Admission Policies During COVID-19 Pandemic

In light of the impact of COVID-19 around the country and world, the Program in Occupational Therapy at has established the following guidelines and resources to support future students as much as possible.

Pass/Fail Coursework

Prospective students who completed pre-requisite courses in the spring or summer of 2020 may have taken their courses pass/fail. We will allow a grade of "pass" for up to two pre-requisite courses completed during January-August 2020, rather than our usual requirement of "B" or better.

GRE and TOEFL Testing

The GRE is no longer required for admissions from the 2021-2022 application cycle. The TOEFL will continue to be required for international students and test scores should be sent to #6929.

OT-related Hours

To apply to the Program in Occupational Therapy, Washington University in St. Louis requires at least 30 hours of OT-related experience (e.g., shadowing OTs, volunteering or working with people with illness, injury or disability, etc.).

In light of the COVID-19 situation, we recognize that students applying this year may be unable to complete OT-related hours as planned.

Please do what you are able. We hope you have some contact with health-care professions and individuals with disabilities in person, but you are encouraged to be creative about getting other types of knowledge and experience while observing social distancing guidelines. As always, being able to go above the minimum and show that you have explored a breadth of OT-related areas will strengthen your application.

Applicants may supplement typical in-person OT-related activities with other options. Please track your hours involved in these activities, take notes and write reflections on what you learned. For example, you might:

  • Do community service that does not involve direct personal contact
  • Conduct phone or video informational interviews with clinicians or those who work with OT-related populations
  • Read OT-related articles and books and issues in health care
  • Watch movies or videos, or listen to podcasts related to health care issues
  • Complete pre-OT classwork online or educational webinars related to health care
  • Participate in webinars or virtual panel discussions (we offer these occasionally)
  • See the next section for an extensive list of ideas for exploring OT


The following list of OT-related resources is not exhaustive. These suggestions are not officially endorsed by the Program in Occupational Therapy, but have been recommended by our alumni, faculty and staff.

Resources for OT-related Experiences for Applicants



To provide evidence of your OT-related experience, write at least two paragraphs of reflection per activity. You can compile all activities together in a supporting document that you can upload to OTCAS as "Non-traditional OT-related hours." We recommend that your documentation include, for example:

  • Your name
  • OT-related hours summary: 12 hours total
    • 3 hours - Crip Camp movie
    • 3 hours - How to OT podcast
    • 5 hours- Oliver Sacks book
    • 1 hour – Interview with alumni
  • Then for each activity:
    • Date/s of activity
    • Mode of interaction
    • Name of book, video, interview host, webinar, community service, etc.
    • How many OT-related hours (time spent on activity and writing reflection)
    • Description – for example:

      • What did you do?
      • Provide a summary of the content of the source material
    • Reflection – Select any of these questions or formulate others to guide your reflection and critical thinking

      • What did you learn?
      • How do you think this relates to occupational therapy?
      • How did it deepen your knowledge of OT or health care?
      • What are some underlying themes or principles?
      • How did it confirm or challenge your assumptions?
      • What new questions do you have? What do you think? What do you want to do? What changes do you suggest based on this experience?

Phone or Video Interviews with Occupational Therapists

We have a list of Washington University OT alumni who are willing to talk with your via phone or video chat to tell you about their studies and career path. Please fill out the online form to be matched with someone.

Virtual Panel Discussions and Events

We will set up some virtual events so you can hear from OTs and clients and learn about specific topics related to occupational therapy that can count for OT-related experience. Please check this website for upcoming events.

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