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.
The four criteria that are included in USC Chan’s holistic review are:
- Personal Statement
- Letters of Recommendation
- GRE (temporarily suspended for 2021 and 2022 admissions cycles)
How to Apply
Your application for the Post Professional Master’s Program at the University of Southern California must be completed online through the USC Graduate Admissions website at least three weeks before the application deadline to allow adequate processing time. Please look under the “Independent Health Professions” to find the “Occupational Therapy — Postbaccalaureate (MA)” program. All application materials, including official transcripts and test scores must be sent to USC Graduate Admissions in time to meet this deadline.
Note: The application deadline is February 15.
Applications received after this date are also welcomed and will be processed on a space-available basis.
Submit a personal statement through your USCCAS application. Please upload a double-spaced essay, which does not exceed 400 words, in the supporting documents section.
Address the following prompt in your response:
Describe your professional interests and accomplishments and how a graduate degree will allow you to pursue your professional goals.
Submit three letters of recommendation (evaluations) from professors, therapists, and/or other professionals familiar with your capabilities and achievements. These individuals should know you well and be able to attest to your skills and abilities as they relate to you as an occupational therapist and/or pursuing graduate studies. Recommendations (evaluations) should be submitted electronically through the USCCAS application.
Note: The Admissions Team will read only the first three letters of recommendation.
Complete a baccalaureate degree in Occupational Therapy from an accredited college or university or WFOT approved program with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher. Please note that if your GPA is lower than 3.0, your application will still be considered. GPA is only one component of the holistic admissions process. Please contact the Admissions Team if you have questions about your individual situation.
Please send official transcripts from all colleges attended to USC Graduate Admissions, as directed in the online application process and according to the USC Office of Graduate Admission’s transcript requirements.
March 2021: USC understands that graduate program applicants’ ability to complete the GRE examination may have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic. As a result, the university has temporarily suspended the GRE requirement for all applicants during the 2021 and 2022 admissions cycles. At this time, applicants are not required to submit a GRE score as part of their application to USC Chan. We recognize that some applicants may have already taken the GRE; however, we strongly believe that removing the GRE from the 2021 and 2022 admission requirements will allow us to more equitably consider all applicants for these cohorts. Please continue to monitor chan.usc.edu/admissions for more information as it becomes available. Thank you for your understanding.
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.
Official GRE score reports should be sent to the ETS reporting code 4852. This code will send your official score report to USC Graduate Admissions. The Admissions Committee will accept an applicant’s ‘super score’ or the highest score achieved in each section, even if the test dates are different.
If your bachelor’s degree was earned in a non-English speaking country and you are not a US citizen or permanent resident, you must submit scores from an official TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or PTE (Pearson Test of English). Please note that even if you are from an English-speaking country, you may still need to submit scores. Scores should be submitted to USC Graduate Admissions directly prior to the admission deadline for which you are being considered. We require that you have verification of the following scores within two years of your intended enrollment at USC:
- A computer based TOEFL (iBT) score of 90 with no less than 20 on each sub-score; or
- A computer based IELTS of 6.5 with no less than 6 on each band score.
- A computer based PTE of 61 or above with 53 or above on each band.
If your native language is English and/or you have a bachelor’s degree from a US college or university, you are exempted from this examination. See the USC Office of Graduate Admission for more information about English-language requirements.
If you have questions about program requirements for the TOEFL/IELTS, please contact our Admissions Team.
It is recommended that you reach the required scores for admission. However, if you do not reach the required scores, there are a few options to obtain admission.
- Retake the exam in question in an attempt to reach the necessary scores. This may be the best option if you are only slightly below the requirement (1–2 points below).
- Be admitted with an English Language hold on your account. This means that you will not be able to register for classes until you take another English proficiency exam upon arrival to USC. This is the International Student English (ISE) Exam. Based on the results of this exam, the University will place you in required English language courses that you must complete in addition to your Master’s coursework. Students have found this to be overwhelming and challenging to accommodate. This is not the preferred option.
- If your English language and/or GRE scores are significantly lower than the required minimums, you may wish to apply to the USC Pre-Master’s program. This program prepares students to meet the English language and GRE requirements for our program, in addition to learning more about US academic culture. Our applicants typically need 1–2 semesters of this program; the length of this program is determined by the Pre-Master’s Admissions office and is based on your English Language scores. If you successfully complete the Pre-Master’s program you are guaranteed admission into the Post-Professional Master’s in Occupational Therapy.
If you are considering any of these options, please contact our Admissions Team.
There is opportunity to apply for a USC Chan tuition scholarship and/or a student worker position. Please see information on how to apply for USC Chan Scholarships.
Note: Online applications for USC Chan scholarships are open to incoming students from May 1 to May 31.
There are additional scholarships outside of our Division that you can also apply for.
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.
|Semester||# of Units||Tuition||USC Fees|
|Fall||16–18||$30,223 (flat fee)||$530|
|Spring||16–18||$30,223 (flat fee)||$475|
USC Graduate Fees include: one-time $55 orientation fee, Student health service fee ($427/semester, summer $180), Student programming fee ($40/semester), Norman H. Topping Student Aid Fund ($8/semester).
Additional expenses may include: USC Financial Aid Office estimates annual graduate and doctoral student costs of $12,375 for housing, $6,110 for dining/meals, $1,200 for books and supplies, $2,316 for personal and miscellaneous and $2,459 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.
International applicants are responsible for communicating with NBCOT® regarding their eligibility status. This criterion is not required if an applicant does not wish to practice in the United States.
A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT® certification examination or attain state licensure. Please contact NBCOT if you have any further questions.
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.
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.