Occupational Therapy Admissions

The University of Wisconsin–Madison Doctor of Occupational Therapy: Entry Level program is designed to give you the knowledge and skills necessary to transform our nation’s health and education systems, and address the needs of diverse communities.

This clinical doctorate program is designed specifically for entry-level graduate students. The program includes the fundamentals of occupational therapy as well as courses on excellence in clinical practice, wellness, leadership, and the development and application of evidence in occupational therapy.

Our mission is to train highly skilled occupational therapists to become visionary leaders and advocates in interprofessional practice. You will be guided towards creating a personalized professional learning plan, which will culminate in a capstone experience and an individual project.

Apply

Step 1: Complete UW-Madison Graduate School Application by November 15th

Apply through the UW–Madison Graduate School

Step 2: Submit OTCAS Application by November 15th

Apply through OTCAS

Step 3: Complete Kira Talent Virtual Interview

  • Invitation to complete the Kira Talent Virtual Interview Assessment will be provided after the applicant has submitted the OTCAS and UW-Madison Graduate School Application. The Kira Talent Assessment does not include a fee.

Deadline to Apply:

November 15th, 2022 – 11:59 PM EST

Admission Requirements

Non-Discriminatory Policy

UW-Madison OT Program admissions do not discriminate based on race, sex, gender identity or expression, religion, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry or age.

Baccalaureate Level/ Bachelor’s Degree

  • The UW Graduate School’s admission requirements include a bachelor’s (or comparable) undergraduate degree. The undergraduate degree will need to be from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.
  • The undergrad degree must be completed by the time you start classes in the OT Program. All OT offers of admission are, however, provisional until final undergraduate degree and grades are reviewed and accepted and UW OT conducts a Criminal Background Investigation with acceptable results.
  • Undergraduate degree can be in any major. Prospective applicants may find it helpful to review the Prerequisite Coursework on the next tab. Some common undergraduate majors of past OT students include Psychology, Biology, Rehabilitation Psychology, Human Development, Kinesiology, Sociology and Public Health.

Transcripts

  • The UW OT admissions evaluation will be done using transcript data that applicants submit via OTCAS. When applicants are first applying, UW OT does not need to receive printed transcripts. Please do, send your transcript(s) to OTCAS.
  • Applicants who are selected for (and who accept) an offer of admission to OT will then need to submit an official transcript to UW-Madison.
  • If the transcript submitted at the time of admission shows a Baccalaureate degree that is still in-progress, then another transcript will be required when the degree has been awarded.

Minimum GPA (Grade Point Average) of 3.0

  • The UW Graduate School admits students based on the GPA for approximately the last 60 credits of the Bachelor’s Degree. The UW Graduate School minimum GPA is 3.0, although the OT Program may request a GPA waiver for an applicant whose qualitative factors are felt to be particularly strong. If your last-60-credit GPA seems likely to be under 3.0, you might wish to communicate with the OT Admissions Coordinator about your circumstances.
  • The Grad School’s GPA evaluation, to establish its GPA minimum, normally won’t consider courses beyond the completion of the Bachelor’s Degree. In certain cases, though, an advanced degree might be relevant.

Prerequisite Courses

  • Several foundational courses, regardless of undergraduate major, are required for UW OT admission. Be sure that you carefully read and understand the Prerequisite Coursework.
    • Equivalent courses from other accredited institutions of higher education are generally acceptable to meet prerequisites.
    • If you are in doubt about our prerequisites, or about whether your courses meet them, you may contact the UW OT Admissions Coordinator.

Standardized Tests (if applicable)

  • The GRE is not required.
  • Non-native English speakers must take the TOEFL (minimum score of 92), the MELAB (minimum score of 82), or IELTS (minimum score of 7.0) exam. This requirement is waived for students who have studied for at least 2 semesters in the US or if English was the language of instruction for their undergraduate degree. For score reporting, use UW–Madison institution code 1846.

Letters of Recommendation

  • Three letters of recommendation are required.
    • An academic reference is encouraged. Consider asking a professor, an academic advisor, a supervisor, or an occupational therapy practitioner for a recommendation. The person should know you well enough to address whether and how you display the following qualities: leadership skills, maturity, responsibility, skill in communicating, and interpersonal skills.
  • Standard submission of letters of recommendation is electronic (online) via OTCAS.

Statement of Purpose/Reasons for Graduate Study

  • Length of the statement: 7,500 characters, including spaces
  • Statement allows the prospective applicant the opportunity to highlight experiences, related skills, and personal attributes which make them an exceptional candidate for the field of occupational therapy.
  • As the Statement of Purpose is one of the most important components of the application, a prospective applicant is encouraged to review it prior to submission. The UW-Madison Writing Center is a possible resource for UW-Madison students.
  • The Statement itself should be the applicant’s own work.
  • Submission of the Statement of Purpose is via OTCAS.

