Admissions FAQ

  • What are the Washington University codes for the GRE and Department?

    The Washington University code for the GRE is 0081. The department code is 0618.

  • 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 recommendations and GRE scores (Washington University in St. Louis code for the GRE is 0081).

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

    No. The purpose of the 30 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.

  • 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. The following are some ideas submitted by our faculty members:

    • 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.

  • Who should write my letters of recommendation?

    Three letters of recommendation are required:

    • A professor, teacher, or academic advisor. Three-two applicants must submit one 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 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. 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 prerequisite classes. What are my options?

    It's not uncommon for applicants to our Program to be missing one or two prerequisite 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 prerequisites 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. Post-professional OTD students may be eligible for transfer of credit or advanced placement in the OTD based on prior degree, publication of a manuscript, specialty certification, and/or teaching experience.

    Students enrolled in the OTD degree, have elective courses in the third year of the OTD curriculum. Students, with advisor approval, may elect courses from outside the Program in Occupational Therapy curriculum. These courses may be chosen from other graduate level courses (500 number or above) in the University. Approval of the course instructor is required in advance of registration by the OT Academic Systems Manager. Elective courses may be chosen from appropriate graduate level courses offered from another University. Students will be responsible for registration and payment of tuition for courses outside the University. The student must provide the OT Academic Systems Manager with an official transcript showing completion of the elective course with a grade of “C-“ or better in order for the Coordinator to notify WUSM registrar of the transfer of credit.

  • When do I need to take the GRE?

    Your GRE scores must be received by us no later than the application deadline. It can take 2-4 weeks for GRE scores to be received by us, so please plan accordingly. Your GRE must also be taken no more than five years prior to applying to the program.

  • What are the mean GRE scores?

    Our current mean scores are 153 quantitative, 156 verbal and 4.0 analytical writing. The admission decision is based on a total portfolio, and GRE scores are one of many factors considered for admission.

  • 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 deadline for MSOT and OTD is December 15 to OTCAS, the application deadline for PhD is January 15. Applications to OTCAS must be submitted by December 15, GRE scores must be sent to and received by the program no later than December 15.

  • 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 mentored apprenticeship to prepare for the selected area of practice

    MSOT and OTD students follow parallel paths during the first two years of curriculum. During the first year, all students have opportunities to learn more about the OTD degree, faculty projects, and current research laboratories. 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?

    We do not require an interview for admission into the MSOT or OTD program. However, we encourage you to visit the program and speak to faculty, staff and current students to become acclimated with our program.

  • How can I visit the program?

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

  • My question isn’t listed.

    Contact the Program in Occupational Therapy at (314) 286-1600 or

Ranked as the Number Three OT Program in the Nation

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We welcome inquiries from prospective students, potential collaborators, community partners, alumni and others who want to connect with us. Please complete the form below to begin the conversation.

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Current, future and accepted applicants are encouraged to visit. We also welcome people who are exploring career options and considering occupational therapy. Dr. Kathy Kniepmann, one of our faculty members, opens our visit sessions with an informal presentation and discussion, followed by a tour that’s led by one of our current occupational therapy students.

Upcoming visit sessions*:

*At least two to three visit sessions are scheduled every month. All times are Central Standard Time (CST). Click here for more info.

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Call Dr. Kniepmann at (314) 286-1610
or Robin Hattori at (314) 286-1653