Admissions FAQ

Important message regarding admission requirements:  Because of the restrictions and precautions that occurred at OT-related experience and observation sites during COVID-19, we continue to provide additional options for prospective students to strengthen their application. Click here to learn more about these opportunities.

  • Do you offer scholarships or other financial aid?

    Yes. Every application is considered for merit-based scholarships which are awarded at the time of the admission decision. Additional scholarships and graduate assistantships may be awarded based upon academic and service-related criteria. Other financial aid is available in the form of Federal Stafford Unsubsidized Loans. The School of Medicine has an office that guides students through the process of receiving this aid once they are admitted. Most students in the Program receive some form of assistance, but no one receives a full scholarship.

  • Is it okay to mail parts of my application separately?

    All sections of your application should be submitted through the OTCAS system, including transcripts and recommendations.

  • Do my 30 observation hours have to be with an OT?

    No. The purpose of the 30 in-person observation hours is for you to gain understanding of what it would be like to work with people who need OT services. However, we highly recommend that at least some of your observation hours be spent with an occupational therapist. In terms of observation location, some applicants volunteer at camps for children with disabilities, others work in long term care facilities, and still others shadow a therapist on the job at a hospital, community clinic, or school. You may also complete additional hours with non-traditional activities that do not require in-person contact. Some ideas are listed here.

  • Where can I do my observation hours?

    While we do recommend that at least some of your hours be spent observing an occupational therapist, you will find there are many options for fulfilling this requirement in your community. Please consult the below ideas from our faculty as well as this page on how to complete non-traditional hours that do not require in-person contact.

    • Hospitals or clinics may have OT departments that take volunteers. Or talk to an OT or a social worker to get suggestions for jobs, observation sites, or volunteer options at hospitals, other health/education programs, or community agencies.
    • School districts may welcome volunteers to help with children who have disabilities during the school year or perhaps in summer programs.
    • Summer camps—you may be able to find camps that focus on children with disabilities or inclusive camps that integrate children with and without disabilities.
    • YMCA often has programs for people of all ages with disabilities.
    • Special Olympics.
    • Easter Seal Society, United Cerebral Palsy Association, Muscular Dystrophy Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House.
    • Some religious agencies have programs for people with disabilities. Examples in St. Louis include Jewish Community Center, Catholic Community Services, and Lutheran Family & Children Services.
    • Local nursing homes, adult day care centers, senior centers. In some cities, the American Red Cross has day care centers.
    • Shelters for people who are homeless.
    • Contact a local Independent Living Center.
  • How do I document my observation hours?

    We do not require a specific form or letter to verify your observation hours. Please track the location, number of hours, and other details of your observation to input in the OTCAS application. If you wish to attach supplemental verification forms or letters you may do so, but it is not required. Non-traditional hours completed by reading books, listening to podcasts, interviewing alumni, etc. should be documented according to our instructions here.

  • Who should write my letters of recommendation?

    Three letters of recommendation are required:

    • A professor, teacher, or academic advisor.
    • A person who can speak to your clinical potential, such as someone who supervised you during an OT-related experience or worked with you in a setting related to health care or populations related to OT.
    • 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 would be good choices here.
  • What are the prerequisite courses?
    • Physiology
      A course called "Anatomy and Physiology" is acceptable. If your school offers a two-semester course in Anatomy and Physiology, we require that you take both semesters. You may use one semester to count for physiology and the other semester to count for the upper level life science course.
    • Upper level life science
      Must be 200 level or higher or equivalent at your institution. No lab is required. Suggested courses include, but are not limited to, human anatomy, neuroanatomy, comparative anatomy, pathophysiology, zoology, genetics, ecology, botany and cognitive neuroscience.
    • Abnormal psychology
      You may choose an abnormal psychology or psychopathology course.
    • Developmental psychology
      You may choose a child development or life span course that includes learning principles and motor, language, cognitive, emotional, and social development.
    • Social science
      Suggested courses include, but are not limited to, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, public health, epidemiology, gerontology, urban studies, geography, or other psychology courses.
    • Statistics
      You may choose behavioral, educational, psychological, or mathematical statistics. Business statistics is not acceptable.
  • I don't have all the pre-requisite classes. What are my options?

