Bookmark and Share

OTD Application Process and Requirements

Requirements for Admission

Applicants must possess personal qualities of character, integrity and motivation as well as the capacity to perform essential functions suitable for a career in occupational therapy. All applicants must successfully pass a drug screening, criminal background check and family and child services review. The admissions committee takes the following factors into consideration:

1. Undergraduate education: A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college/university. Note for students enrolled in an affiliated 3-2 program. Prerequisite courses can be taken online or outside of the degree-granting school, as long as they are from an accredited institution. Advanced placement (AP) courses and test scores do not count for prerequisites. The following six prerequisite courses (3 semester hours each) must be completed with grades of B or better and at least four of the six courses must be complete at time of application:

  • Abnormal Psychology
    • An abnormal psychology or a psychopathology course fulfills this requirement.
  • Developmental Psychology
    • You may choose a child development or a lifespan course that includes learning principles and motor, language, cognitive, emotional and social development. 
  • Life Science
    • Must be 200 level or above; no lab is required. Suggested courses include but are not limited to human anatomy, neuroanatomy, comparative anatomy, pathophysiology, zoology, genetics, botany, ecology and cognitive neuroscience.
  • Physiology
    • Must cover the organization of cells into tissues, organs and organ systems in humans. A course titled “Anatomy and Physiology” is acceptable; however, if the course is part of a two-part sequence, both courses must be completed to be able to fulfill prerequisites. One part can fulfill the life science prerequisite with the second part for the physiology prerequisite.
  • Social Science
    • Suggested courses include, but are not limited to other psychology courses, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, public health, epidemiology, gerontology and urban studies.
  • Statistics
    • You may choose behavioral, educational, psychological or mathematical statistics. Business statistics does not fulfill this requirement.

2. Graduate Record Exam (GRE): The GRE must be taken no more than five years prior to application. Quantitative, verbal and analytical writing scores are required. Our current mean scores are 153 quantitative, 156 verbal and 4.0 analytical writing.

3. Prerequisite and cumulative GPA: A grade of B or better is required for all prerequisite courses and a 3.25 cumulative GPA is required for the MSOT and OTD programs.

4. Recommendations: Three letters of recommendation are required from:

  • A professor, teacher, or academic advisor. 3-2 applicants must submit a letter of recommendation from their advisor.
  • A person who supervised you during observation experiences.
  • A person of your choice, other than a relative or family friend, who can speak objectively about your strengths. A work supervisor or another teacher is recommended.

5. OT-related experience: A minimum of 30 hours of occupational therapy-related experience or observation is required. We encourage applicants to visit different sites to experience the diversity of the OT practice. It is strongly recommended, but not required, that a portion of the hours include observation with an occupational therapist.

6. Understanding of OT and strong writing skills: Applicants must demonstrate both in their personal statement.

7. Life experience: Participation and leadership in extracurricular activities, work, research or other pursuits is encouraged.

8. International students: TOEFL (and TWE, if Paper-Based Test) should be taken no more than one year prior to application. Transcripts for universities outside the United States must be reviewed by a credentialing agency. Click here for more information.

How to Apply

Washington University participates in AOTA’s centralized application system for occupational therapy educational programs, OTCAS. Students manage their applications online and may apply to more than one school at a time. Washington University does not require a separate application or fee.

The Program admits one class each year in the fall. Applicants typically begin the admission process during the preceding fall and must complete all required elements by the December 15 deadline.

The application process is as follows:

  • The OTCAS system is open for applications in July for those applying for admission the following fall. OTCAS opens July 19, 2016 for fall 2017 admissions.
  • Your application, offical transcripts, three letters of recommendation and GRE scores must be submitted to OTCAS by December 15.
  • Once completed, “OTCAS applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.” Click here for OTCAS frequently asked questions about the deadline. In our experience, it can take 2-4 weeks before an application is verified by OTCAS and released to us for review.
  • Once completed OTCAS applications are released to us, they are reviewed in the order in which they are received.
  • Admission decisions may be made prior to the December 15 deadline. Applicants are encouraged to complete the application process well in advance of the deadline.
  • Applicants will be notified of admissions decisions as soon as possible. The time required to review applications and respond to applicants will vary depending on many factors, including application volume.

Your application, official transcripts, three letters of recommendation and GRE scores must be submitted to OTCAS by December 15. For the GRE, select "MISSOURI" as the state where we are located. The Washington University OTCAS code for the GRE is 0081; the occupational therapy code is 0618.

Washington University encourages and gives full consideration to all applicants for admission, financial aid and employment.

Washington University - Non-Discrimination Statement

The School of Medicine is committed to recruiting, enrolling and educating a diverse student body.

The Program in Occupational Therapy is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number, c/o AOTA, is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is

A felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

US News Report, Best Grad Schools