University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Redesigning Lives Globally
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Bachelor’s to Master’s in Occupational Therapy

Admission Criteria

Admission Criteria for Freshmen Applicants

  • Apply online through the USC Common Application. Go to USC Undergraduate Admission and follow the procedures outlined on the site.
  • One to three letters of reference are recommended (at least one should be from a professor or teacher).

Admission Criteria for Current USC Students

  • A minimum USC cumulative GPA of 3.0 in completed undergraduate courses.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 in the seven occupational therapy pre-professional courses, which must have been completed within the previous five years.
  • Verification that USC's general education requirements will be completed by the start of the senior year.
  • Three letters of recommendation from professors, therapists or other professionals who are familiar with your capabilities and achievements. At least one letter should be from a professor.
  • Submit a personal statement (600 words or less) in response to the following prompt: please describe a significant experience, achievement or personal characteristic that demonstrates why you would be an effective occupational therapist. Please include your understanding of occupational therapy in your essay.

Please Note:

  • Most students admitted to the undergraduate program are admitted at the freshmen level.
  • Sometimes it is possible for students to be admitted to the major as juniors (if they have already completed all pre-requisite courses and there is space available), but this is not a guaranteed option.
  • We are no longer offering the undergraduate transfer entry option.
  • Occupational therapy students who do not study in the accelerated bachelor's to master's degree program may pursue another undergraduate degree before applying directly to our entry-level master’s degree. This offers students the option to gain additional breadth in their academic careers.

Graduate Record Exam

Although USC and non-USC applicants are not required to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test scores when applying to the bachelor’s program. Effective Fall 2013 enrollment, they are required to complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test within the last five years with a minimum score of 153 on the verbal section, 144 on the quantitative section, and 3.5 on the analytical writing section. If the GRE was taken before August 1, 2011, use the GRE Concordance Scale to determine whether the verbal and quantitative scores meet the minimum.* The GRE must be taken within five years of anticipated enrollment into the master's program. Students will also need to apply for admission to that program.

Pre-Professional Courses

For a major in occupational therapy, students must complete the following seven courses, earning a grade point average of B (3.0) or better (Pass/Fail or grades below a C are not accepted):

  • Human Anatomy with laboratory* (OT 260 or EXSC 301L)
  • Human Physiology (OT 261 or BISC 307L)
  • Statistics I (MATH 114 with PSYC 274, or HP 340 with HP 350, BUAD 310, or MATH 208)
  • Lifespan Development or Human Development (must cover lifespan) (OT 251)
  • Abnormal Psychology (PSYC 360)
  • Introductory Sociology or Introduction to Social/Cultural Anthropology (OT 250 or SOC 200 or ANTH 201)
  • Medical Terminology (OT 200)

USC course numbers are provided; courses may also be taken at other accredited colleges or universities. All courses except Human Anatomy may be taken online from an accredited institution.

*Course must include a laboratory and study of the human body. If anatomy and physiology are combined, students must take two sequential semesters with a laboratory each semester.

Students must complete the following two pre-professional courses prior to the start of the junior year: (1) Human Anatomy with a laboratory, and (2) Developmental Psychology (must cover the lifespan). Students must also complete Human Physiology prior to spring of the junior year, and the rest of the occupational therapy pre-professional courses, as well as all USC general education courses, prior to the start of the senior year.

Application Deadlines

The Division's Admissions Committee will review your application once all your application materials have been received. The application deadline depends on your student status:

  • Prospective USC freshmen applicants should apply to USC and select occupational therapy as their major. Students who are admitted as a freshman must maintain satisfactory academic performance (3.0 GPA and grades of A or B in the required pre-professional courses to remain in the major.
  • Current USC students may apply to the program by May 15 of the sophomore year to begin courses in the fall of the junior year. The junior year entry option has very limited admissions availability each year and available spaces are not guaranteed.
  • Please note: we will no longer be offering the undergraduate transfer entry option.

Application Procedures for Current USC Students

If you are currently a USC student (Freshman or Sophomore):

  1. Complete the OT online application.
  2. Submit the following additional application materials:
    • A copy of your STARS report.
    • One letter of recommendation from a professor (not a teaching assistant).
    • Two additional letters of recommendation from professors, therapists or other professionals who are familiar with your capabilities and achievements.
    Send the documents, before the OT application deadline, to the OT Division Admissions Office at:
    Admissions Committee
    USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
    1540 Alcazar Street, CHP 133
    Los Angeles, CA 90089-9003

Application Procedures for Other Students

If you are not already a USC student, you must complete your USC Application by choosing one of the following methods:

  • Go to USC Undergraduate Admission and follow the procedures outlined on the site.
  • Call the USC Office of Admissions at (213) 740-1111 and request materials.
  • If you need to send materials by postal mail after submitting your online application, use the following address:
    University of Southern California
    Office of Admission and Financial Aid
    3601 South Flower Street, Room 112
    Los Angeles, CA 90089-0911

Possible Background Checks

The University of Southern California Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy does not require background checks, drug testing or fingerprinting for admission into the Master of Arts program. However, an increasing number of health care facilities require USC students to provide this and other additional information in order to participate in clinical rotations at their sites. The successful completion of clinical rotations is a prerequisite for being able to sit for the NBCOT® (National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy®) examination to practice as an occupational therapist. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT® certification examination or attain state licensure. For additional information, please contact Director of Admissions Liz Carley at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Contact Us

Thank you very much for your interest in our program. Our Director of Admissions, Liz Carley, will be delighted to answer any questions you may have, schedule a visit, or arrange contacts with faculty members or students to further explore your interest in our program. You can reach her at 323-442-2822, or by email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). If you would like to know more, please use our Request Program Information Form, and we will be happy to send you a brochure about any of our degree programs.