Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Degree | Admissions Process
If you are a current USC Chan Master’s student, please see if you qualify for the expedited OTD admissions process.
To apply to the OTD program, you must:
- Complete an entry level Occupational Therapy degree with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 from an accredited college or university.*
- Be certified or eligible for certification in Occupational Therapy in the United States or complete an OT degree from a WFOT approved program outside the United States.**
- Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test within five years of planned enrollment. Please complete the Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing sections. USC Chan does not require a minimum GRE score.
Additionally, ETS offers a limited number of GRE® Fee Reduction Certificates that, if retrieved, may reduce GRE General Test fees by 50%. Please review their information and guidelines on the ETS GRE website.
- Submit three letters of recommendation from professors, therapists, and/or other professionals familiar with your capabilities and achievements.
- Show evidence of your academic potential (based on Master’s level study if relevant), research skills and interest.***
- Submit a personal statement (1,000 words or less) in response to the following prompt: Please describe your leadership aspirations for your occupational therapy career and the vision you have for yourself in achieving these goals. To address this prompt please 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, you need to submit scores from an official TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Please note that even if you are from an English-speaking country, you may still need to submit scores. We require that you have verification of the following scores within two years of your intended enrollment:
- An Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) score of 90 with no less than 20 on each sub-score; or
- An IELTS of 6.5 with no less than 6 on each band score.
* Conditional admission may be possible for you if one of the GPA or GRE criteria is slightly below the requirement. If you have any questions about your specific situation, please feel free to contact us.
** If you are enrolled in the OT baccalaureate or Master’s program, you may receive admission contingent upon successful completion of all coursework and fieldwork prior to the start of the OTD program.
*** If you are currently in occupational therapy practice, you must submit a current curriculum vitae of work experience, publications and presentations.
The Division’s Admissions Committee will review your application once all your application materials have been received. To be considered for maximum financial support, the application deadline is October 1. The regular decision deadline, as well as the deadline to be considered for a USC Chan merit-based scholarship, is February 15.
Applications received after this date are also welcome and will be processed on a space available basis. Please contact our admissions team with specific questions regarding the OTD timeline and start dates.
You may apply online anytime through the USC Graduate Admissions website. You will find the “Occupational Therapy (OTD)” program after selecting the “Independent Health Professions” under the school to which you are applying. Please arrange to have transcripts and test scores sent to USC in time to meet this deadline.
Materials to be Submitted
- An official GRE general test score report, sent to both the USC Office of Admissions (code #4852) and to the department (code #0618).
- Official transcripts from all colleges you have attended, sent to the USC Office of Admission, as directed in the online application process, to the following address:
University of Southern California*Note: If you received our brochure in the mail, the address listed is different than the one provided above. Either address will deliver your application materials to the correct building at USC.
Office of Admission and Financial Aid
3601 South Flower Street, Room 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0911
- Three letters of recommendation from among professors, practitioners, or other professionals familiar with your capabilities and achievements, utilizing the process provided called “Evaluations” in the online application. It includes a form to be completed as well as uploading a personalized letter. Writers may also send forms and letters directly to the Division at the following address:
USC 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).
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.