Post-Professional Doctorate (OTD)
of Occupational Therapy
Admissions for OT Graduates and Practitioners
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 following components are included in USC Chan’s holistic review:
- Letters of Recommendation
- Curriculum Vitae/Résumé
- Personal Statement
- English Proficiency (as indicated)
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.
How to Apply
You may apply online at any time through USC Graduate Admissions. You will find the “Occupational Therapy (OTD)” program under “Independent Health Professions.” Please arrange to have transcripts and English Proficiency test scores (if applicable) sent to USC Graduate Admissions in time to meet the application deadline.
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.
Ask your recommenders to address specific examples of your qualities and traits that align with the post-professional OTD. These may include — but are not limited to:
- Managerial skills
- Innovative thinking
- Critical problem solving
- Lifelong learning
- Self-motivation and/or proactive action
A curriculum vitae (CV) or résumé must be uploaded. This document should detail as applicable:
- Previous academic preparation
- Professional expertise
- Leadership experience
- Publications and presentations
- Volunteer experience
- Community contributions
- Other professional contributions
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.
Applicants must have completed at least a baccalaureate degree with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 from an accredited college or university. For applicants who have completed a graduate degree, the holistic review process will give primary consideration to graduate GPA(s) over undergraduate GPA.
Transcripts should be submitted directly to USC Graduate Admissions.
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 English proficiency examination scores. 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 total of 7 with no less than 6 on each band score; or
- A PTE Academic score of 68 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. For additional details about English proficiency requirements by country, please review the Graduate Admissions website.
To apply, you must 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. If you are currently enrolled in an occupational therapy program, you may receive admission contingent upon successful completion of all coursework and fieldwork prior to the start of the OTD program.
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 2022-2023 tuition and fees are presented below. Tuition and fees are subject to change and are expected to be the same or slightly higher for 2023-2024.
|Semester||# of Units||Estimated Tuition||USC Fees|
Note: OTD costs are listed for students who have earned a Master’s degree in occupational therapy and have been admitted with advanced standing. All other students may require additional coursework to be determined.
USC Graduate Fees include: one-time $55 orientation fee, Student health service fee ($527/semester, summer $288), 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 $12,600 for housing, $6,930 for dining/meals, $1,200 for books and supplies, $2,422 for personal and miscellaneous and $2,628 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.
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.