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
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PhD in Occupational Science
Admissions Process

Please Note
The USC CAS application system will be open and available to accept applications for the PhD program beginning July 15th. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is no longer required for applications to the Chan PhD program, and the Personal Statement prompt has been updated (see below).  If you have questions, please contact the Admissions Team.

Preparing to Apply

It is strongly recommended that you review information about the PhD in Occupational Science program prior to preparing your application materials. In addition, be sure to review active research projects and PhD faculty who are available as primary mentors for the PhD immersion experiences listed below. You should use all of this information to determine how your interests align with occupational science and potential mentors.

Amber Angell PhD, OTR/L
Lisa Aziz-Zadeh PhD
Grace Baranek PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Sharon Cermak EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Mary Lawlor ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Sook-Lei Liew PhD, OTR/L
Bobbi Pineda PhD, OTR/L, CNT
Beth Pyatak PhD, OTR/L, CDCES, FAOTA

If you have an interest in our PhD in Occupational Science program, please complete our PhD interest form — even if you are in the very early stages of the process. This will allow us to keep in touch with you, and invite you to any events relevant to the program.

Holistic Admission Criteria

Holistic review evaluates applicants based on cognitive and non-cognitive traits, which ensures that more than one factor contributes to admission decisions. Our holistic review evaluates applications across the following primary criteria: articulation of research interests and knowledge of occupational science; academic preparation and aptitude for completing a PhD; professional and scholarly writing; and available faculty mentorship for personal research interests.

The following components are included in USC Chan’s holistic review:

Phase I (USC CAS Application)

  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Curriculum Vitae/Résumé
  • Personal Statement
  • Transcripts
  • English Proficiency (as indicated)

Phase II (Invitation Only)
Selected applicants will be invited to interview with PhD program faculty. Details regarding phase II will be provided at a later time to the selected applicants.

How to Apply

You may apply online at any time through USC Graduate Admissions. Please apply at least three weeks before the Division’s application deadline to allow adequate time for processing. You will find the “Occupational Science (PhD)” program under “Independent Health Professions.” You must complete the supplemental portion that relates to occupational therapy and upload the additional documents as described below. You should arrange to have transcripts and English Proficiency test scores (if applicable) sent to USC Graduate Admissions in time to meet the application deadline.

Application Deadline: December 1st

Note: Applications received after this date are welcome and will be processed on a space-available basis. However, all application materials must be received not later than mid-January for full consideration. 

Letters of Recommendation

Curriculum Vitae/Résumé

Personal Statement


English Proficiency

Fully Funded

Currently, students selected for admission to the PhD program are awarded fellowships or assistantships which cover 12 units of tuition support in fall, spring and summer, an annual stipend of $40,000, and student health and dental benefits.

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.