Each year, first-year students begin their studies toward careers in physical therapy through an undergraduate degree. Although certain courses are required for entrance into physical therapy graduate schools, no specific major is required. The undergraduate major often is biology or exercise science.

The basis for certification as a physical therapist is the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. The specific admission requirements vary considerably from school to school and generally are more extensive and detailed than those of medical schools. It is important that the applicant consult the specific prerequisite courses required for the specific school of physical therapy. Many admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; GRE; a minimum cumulative grade-point average, usually a 3.0; a minimum science grade-point average; successful completion of all prerequisite courses no later than the spring semester prior to summer admission; evidence of professional behavior required to participate effectively in a health care environment; and satisfactory completion of volunteer or paid patient care experience in two physical therapy settings under the supervision of a physical therapist, usually a minimum of 20 hours in each setting.

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Colleen Byron

Byron, Colleen

Professor of Chemistry, L. Leone Oyster 1919 Chair in Chemistry

Jacqueline Clark

Clark, Jacqueline

Professor of Sociology, Helen Swift Neilson Professor of Cultural Studies

Brittany Followay

Followay, Brittany

Assistant Professor of Exercise Science, Chair of Exercise Science, Graduate Program Director

Robin Forbes-Lorman

Forbes-Lorman, Robin

Associate Professor of Biology

Julia Manor

Manor, Julia

Associate Professor of Psychology, Chair of Psychology Department and Director of Assessment

Barbara Sisson

Sisson, Barbara

Associate Professor of Biology

Patrick Willoughby

Willoughby, Patrick

Associate Professor of Chemistry


Ripon College faculty and professional staff are dedicated to helping you reach your goals, whatever they may be and however often they may change along the way. It’s part of our value statement to you.

As a student at Ripon, you will be assigned a faculty adviser based on your area(s) of interest. You will meet with your faculty adviser throughout your time as a student to discuss your current aspirations, plan your course schedule and plot a future trajectory. We also work collaboratively with Ripon College Career and Professional Development to help match your interests and skills to concrete goals and construct a plan for professional success offering personalized career counseling, off-campus learning opportunities and an online job board with potential to connect with local, national and international employers.

Advising at Ripon


The following guidelines should be kept in mind while planning an undergraduate curriculum: biology, including introductory biology (BIO 123 Molecules, Cells and Genes), animal biology, with lab (any zoology course); human anatomy and physiology, with lab (BIO 211 Topics in Biology and 312 Human Anatomy and Physiology II: Maintenance and Continuity); a year sequence of chemistry, with lab (CHM 111 Organic Chemistry I and 112 Structure and Reactivity); biochemistry (CHM 422 Biochemistry); a year sequence of general physics, with lab (PHY 131 General Physics I: Mechanics - 152/172 Introductory Physics I & II: Electricity, Magnetism and Waves); psychology, including general psychology (PSC 110 General Psychology) and human development (PSC 235 Child Development or 242 Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood); and statistics (MTH 120 Elementary Statistics or PSC 211 Research Design and Statistics). In addition, the following courses are recommended or required by many schools: kinesiology, exercise physiology, neurosciences, physiological psychology, calculus, ethics, medical sociology, cultural diversity, counseling, public speaking, public health, English and technical writing, English composition, computer science and additional courses in the humanities and social sciences.

Internships with physical therapists also are required (BIO 551 or 552). Because most physical therapy programs require hands-on experience, students are encouraged to get involved in the athletic training program. Exercise Science 211 Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries, 361 Recognition and Evaluation of Athletic Injuries and 362 Therapeutic Rehabilitation are recommended to prepare students to participate in more advanced activities.

Unique Opportunities

  • Students work with the Health Professions Advising Committee to make sure that they are on track to achieve their goals, receive feedback on application materials, and practice mock interviews.
  • Shadowing opportunities at a local physical therapist practice.