University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Redesigning Lives Globally
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Summer Occupational Therapy and English Program for International Students and Therapists

USC Chan Global Initiatives

The Summer Occupational Therapy and English (SOTE) program is a four-week continuing education workshop designed for international occupational therapists and/or occupational therapy students who are considering applying to, or have already been admitted to, the Division’s Master’s or Doctoral programs. (Students already admitted to the Division’s academic programs may choose to participate in this summer session prior to the start of their fall semester). This program will serve as an introduction to occupational science and occupational therapy (OT) practice in the United States and will provide the opportunity for students to strengthen the English proficiency needed to succeed at the graduate level. The program is designed primarily for those students who have earned, or will soon earn their Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in occupational therapy outside of the United States and who feel they could benefit from experiencing OT instruction at USC and visiting various clinical settings in southern California.

Program Objectives

Students will:

  • Gain the opportunity to practice their spoken and written English through class discussions, presentations, and graduate-level written assignments
  • Become familiar with medical and occupational therapy-specific terminology
  • Prepare for the USC Master’s (MA-I, MA-II) or Doctoral (OTD, PhD) degree programs by enhancing reading comprehension and research journal article analysis skills
  • Become familiar with the main settings of occupational therapy practice in the United States, including pediatric, adult physical disabilities and mental health practice. USC international alumni from each setting will share their experiences, provide didactic instruction, and give tours of facilities
  • Achieve a deeper understanding of how to obtain certification by the United States’ National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy® (NBCOT) and review their graduate program’s educational standards in relation to NBCOT requirements
  • Network with other international occupational therapy professionals, Division faculty members, and Division international alumni

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Practice Seminars

Experienced faculty from the USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy will lead 2-3 hour seminars that address their current research or clinical expertise.

OS and OT Practice Seminars will include the following topics:

  • OT practice in pediatrics (including Sensory Integration)
  • OT practice in physical rehabilitation
  • OT practice in mental health
  • Basic principles of Occupational Science
  • Current research at USC (e.g., Lifestyle Redesign, diabetes, infant mental health)
  • Introduction to Qualitative and Quantitative research
  • OT and Neuroscience
  • Leadership and Professionalism
  • Introduction to the U.S Health Care System

Occupational Therapy Site Visits

The SOTE program will introduce students to various occupational therapy practice settings in the United States. Successful OT professionals will provide engaging guest lectures and facilitate visits to their worksites.  Site visit settings include:

  • Keck Hospital of USC (Acute Care)
  • USC Faculty Practice (Private Practice)
  • Pasadena Keck Medical Center (Primary Care)
  • Therapy West (Pediatrics)
  • Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center
  • Shea Center (Hippotherapy)

*One site visit session will be replaced by a Panel Discussion with International OT Alumni, which will cover the following topics:

  • NBCOT examination process
  • Visa-related considerations for employment
  • Job-search strategies
  • Tips for success as an International OT student
  • Tips for thriving in the first year as an International OT alumni

Language Support Sessions

Language support sessions will supplement the SOTE curriculum by providing any individualized assistance needed towards completing assignments or preparing for class presentations.  During this time, students will also practice speaking English with OT terminology by engaging in small group discussions about current issues and events related to OT practice in the United States.  These sessions may preview content that will be covered in more depth in the MA-I or MA-II programs.  In addition, short introductory lectures and demonstrations on basic presentation skills, academic paper writing skills, and patient communication skills will be incorporated.


Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9am-12pm OS/OT Seminar OS/OT Seminar OS/OT Seminar OS/OT Seminar Social Outing
12-1pm Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
1-4pm OT Site Visit Language Support Session OT Site Visit Language Support Session

Additionally, participants will have opportunities to participate in weekly organized leisure and networking events.

Costs and Tuition

For the 2015 cohort, students are responsible for a tuition fee of $3,000 (which includes housing for the first 10 accepted applicants) and the additional costs of airfare. Exact costs for future cohorts will be displayed here when available.


Students will be housed at Webb Tower Residential College (WTO) on USC’s University Park Campus. Housing for the 4-week (30 day) stay will be in either:

  • Double occupancy (2 people/room) in a 1 or 2 room apartment
  • Single occupancy (1 person/room) in a 2 room apartment

Some students may have off campus housing options available to them. These requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Optional dining plan at the EVK Restaurant and Grill (residential dining facility) is offered at a cost of: $32/day or $960 for 30 days.


To apply, please complete the online application.  If you have further questions, please contact Program Director Daniel Park, OTD, OTR/L at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).