Pre-Physical Therapy


Career preparation starts your first year at Western. Visit Career Services in Library 120 and online at to discover your interests, define your goals and land your dream job.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.


For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

 BIOL 372 - Human Anatomy and Physiology I (with laboratory) (4 cred.)

An introduction to regulatory mechanisms which maintain normal body function. Specific topics include cytology, histology, integumentary system, skeletal system, muscular system, and nervous system. The course is designed for allied health and exercise and sport science students. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisites: BIOL 150; CHEM 105 or CHEM 111.

 BIOL 373 - Human Anatomy and Physiology II (with laboratory) (4 cred.)

A continuation of BIOL 372 Human Anatomy and Physiology I. Specific topics include immunology, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, digestive system, excretory system, reproductive system, and endocrine system. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: BIOL 372.

 BIOL 496 - Senior Thesis (1 cred.)

An advanced research experience resulting in a Senior Thesis, supervised by a thesis committee of three faculty members including at least one biologist. A proposal of the project must be approved by the thesis committee prior to project initiation. In addition to completing the written thesis, students must present the results of their work in a departmental seminar. This course satisfies the capstone course requirement. Prerequisites: Biology Nucleus; and MATH 151 or MATH 213.

 CHEM 331 - Organic Chemistry I (3 cred.)

First semester course of a two semester organic chemistry sequence. This course is an in depth study of saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons. Topics include their naming, electronic structure, bonding, reactivity, stereochemistry, and reaction mechanisms Prerequisite: CHEM 113.

 CHEM 332 - Organic Chemistry II (3 cred.)

A continuation of CHEM 331. This course discusses spectroscopic analysis, physical, and chemical properties of organic functional groups. Emphasis includes synthesis, mechanisms, and reactions of aromatic compounds, carbonyl containing compounds, and amines. Prerequisite: CHEM 331.

 CHEM 334 - Organic Chemistry Lab I (1 cred.)

An accompanying laboratory course for CHEM 331, serving as an introduction to basic macro-and micro- scale organic techniques used to separate, isolate, and characterize organic compounds. Methods utilized include distillation, extraction, chromatography, Infrared (IR) spectroscopy. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: CHEM 114. Corequisite: CHEM 331.

 CHEM 335 - Organic Chemistry Lab II (1 cred.)

This lab is a continuation of CHEM 334, with an expansion in scope that allows incorporation of more complex synthetic problems. The lab will employ the use of thin layer chromatography (TLC) to follow reaction progress along with NMR spectroscopy to determine reaction outcomes. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: CHEM 334. Corequisite: CHEM 332.

 CHEM 471 - Biochemistry I (4 cred.)

A study of structural biochemistry and metabolism. The course begins with an overview of the aqueous environment and its effects on solutes, including biomolecules. Other subject matters include the chemistry of proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, and lipids; the mechanisms and kinetics of enzymes; and the stoichiometry and chemistry underlying the core metabolic processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Prerequisites: BIOL 150 and CHEM 332.

 ESS 185 - Lifetime Wellness (3 cred.)

Provides conceptual and experiential components designed as a basis for developing a healthier lifestyle.

 ESS 330 - Exercise Physiology (3 cred.)

An emphasis on the theory and principles of exercise physiology to health, physical fitness, and athletic performance in diverse populations. Prerequisites: ESS 201 or both BIOL 372 and BIOL 373; minimum Junior standing.

 ESS 331 - Exercise Physiology Laboratory (1 cred.)

Basic laboratory techniques of exercise physiology correlating with ESS 330. Laboratory experiences include aerobic and anaerobic exercise, body composition, strength, flexibility, and body composition and other indicators of exercise. Prerequisites: completion of the College Mathematics course requirement; Corequisite: ESS 330.

 ESS 380 - Biomechanics (3 cred.)

Investigation and analysis of human movement. Basic mechanical principles of force, motion, and aerodynamics as related to fundamental physical skills and their application to exercise, sport, and physical activity. Prerequisites: ESS 181, ESS 185, ESS 201 or BIOL 372, completion of the University Mathematics course requirement.

 MATH 213 - Probability and Statistics (3 cred.)

A course in the use of statistical techniques to draw knowledge from data. Topics include exploratory data analysis, descriptive statistics, t-procedures, ANOVA, chi squared procedures, regression, and non-parametric tests. Statistical software is used extensively to analyze real data sets. Prerequisite: MATH 141 with a minimum grade of C-, or Accuplacer university-level mathematics test score of 85 or above; or instructor permission. GT-MA1

 PHYS 170 - Principles of Physics I (with laboratory) (4 cred.)

A quantitative lecture and laboratory introduction to the basic principles of physics. Topics covered include the motions of particles, forces in nature, field concepts, energy, conservation laws, and many-particle systems. A mathematical proficiency at the level of college algebra is recommended. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisites: Accuplacer College-Level Mathematics test score of 95 or above, or MATH 141. GT-SC1

 PHYS 171 - Principles of Physics II (with laboratory) (4 cred.)

A continuation of PHYS 170 dealing with electromagnetism, light, thermodynamics,and the atomic structure of matter. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: PHYS 170.

