UW-Madison OT Program - Applying to the MSOT Program

OT student doing research with child


Main Office

Occupational Therapy
School of Education
2120 Medical Sciences Center
1300 University Avenue
MadisonWI  53706-1691

Tel: 608/262-2936
Fax: 608/262-1639

Email: otoffice@education.wisc.edu
or by contact form
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Applying for Admission to the MS-OT Program

After you read the UW OT admission criteria web page, please complete the following two steps. Both steps are required. You will need to do multiple actions/ make multiple responses at each step.




1. Complete OTCAS Application.

OTCAS, the Occupational Therapy Central Application Service, is an online service available via the AOTA. Its aim is to make it more convenient to apply to multiple OT programs. For UW-Madison, the OTCAS will close on November 16, 2016, at 11:59PM Eastern (US) time. OTCAS programs its computer to lock you out of further action related to UW OT in your OTCAS file after that date and time.




2. Complete the UW-Madison Graduate School Online Application

Please! Carefully review this web page (the one you are currently reading) before you use the link to the UW Grad School online application. This web page tries to help you complete our mandatory UW Grad School online application and avoid issues that past applicants have reported, for example:

  • Be certain you select "Summer" as your Term-of-Admission in the Grad School online application
  • Be certain you select "Occupational Therapy" as your Program-Applied-To in the Grad School online application
    • The UW MS-OT Program admits new students only for the "summer" term
    • An applicant who doesn't select "summer" will not find Occupational Therapy in the online menu of programs (and, thus, can't properly apply to the proper program)

Important Special Instruction for:
Completing UW-Madison Graduate School online application

The UW Grad School online application is used for over one hundred UW-Madison graduate programs. Most of them don't use a Central Application Service (CAS). Thus the UW Grad School application software was designed to demand input of standard grad applicant information. While that is vital to many graduate programs, it may become redundant for applicants who use OTCAS. To reduce this redundancy, the UW MS-OT Program suggests using this Placeholder Upload. Open the link to the Placeholder, and download the PDF to your hard-drive. You may then insert that Placeholder PDF anywhere in the UW Grad School application that requires an upload of data you provided in OTCAS. You may also create and use your own placeholder, if you wish, or upload your actual data. In any case, you must be sure that you do provide in OTCAS the content/ data that is represented by your placeholder upload(s) in the UW Grad School online application;  that should be automatic if you fully complete OTCAS according to its instructions.

The Grad School online application will allow you to, and you may, leave blank  its Recommendations section; UW OT will use your recommendations from OTCAS.

Special instruction for optional submittals viA the UW Grad School online application
Of material To be seen by UW-Madison MS-OT only (other schools will not see)

While completing the mandatory UW-Madison Grad School online application, you may OPTIONALLY provide:

--UW-only OT Observation Experience Form (PDF). You may print as many of these forms as you wish. They can document your completion of OT Observational Experience(s). These downloadable forms, however, aren't required. They are optional if you complete OTCAS as it instructs. If you feel that these UW forms will enhance your application in any way, you may use them. When completed, you may scan the form(s) and upload to your OTCAS online application.

--PERSONAL STATEMENT for only  UW-Madison (no other schools): If, OPTIONALLY, you would like to complete a Personal Statement tailored specifically to the MS-OT Program at UW-Madison (in addition to a more generic statement for "all schools" that you must provide in OTCAS), then you may include that UW-specific personal statement in the Personal Statement section of your UW-Madison Graduate School online application.

--RESUME/ CV. Our OT Program doesn't  require your resume or curriculum vitae. We plan to get equivalent information from your entry in OTCAS of supporting info: experience/ achievements. The UW-Madison Grad School online application's "Statement & CV" section has a field for upload of your CV/ resume, but you may finalize and submit your Grad School application without  a CV or resume and  that will fulfill UW MS-OT requirements. (A placeholder upload might be required to comply with application software demands.)

