Updated 2017JUN20

Below is a list of prerequisites for the Occupational Therapy Program. The list does not represent every class that might fill the prerequisite. This information is subject to change without written notice or obligation. Students are urged to make contact at least once a year with the Academic Advisor.

Course Prerequisites

Prerequisite course work or approved equivalent coursework MUST be taken for a grade. CLEP and AP credit may not be used to fulfill a prerequisite course. Any coursework with a grade of C- or below will not be considered toward fulfillment of the occupational therapy prerequisites. If a course is repeated, only the highest grade achieved in the course will be used in calculating the prerequisite GPA. Applicants must have a prerequisite cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale with at least a 3.0 in the science prerequisite courses (anatomy, physiology & physics/kinesiology) and a 3.0 in the non-science prerequisites (all other courses). The average science prerequiste GPA is 3.5 and the average non-science prerequisite GPA is 3.8. In addition to a minimum 3.0 prerequisite GPA, applicants must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA of all of their university coursework. You can use this website to calculate your GPA.

All prerequisite courses listed below must be completed by the end of the spring term (April or May) prior to the fall semester for which they are applying unless noted. OT prerequisite courses may not be taken the summer immediately preceding the start of the OT program.

  • Kinesiology or Biomechanics or Physics*- one course in kinesiology, biomechanics or general/college physics. Click here to view the description for KINES 3092 or KINES 3093, approved courses at the U of U. This class must be complete and graded by Dec. 31 of the year the application is submitted. Note: applicants will update grades in OTCAS via the academic update.
  • Human Anatomy with lab* - one course taken within the past 5 years.
  • Human Physiology* - one course.
    Applicants must have a grade for either Human Anatomy or Human Physiology complete and graded by Dec. 31 of the application year. The other course may be completed in the winter/spring term. Note: applicants will update grades in OTCAS via the academic update.
  • Human Development through Lifespan or Developmental Psychology through the Lifespan* - one course or the equivalent. Must cover entire lifespan, birth to death. Must be complete and graded by Dec. 31 of the year the application is submitted. Note: applicants will update grades in OTCAS via the academic update.
  • Cultural Anthropology - one course in cultural anthropology.
  • Abnormal Psychology - one course.
  • Sociology or Health Ed or Special Ed or Gerontology - one course from one of these areas. First Aid/CPR and personal health courses will not fill this requirement.
  • Statistics - one course.
  • Medical Terminology - one course.
  • Studio Arts Course - one course in an area of arts or crafts (painting, pottery, knitting, woodworking, etc). Art history, music, theater, dance, photography or survey classes will not count as fulfilling this prerequisite. A grade is not required for this course. This must be a formal course (lifelong learning, college, school district, community education, art store, etc.). The class must be at least 16 hours in length. If taken in the community, students must provide a certificate of completion or a letter from the instructor. This should be uploaded into OTCAS in the Program Materials section under Documents, then Catalog Course Descriptions.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate English language proficiency, strong word processing ability, and functional internet use.

University of Utah students should run a degree audit report for pre-Occupational Therapy Studies to track the progress of OT prerequisites.

Suggested Classes for The U and Other Regional Universities

Suggested classes for the University of Utah and other selected universities in the region, including:

For institutions outside of Utah, please contact our Academic Advisor, Kelly Brown.

Fieldwork Prerequisites

Failure to pass requirements imposed by fieldwork sites and the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) may negatively effect student eligibility for fieldwork placements and to sit for the national certification exam. Requirements include but are not limited to the following: criminal background checks, drug screening, and health/immunization requirements.

Required tests

  • GRE - Graduate Record Examination
    • Must be taken so the scores are received by Division by the admissions deadline of the year of application. Send your scores to the designated institution code 1982. (This is new as of 28Aug2015.) GRE test scores are only valid for 5 years.
    • If a student has multiple tests, we will take the highest component score from each test. For example, we will take the higher verbal from first test and the higher quantitative from the second test. Be sure to submit all tests.
    • Primary consideration will be given to applicants with an analytical writing score of 3.5 or higher. Average analytical writing score of those offered admissions for 2016 was a 4.0. We see an average of 151 on each verbal and quantitative sections.
  • English Proficiency if English is not the first language
    • TOEFL-Students must achieve a score of at least 90-91 (Internet based). You may contact the University of Utah Testing Center.
    • IELTS-Students must achieve a score of at least 7.0.
    • Applicants who have received a US Degree and have not left the country for more than two years since receiving the degree may use the degree as proof of English proficiency.

Contact Hours with an Occupational Therapy Professional

As a part of the application process students will be required to have a minimum of 50 hours contact with an occupational therapist (OTR). It is required that the student observes, works, or volunteers in at least two different settings. The second observation may be as few as 8 hours and counts toward the 50 hour minimum. You will be required to enter this information as part of your application, so keep a log of the facility name, OT name and contact info, dates, and number of hours. Some facilities may require a formal letter prior to allowing you to observe. The minimum observation hours must be complete at the time an application is submitted. An applicant may continue observation above and beyond the minimum after the application has been submitted.

Students taking OCTH 3000 Introduction to Occupational Therapy (through the U of U) with a B grade or higher will be able to waive 25 of the 50 hours and will only be required to have contact with one setting other than the class. Students completing an Introduction to OT course with a B grade or higher at another institution may waive 15 hours and will similarly only need one additional site. The Introduction to OT course must be completed prior to or in progress at the time of the admission deadline for the observation hours to be waived. When completing the OTCAS application, list this course under Supporting Information, Observation Hours.

Prerequisite Waiver

If an applicant believes the requirements have been met for a prerequisite course but may not have taken the specific course listed may request a waiver or course substitution. The prerequisite waiver form must be submitted with a letter and appropriate documentation substantiating the request. Waivers must be submitted by October 1 prior to the application deadline for the waiver to be considered for the current applicaiton year.

Character Review

A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or in attaining state licensure. For more detailed information, please visit NBCOT's Character Review.