OT Experiential Requirement

  • Have observational, paid, or volunteer experience in a least two different settings serving persons across the lifespan with physical, cognitive or behavioral conditions (direct observation of occupational therapy practice is highly recommended).
  • Minimum of two different practice settings with at least two different populations.
    • Examples of practice settings include: Inpatient/ Acute/ Outpatient Hospitals; Outpatient Clinics; Skilled Nursing Facilities; Schools; Mental Health Facilities; Community-Based Practices; and Industrial Rehabilitation.
    • Examples of populations include Pediatric, Adolescent, Adult, Geriatric.
  • Optional option for 10 hours of OT Observation: Introduction to Occupational Therapy Course (for example: O.T. 100 at UW-Madison). A course of this type may count as 10 hours of OT observation, but it does not count as a “setting” for the Experiential Requirement.

Seeking further information? Please contact the UW-Madison OT Program Admissions Coordinator with any questions.

Prerequisite Coursework

General Guidelines

  • Prerequisite coursework must be completed by the time of matriculation (start of UW OT classes) in the summer of the year of your admission.
  • It is acceptable to apply to the Program prior to the completion of prerequisite courses as long as you describe how you plan to complete those courses by the time you start the UW OT Program. Any admission is provisional until the transcripts for all prerequisite courses are received, evaluated, and accepted by UW OT.
  • The applicant must achieve a grade of “C” or better in each course.
  • Prerequisite courses can be completed at any accredited institution of higher education.
    • Prerequisite coursework can be completed online. Prerequisite coursework must be completed for-credit. Advanced Placement (AP) credit is permitted. Please contact the OT Program Admissions Coordinator with any questions about Prerequisite Coursework.

Specific Prerequisite Courses in Summary

Lifespan Development (6 credits)
Abnormal Psychology (3 credits)
Statistics (3 credits)
Human Physiology (3-5 credits WITH LAB)
Human Anatomy (3-5 credits)
Human Anatomy Lab (1-3 credits) (Requirement to begin SUMMER 2016)

Two courses must be completed; one course highlighting child development and one additional course highlighting adolescent through adult development. If your educational institution offers only a course that outlines the entire lifespan you will still need to complete an additional course highlighting a segment of the lifespan.
Please contact the admissions coordinator with questions.
Previously evaluated and known acceptable course options available at some educational institutions in Wisconsin are listed below. If you have completed (or are considering) a prerequisite course at an educational institution not identified below, and if you question whether that course would fulfill the prerequisite requirement, please contact the admissions coordinator.
UW-Madison
Child Development: HDFS 362-Development of the Young Child, 3 cr.
OR Ed Psych 331-Human Development from Childhood Through Adolescence, 3 cr.
OR Psych 460-Child Psychology, 3cr.
–AND–
Adult Development: HDFS 363-Development from Adolescence-Old Age 3 cr.
OR Psych 464-Adult Development and Aging, 3cr.
UW-Colleges
Child Development: PSY 360-Psychology of Childhood and Adolescence, 3 cr.
OR EDU 230-Educational Psychology, 3-4 cr.
–AND–
Adult Development: PSY 362-Psychology of Adulthood and Aging, 3 cr.
OR PSY 250-Lifespan Developmental Psychology, 3 crs.
{Students cannot receive credit for both PSY 250 and PSY 360 or PSY 362. Take this course only with EDU 230.}
UW-Colleges Online
Child Development: PSY 360-Psychology of Childhood and Adolescence, 3 cr.
-AND-
Adult Development: PSY 250-Lifespan Developmental Psychology, 3 cr.
{Students cannot receive credit for both PSY 250 and PSY 360 or PSY 362. Complete this course only with EDU 230.}
Madison (Area Technical) College (MATC)
Child Development: #20809239-Child Human Development
OR Child & Adolescent Development: #10522106
–AND–
Adult Development: #20809233-Developmental Psychology. (This course is offered Online)
OR Human Development: #10809127
UW Independent Learning
Child Development: U315-320-Child Development
OR U820-560-Child Psychology
–AND–
Adult Development: U315-321-Human Development in Adolescence

Course options available at some educational institutions in Wisconsin are listed below. If you have completed a prerequisite course at an educational institution not identified below and you are questioning if the course would fulfill the prerequisite requirement, please contact the admissions coordinator.
UW-Madison
PSYCH 405-Abnormal Psychology, 3 cr.
OR PSYCH 511-Neurosis, 3 cr. and PSYCH 512 Psychoses, 3 cr.
UW-Colleges
PSY 309-Abnormal Psychology, 3 cr.
UW-Colleges Online
PSY 309-Abnormal Psychology, 3 cr.
Madison (Area Technical) College (MATC)
#20809237-Abnormal Psychology, 3 cr. (This course is offered Online.)
UW Independent Learning
U820-461- Abnormal Psychology, 3 cr.

Course options available at some educational institutions in Wisconsin are listed below. If you have completed a Prerequisite Course at an educational institution not identified below and you are questioning if the course would fulfill the prerequisite requirement, please contact the admissions coordinator.
UW-Madison
PSYCH 210-Basic Statistics for Psychology
OR STAT 201-Principles of Statistics
OR STAT 301-Introduction to Statistical Methods
OR SOC 360-Statistics of Sociologists I
OR STAT 371-Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
UW-Colleges
PSY 210-Statistical Methods in Psychology
OR MAT 117-Elementary Statistics
UW-Colleges Online
PSY 210-Statistical Methods in Psychology, 3 cr.
OR STATS 117-Elementary Statistics, 3 cr.
UW Independent Learning
U3600-117-Elementary Statistics.
Madison (Area Technical) College (MATC)
#20804240 Basic Statistics, 4 cr.

