University of Southern California
University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Occupational Science

Admission Criteria

All applicants to the PhD program must:

  • Complete a baccalaureate degree in an appropriate field, such as Occupational Therapy or one of the biological or social sciences, with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 from an accredited college or university.
  • Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test within five years of planned enrollment. While the University of Southern California has no minimum score requirement, please note that PhD cohorts accepted in recent years received an average of 160.8 on the verbal section, an average score of 154.3 on the quantitative section, and an average score of 4.6 on the Analytical Writing section.
  • Submit at least three letters of recommendation (at least two must be academic).
  • Show evidence of academic potential (based on master’s-level study if relevant), research skills and interest. Review our funded research and PhD immersion experiences to determine if your interests align with potential mentors from among the following researchers:
  • Submit a personal statement in response to the following prompt: Please describe your present research interests and experiences and why you think our PhD program is a good fit for you in advancing your research agenda. For this purpose upload a double spaced essay that does not exceed 1,000 words. Your essay should be uploaded in the supporting documents section.
  • English Proficiency: If your bachelor’s degree was earned in a non-English speaking country and you are not a US citizen or permanent resident, scores are needed from an official TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Students from some English-speaking countries may also need to submit scores. We require that the student have verification of the following scores within two years of intended enrollment:
    • An Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) score of 100 with no less than 20 on each sub-score; or
    • An IELTS of 7 with no less than 6 on each band score. Students whose native language is English and/or students with a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university are exempted from this examination.
    If you are an international student who has questions about requirements for the TOEFL, please contact Erin McIntyre, Assistant Director of Admissions.

Application Deadline

The Chan Division’s Admissions Committee will review your application once all your application materials have been received.

  • The application deadline is December 1st for a fall semester start and to be considered for maximum financial support.

Applications received after these dates are also welcome and will be processed on a space available basis.

Application Procedures

You may apply online anytime at least four weeks before the Division’s application deadline to allow adequate time for processing. Please look under the “Independent Health Professions” to find the “Occupational Science (PhD)” program. Be sure to complete the supplemental portion that relates to occupational therapy. You also should arrange to have transcripts and test scores sent to USC in time to meet this deadline.

Materials to be submitted by applicants

  • Have an official GRE general test score report sent to both the USC Office of Admissions (code #4852) and to the department (code #0618).
  • Send official transcripts from all colleges you have attended to the USC Office of Admission, as directed in the online application process, according to the transcript requirement instructions.
  • Request at least three letters of recommendation. Two letters of recommendation must be academic, while the third can be from any other professional source (i.e. therapists, and/or other professionals familiar with your capabilities and achievements), utilizing the process provided in the online application. Letters may also be sent directly to the Division at the following address:
    Admissions Committee
    USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
    1540 Alcazar Street, CHP 133
    Los Angeles, CA 90089-9003
  • If you are required to submit TOEFL scores (please see above for details), have your scores sent to the USC Office of Admissions (code #4852).

Contact Us

Thank you very much for your interest in our program. Erin McIntyre, Assistant Director of Admissions, would 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 toll free at (866) 385-4250, 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 programs.