Faculty/Staff Resources Student Resources
University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn YouTube

Bachelor’s to Doctorate (BS-OTD) in Occupational Therapy
Admissions Process

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. The entry-level OTD program has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education® (ACOTE®) and is accepting applicants for the 2021 application cycle (program start in fall of 2022). The program must have a pre-accreditation review, an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates will be eligible to take the national certification examination for the registered occupational therapist, which is administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®). Updates will be provided on our website throughout the accreditation process as they become available. This change impacts current students, beginning with the graduating bachelor’s class of 2023. In order to remain in the OT program at USC you will need to apply to and complete the OTD program following completion of your bachelor’s degree.

If you are one of those select few high school students who already knows that you want to pursue a career as an occupational therapist, this program is for you! By majoring in occupational therapy as an undergraduate, you are able to earn a doctorate in occupational therapy in just two additional years instead of the traditional three years required in the entry-level doctorate program. A graduate degree is required to practice as an occupational therapist in the United States.

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.
  • Submit two letters of reference (at least one should be from a professor or teacher).

Application Procedures

Apply to USC and select Occupational Therapy as your major. You must maintain satisfactory academic performance (3.0 GPA) in the required pre-professional courses to remain in the major. The USC Admissions Committee and the Chan Division’s Admissions Committee will review your application once all application materials have been received.

Pre-Professional Courses

For the occupational therapy major, you must complete the following six 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 HBIO 301L)
  • Human Physiology (OT 261 or HBIO 420L or BISC 307L)
  • Lifespan Development or Human Development (must cover lifespan) (OT 251 or EDUC 589, or PSYC 336 with PSYC 337)
  • Abnormal Psychology (PSYC 360)
  • Sociology/Cultural Anthropology (OT 250 or SOC 200gm or ANTH 201g)
  • Medical Terminology (OT 200L)

Admission to the OTD Program

During your senior year at USC, you will officially apply to the OTD program, in which you will complete your fifth and sixth years of the Accelerated Bachelor’s to Doctorate (OTD) Program. The deadline to apply is February 15th of your senior year. Please see below for instructions.

  • Fee waiver
    The application fee is waived for all current USC students. Please read gradadm.usc.edu/lightboxes/us-students-fee-waivers carefully as you will have to follow these step-by-step instructions in order to get your application fee waived. It takes 3–4 business days for graduate admissions to process your request.
  • Application
    Please apply for the Fall semester of your fifth year through gradadm.usc.edu/apply. You may find the “Occupational Therapy — Postbaccalaureate (OTD)” program after selecting the “Independent Health Professions” under the school to which you are applying. Please be sure to include your academic history and updated résumé. You can include any additional information in the “Achievements” section of the application that you feel is not reflected in your résumé already.
  • Expedited admission
    If you meet the minimum requirements below, you do not need to complete the personal statement or letters of recommendation in the application:
    • Cumulative GPA = 3.0
    • GRE = no minimum

Estimated Tuition and Fees

The University of Southern California is a private institution where tuition is the same for all students. Residents of California, residents of other states, and international students all have the same tuition rate. Estimated 2021-2022 tuition and fees are presented below. Tuition and fees are subject to change and are expected to be the same or slightly higher for 2022-2023.

Year/Semester # of Units Tuition USC Fees
1/Fall and Spring 12-18 each semester $60,446 (flat fee) $1,448
2/Fall and Spring 12-18 each semester $60,446 (flat fee) $998
3/Fall and Spring 12-18 each semester $60,446 (flat fee) $998
4/Fall and Spring 14-18 each semester $58,688 (flat fee) $1,200
5/Summer 14-18 each semester $29,344 (flat fee) $180
5/Fall and Spring 14-18 each semester $60,452 (flat fee) $950
5/Summer (Fieldwork) 2 $4,318 $180
6/Fall and Spring
(includes part-time Fieldwork)
6-10 each semester $26,688 (flat fee)
(Doctoral Capstone Experience)
3 $6,672 $180

USC Undergraduate Fees include: one-time $450 orientation fee, one-time $250 lab fee for OT 516 (taken during year 4), Student health service fee ($427/semester, summer $180), Student programming fee ($64/semester during undergraduate year, $40 during graduate year), Norman H. Topping Student Aid Fund ($8/semester). 

Additional expenses may include: USC Financial Aid Office estimates annual undergraduate student costs of $10,102 for housing, $6,630 for dining/meals, $1,200 for books and supplies, $1,640 for personal and miscellaneous and $584 for transportation.

Cost of Licensure
If you are planning to work in the United States, please note that the costs and requirements for licensure to practice as an occupational therapist vary across states. Check with your state’s occupational therapy board for additional information. Also, consider that NBCOT study material expenses will vary by person. One of our student ambassadors outlined their personal costs and experience with licensure in California. Please review additional information from the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) regarding licensure.

Contact Us
Thank you very much for your interest in our program. The USC Chan Admissions Team will be delighted to answer any questions you may have and further explore your interest in our program. You can also call us toll free at (866) 385-4250.

More Information
If you would like to know more, please use our Request Program Information form, and we will be happy to provide access to a brochure about our programs. We also provide information sessions, both in-person and virtual, for prospective students interested in our degree programs.