Course options available at some educational institutions in Wisconsin are listed below. If you have completed a Prerequisite Course at an educational institution not identified below and you are questioning if the course would fulfill the prerequisite requirement, please contact the admissions coordinator.
UW-Madison
ANAT & PHYS 335-Physiology, 5 credits
-OR- ANAT & PHYS 435-Fundamentals of Human Physiology, 5 cr.
Note: If you are a UW-Madison student and you intend to enroll in one of these courses, please contact the OT Admissions Coordinator early during the semester prior to when you would like to enroll, for instructions.
UW-Colleges
BIO 281-Human Physiology, 5 cr.
OR BIO 285-Anatomy and Physiology, 4 cr. and BIO 286-Anatomy and Physiology, 4 cr.
{BIO 285 and BIO 286 are a two-semester series, both courses are required}
Madison (Area Technical) College (MATC)
#20806207-Anatomy and Physiology I, 4 cr.
–AND–#20806208-Anatomy and Physiology II, 4 cr. {Two-semester series, both courses are required}

Course options available at some educational institutions in Wisconsin are listed below. If you completed a similar Prerequisite Course at an educational institution not listed below and you question whether your course fulfills our requirement, contact the admissions coordinator.
UW-Madison
ANAT & PHYS 337-Human Anatomy Lecture (3 credits).
Note: Please contact Lisa Cappabianca with any enrollment concerns.
UW-Colleges
BIO 285-Anatomy and Physiology I, 4 cr.
-AND- BIO 286-Anatomy
-AND- Physiology II, 4 cr. {Two-semester series, both courses are required, and this series will also satisfy the Physiology Prerequisite).
Madison (Area Technical) College (MATC)
#20806207-Anatomy and Physiology I, 4 cr.
-AND- #20806208-Anatomy and Physiology II, 4 cr.
{Two-semester series, both courses are required, and this series will also satisfy the Physiology Prerequisite}.

Human Anatomy Lab
Course options available at some educational institutions in Wisconsin are listed below. If you completed a similar Prerequisite Course at an educational institution not listed below and you question whether your course fulfills our requirement, please contact the admissions coordinator.
UW-Madison
ANAT PHYS 338- Human Anatomy Lab (2 credits).
Note: Please contact Lisa Cappabianca with any enrollment concerns.
UW-Colleges
BIO 285-Anatomy and Physiology I, 4 cr.
-AND– BIO 286-Anatomy and Physiology II, 4 cr. (Two-semester series, both courses are required, and this series will satisfy the UW MS-OT prerequisites for: Anatomy Lecture with Lab; and Physiology with Lab.)
Madison (Area Technical) College (MATC)
#20806207-Anatomy and Physiology I, 4 cr.
-AND- #20806208-Anatomy and Physiology II, 4 cr. (Two-semester series, both courses are required, and this series will satisfy the UW MS-OT prerequisites for: Anatomy Lecture with Lab; and Physiology with Lab.)
***
Online Options for Anatomy Lab Prerequisite
University of New England
Anatomy (4 credits) (This course will satisfy the Anatomy Lecture and Lab Prerequisite)
Virtual Lab: Yes
http://online.une.edu/science-prerequisites/online-anatomy/
West Virginia University
Online Anatomy Lab: NBAN 206 (2 credit hours) (This course will satisfy the Anatomy Lab Prerequisite) http://medicine.hsc.wvu.edu/anatomy/anatomy-courses-online/
Colorado State University
BMS 310-Anatomy for the Health Professions (This course will satisfy the Anatomy Lecture and Lab Prerequisite)
Virtual Lab: Yes
http://www.online.colostate.edu/courses/BMS/BMS310.dot
***
Classroom Options for Anatomy Lab Prerequisite
UW-Colleges
BIO 285 and BIO 286
(Two-semester series, both courses are required, and this series will satisfy the Anatomy Lecture and Lab Prerequisite and the Physiology with Lab Prerequisite)
UW-Washington County
BIO 280 Human Anatomy
(This course will satisfy the Anatomy Lecture and Lab Prerequisite)
Madison (Area Technical) College (MATC)
#20806207-Anatomy and Physiology I, 4 cr. -AND- #20806208-Anatomy and Physiology II, 4 cr.
(Two-semester series, both courses are required, and this series will satisfy the Anatomy Lecture and Lab Prerequisite and the Physiology with Lab Prerequisite)
Edgewood College Madison
BIO 210 -AND- BIO 211
(Two-semester series, both courses are required, and this series will satisfy the Anatomy with Lab Prerequisite and the Physiology with Lab Prerequisite)

CANDIDACY DISCLOSURE

The UW–Madison entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is acoteonline.org. The program must have a preaccreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.