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REMEMBER that the UW-Madison MS-OT APPLICATION DEADLINE is November 16, 2016. Your UW-Madison Grad School Online Application must be submitted by 11:59PM CST on November 16, and the computer-enforced OTCAS data-entry cut-off time for submission is 11:59PM EST on November 16. The cut-off could appear to you  to be earlier than 11:59 if your time zone is not in U.S. Eastern.

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If economic or technological circumstances create a hardship for you to apply to the MS-OT Program, please contact the Admissions Coordinator.

Information on our Admission Procedures

Graduate School Involvement

Occupational Therapy Program Application and Admission Procedures

  • When to Apply for Summer 2017:  The DEADLINE for submitting applications is November 16, 2016. The UW-Madison Graduate School Online Application (with Supplement) must be submitted on or before November 16, 2016. Please familiarize yourself with the OTCAS application process via the OTCAS web site. Two deadline-related aspects of OTCAS are as follows. One, it is computerized and is programmed to rigidly enforce a program's deadline by "locking" your application at 11:59PM on the appointed deadline date. Two, OTCAS is headquartered in the Eastern Time Zone of the United States, thus your application could "lock" several hours before 11:59PM on the deadline date if your local  time zone is other than U.S. Eastern time.
  • When to Begin the OTCAS application Process: The system will open for the 2016-2017 admission cycle on July 17, 2016.
  • Monitor Your Application: After you apply, you will be able to use your `My UW` online portal to watch your application status and see if our Program assesses your application as missing checklist items or additional information. After your OTCAS application has reached "verified" status, your UW Grad School online application, if also complete, will be check-marked with "Application Materials Completed" in your student center. Please note that the completion check-off is a manual (human) process and is not `real time` (instantaneous). It may take several days after you do your `final submit,` especially as new applications for admission peak (usually as the UW MS-OT deadline nears).
  • Admissions Committee Procedures: The Admissions Committee will utilize a "rolling" admission process, and the Admissions Committee may begin reviewing completed applications as early as October, 2016. Applications completed after the deadline of November 16, 2016, will not be reviewed.
  • Notification of Application Status:  Applicants will be notified in writing no later than May 2017 of their status for admission in June 2017. Most applicants will have final notice about their applications well prior to May. An offer is possible anytime after October 1. All offers of admission are provisional until all bachelor's level grades are final and documented (if the bachelor's degree was pending at the time of application) and until criminal background investigation results are reviewed. If, after a student has been offered admission, the final transcript review or the results of the criminal background check indicate that a student did not satisfy all the eligibility criteria, the offer of admission may be rescinded. Students should be aware that, under these or similar ineligibility conditions, the offer of admission could be rescinded after the start of Anatomy 622. Information About Criminal Background Checks for Prospective Occupational Therapy Students (PDF), click here: CBC Info.

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Criteria for Student Selection

The admissions process of the Master of Science-Occupational Therapy Program is highly competitive. The MSOT Program will select students for admission based on the following:

60% Academic Factors
  • GPA (on last 60 credits of undergraduate courses, prerequisite courses and overall average)
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores
40% Non-academic Factors
  • The following qualities will be analyzed:
    • breadth of life experience;
    • evidence of maturity/responsibility;
    • insight into and potential for success in the OT field;
    • depth and breadth of pre-occupational therapy experience;
    • leadership skills or potential; and
    • communication and interpersonal skills.
  • The analysis of these qualities will be by Admissions Committee review of the following application materials: 
    • Personal Statement
    • Activities/ experiences identified in OTCAS application
    • Letters of Recommendation
    • OT observational experience
  • Interviews are not required for admission.

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For questions on submission procedures for your UW online application you may contact John Hageman at kinesgrad@education.wisc.edu or phone 608-262-8730.

For questions on the content of your application, especially questions about course prerequisites and equivalency, you may contact Alexia Rebne, MS, OTR, the UW OT Admissions Coordinator, at otadmissions@education.wisc.edu.  

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