in physical activity, health, nutrition, and sports performance. The course will also provide you with the skills needed to design studies and develop a research proposal. Statistical terminology and calculations will be introduced in the context of evaluating research. Students will be required to use statistical software throughout the course.

Course Description

This course incorporates evidence-based concepts and application of corrective exercises to improve muscle imbalance and movement efficiency to decrease injury risk and promote recovery. Techniques include myofascial release, static and neuromuscular stretching, strength training, isometrics, and integrated dynamic movements. Prerequisites: BIO-155 and BIO-155L, or BIO-201 and BIO-201L, or BIO-210 and BIO-210L.

Locations

GCU Campus Student


Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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