Academic Requirements for Occupational Therapy School

Prior to applying for admission to occupational therapy school, prospective applicants should have completed the following common minimum requirements for most occupational therapy schools:

  • 1 semester of Biology (BIOL 100 or BIOL 107)
  • 1 semester of Anatomy & 1 semester of Physiology with lab (such as BIOL 214 & 215 or BIOL 325 & 365/365L)
  • 1 semester of Medical Terminology (HLTH 200)
  • 1 semester of General Psychology (PSYC 166)
  • 1 semester of Abnormal Psychology (PSYC 366)
  • 1 semester of Developmental Psychology (PSYC 377)
  • 1 semester of Sociology or Anthropology (SOAN 190 or 191)

Some schools have additional requirements and/or strong recommendations for courses.  Information and data about specific schools and their requirements, as well as other valuable advice, may be found at the AOTA website.

Grades and Course Load

The detailed academic record is the prime indicator of an applicant’s talent, performance, and judgment.  In general, admissions committees like to see evidence that you can do well while carrying a substantial course load (15-17 credit hours), but remember: you must establish a very good GPA and it may be very difficult to do so with a heavy course load.  Occupational therapy schools look for A’s and B’s in classes overall, as well as a strong science GPA.  Faced with the prospect of a C, some students will want to withdraw (W) and try for a higher grade later.  More than two W’s indicates a lack of judgment and an inability to handle difficult situations.  Remember, course withdrawals must be recorded on occupational therapy school applications, so this is something to discuss with your advisor.

The minimum GPA for most occupational therapy programs is 3.0, but the average GPA of accepted students is much higher.