Bachelor’s to Master’s
Curriculum and Requirements
Please note: USC Chan is in the process of transitioning from an entry-level master’s program to an entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program. This change could impact students as early as the bachelor’s class of 2023. In the event that the Division moves to an entry-level OTD program while you are completing your bachelor’s degree, in order to remain in the OT program at USC you would will need to apply to and complete the OTD program following completion of your bachelor’s degree.
Requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy
The Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy requires the completion of 44 units of professional coursework.
Bachelor of Science Professional Coursework
Our undergraduate program courses focus on portions of the professional content required by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education® (ACOTE)*. Topics include medical sciences, occupational development and performance and the various areas of occupational therapy practice. Practice experiences, as well as hands-on opportunities in our laboratories, are integrated early into the program. Upon the program’s conclusion, you will have acquired the academic foundation to understand the fundamentals of professional practice as well as the powerful relation of everyday activities to health.
* The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education® can be contacted at: ACOTE, c/o Accreditation Department, American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.®, 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda MD 20814-3449, acoteonline.org, (301) 652-6611 x2914
General Education Requirements
As an undergraduate you must satisfy the university’s general education requirements, which are intended to complement your major and provide a broad educational experience.
Residency Requirements for Undergraduates
You must take a minimum of 64 units (half of the required 128 units for a bachelor’s degree) in residency at USC. This means you can transfer up to 64 units toward your degree. However, after you complete 64 units at USC, you may only transfer an additional 8 units, and these must be taken during the summer term only. Certain general education requirements cannot be completed at another institution. A major in occupational therapy provides 44 of the required 64 units in residency.
Classes generally meet 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, on USC’s Health Sciences Campus (HSC). Tram service is available from USC’s University Park Campus (UPC), as well as from Los Angeles Union Station. Limited campus parking is available for a fee.
Most occupational therapy majors graduate in May of their senior year. In addition to USC’s main commencement ceremony, you and your family and friends will be invited to the Chan Division’s satellite ceremony immediately afterwards.
After you receive your Bachelor of Science degree, you must also acquire a master’s degree in occupational therapy to be eligible for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy® (NBCOT) examination. Because you have your Bachelor’s of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from USC, you can earn your master’s degree from USC in an additional 9 to 12 months, depending upon your choice of fieldwork options.
Once you pass the NBCOT examination you earn the Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR) designation and are then eligible for licensure and practice. More information about the NBCOT examination may be found at nbcot.org. A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.
USC has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), one of six regional accrediting organizations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, since 1949. View the student learning outcomes for our academic programs.