    It's not uncommon for applicants to our Program to be missing one or two pre-requisite courses at the time of application. These courses can be taken at any accredited college, up to the summer prior to enrollment. However, an application will not be reviewed by the admission committee until at least four of the six pre-requisites are completed. Transcripts of the final grades must be received by August 15.

  • How long should my personal essay be?

    We utilize the standard essay provided by OTCAS. You are encouraged to compose your essay in a text-only word processor (e.g., Notepad), review your essay, then cut and paste the final version into the text box. Click the Save button and then return to the Personal Essay to review the formatting of your text. There is no word or character minimum or maximum. Some formatting characters used in programs like Word (angled quotes, accents, special characters) will not display properly. Take care to review your final text and to make the necessary corrections to the format. You can NOT make any edits to your personal statement after you have e-submitted your completed application to OTCAS.

  • Am I eligible for transfer of credit or advanced placement?

    Entry-level students are not eligible for transfer of credit, credit for experiential learning, work experience, or advanced placement in the MSOT or OTD curriculum.

  • Do I need to take the GRE

    We are no longer requiring the GRE test from the 2021-2022 application cycle. If you have already taken the test and wish to send your scores to #0081, they will be added to OTCAS application. However, they will not be considered as a criteria for your application.

  • What is the required GPA?

    A 3.25 cumulative GPA is required for MSOT and OTD programs. Other prerequisites for the MSOT can be found here, for the OTD, here.

  • When is the application deadline?

    The application deadlines to OTCAS for MSOT and OTD are Dec. 1 (early admission) or Jan. 30 (regular admission). The application deadline for PhD is December 15. All components of the application must be submitted by the deadline.

  • How competitive is it to be accepted to the Program in Occupational Therapy?

    Acceptance to the program is highly competitive, and depends on a number of factors. The average size of the entering class of MSOT and OTD students is 90. To review the admission requirements for MSOT, click here, for OTD, click here.

  • What is the right degree for me – MSOT, OTD or PhD?

    The master's degree is the required degree for entry into the profession of occupational therapy. Completing the MSOT at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis will give you the background you need to be a practitioner who will excel in any practice area. Click here for more information on the MSOT degree.

    The clinical doctorate (OTD) is an option for students who want to assume a leadership position in practice, management, teaching and/or clinical research. They will have a mentored experience in one of these areas and in addition to coursework, will have a capstone experience to prepare for the selected area of practice

    MSOT and OTD students follow parallel paths during the first year of the curriculum. If a student wishes to move from the MSOT to the OTD or vice-versa, there is the opportunity to do so via an additional application and approval process.

    The Rehabilitation and Participation Science (RAPS) PhD is a minimum four-year program whose purpose is to train scientists to develop new knowledge within the three core areas of neurorehabilitation, performance and community participation. This is a highly competitive program leading to careers in research and academia. Information about the Rehabilitation and Participation Science degree, and who should apply, can be found here.

  • How much is tuition?

    Tuition requirements for MSOT and OTD can be found here.

  • Do you require an interview?

    Following the processing of your application, you will receive an email from the Program in Occupational Therapy with a link to complete a two-question, asynchronous video interview. The questions are designed to better understand your interpersonal and problem-solving skills.

  • How can I visit the program?

    You can find information such as info session times and directions to the program here.

  • My question isn’t listed.

    Contact the Program in Occupational Therapy at (314) 286-1600 or [email protected].

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We are excited that you are considering applying to the Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University. Please join us for a Zoom Information Session for either our entry-level MSOT or OTD degrees or our online Post-Professional OTD. Current faculty members will discuss the degree program and answer any question you may have. We are offering these sessions on the following days and times. The content is the same for each one, so you only need to sign up for one.

Upcoming ENTRY-LEVEL Degree ZOOM Info sessions:

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Upcoming PP-OTD Degree ZOOM Info session:

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