Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

The MSOT degree prepares generalist clinicians with the knowledge and skills to work as direct care providers, consultants, educators, managers and advocates for clients.

The MSOT program also includes the option for students to study with experienced community clinicians, community agency administrators or faculty scientists. Students have exposure to participation, public health, aging, work and industry, children and youth, mental health and neurorehabilitation. An experiential portion of the curriculum — six months of full-time fieldwork supervised by experienced clinicians — follows the normal two years of academic coursework. The MSOT is a 28-month, full-time degree program. Please click here to view the MSOT curriculum grid.

With the MSOT degree, you will be eligible to sit for the NBCOT examination to become a practicing occupational therapist. The exam is administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), located at One Bank Street, Suite 300, Gaithersburg, MD 20878. NBCOT’s phone number is (301) 990-7979 and its web address is NBCOT Pass Rate.

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

Admission Requirements

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 or enrollment in an affiliated 3-2 program and satisfactory completion of all prerequisite coursework. 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 in July for fall 2019 admissions.
    • Your application, official 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 two to four 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.

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    Schedule a Visit

    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