Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Occupational Science
To apply to the PhD program, you 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 your 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.
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 at least three letters of recommendation. A minimum of two of these letters must be submitted by academic references. If you do not have three academic references, one letter of recommendation can be submitted by any other professional who is familiar with your capabilities and achievements. (at least two must be academic).
Show evidence of your 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, 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 100 with no less than 20 on each sub-score; or
- An IELTS of 7 with no less than 6 on each band score. If your native language is English and/or you have a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university, you are exempted from this examination.
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.
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
- 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, according to the transcript requirement instructions.
- Three letters of recommendation. A minimum of two of these letters must be submitted by academic references. If you do not have three academic references, one letter of recommendation can be submitted by any other professional who is familiar with your capabilities and achievements. Letters may also be sent 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.