Physical Therapy

Since you're wanting to study physical therapy, it's likely you have varied interests: anatomy, health, patient care, exercise, etc.

This is in your favor because SAU offers several majors that fit well for a pre-PT curriculum, including Exercise Science, Human Performance and Fitness, Biology, Psychology, and several others. No matter the major, specific prerequisite coursework must be completed prior to applying to the SAU PT program.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Small Classes and Personal Attention
  • Excellent Faculty
  • Professional and Personal Growth

It doesn't matter which undergraduate major you choose. At SAU, we know what it takes to get into PT school. Our supportive faculty, one-on-one advising, rigorous programs, and leadership opportunities prepare you for a career or graduate school.


The requirements for physical therapy programs focus on the biological, chemical, physical, and social sciences. The specific course requirements for admission to physical therapy programs differ for each institution, but all programs seek strong critical thinkers who possess a solid commitment to providing excellent patient care.

Many of the physical therapy programs in the Midwest region require:
· One year General Biology + lab (BIOL 199, 200)
· One year Human Anatomy & Physiology (BIOL 230, 232)
· One year General Chemistry + lab (CHEM 105, 106)
· One year Physics + lab (PHYS 203, 204)
· Statistics (STAT 213)
· Intro to Psychology (PSYC 105)
• Upper level Psychology or Sociology (PSYC 324, SOC 326, or others)

Individual physical therapy programs may have additional requirements. 

The entrance exam for physical therapy programs is the GRE General Test. This exam includes questions related to verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. The GRE should be completed by the end of the summer after the junior year to be considered for admission in the fall semester after graduation.

What are some benefits of pursuing pre-PT education at SAU?

We understand the academic foundation an undergraduate needs to get into PT school, and we offer those courses and the personal advising to get you there. How can we be so confident? Because SAU is a leading educator in physical therapy.

St. Ambrose University DPT students have a 96% first-time licensure test pass rate and a 100% employment rate. Our DPT program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the American Physical Therapy Association.

Every year, we accept up to 15 high school seniors into the Track I DPT program which reserves a place in the DPT class. Our Track I students follow a "3+2.5" plan of study (three years of undergraduate work plus two-and-one-half years in the DPT program). You get to apply your first year DPT courses toward completion of your undergraduate degree, saving you time and money.

Undergraduate Track I students have to meet academic requirements before formally enrolling in the DPT program. If you feel you are up to the challenge, contact our Admissions Office to learn more and to apply.

Or, wait until your junior or senior year at SAU to apply to the DPT program. Be sure to let your advisor know about your plans for post-graduate studies. They will help you create a plan that meets your goals and your undergraduate degree requirements.

As an undergraduate, you are just blocks away from the SAU Center for Health Sciences Education at Genesis, where many of our DPT classes are held. Go check out the facilities and labs, talk to current students and faculty, and learn more about opportunities like the Interprofessional Health Clinic.

Scholarships and Grants


For academic/merit-based awards, eligible students are matched to the qualifying award; some of them are listed below.

For need-based support, eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The SAU school code is 001889.

You may also qualify for a scholarship or grant due to your talent in the fine arts or athletics. Give us a call or send an email so we can get to know you and find the best package for you. (You're also encouraged to seek outside scholarships and begin that search early.)

Institutional scholarships (2018-19)

There is no need to apply for the scholarships or grants below; students automatically are eligible if they meet specific criteria, although some may require a certain GPA to stay eligible.

The Admissions Office calculates the award amount by using high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores.

Ambrose Scholar
For First Year, on-campus residents only. Straight As on high school transcript and a minimum 30 ACT score. Applicants who meet Ambrose Scholar criteria will be invited to compete for a full-tuition scholarship for $@{17-18-Tuition}.

Trustee Scholar
$22,000/year - For First-year, on-campus residents only. Unweighted 3.8 GPA, 28+ACT. May be offset by state and/or federal aid if eligible.

Academic Scholarship
$14,000-17,000/year - Based on GPA and ACT/SAT score

University Grant
$12,000/year - Based on high school GPA and ACT/SAT score

Additional Scholarships (2018-19)

If you want to apply for any of the scholarships below, contact the Admissions Office.

Fine Arts Scholarships
Award based on performance and ability in art, music, or theatre. Includes the Michael Kennedy Theatre Scholarship. Audition or portfolio required.

Athletics Scholarships
Award varies. Based on performance and ability. Marching Band scholarships available. See below.

Freeman Pollard Minority Scholarship
$1,000 for on-campus students; $500 for off-campus. For accepted minority students.

Menke Parish Scholarship
Award varies. For First Year students only who are recommended by their parish pastor in the Diocese of Davenport. Recommendation form (pdf) to be completed by your pastor.

Father Welch Alumni Scholarship
$1,000/year. For on-campus students only whose parent is a St. Ambrose graduate.

Athletic Scholarships

As a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), St. Ambrose can award athletic scholarships to student athletes. These scholarships allow you to earn a college education while competing in the sport that you love. At Ambrose, we embody that value of developing both the mind and body.

How do I qualify for an athletic scholarship?
You must first be eligible to play a sport at St. Ambrose. You can read about those qualifications here. The NAIA also has a complete website on how to register for eligibility at

Transfer Scholarships

Amounts are for transfer students entering St. Ambrose in the 2018-19 academic year.

St. Ambrose scholarships are awarded for fall and spring semesters only and renewable up to 120 credits of undergraduate study, which includes credits transferred to St. Ambrose from prior attendance. For example: If you transfer in with an AA/AS degree, you would receive a scholarship for two additional years at St. Ambrose.

For questions about any of the awards below, give our friendly Financial Aid Office a call at 563-333-5775.

Institutional Aid

Guaranteed Minimum Scholarship Award 

based on GPA (Grade Point Average)
3.5-4.00 GPA: $12,000 per year scholarship award
3.0-3.49 GPA: $11,000 per year scholarship award
2.5-2.99 GPA: $10,000 per year scholarship award
2.0-2.49 GPA: $8,000 per year scholarship award

Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society

Criteria: Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society membership
Award: $12,500/year for new transfer students, renewable each year up to eight semesters, including transfer hours. Scholarships awarded for fall and spring semesters only. GPA is based on 4.0 scale.

Out-of-State Grant

Criteria: non-Iowa resident
Award: $2,000/year

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarship

Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate; on-campus students only
Award: $1,000/year

Freeman Pollard Diversity Award

Criteria: accepted diverse student
Award: $1,000/year on-campus; $500/year off-campus

Athletics Scholarship

Criteria: performance and ability
Marching band scholarships also available
Award varies

Fine Arts Scholarship

Criteria: performance and ability in art, music, theatre
Audition or portfolio required
Award varies

Dual Admission Scholarship

Criteria: participant in SAU/community college dual admission program
Award: $1,000 maximum

Federal and State Aid

Federal Pell Grant

Criteria: based on financial need; file FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1
Award: $5,920 maximum

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

Criteria: based on financial need, priority to Pell Grant recipients. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1.
Award: $400 maximum

Federal Work Study Award

Criteria: based on financial need. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1
Award: $1,850

Iowa Tuition Grant

Criteria: based on financial need, Iowa residents only. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1, deadline July 1.
Award: 5,650

Carver Scholarship

Criteria: Iowa resident and entering junior, visit for eligibility details, deadline April 1.
Award: $7,600 maximum

Outside Scholarships

There are many opportunities to receive scholarships from outside sources, here are a few websites to begin researching your options:

Another tip: Next time you're on campus, check out the bulletin board outside Bee Central where we post more flyers and applications for outside scholarships.

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 27 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!