Is the program co-ed?

Yes. Although our residential college is for women, our adult degree program, and our graduate programs, have provided quality co-educational programs for more than 30 years.

What is the difference between an entry-level doctoral occupational therapy program, and a masters-level program?

Both degree levels are currently routes of entry to the profession and are accredited by ACOTE. Both degree levels prepare graduates to be entry-level practitioners. The doctoral degree offers additional semesters of study focusing on clinical practice skills, evidence-based practice, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, and theory development. Both degree levels require Level I and Level II fieldwork experiences. In addition, entry-level doctoral students must complete an additional experiential component (16 weeks) and culminating project. The Occupational Therapy Doctorate prepares students for autonomous and independent practice in a changing environment, as well as allows for increased flexibility to participate in various practice settings.

(Reprinted in part from American Occupational Therapy Association,, Retrieved 2013)

American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Board Position Statement on Doctoral-Level Single Point of Entry for Occupational Therapists

In April of 2014, AOTA’s Board of Directors issued a position statement to articulate their view that future occupational therapists will need to be doctorally prepared for entry-level practice by 2025. Click here for an article that provides background on the decision and the process moving forward.

What are the prerequisites courses?
Required Courses
Credit Hours
Introduction to Biology 3-4 Lab not required but recommended
Human Anatomy 3-4 Lab not required but recommended
Human Physiology 3-4 Lab not required but recommended
Physics 3-4 Recommended, but not required
Introduction to Psychology 3
Abnormal Psychology 3
Introduction to Sociology or Anthropology 3
Lifespan Human Development 3 Birth to death (for some undergraduate institutions, this may require more than one course to fulfill the “birth to death” requirement.)
Introduction to Research Methods 2 Qualitative or Quantitative Research, Statistics or Research Methods
Medical Terminology 1-2 A medical terminology certificate could be used to fulfill the pre-requisite requirement for this coursework.
What major should I pick as an undergraduate student preparing to apply to the graduate program?

]There is no one major that is required, as long as the prerequisite coursework has been taken.

What is the minimum GPA?

You will need a minimum of 3.0 for your overall GPA, but we expect that most accepted students will surpass this minimum. In addition, all prerequisite courses must reflect a “C” or better to be accepted.

What GRE scores do I need?

The GRE scores will be considered along with other admissions requirements. There is no minimum GRE required to apply.

What are my chances of getting in?

As the first entry-level doctoral program in the Commonwealth of Virginia, we expect interest to be high, but chances will vary depending on the number of applications each year. We have a maximum proposed class of 35 students for the charter class.

Who should write my references?

One reference must be from an occupational therapist. Other recommendations can be from a college professor that can verify your readiness for the rigors of graduate-level work, or professionals who have observed you in a patient care environment, college professors, or prior employers. References from family members or friends are not recommended.

Do you accept transfer of graduate-level coursework from other institutions?

Our courses are arranged in a lock-step sequence, therefore we cannot accept graduate transfer credits. These courses may, however, be used to meet the prerequisite requirements.

Will I be able to work while enrolled in the program?

Due to the rigor of the graduate programs, students are strongly advised against employment while enrolled in the program. No time will be granted for students to seek or maintain employment. Employment while enrolled in the program may lead to poor academic performance and failure and should not be pursued.

About the Profession:

Occupational Therapy is a dynamic health care profession that promotes expertise in developing individuals’ meaningful performance skills in daily life tasks. The term “occupation” refers to meaningful daily life tasks and roles. The ability to perform self-care tasks, to work or go to school, to participate in leisure activities and meaningful socializations are important. These activities help to define individuality and the quality of our lives. The role of the occupational therapist is to provide client and family-centered care that strives to regain independence or optimal abilities following the onset of illness or injury.

Occupational therapists work with clients to restore functioning and well-being, to remediate limitations to independence, and to adapt for impairments or disabilities. Occupational therapists work with clients to promote wellness, prevent illness or injuries, and to restore function or adaptation skills.

What do occupational therapists do?

OTs work with clients and their families to establish meaningful goals and intervention strategies to improve function, promote health, prevent illness, and develop independence. Examples of OT services include:

  • Working with school-age children and their teachers to promote school and social success.
  • Working in a rehabilitation center to help individuals who may have sustained a stroke learn how to dress, bathe, and feed independently by regaining sensorimotor, cognitive, perceptual, and social skills.
  • Teaching an older adult to manage home activities, to safely drive, and perform home-maintenance tasks.
  • Retraining an injured worker to safely perform work tasks and to avoid cumulative trauma.
  • Working with a teen to gain successful adolescent adjustment strategies and social integration skills.
  • Teaching a young man with a spinal cord injury to use adaptive assistive technology that will allow him to live a more productive life.
  • Teaching wellness and health promotion activities in the community to prevent the development of illnesses or disuse syndromes.
  • Working with family or significant caregivers to teach them how to use adaptive strategies for a loved one with cognitive impairments.
  • Prescribing or fabricating adaptive equipment, assistive technology, or orthotics to assist clients with impairments to overcome limitations of an illness or injury.
  • Working with clients with low vision or vestibular problems to safely negotiate their home, work, and community environments.

(Source:  American Occupational Therapy Association (n.d.) Workforce trends in occupational therapy. 2010. Retrieved 2013. For additional information about the OT profession, go to

Where do occupational therapists practice?

A 2010 Workforce Study by the American Occupational Therapy Association reports the single-largest employer of OTs to be hospitals, employing 26.2% of OTs.

  • Schools are the second-largest employer with 21.6%.
  • Nursing facilities employ 19.9% of the OT workforce.
  • 9.3% of OTs work in outpatient facilities
  • 5.8% in home health
  • 5.2% in academia
  • 4.8% early intervention
  • 4.3% community practice
  • 2.96% in mental health

(Source:  American Occupational Therapy Association (n.d.) Workforce trends in occupational therapy. 2010. Retrieved 2013. For additional information about the OT profession, go to