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Preparing for Admission to an Occupational Therapy Program


Note: Most OT schools have a minimum GPA requirement of ~3.0, but keep in mind that even with this minimum, admission is competitive, so most admitted students will have a much higher GPA (>3.5). The following guidelines represent a summary of the coursework required to be admitted at most OT schools. Course guidelines from individual schools may be more stringent. Links to accredited schools can be found at AOTA.

Courses required by most OT programs:

  • Principles of Biology I (BIO 135)
  • Anatomy and Physiology I (BIO 270)
  • Anatomy and Physiology II (BIO 275)
  • Medical Terminology
  • General Psychology (PSY 190)
  • Statistics (MATH 220)
  • Human Development (EDU/PSY 142)
  • Abnormal Psychology (PSY 360)
  • Sociology (SOC 110)

Other recommended courses vary, but may include: Physics (PHY 111 &112), General Chemistry (CHEM 151 & 152) Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 110), Ethics (PHIL 202), additional math courses (MATH 107 and/or 115), and many courses that can be completed as a part of your general education requirements (writing, public speaking, humanities, expressive arts, etc.). It is essential that you research the requirements of schools that you may be interested in applying to, because OT admission requirements in addition to those required by most programs vary dramatically.

Because of the wide variety of required courses, many majors can be completed in conjunction with preparation for OT admission. The most common majors for pre-OT students are Biology and Psychology .


Many OT programs require a set number of observation/contact hours. Consult individual schools for specific requirements, but many fall in the 20-50 hour range.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

Some OT schools require you to take the GRE. Consult individual schools for guidelines.

Application Timelines

Application deadlines vary from November to June for the following academic year, with most in December-February. Many schools participate in a centralized application system, OTCAS.