It is the mission of the Department of Natural Science and Mathematics to not only facilitate the student’s admission to physical therapy school but to ensure success in physical therapy school. The pre-PT program is not just a list of pre-requisite courses but involves activities outside the classroom. In addition to the core science courses, students will have the opportunity to take such courses as Physical Assessment, Motion Analysis, Exercise Physiology, Pathophysiology, Immunology, Issues in Medicine, and Art and Medicine. In the various classes students will learn how to suture, intubate, read rhythm strips and 12 lead EKGs, interpret lab tests, and do case studies in which students must identify appropriate care and follow-up procedures. In various courses students will learn how to recognize disorders and disability and perform physical exams. Students will also have the opportunity to complement their Pre-PT major with a minor in an additional content area such as psychology, business, or communication.
Furthermore, the Department will also provide study materials to students preparing for the GRE. Students will receive a reading/vocabulary worksheet with 10 to 20 questions to improve performance particularly on the vocabulary and writing assessment portion of the exam. Students are also offered a mock interview. This has been highly successful in preparing students for the actual interview. The mock interview is more than just reviewing potential interview questions. Every aspect of the interview, dress, body position, nervous habit, and so on is evaluated. The Department will assist students in writing the personal statement. In addition to the help from the Department students can also receive assistance from the University of Charleston Center for Career Development. Finally the Department has prepared a Pre-Professional Student Manual that outlines how to study for entrance exams, how to interview, and how to write a personal statement. The Manual also serves as a reference with contact information relevant to the pre-PT student.
To graduate, every biology major must complete the capstone courses. This entails completing a research project. The projects can be tailored to meet the student’s interest. Examples of past projects include looking at the use and effectiveness of the McKenzie Method, prevalence or patellar-bone-patella and hamstring graft surgical technique in the repair of anterior cruciate ligament rupture, and the use of prophylactic, rehabilitative, and performance braces for the prevention and treatment of anterior cruciate ligament injury. In addition, many students have taken advantage of the INBRE program which is a biomedical research program. Students spend nine weeks during the summer doing research for which they are paid a stipend. Projects include studies on melanoma, macular degeneration, as well as genetic studies. Having completed medically related research is considered by physical therapy school admission committees and looked favorably upon.