 PHYS 200 - General Physics I (with laboratory) (4 cred.)

A quantitative lecture and laboratory introduction to the basic principles of physics, using the concepts of calculus as a tool. Topics covered include the motions of particles, forces in nature, field concepts, energy, conservation laws, many-particle systems, and thermodynamics. A student may not receive credit for both PHYS 170 and PHYS 200. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite or Corequisite: MATH 151. GT-SC1

 PHYS 201 - General Physics II (with laboratory) (3 cred.)

A continuation of PHYS 200 dealing with electromagnetism, light, and the atomic structure of matter. A student cannot receive credit for both PHYS 171 and 201. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: PHYS 200.

 PSY 200 - Statistics and Data Analysis (3 cred.)

An introduction to statistical procedures often encountered in the analysis of data from behavioral science research. Statistical methods covered include measures of central tendency and variability, correlation, regression, t-tests and analysis of variance. Prerequisites: PSY 100; MATH 113 or MATH 140 with a minimum grade of C-, or instructor permission.

 PSY 270 - Developmental Psychology (3 cred.)

A critical look at the change and continuity that occurs throughout the life span, emphasizing the interrelationships among physical, cognitive and psychosocial realms of human development. Current research findings are emphasized.

 PSY 368 - Psychopathology (3 cred.)

A systematic study of the etiology, symptoms, assessment, and treatment of major forms of psychopathology. An interdisciplinary approach is employed as a basis for understanding mental disorders and mental illness. Prerequisites: PSY 100, PSY 258, or PSY 270.

Faculty & Staff


Kevin Alexander, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Biology, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
Phone: 970.943.3405
Office Location: Taylor Hall 322
Lance Dalleck, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Exercise & Sport Science
Phone: 970.943.3095
Office Location: High Altitude Performance Lab 171
Peter H. Gauss, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Biology
Phone: 970.943.2094
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238B
Shan Hays, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Biology
Phone: 970.943.2552
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238C
Chris Lee, Ph.D. headshot
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
Phone: 970.943.2256
Office Location: Hurst Hall 218
Emily McMahill, Pharm.D. headshot
Ferchau Lecturer in Biology
Phone: 970.943.2311
Office Location: Hurst Hall 225
Cassandra Osborne, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Biology
Phone: 970.943.3181
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238A


Institutional Scholarships

Common Scholarships

Western offers approximately 70 common scholarships for which a wide variety of students are eligible (e.g., locals, veterans, transfers). Apply for any number of these common scholarships using Western’s Common Scholarship Application, which is due April 1. For more information, visit our scholarships page.

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

Western Colorado University alumni can nominate prospective students for a $500 scholarship ($250 per semester) for first year only. Application deadline is typically June 1. For more information, visit

Neighboring States Program

Students with a permanent address from one of the seven contiguous neighboring states to Colorado who have demonstrated financial need are automatically considered for a special $1,000 per year grant, totaling $4,000 over four years.

The Western Neighboring States program can be added to WUE, CP or merit scholarships. So, if you are a permanent resident of one of those seven states—and show financial need—you are eligible.

For more information about the Neighboring States program, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Presidential Promise

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Tuition Discount Programs

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Western Merit Scholarship

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship. 

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

A college education is more than just taking courses. Meet new people, apply your skills and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Make your education an experience.

  • High Altitude Performance Lab: Take classes and conduct research in our state-of-the-art facility.
  • Pre-Health Club: These students collaborate to host medically-relevant events and volunteer services.
  • Research Assistantships: Many professors conduct externally-funded research and are always looking for student help.
  • Shadowing: Opportunities to shadow practicing clinicians exist both locally and throughout the United States. 
  • Thornton Biology Research Program: Students can receive funding and work with faculty on original research.
  • Pre-Health Mentorship Program: Students are paired with a qualified health professional to help them gain hands-on experience and prepare for a career after graduation.

The American Physical Therapy Association describes physical therapists as clinical professionals focused on the “restoration, maintenance and promotion of optimal physical function.” Optimal physical function is important at all stages of life and drives the growing need for physical therapists.

Although the demand for physical therapists is on the rise, acceptance into Doctor of Physical Therapy programs continues to be highly competitive. By combining hands-on coursework in Biology, Exercise & Sport Science, Chemistry, Math, Physics and Psychology, Western has created an emphasis that’s tailor-made for students interested in the flourishing and competitive field of physical therapy.

Students also have access to the expertise and mentorship of our Healthcare Advisory Board. Board members advise students, organize guest lectures and connect undergraduates with opportunities in and outside the Gunnison Valley.

Learn More

Reach out for more information about the program.

A woman with brown hair and a floral blouse smiles at the camera
Ferchau Lecturer in Biology
Office Location: 
Hurst Hall 225

Related Programs


Read more


Read more

Clinical Exercise Science

Read more

Exercise & Sport Science

Read more

Health & Fitness

Read more


Read more


Read more
Read more
Read more

M.S. in Exercise & Sport Science: High Altitude Exercise Physiology (HAEP)

Read more